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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: 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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posted: Monday December 16th - 11:56am

Following Lee

I won’t miss another spontaneous (impulsive moment) with my daughter, so I decided to let her ADHD be my guide.

The moon rising over hills
“Mom, follow me!” Lee scrambled up a narrow dirt path that led to a steep bank to the top of a hill, across from our house. It was starting to get dark and my fears emerged. Would I slip in my light canvas shoes? If I did make it up, how the heck would I make it down? What if our dinner burned on the stove? I...
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posted: Friday November 15th - 10:55am

A Tough Call — and a Good One

Seeing Lee’s unmedicated buddy bounce off walls led me to a peaceful moment.

The call came out of the blue. A friend of mine from Lee’s elementary school days needed me to watch her son, Patrick, while she went work. I couldn’t say no. She’d been there for me in the hardest days before Lee’s ADHD diagnosis, supporting me when others turned their backs. She understood because her son, Patrick, was also a handful. But she never sought help,...
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posted: Thursday October 17th - 10:57am

Don’t Lose Faith in Your ADHD Child

There she goes again, my daughter acting impulsively. Boy was I wrong.

Map of Alaska
After 14 years of raising a child with ADHD, I thought I could handle any judgment thrown my way. When my child was accused of an impulsive moment, I could stand my ground. I’d had enough practice. But a recent family vacation in Alaska showed that I was wrong. My husband and I were exploring the Denali National Park with our daughter, Lee, who was hyperfocused...
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posted: Monday August 12th - 9:22am

A Birthday Present Wrapped in Love

I am so thankful that our 14-year-old ADHD daughter came into our lives.

Birthday Cake
On our daughter Lee’s birthday, I sit at my desk and do what I’ve done for 14 years. I type an e-mail to thank her birth mother, the beautiful redhead with an enormous heart who made it possible for me to be a mother. Her selfless gift is our greatest joy. No child comes without challenges, and we, like many others who raise a child...
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posted: Thursday August 8th - 9:54am

Friends for My Daughter—Finally

The sweetest sound of my day is Lee laughing with her buddies.

Summer Friends, Summer, ADHD Kids
I stood in the cool afternoon breeze, listening for the sound of the girls’ voices, the slap of their shoes running down the back path from the school. But it was the laughter I heard first, the sweetest sound of my day. All three thundered down the small slope that led to the street and down to my car. They passed under the tennis shoes someone...
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posted: Tuesday July 9th - 10:34am

This Just In: How I Conquer My Daughter's Morning Moods

Tidbits from the morning newspaper can put Lee on the path to a happy day.

Newspaper, News
“Good morning, honey. Your egg’s ready.” I turn from the stove and watch Lee, my teenage daughter, shuffle into the kitchen. Her eyes squint at the bright sunlight streaming into the window, and she slumps into her chair. Poor child, I think, another sleepless night. Lee is one of the unfortunate 50 percent of children her age with ADHD who has bad sleep problems. Between fatigue and...
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posted: Friday June 14th - 11:17am

Why Won't Teachers Let My Daughter Succeed

Drawing and doodling during class keeps Lee focused and alert.

Girl writing in class at school
“Oh, yeah, Mom, I almost forgot. Here’s my progress report.” Lee handed me a tiny folded hot pink square, and ran off to the safety of her room. It could be worse, I thought. Grades had come home before in the form of a paper airplane or a crumpled ball. I pressed out the creases and leaned back in my chair. Here we go, I thought,...
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posted: Monday April 8th - 10:26am

Where the Wild Things Are

Got hyperfocus? My daughter does -- and I fan the flames of it at every turn, even if her passion is lizards, snakes, and other slimy things.

Girl with lizard, outside
I was talking to a friend as we headed down the back path at school after dropping off our kids. I put my hand in my pocket only to feel something slimy and moving. I yanked it out and stared into the eyes of a baby lizard, left there by my daughter. “Lee!” I cried out, dropping the tiny creature on a bush. My friend laughed...
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