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 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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posted: Tuesday November 17th - 10:56am

When School Gave My Daughter Anxiety Attacks

My child’s teacher thought she was making an excuse about not getting all her work done, so I cleared up his mistaken notion quickly.

My Daughter with ADHD and Her School Anxiety
I was eating dinner with my daughter, and I watched her push around the rice on her plate and pick at her chicken. “What’s wrong, Lee?” “My stomach. It hurts.” “School?” “Yes!” Red spots rose up in her cheeks as her words tumbled out, “Mr. Peters gave me too much work again in class. I couldn’t finish it on time. He acted...
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posted: Friday October 2nd - 10:23am

My Daughter’s Anxiety: Something a Mom Can’t Fix

We are working through my daughter’s newfound anxiousness not with meds but by tackling one worry at a time.

ADHD and Anxiety at School: Helping my Daughter
As kids pour out of the high school on a scorching hot autumn afternoon, I spotted Lee dragging behind the others, shoulders slumped and looking down. Maybe it’s just the heat, I thought, crossing my fingers. I’d hoped tenth grade would be a new start after a rocky year in ninth grade, but it wasn’t turning out that way. Lee swung her backpack into the...
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posted: Wednesday September 9th - 10:30am

The Amazing Race: My Daughter Doesn’t Have an Off Switch

I’ve learned to go with the flow when it comes to Lee’s high-energy pace.

Hyperactivity in Children: Searching for My Daughter’s Off Switch
On the first day of school, Lee and I walked into Staples, holding the teachers’ supplies list. When we saw the lines that snaked from the cashiers to the back of the store, Lee turned on her heel, ready to bolt. “I’m going to the car, Mom. Give me the keys.” “No, honey. You need to pick out your own supplies.” I...
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posted: Monday August 3rd - 11:39am

My Daughter, The Time Traveler

We found a way to help our daughter make friends with time.

Time Management Techniques for Teens with ADHD
I poked my head into my teenage daughter’s room at 11 a.m. It was another lazy summer morning, and Lee sat at her desk Skyping with a friend, oblivious to the time. She was still dressed in pajama pants, her red hair an uncombed mass of curls. Her room was a mess. “I’ll be in the car,” I said. “What? OK.” “I’ll be in the car”...
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posted: Monday July 6th - 2:07pm

A Well-Deserved Summer Break for My Daughter

Making sure that the last-minute sprint to finish up the school year didn’t ruin her summer.

The Importance of Summer Routines for ADHD Teens
Yesterday after school, Lee hurled herself into the car and said, “I’m so stressed! I can’t wait to get home.” I could see she was holding back tears. Here we go again, I thought. I wished school was over, and that I had a magic wand I could wave to melt her anxiety away. Every year, as the school year comes to an end and the...
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