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“The ADHD Truths I Wish I Knew As a Child”

I grew up feeling something was wrong with me — that I was lesser, or maybe broken. Now I know that what others misidentified as ‘wrong’ or ‘different’ was actually extraordinary.

I heard my third grade teacher’s voice, but the flowers outside the window were calling my name louder, so I paid attention to them. She clapped her hands in front of my face and snapped, “Why aren’t you paying attention? Stop daydreaming.” I was paying attention, just not to the correct things, apparently. Embarrassed and ashamed, I wanted to run away and cry. I wondered what is wrong with me?

“ADHD can cause feelings of shame, fear, and self-doubt,” says Edward Hallowell, M.D. As parents, we need to know this. We need to recognize when our kids are hurting under the strain of ridicule, challenges, and frustration. We need to remind ourselves to see the beauty, joy, and wisdom in our children.

Here’s what I wish I knew when I was a child with ADHD.

ADHD Truths I Wish I Knew as a Kid

I was smart.

“I had a feeling I was bright, but I was afraid to raise my hand. My instincts had been wrong so many times that I didn’t trust them anymore.”

Only passion ignites potential.

“I was discouraged to hear teachers say, ‘He’s got so much potential…if only he worked harder’ If only I had known the catalyst for potential was not hard work, but passion.”

It’s OK to be different.

“Being different felt like being not good enough. But actually my differences put me in a category with artists, composers, musicians, and scientists who also walked a different path.”

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My attention wasn’t a deficit.

“My brain doesn’t like to be bored, so it pays attention to only the most interesting things. I have attention, it’s just diverted.

ADHD brains need rehabilitation time.

“If there is too much noise and commotion, or too many people, it’s OK to release the pressure with a book, movie, or some quiet time. The ADHD mind is active – and exhausting.”

Coaching can help.

“There’s nothing as comforting as being guided by someone who has ADHD and knows what it feels like inside your head.”

One day you’ll love ADHD.

“When I find something I love, I do a great job. ‘Hard’ doesn’t mean ‘impossible,’ and I can accomplish anything.”

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