October 2017 is ADHD Awareness Month! So many do not understand how complicated this medical diagnosis is and how it impacts daily life. ADHD seems so invisible and right now, there are no definitive ways to document a diagnosis. You can’t have a brain scan or an MRI and know that it’s there. The diagnosis depends on the ruling out of everything else that would look like it and then subjective data from parents and teachers based on the DSM, the statistical manual written by psychiatrists that demonstrate those symptoms that would lead to that diagnosis.
It is a diagnosis that is linked to behavior in many cases. As a result, those children with it are expected to correct that behavior because it is thought that they could if they wanted to. Unfortunately, this is a thought process that is connected to neurotypical kids who are better able to control impulses. In addition, the negative behavior can be magnified in the school setting because of our kids’ realization that they are not meeting expectations. And in so many cases, these kids with ADHD are not receiving the support necessary to thrive.
Behavior can also be worsened by those executive functioning deficits that do rear their ugly head has our kids move into middle school and have multiple teachers, each with different expectations requiring skills like organization, time management, and transitioning. Working memory skills become more important as our kids must hold onto information as they learn more.
I was driving with my son one day, unable to find my destination. He was unable to understand how in the world if I had been there once before, that I would be lost! I was so stressed! Who wants to be lost! But also, I had that feeling of being so incapable and pretty dumb! It occurred to me that on a daily basis for hours a day, this child of mine feels like this! This was a snippet of my day, one area of weakness. His day was filled with weakness! Yet here was a strength of his: seeing the big picture, the ability to see direction and make sense of it! I used this time to reinforce that strength. And learned how desperately our kids need to hear their strengths daily.
I have learned too that those mommas out there with children with ADHD are fierce advocators. The stories I hear illuminate parents’ abilities to see the struggles, to know something is not right, to know what their child needs, and to advocate for those things! I see this time and time again. And these parents are not educational professionals. They are predominately moms who know their children.
Our kids will be ok because of the parent in their life who believes in them and will fight for their rights for accommodations and modifications in their school day so that someday, they will be free of this environment that disallows their strengths to shine through. And as a result of the role model demonstrated in the parent, they will learn too that their ADHD can be a strength and needed strategies can help overcome weaknesses like we all have. In the meantime, they move down their journey, meet expectations as best they can, and maintain a healthy self-esteem as they prepare to follow their dreams, just like all of the other neurotypical kids!
To understand more about what ADHD advocacy is, and how it can dramatically help your child, please contact me directly for a free consultancy session. On our call, you will have the opportunity to share the challenges that your child is facing, and get instant feedback on critical next steps to help both you and your child. You can contact me directly by clicking here!
A little about the author and founder of ADD Advocate, Karen Lowry: I am a certified ADHD Coach. ADHD advocacy is my passion. There are so many school support challenges facing our children, that knowing your rights as a parent have never been more crucial. Effective ADHD coaching depends on effective advocacy for our kids. Remember, if you should ever have any questions about anything regarding school support, or just understanding about ADHD, IEP programs, 504 plans, etc….