September 9, 2021
RBC Race For The Kids: One Step Forward For A Brighter Future
When you pledge to participate in a run or walk from now and over the global, virtual, event weekend on October 16th & 17th, 2021, you will help fund the Tele-Help phone therapy program, through Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, providing virtual evidence-based care while Saskatchewan kids and youth are on the waitlist for mental health services.
Sascha is a 13-year-old empathetic, kind, generous young man who likes to swim, practice tae kwon do, play video games, and read about science. While coping with all of life’s challenges as a teenage boy, Sascha is also dealing with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette’s Syndrome, and Anxiety.
Johnna, Sascha’s Mom, noticed seven-year-old Sascha always had to have things a certain way. “I don’t want to be annoying, but I have these habits and I have to do them all the time,” said Sascha. He listed a few of these “habits,” with one being having to take an even number of steps. After a long six months of waiting for a callback, Sascha was diagnosed with OCD. He works very hard and has had a lot of success in controlling his OCD through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and medication.
Sascha describes his ADHD as not being able to choose what you’re focused on. Sascha says, “I can’t really focus on things I’m not interested in, so it’s a good thing I’m interested in a lot of stuff.” Awareness is key and he works on managing this every day, though finds it especially challenging when in social situations.
A year and a half ago, Tourette’s Syndrome was added to Sascha’s diagnoses. With no place in Saskatchewan providing programs for Cognitive Behavioural Intervention for Tics (CBIT), disappointment set in for the family. With Tourette’s being the most difficult at the age of 13 to 14, Johnna took matters into her own hands as she researched and purchased help books for their family and classroom nurse to become further educated on how to help Sascha at home and in school. Unfortunately, there’s a big difference between reading a book on a topic and being trained and having experience with it.
“We need to give Sascha the tools to help him be successful, and put him in a place where his ADHD and other diagnoses are just part of what makes him who he is. Sascha has many gifts and talents, and he is only going to get better at managing his set of challenges,” said Johnna. Sascha also mentioned that while he feels like ADHD and Anxiety are a part of him, he “wouldn’t mind if the Tourette’s Syndrome disappeared.”
“When I’m at home with my parents and cat, I don’t have to try to contain all my diagnoses. And for anyone with my diagnoses, if you work hard and devote yourself, it will get you to your destination,” said Sascha.
Note: Sascha was in the Balance Program at school, which is designed for kids with mental health diagnoses. There was a psychiatric nurse assigned to the classroom and she worked with him on CBIT. She did not have the CBIT training but did have skills in helping kids with their mental health concerns.
Please support children like Sascha, in his daily quest to live his best life mentally and physically. Sascha was also a sleep study patient working with Dr. Melissa Denis at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital. Register now for RBC Race for the Kids to support Saskatchewan youth like Sascha and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. One step forward for a brighter future.