Skewed Perceptions of Reality in ADHD Children


"My 12-year-old son's perception of reality is askew. For example, he thinks Tiger Woods would give him golf lessons if he writes and asks him. No amount of explaining will persuade him otherwise. Now he's being teased by classmates. What can I do to help him deal with reality?


Wishful thinking isn't necessarily harmful - adults, too, often get lost in dreams and wishes. But, as Russell Barkley, Ph.D., explains, people with ADHD, who have trouble inhibiting their behavior, have a difficult time keeping their inner worlds private. You might give your son a “dream” journal, where he can record and explore his dreams and wishes to his heart's content. With this outlet, he may feel less need to express them verbally.

At the same time, you'll want to figure out what's driving the behavior. Could your son's wishful thinking (and public telling) indicate a need to feel special? If so, you should help him cultivate his interests. If he likes golf, perhaps it's time to sign him up for lessons.

If you or your son's teachers think his behavior is more than wishful thinking or attention-seeking, I'd recommend meeting with a professional to determine whether there is a problem beyond ADHD.

Writer, educator and advocate Mary Fowler is author of Maybe You Know My Child and Maybe You Know My Teen.
Copyright © 1998 - 2016 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved. Your use of this site is governed by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
ADDitude does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only. See additional information.
New Hope Media, 108 West 39th Street, Suite 805, New York, NY 10018