In High School I would walk up to get a Kleenex, even when I didn’t have a runny nose.
On the rare day that I didn’t exercise as a kid, it was hard to fall asleep at night.
I started stripping wallpaper in our master bathroom 16 months ago, it’s 25% finished.
There is no Professor in the entire world that could keep my attention for the duration of a Tuesday/Thursday college class.
I’ve never even attempted to watch the Lord of the Rings movies because the sheer fact that they are 3 hours long makes them impossible for me to sit through.
I currently have 10 tabs open on my internet browser.
I finish other people’s sentences frequently. (whoops)
I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
I’ve been diagnosed with this since High School. I’ve had seasons of my life where I was medicated, some when I wasn’t.
I’ve never viewed my ADHD as a detriment. I wasn’t taught by my parents that I was broken or less than as a result of this diagnosis. If anything, it’s my superpower because once I do FINALLY get focused in on something, watch out because it’s happening at twice the focus and determination of a normal person.
But after spending 8 years in public education and being a private tutor for the past 3 years, I’ve learned that most people have a completely different perception of ADHD.
The conversation around ADHD needs to change.
I have had multiple calls from prospective tutoring clients that are mind-boggling to me. There are so many parents that see their ADHD child as academically broken. Or worse yet, incapable.
So as a functioning adult with a Master’s Degree who contributes to society, this is what I want to tell parents of ADHD children, those who think their child may have ADHD, or maybe parents that have realized that they have it themselves.
- ADHD doesn’t make someone dumb. Bottom line. Hard to focus? Yes. Hard to sit still? Yes. Low IQ? Absolutely not. Incapable of academic success? Nope.
- Medicating your child is not going to ruin them. I took medicine in HS and College (Ritalin) and in the past few months I have gotten back on medication at the ripe old age of 33. I’m not addicted to it. I didn’t take anything during the 6 years of my life that I was either pregnant or nursing a child but now that I’m on something again, I’m pretty much superwoman.
- Being active is going to be the best self-medication you ever do. You have to burn that extra energy off somehow. So encourage your child (or yourself) to be active. Run, play sports, go on walks, get a trampoline, etc.
- Stop apologizing for having ADHD. It’s just how some people are wired. Let them be fully themselves, even if it’s a little intense for the average bear. Teaching your child to be confident in who they are is the best lesson they will walk out of your house with one day. No one looks back on their life and wishes they’d changed who they are.
- All bad behavior is not because of ADHD. I am perfectly capable of making bad choices all on my own and they have nothing to do with my inability to focus well. So don’t use ADHD as a scapegoat for your child acting a fool, sometimes people just act like fools and you don’t need a medical reason for it.
So next time someone says, “oh, they have ADHD” in a negative tone, set them straight.
***Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, just a person who has lived with this disorder for most of my life.