Genes are, to some extent, suggestions. Opportunities. Possibilities. Not mandates.
by Bill Mehlman
It's entirely possible to have one child who can be distracted by a feather dropping to the ground in the next county, whose full sibling could, if she wanted, read Wittgenstein in a steel mill while texting seven or eight of her closest buddies and memorizing every stitch of Mary J's wardrobe.
What's the point? It's not your fault if your kid has ADHD, even if you can trace it back in the family to great-uncle Hiram. Especially since, as far as I know, no meaningful genetic testing for the syndrome exists (although I'd love to hear about it if I'm wrong). The only things you can blame yourself for are denial ("It's just a phase, he'll grow out of it." Right. My phase has lasted since the Eisenhower administration.), willful ignorance, laziness and shame.
You think your child has ADHD? Fine. At least your eyes are open. Now get off your duff and DO something. Unlike me, you don't live in a Major Metropolitan Area? Do some research. You'll find a competent specialist. If you have to travel a couple of hundred miles once a month, so what? You'd do that, gladly, to get to the Rhododendron Festival, or the opening day of trout season, right? This is your kid's future we're talking about. His health. Her life, for heaven's sake.
Start taking some notes, not in front of the child, of course. When you do find someone to help, the more accurate anecdotal information you can provide the better things will go. Start reading. I have no axe to grind, but when I got interested in this subject the first book I read was Driven to Distraction and by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey. For me it was a good starting point.
I'll be writing soon about exercise and diet. In the meantime: a big bowl of Sugar-coated, Honey-drenched, Maple-glopped Chocolate Snakkies isn't a wholesome breakfast for anyone. For a kid with attention-deficit problems, it's a disaster. Are you really too busy to make a couple of scrambled eggs and some whole-wheat toast? Get up ten minutes earlier. We're talking about your child here.