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My Son, Myself

An ADHD dad regrets a later diagnosis for his ADHD son.

An ADHD Father and His ADHD Son
An ADHD Father and His ADHD Son

I might have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) in the first grade. My teacher wrote on my report card that I was a “wiggle worm, more interested in disturbing classmates than in doing his own work.” She described my behavior as “minimal brain dysfunction” — a popular term for ADD/ADHD back then. My mother was convinced she had intelligent children. The idea that her son had minimal brain dysfunction didn’t connect with her. She didn’t follow up. It wasn’t until graduate school that I was evaluated for ADD/ADHD.

I wish I could say that I was more proactive in getting my son diagnosed. We tried a lot of different things to help Matt manage his problems in school before having him evaluated. Finally, when sixth grade became too hard for him, we switched him to a school that offers more classroom accommodations — and that led to his diagnosis.

It takes a long time to get a child evaluated, so if you think something is not right with your son or daughter, be aggressive about getting ADD/ADHD tests done and finding out as much as you can about ADD/ADHD after a diagnosis.

I worry about how Matt will manage making friends as he gets older. I had a hard time with them. When I was with a group of people, I’d space out and miss what was going on. Matt has those challenges now, but we will work on them. As Matt says, “No matter what, don’t give up!”

Lew Mills is a father with ADHD.

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