Guest Blogs

The Burn of ADHD Impulsiveness

Protecting a child with ADHD takes more than attentiveness, sometimes parents can’t protect them from themselves.

That damn ADHD impulsiveness led Nat to burn her hand last night, and her tears nearly broke my heart.

Every night after her bath, without fail, Nat climbs out of the tub and onto the bathroom counter, where she exams, picks, and squeezes various scabs until they bleed. Last night, she reached up and touched a hot light fixture, leaving a dime-sized oozy burn on one hand. I could tell it hurt like crazy.

An ADHD medication screw-up at daycare was probably partly to blame. Nat moved to a new room when school started, so the teachers are less familiar with her. There was a sub yesterday who didn’t know about Nat’s meds.

The director called me at 5:25 to break the news that Nat missed her 4:00 dose. Should she give it to her now? Yes, PLEASE. (And I’ll drive around for 20 minutes before I pick her up, I thought!) Since her 4:00 dose was late, we skipped her 7:00 pm meds. And by bath time, she was nearly Ritalin-free.

Nat’s perfectly capable of endangering herself even when fully medicated. She proved that earlier in the evening when she was the only one of 5 kids I was supervising as they rode bikes, scooters, and Nat’s Green Machine. (check out the Green Machine — although it isn’t made for this purpose, it’s a great natural occupational therapy tool) in the cul-de-sac across the street who didn’t “freeze” as instructed when a car turned onto the street. She kept right on riding right out in front of it. Luckily, the car stopped.

The scariest ADHD-fueled near-tragic experience I’ve ever heard of is detailed on a blog called Life With Fastboy, written by One Tired Mama. It’s terrifying. Have a read…if you can stand to. I can’t compete with this one on the scary story scale — and I wouldn’t want to! Can you?

Nat’s burn looked terrible, but felt better, this morning. The heartbreaking part of this episode, besides Nat’s pain and tears? I didn’t — couldn’t — prevent it. And I was standing right there.