I was diagnosed with ADD when I was seven. I’m 30 now.
Like everything with growing up, learning to take care of our disorder doesn’t happen overnight.
As we become more aware of ourselves, we’ll notice differences or things that aren’t right that we can speak up about. We’ll eventually complain about medication and we’ll try new ones. If you can help us learn how to look inside of ourselves and develop self-awareness, that will help a lot.
Teach us empathy and self-confidence. Help us learn to put ourselves in other people’s shoes when we’re upset so we can understand why that might act in a way that upsets us. And praise us when we do a good job because we’re so often told that we’re doing something wrong.
When we turn 16, we start driving ourselves to our doctor’s appointments. Which means we have to remember when our doctor’s appointments are. That will be tough at first. But we’ll get there.
Teach us to make our doctor’s appointments for the year all at once, otherwise we might consistently wait until we are almost or completely out of our ADD meds. Then program all of those appointments into to our Google Calendar or iCal so we get reminded the day before, the day of, and when it’s time to leave to drive to the appointment. (Consider a shared google calendar that everyone in the family can add events to so everyone can see what’s happening in each others lives)
When it comes to helping us get stuff done for ourselves and for others, I recently found a book by Gretchen Reuben called The Four Tendencies. It’s SO helpful.
Help us find what we’re passionate about so we can get excited about being productive in some area.
It will get easier for us when we start our careers. Several friends of mine found themselves able to go off of ADD medication because of the routine of an office job. When life became stressful or difficult to manage they would go back on, but it’s nice to know that, for some, they don’t always have to be medicated.
Teach us to stand up for ourselves and ask for help when we need it. At school, most teachers genuinely want to make it easier for you to do a good job.
At work, I have found that ADHD is protected enough under the Americans with Disabilities Act, to an extent, so that if your child struggles in the workforce, they can ask for reasonable accommodations.
I found a stat in a published paper that says it was the kids whose parents put them on medication who were most likely to be in a job as adults. You are helping us so much! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599848/)
And just a few other things I’d like to add, on behalf of all of us ADD kids.
1. Thank you so much for acknowledging we need help and then getting it for us.
2. Thank you for trying and trying and trying.
3. Thank you for making us clean out our backpacks every week (oh there’s a permission slip you need to sign!) and trying to teach us executive functioning skills. Some of that will stick.
4. Thank you for being patient, most of the time, when we lost or forgot so many things.
5. Thank you for meeting with teachers and spending extra time on homework with us.
6. Thank you for asking if we took our pills. (We need to be reminded even though it drives us crazy).
P.S. As to the Vyvanse and Concerta. I was on Concerta from 200-2016 and on Vyvanse since 2016. They are both appetite suppressants. We have to teach ourselves to eat even if we aren’t hungry, just whenever we have an appetite. If we take it consistently, overeating isn’t a problem.
Sometimes we don’t want to take the medication because we hate that we have to. We are growing up and struggling to figure out who we are. Eventually, I was able to tell myself that the ADD allowed my real personality to come out, but I struggled for a decade or so with that.