I hope that my decision to be upfront about Natalie’s differing abilities helps her grow up believing that having ADHD is no big deal.
by Kay Marner
Natalie and Harry were thrilled to participate in Story City, Iowa’s Scandinavian Days parade, which took place a couple of weeks ago. ChildServe,
the agency where Nat receives occupational therapy invited them to be a part of their parade entry. Nat, Harry, and another boy took turns riding therapy bikes. Harry’s mom and I both helped—she worked her rear end off keeping the kids together, and moving forward; I helped a young man named Ben carry the ChildServe, banner. The kids felt like celebrities—waving at spectators, and hearing a few people along the parade route—friends and teachers—call their names.
I didn’t hesitate to say “yes” when Summer, Nat’s O.T., called to ask if Nat might want to participate. Are you kidding me? Being in a parade would be a dream come true for Natalie! But after agreeing, I had second thoughts. Was I making the right choice, as Nat’s parent, to identify her to the public as a child with special needs—a consumer of services?
Obviously, I’ve thought about this issue before. After all, I write this blog. I use real names; I refer to our real hometown. Am I exploiting my child?
I hope that my decision to be upfront about Natalie’s differing abilities helps her grow up believing that having ADHD is no big deal. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, so why hide it? It’s just the way it is. I see my doctor to monitor my diabetes. Nat sees hers to monitor her ADHD.
Besides, if Harry was in the parade, and Natalie wasn’t, I’d never hear the end of it. Did I really have a choice?