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Penny Williams is an organized planner trying to make sense of life with her son, Ricochet, whose ADHD and learning disabilities create perpetual chaos. Her son’s needs are a moving target, leading her to create new roadmaps at a moment’s notice. To find more from Penny, visit her personal blog and read her books, Boy Without Instructions and What to Expect When You're Not Expecting ADHD.

posted: Monday March 30th - 9:00am

The Truth Will Set Parents Free

Our expectations need to be guided by our child’s development, not his calendar age.

Developmental Age and ADHD
Parents are guided by the calendar age of their kids to set expectations for them. When your child has a neurodevelopmental disorder like ADHD, that societal wisdom points your compass too far north. Kids with ADHD are two to three years behind their peers in maturity and in other developmental markers. Age-appropriate expectations are then two to three years ahead of their capability. It’s so important...
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posted: Friday March 27th - 11:59am

Remaining Calm in the Face of Chaos

The stress of parenting a child with ADHD is heavy enough without the added discord of constant yelling.

Parenting Skills: How to Stay Calm with ADHD Behavior
I have been writing about ADHD since my son was diagnosed in November of 2008. Actually, since a few months before then, although I didn’t know it was ADHD at the time. One of the most common questions I am asked is, “But how do you stay calm when your child is out of control?” It isn’t easy, that’s for sure. Remaining calm in the face of...
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posted: Tuesday March 10th - 9:00am

Mother of All Meltdowns: “My Son Tried to Hurt Himself”

Sometimes a mom of a special needs child can offer only a safe haven and wait out her child’s emotional storms.

Parenting Teens: ADHD and Emotional Control
It was a balmy March afternoon. My son, Ricochet, had not been in school for a week. An ice storm froze our town in place several days earlier. He had four snow days this week already. While Ricochet thinks every day should be a snow day because he doesn’t like school, the monotony of being home for so many days weighed heavily on us all. I...
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posted: Friday February 6th - 3:54pm

“OMG, I Just Found Out My Son Has ADHD”

An ADHD diagnosis can make a parent sad, angry, and demoralized. Go with those feelings.

Coming to Terms with an ADHD Diagnosis
I’m sure you imagined your child, at some point during pregnancy or the adoption process, proudly showing you his latest A on a school test or crossing the stage during college graduation. Parents want the best for their children and have the highest hopes for them. An ADHD diagnosis initially feels like an abrupt end to many of the dreams you had for your child. It raises...
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posted: Tuesday February 3rd - 9:00am

My Son Gets the Brush-Off from His Peers

It breaks my heart when Ricochet is shunned by would-be friends. Even worse, he doesn’t see rejection coming.

ADHD Social Skills
Have you been on the receiving end of a “brush off”? When someone, say, makes an excuse not to accept your invitation to lunch. It happens to all of us from time to time, but it’s not the day-to-day norm—unless you have ADHD. Social skills don’t come naturally to most individuals with ADHD. Whether it’s saying something inappropriate without thinking, dominating a conversation, or seeming “weird,”...
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posted: Wednesday January 7th - 11:38am

“I Need Your Help, Mom”

I’ve been waiting six years to hear these words from my ADHD son, and I couldn’t be happier.

ADHD in Teens
There’s a lot the doctors don’t tell us when they diagnose our children with ADHD. What is the biggest omission? For me, the most grievous omission is the fact that it takes a long time, and a lot of diligence and tears, to learn how to effectively parent a child with ADHD. There’s a steep learning curve to this special parenthood, people. The first thing you...
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posted: Saturday December 20th - 9:22pm

Wake Up and Smell the Calmness

I created a game with rewards for my ADHD son, and guess what? We no longer go crazy in the morning.

Morning Routines for ADHD Kids
I have been involved with the ADHD community for over six years. I feel like I’ve seen it all — the highs, the rock-bottom lows, and everything in between. Truthfully, I’ve read about it all, but I haven’t lived it all (thankfully). Each of our kids with ADHD has their own crazy quilt of behaviors and symptoms. I’ve noticed some common threads, though, that run through...
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posted: Monday November 10th - 3:06pm

Stop Telling Your Child to Act His Age

Boost your child’s self-esteem by measuring your child’s behaviors by his “ADHD age,” not by his real age.

ADHD and Maturity
Lots of experts and parents refer to ADHD as a behavioral disorder or a neurobehavioral disorder, but it’s crucial to recognize that it is a developmental disorder, too. A developmental disorder is defined in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, as a chronic disability that is attributable to physical or mental impairment (check), begins in childhood (check), is likely to continue...
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posted: Wednesday October 22nd - 12:43pm

The Boy Who Cried Wolf: My ADHD Son's Lying

We didn’t believe our son’s tall tales, but we didn’t let his “creative embellishments” stop us from having his back.

ADHD and Crying Wolf, Lying and ADHD
I’m sure you’re familiar with the fable of the boy who cried wolf, and who was eventually eaten by the animal. My son, Ricochet, is that boy. I imagine many of your sons and daughters with ADHD are the kid who cried wolf, too. Ricochet is a creative kid. He’s also very sensitive. When you combine feeling things deeply and a penchant for creative embellishment, you get...
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posted: Monday October 6th - 10:34am

My Bright Son Is Ready to Shine

It was all high-fives, fist bumps, and tears of maternal joy when Ricochet finally said out loud that “I am smart.”

Boy raising hand and actively participating in class
My son, Ricochet — who has ADHD, anxiety, dysgraphia, executive functioning deficits, and a gifted IQ — has struggled in school since the first day of kindergarten. It’s no secret; I’ve had to be the squeaky wheel dozens of times. There are two core issues at the root of Ricochet’s school struggles and his refusal to go to school that I can put my finger on: A pattern...
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