Guest Blogs

ADHD Damage Control

If Nat believes an adult is going to hurt her, and she can’t stop it from happening, she tries to take control in her own ADHD way.

Gayle, our in-home therapist, stopped over last night. Nat’s behavior toward her was really weird, and, at first, I couldn’t figure out what was happening.

Nat pestered Gayle. She nearly hit her with toys and faked Tae-Kwon-Do moves that she learned from Harry — almost making contact with her fists and feet. She only spoke to Gayle when her mouth was stuffed with food, and she could spray wet debris in Gayle’s face.

“Natalie, I don’t like the way you’re treating Gayle. What’s going on?” I asked.

“I don’t want Gayle to come back!” Natalie said.

“You’re stuck with me,” Gayle said.

Oh, now I get it, I thought. “Gayle, I want you to come back. Would you please keep coming back to see me?” I asked.

“Yes, I’ll keep coming back to see you.” Gayle answered, with a wink.

Since I fired the Exorcist, Nat’s worried that her caretakers are going to leave her. And if she can’t prevent them from leaving, she’ll damn well take charge of how and when they leave.

Gayle is being tested, and I’m confident she’ll pass the test. I’m certainly being tested. Nat actually seemed relieved last night when I followed through with giving her a time out, then praised her afterwards for handling her room time well, and we went back to our evening still loving each other.

I believe Nat’s “demonic” laughter, the laughter that led the Exorcist to believe Nat was possessed, was the same type of response — a powerless child’s way of trying to regain control. If Nat believes an adult is going to hurt her, and she can’t stop it from happening, she can at least make it happen on her terms.

Gayle, of course, didn’t hurt her. She didn’t even correct her. She said, “I feel connected to you. I won’t hurt you.” Gayle told Nat that she’s proud of Nat for telling me what the Exorcist did.

The Exorcist may not have left marks, but clearly, she harmed Natalie. Last night proved that.

Last night, I handed over the Exorcist’s name, address and phone number to Gayle. It was the right thing to do.