Rapture, Joy! Now I Know My ADHD Son Is Going to Be OK

Lucas has become the most valuable tool in managing his attention deficit.
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Kristen Mae

Kristen Mae, today's guest blogger, is a devoted wife and mother, ADHD momma-warrior, violist, health nut, and the creator of Abandoning Pretense. Kristen is a regular contributor at Nickmom.com and Bluntmoms.com. In addition to her blog, Kristen shares hilarious and heart-warming tidbits of her life on her Facebook page, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming. My son Lucas is nearly 10 after all, but this caught me by surprise: He has become self-aware. I don’t mean that he has suddenly learned to recognize himself in the mirror; I mean that he has gotten to the point where he can accurately assess his own behavior. He has become an advocate for himself, and, in fact, the most valuable tool in the management of his ADHD.

It hit me a couple of months ago when we had Lucas’s med-check appointment with our pediatrician. Several days before the appointment, he said, "Mom, I’ve been really worried about my D in math, and I just can’t seem to stay on task in class. I keep catching myself looking all over the place and humming, and even though I always try to remind myself to get back to work, it seems like I can never finish. I'm thinking I probably need to increase my dose of ADHD meds.”

He went on to say that he doesn’t like the idea of increased medication, and he realizes he might have to deal with headaches again as a side effect, but that he is prepared to deal with that (for him, staying hydrated helps) if it means he can regain control of his thoughts. When we met with the doctor, Lucas explained his feelings. We increased the dose the following week with excellent results. Only one headache in two weeks, and he has already pulled his math average up to B.

There have been other similarly cool moments. Lucas will often catch himself and say things like, “Oops, I just had an ADHD moment. Can you please repeat everything you just said?” He’ll ask me to remind him of things he knows he is likely to forget. In the evening, if he’s doing homework after his meds have worn off, he’ll come and sit next to me and say, “OK, I’m all over the place, but I’ve got to get this homework done. Clap at me if I lose focus, OK?” When I’m losing my cool, he’ll stop me and say, “Mom, you’re impatient and you’re yelling at me. You know it makes it even harder for me to stay focused when you yell at me.” I swear, sometimes it’s like he’s raising me instead of the other way around.

I am so amazed at this child. I am so grateful for this medicine that allows him the kind of introspection that would otherwise be either fleeting or impossible.

It is incredible to me that Lucas has acquired this aptitude for self-analysis, something I never could have fathomed two years ago. Back then, he couldn’t slow down long enough to acknowledge his own scattered thoughts, much less analyze them. In those days, when dealing with questions of behavior, schoolwork, side effects, and overall efficacy of his medication, I always had to rely on my own limited observations of his behavior at home (when the meds had mostly worn off) along with whatever tidbits I could scrape together from his teachers at school.

This new level of autonomy is something I was not expecting and means so much more to me than just thinking how cool it is that Lucas can identify and rectify problems with his own behavior now. It gives me hope for his future, hope that I’ve desperately needed all along.

I’ve heard plenty of success stories, read article after article about successful or famous people who thrive in spite of—or because of—their ADHD, but seeing my child take the reins of his life was the bit I really needed. Now I see, now I know, now I can exhale; he is going to be OK.

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