Mr. Distracted: The Strong, Brave Superhero with ADHD
ADHD medication helped my son take charge of his attention issues, and learn how to use them to his advantage. As he blossomed from an insecure first-grader into a confident elementary schooler, we realized we could use his story to help other kids like him do the same.
When my son, Luc, was in the first grade there were many days when he would come home after school upset, sometimes crying. It broke my heart to hear him say, “I am the dumbest kid in my class. I can’t finish all my work. I don’t understand my math.”
But he wasn’t the dumbest, and he did understand math. When I worked with him at home, he did addition and subtraction easily. He just had trouble concentrating. He had issues with focusing. I knew then that my boy probably had attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). After all, I had it.
My son was diagnosed shortly after he started first grade. The doctor suggested putting him on medication, but I was unsure about doing that. I didn’t want to medicate my six-year-old. Would I be harming him? Was he too young to take ADHD medication? What would people think?
But when I looked at my blue-eyed, blond-haired little baby, I knew I had to give him a chance to realize he could excel in school. He needed to know that he wasn’t dumb, and that he was just as capable as every other child in his class. I knew that medication could be the difference between my son having a miserable first-grade experience and hating school for the rest of his life.
The medication helped. My son started doing well on tests, and he finally realized he could do the work. His confidence soared, and instead of not wanting to go to school in the morning, he was happy and excited. He no longer cried at the end of a school day because of missing work. The medication didn’t change my son. He was still the funny, spontaneous, impulsive, quirky guy he’d always been. He still had ADD, and all of the wonderful, sometimes annoying, exciting, and frustrating qualities that most kids with ADD shared.
As Luc grew from an insecure first-grader into a confident elementary school student, I enjoyed watching him take charge of his ADD and learn how to use it to his advantage. He enjoyed going on adventures out in the woods, camping, helping animals, learning about sharks, and fishing. I realized he had an excellent memory, and he enjoyed helping people. It was then that my husband suggested I write a book about a child with focusing issues, who was also confident, caring, and unique, just like our son.
That’s how The Adventures of Mr. Distracted was born. I wanted all of the children out there who have been called “weird” to know that being “different” is a good thing. Every person has many talents that can be used for good. Although there may be obstacles in the way, they can succeed and do great things. It was important to me that the book was fun for kids to read, while teaching them these lessons.
The main character, Colin Cooper, is based on my son, Luc. He looks like Luc, talks like Luc, and has focusing issues like Luc. Colin doesn’t let his issues get in his way. He’s sort of a superhero in his spare time, and determined to make a difference in the world, despite being only 10 years old and challenged with difficulty concentrating. Colin even names his dog Focus to remind himself to stay in the moment when he is going on his dangerous and exciting adventures.
Colin is smart, engaging, funny, and determined. Although certain people don’t understand him, Colin likes who he is and tries his best to always do the right thing. It may not turn out the way he plans each time, but he makes his way through. He realizes that he’s got a lot of lessons to learn, but he also knows he is capable of teaching others — especially his friends and family members —about being a hero.
Before I wrote the book, I asked Luc if it would be OK for me to write something about him and his challenges with ADD. Without hesitating, he answered, “Sure, Mom. There are so many kids out there like me. I think they would like to read a book that makes them feel normal, just like every other kid. We can do all the stuff that anybody else can do. Some of us can do even more.”
And he’s right.
Luc is now 14 years old, a competitive swimmer and an honor roll student. He has a part-time job in the summer at a grocery store. He hasn’t taken medication for ADD since fourth grade, but we leave that door open for the upcoming school year, his first year of high school. He is strong, brave, confident, and, in my very humble opinion, an inspirational hero.