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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: Friday March 13th - 9:00am

“My ADHD Daughter Can’t Drive Until She’s 18”

Sometimes a mom has to drive home the truth by saying, “Because you have ADHD.”

ADHD Teen Driver
Lee and I were enjoying lunch with my close friend, Kate, and her daughter Molly. “Can you believe that Molly is learning to drive?” Kate said. Lee made a face. “Mom says I can’t drive until I’m 18. I don’t see why I have to wait so long.” I shot back without thinking, “Because you have ADHD.” “That’s random.” “No, it’s not. The statistics show that teens...
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posted: Monday February 23rd - 9:53am

Friends Forever

When I was afraid to tell my longtime friends about Lee’s ADHD, they reached out with their hearts.

Teens with ADHD
“They’re talking about popular stuff, Mom. I want to go home,” said Lee, burrowing into my side, finding the old familiar groove she loved as a child. I put my arm around her and gave her a tight squeeze. We were at a swimming party reunion with a group of friends we’d known since preschool. We hadn’t seen them in six years. One family had...
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posted: Monday January 12th - 9:00am

"If Only Little Robots Could Keep My ADHD Child On Track"

When "I forgot" became her daughter's mantra in school, a mom takes things into her own hands.

Robot help for ADHD
“Mom, you’re going to be mad at me. I got an F on a science test.” “Why?” “I forgot to study.” “Did you look at your assignment binder?” “I forgot. And I forgot there was a test!” Lee had, as ADHD experts describe it, a limited working memory capacity, which made it difficult for her to be independent in school. She tried her best to remember, but on days...
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posted: Thursday December 18th - 8:43am

A Day at the Museum: My Daughter, on Exhibit

A sugar high, combined with ADHD, makes for a spirited time and disapproving looks at the museum.

Hyperactive ADHD Kid at the Museum
Museums don’t rank high on our list of fun family events, due to Lee’s ADHD. She gets bored easily, races through the exhibits without stopping, and hates listening to a tour guide. But the exhibit, “Spy: The Secret World of Espionage,” at the Ronald Reagan Library, was an easy sell. Lee loved old episodes of the old TV show Get Smart, and she agreed to go...
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posted: Tuesday October 14th - 2:04pm

Think Before You "Dys" a Kid with Attention Deficit

Why aren’t there nice neat labels for “creative artist” or “deeply intuitive child,” or my child’s other strengths, just as there are for her challenges?

“Mom!” I need another pencil!” Lee slumped down in her chair at the kitchen table, an angry red flush spreading across her cheeks. Then she flipped two broken pencils onto the floor and kicked them across the room. I brought over a sharp pencil and put my hand on her shoulder. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” “But I hate writing essays.” “Of course you do. You have...
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posted: Friday September 19th - 2:44pm

Mom's Cool with Staying Calm

One mother has finally learned to back away from overreaction when her ADHD daughter sparks it.

After a long day at school, Lee usually yanks open the door and throws her backpack into the car. She jumps in after it and yells, “Let’s go! Hurry!” So, on a Monday afternoon, when she slid in quietly, backpack on her lap, I knew something was wrong. “Are you OK?” I asked, pulling away from the curb. She was silent for a minute. Then she said, “Don’t...
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posted: Tuesday June 10th - 4:36pm

When Dad Stepped Up

When my husband stepped up to help out with Lee's ADHD challenges, they grew even closer.

Happy Father's Day
"No!" my husband cried, as he pushed the button on the old voice recorder again and again. "Screeech..." The old machine sputtered out one last scratchy screech and ground to a halt. My husband groaned. The tape had the one recording he loved most, Lee's three-year-old voice saying, "Daddy, I love you. I want a big hug!" He leaned back in his chair. "Remember the toads?" I smiled. He was...
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posted: Friday May 9th - 10:31am

Thanks, Moms

How two moms’ acceptance of my ADHD daughter helped me stand up to the world that didn’t.

Mother and daughter talking on a bench
When our daughter Lee was born, she came into the world with colic, crying day and night. At three months old, the colic had improved, but Lee was still restless. Her body was in perpetual motion. I attempted a Mommy and Me class, desperate to meet some other moms and be reassured that things would get better. When I got to class, the moms were smiling and...
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posted: Tuesday April 15th - 10:50am

My ADHD Daughter (and I) Start Big, Scary High School Together

Should I act like a protective Mother Bear or step back to let my Lee step up in high school?

adhd girl sitting in the grass alone
On a lazy Saturday, I walked into our back yard where Lee was hanging out with her friend Kay listening to music on the patio. I put lunch down on a table between them, wary of the bees hovering over the roses nearby. “I’m so excited to go to high school, Lee, aren’t you?” Kay said and tore into her sandwich. The girls were in eighth grade...
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posted: Tuesday February 4th - 12:57pm

Whoops! There It Is!

Helping my daughter curb her embarrassing, sometimes funny blurts is an ongoing challenge. She just can’t help it.

Girl blurting out
“I love the words to this song. Don’t you, Mom?” I listened, thinking I did like Sara Bareilles’ song, “Brave,” but I’d never paid much attention to the lyrics before. Lee sang along, “Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly, I want to see you be brave.” As I watched Lee pour her heart into the words, they struck home. Of...
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