Reply To: looking back,what advice would you give your parents about treating you?

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Hi ~
My son struggled with school until 4th grade (age 9) when he was diagnosed with ADHD. My husband and I talked to him about it from the start. We had our/teachers’ suspicions before his diagnosis, so had done a lot of reading about ADHD; we went into our first conversations pretty well-armed with information. I later was also diagnosed, so it’s a family thing. We have all learned to see ADHD as an exceptional gift. One that has a few drawbacks, but a “superpower” nonetheless. My son has been on medication since his diagnosis (as have I, with mine); he’s now 12-years-old. Ritalin works for him – it took a couple of tries to get the meds/dosage right at the start (which was/is very scary as a parent). Too, he sees a therapist (now monthly) to learn how to cope with any struggles that may arise. We discuss it all, as its his body and his ADHD.

I struggled with the medication issue for a while. It was initially thought that it may be ADHD when he was 7-years-old. Nope…too early for that diagnosis for me…I was hearing none of it. Again, at 8-years-old, a second teacher implied ADHD. We started our research, but we were not putting my child on medication! By age 9 we were convinced after all of our reading, our son’s difficulties in school, and both doctor and teachers indicating probable ADHD that yes, we should call it what it is. By that point we had learned all about the medications available and how they worked. Somewhere along the way it was explained to us like this: if your child had trouble seeing, wouldn’t you give him glasses? If he had a broken leg, a cast? The medication helps him quiet his mind so that he can be present at school. Perhaps more recess, less sitting all day, would help so that he wouldn’t need the medication, but unfortunately he needs to be able to function in the world in which he lives. Medication helps him with that.

Teachers get it. Nowadays, thankfully, people at every end of the spectrum are learning and dealing with ADHD. My son’s in middle school now and needs no accommodations; his teachers and classmates all know he has ADHD as he talks about it openly. In the past I informed his teachers at the start of the school year, so they could let me know if they saw changes in his behavior or performance (which would indicate meds being off). It’s nothing that needs to be hidden; I know my son is actually proud of his ADHD (although he does get angry with it often too). It shines through in his never-ending creativity, over-the-top humor, and playful energy that won’t quit. Before his diagnosis he said he “felt dumb”. His teachers used words like “unmotivated”, “disruptive”, “unfocused” before. He now does wonderful in school, is far more organized, and feels confident that he is a likable, smart kid. We tell him (as does his doctor), “medication didn’t get you a good grade, you got the grade with the focus that medication helped you with”.

On my end briefly…I was diagnosed in my 40’s after years of feeling bad about myself, struggling with focus, and not understanding what was wrong with me. Researching ADHD with my husband, he brought it to my attention that this was my deal too. When I looked at ADHD newly thinking about me, and not my son, it brought me to sudden tears. I felt utter relief. There was a reason I felt the way I’ve always felt. I have now been on medication for nearly a year, and it, along with my diagnosis in general, has definitely had a positive impact on my life and well-being. I wish, somehow, ADHD could have been revealed to me when I was a kid. I wouldn’t have beaten myself up so bad all these years over all of my perceived failures.

Don’t know if any of that is helpful to you, but I know I looked for anyone’s story when ours began. Any morsel of real-life input was grasped at when we started our ADHD journey…best of luck to you and your son, in his.
~ Dina

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by dinamspice.