Jennifer Gay Summers, a teacher for 13 years and mom to a daughter with ADHD, is dedicated to helping other parents and teachers of ADHD children survive the rough moments and savor the wonderful ones.

posted: Monday October 17th - 10:43am

Taming Transitions: How Zoning Out Helps My Daughter Be All-In

Taking a moment to process the sounds, sights, and smells of a new environment puts things in calm perspective for Lee.

A young girl with ADHD, taking a calming moment to transition herself from one activity to the next
“Lee,” I called. “Its 4:15...We have 15 minutes!” She raced down the hall, and we ran to the garage, hopping into the car. I started the engine and looked at the clock. After two months of driving Lee to educational therapy, you’d think I’d have the timing down, but I always push it. My mind started seizing on the best route, how to...
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posted: Tuesday September 20th - 4:31pm

My Daughter Has Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, Anxiety, and SPD—and She Feels Just Fine

Lee no longer apologizes for her disorders, nor is she embarrassed by them.

Self Acceptance: My Daughter's Grasp of Her Mental Health
It was time for my daughter’s dental cleaning, and she wasn’t going. The last time we were there, Lee complained that none of the hygienists was gentle during a cleaning and, even worse, she’d overheard one tell me to “give her the guilt treatment” if she didn’t take better care of her teeth. “How dare she do that behind my back?” Lee fumed. She was 17 now, old...
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posted: Monday August 22nd - 2:46pm

My Teen Daughter Finds Her Tribe

As with birds of a feather, ADHDers flock together.

Finally Fitting In (With Anxiety and ADHD)
I glanced at the clock next to the bathroom mirror, then at my daughter who was quietly studying her reflection. It was time for us to go to a reunion that was held every two years with my favorite moms, the ones I’d met when Lee was in pre-school, and our kids, who’d grown up playing together. “Hey, Mom, I’m looking forward to the reunion this year...
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posted: Tuesday July 19th - 11:13am

“It’s Your Fault, Mom!”

These days my daughter is blaming everything that goes wrong in her life on me, her friends, anybody but her. Now I understand why.

When Her Lack of Impulse Control Takes Over
“You killed my plant!” My teenage daughter gave me an angry look as she pointed at the dry, brown mini-roses in a little pot sitting on her bathroom sink. “Lee, it’s your plant, your responsibility.” “But I never remember to water plants! That’s why you were supposed to.” She took the dead roses, turned on the faucet, and drenched them to restore the damage. But the plant looked as...
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posted: Thursday June 30th - 9:30am

My Daughter Fixes Her Own Problems Now. So Where Does That Leave Me?

When Lee showed signs of growing up, my heart burst with pride and broke with feeling unneeded.

When My Daughter Learned to Self Advocate
I was waiting to pick up Lee at school, and I was imagining lying on a hot, sandy beach in the not-so-distant summer. She opened the door, climbed in, and punched on the radio. I said, “Only five more…” “Mom, I had a problem in school today, but I fixed it.” The hot, sandy beach faded to hot parking lot pavement. Maybe, if you had a typical...
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posted: Friday May 20th - 11:55am

Sensory Processing Disorder in Kids Is Not the Parents’ Fault

Too many adults don’t understand ADHD, and even fewer know anything about SPD and sensory meltdowns.

It’s a Sensory Meltdown, Not a Temper Tantrum!
A few weeks ago, Lee, my husband, and I were on a hike in Arizona during spring break. As we walked the face of a sloping rock, we heard a boy screaming, “Mommy!” At the top, we saw the boy, who looked about 12 years old, in terrible distress trying to avoid a bee. Been there, done that, I thought. His parents gave us an embarrassed look...
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posted: Monday April 25th - 9:30am

My Daughter’s Mental Health Is More Important Than My Dreams for Her Future

I’ve learned to let Lee take the lead on whether college is right for her.

Is College the Right Choice for My Teen with ADHD?
Junior Night. I parked my car and wondered, for the hundredth time, why was I going? I knew it would be like Sophomore Night, listening to counselors talk about the courses our kids should take next year to stay on a college track. In particular, they would stress the highly respected competitive University of California track, which wasn’t in my daughter’s ballpark right now. I...
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posted: Monday March 21st - 2:55pm

I Nagged! She Yelled! It Wasn’t Pretty!

There are lessons to be learned from losing your patience with a daughter who wants to call her own shots.

Teens with ADHD: Balancing Chores and Independence
One of my daughter’s chores is to feed the dog and cat, but when that time comes, she is rarely within sight. Last night, I stood in the kitchen cooking dinner, our dog begging, cat meowing, and called, “Lee!” No answer. The cat knocked over his food bowl with a loud clang, just in case I was hard of hearing. I walked to Lee’s room, pushed her...
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posted: Tuesday March 1st - 9:30am

Shame on All the Grownups, Teachers, and Kids Who Make Me Feel Ashamed

After Lee’s history teacher announced that he had ADHD, my daughter felt a lot better about herself.

How My Daughter’s Teacher Helped Her to Overcome ADHD Shame
Back in September, when Lee started tenth grade, she couldn’t stop talking about her history teacher. “Just wait until you meet him at back-to-school night, Mom…you’ll really like him. He lets me draw during class!” This was new. Even though drawing helped calm Lee’s hyperactivity, teachers didn’t permit it right off the bat. At back-to-school night, I approached Mr. Edwards. “I just want to thank you for...
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posted: Tuesday January 26th - 12:39pm

My Teen Daughter Accepts Her ADHD Challenges without Shame

Lee now accepts her executive function challenges and feels comfortable enough to reach out for help.

How My Daughter Accepts Her Executive Function Challenges Without Shame
A few weeks ago, Lee and I were making gingerbread cookies for a holiday gift for her friends at school. She stared at the ingredients she’d already put in the bowl, oblivious to the dough that dripped off a spoon she held midair, while our dog lapped up splats on the floor. “Mom, I forget what’s next…” I pointed at the recipe to where she’d left off...
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