November 18, 2018 at 7:31 am #104003
Every since my daughter was diagnosed with adhd she has struggled with “needing help”. Hated being identified Needing services. Now in middle school friends question her about her schedule, ask her why she has two teachers etc. I have talked to her at length, you have nothing to be ashamed of, everyone needs help at some
Point, pointed out her strengths etc. how do I help her navigate these waters and build her self esteem.
November 19, 2018 at 11:52 am #104037Penny WilliamsKeymaster
My son has rejected many accommodations for years because of this. He hates when peers ask him why he has this or that. As he’s settled in high school, he’s not quite as worried about it. Of course, lots of kids have iPads in class now and they all have computers. He doesn’t stick out as much anymore.
I would teach her to tell these friends that she “learns differently and needs extra help with it sometimes.” Or, just “I need this at school.” It’s really none of their business.
I would alert her teachers and the guidance counselor to this so they can help facilitate these murky social waters.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
November 19, 2018 at 1:17 pm #104051
Thank you Penny, i appreciate your input. I have said and done all of the above. It is causing so much anxiety as of late. I have reached out to school on multiple levels and get “Lots of kids feel this way” which doesn’t really help. She falls apart when she comes home after a day of trying to “be normal”. She is on meds this year and doing incredibly well, I am hoping that her confidence builds as time goes by.
November 21, 2018 at 10:08 am #104140Spaceboy 99Participant
I’d like to say that the ideal response is ‘Because I’m awesome’, but I know what kids are like, and that sort of thing doesn’t always fly.
I’m also extremely reluctant to say that it’s just one of those things, but that obviously doesn’t help. Teenagers instinctively feel a need to try to fit in, and difficulty doing that just causes massive amounts of stress, meaning things like obvious accommodations are far less than ideal.
The best advice I can give is to just be there when she needs it, constantly remind her that she is not inferior to anybody in the world, even with her accommodations, and generally just be the awesome parent that you sound like. Hopefully, in a few months, people will be used to her accommodations, and won’t say a word or bat an eyelid, then she won’t need to worry any more.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.
November 25, 2018 at 9:03 pm #104263MJ1981Participant
i can relate to this as I always felt kind of embarrassed about having accommodations when I was in school (and that was many years ago and w/out many of the accommodations currently available). I would say the only thing you can do is try to stress that everybody feels “different” sometimes and it is totally okay to feel how she feels. You’re doing the right thing by reminding her how amazing she is and that everybody has things they struggle with.
I would suggest trying to find some sort of peer support group or peer tutor which could help her build her confidence and help her work out solutions with somebody who might be going through similar issues. Sometimes teenagers need to talk to people their own age who just “get it.”
November 26, 2018 at 7:27 am #104274
What worked for us was two things was to 1) say “Let’s not talk about me, what about…” and change the subject and 2) (MOST important) get her to cultivate an additional set of friends OUTSIDE of school. e.g. church (or synagogue, etc.), camp, YMCA, or other activities that are not tied to school. That way she can also develop her identity in environments where others are less likely to make judgments about her based on her differences.
November 26, 2018 at 8:01 am #firstname.lastname@example.orgParticipant
My suggestion is a bit of a combination of the previous responses and suggestions. I think hhaving a group of friends outside oof school can be helpful but it doesn’t directly help the struggles she has with her schoolmates. Peer support groups Having her talk to others that have a challenge as well can be helpful for her to feel comfortable and talk to those that can relate to her situation. Continuing to positively reinforce her diagnoses as a talent or gift verses a deficiency. Change the word choice to positive will help to change her mindset about it as well. Look at the additional teacher/learning specialist as an advantage instead of a negative. Most children thrive best with one on one focused attention regardless of a challenge or not. You could reinforce that idea instead of looking at it as “extra help.” Our daughter was really struggling with reading and reading comprehension, her focus was limited and we found that time one on one with a tutor made her feel confident and she loved the extra attention and independent interaction more than anything.
My last suggestions is to find an activity she enjoys, such as dance, gymnastics, tumbling, horseback riding, soccer, hockey, sewing…whatever it is she really enjoys doing and find a group or place she can participate regularly. We found it encompassed everything suggested. Group of kids outside of school, empowerment, enjoyment, discipline, focused attention, and a place to burn that excess energy in a safe and happy environment. Always thinking positively is key, from my experience.
November 27, 2018 at 9:03 am #104455
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. We have a wonderful tutor for math that my daughter has responded to but I do like the idea of a peer tutor or mentor, someone like her, that “gets it” as she often tells me I don’t LOL Thanks!
November 28, 2018 at 11:17 am #104538ADDVetParticipant
I struggled with this when I was in middle school/high school as well. I’m nineteen now and I still face similar challenges in university, as my exams are taken separately and I know all of the people in my class. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, people/ classmates/ friends haven’t really asked me directly about my accommodations because I think people realize that it might be rude/ inappropriate.
However, when I was thirteen, people weren’t always so considerate so I completely understand what your daughter is feeling. It is awkward, to feel like she has to explain to people why she has accomodations when kids at thirteen just want to blend in. Helpful and considerate teachers are very important in this case. In my experience, teachers who are aware and keep it incredibly low key are such a blessing.
As for classmates, I’d suggest not delving into it at all. Middle school and high school kids can be mean and rumors can spread like wildfire. I used to joke whenever someone asked me about my accomodations. It’d be somewhere along the lines of “Cause I’m just special” or “Cause I do “insert obvious silly thing” during exams”. I’ve found that my classmates usually admire the confidence and leave it alone as we move on to other topics. I’ve told some of my friends, and have regretted it on certain occasions. In general, my rule is if I’m going to tell someone, I had better be SURE that they won’t turn it into something ugly and spread it around.
Hope this helps 😀
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