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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

He and ADHD

My son was diagnosed with ADHD.

Lego Ninjago
How many times have you read that? Many I suppose. It's not like it is some new age diagnosis that has been over diagnosed by pediatricians that have no idea what they are really talking about since it is a brain thing - and not a body thing - or is it both?

The point is that yes, many kids have it.

It's not a death sentence. Its not something that can be cured. It's not something that needs to be worn on the sleeve if his shirt to let everyone know that hey, he may be a little different. It's not an excuse for bad behaviour. It's not an excuse for any behaviour at all.

It's the way he thinks. It's in his DNA. In his brain chemistry. And yes, some if the behaviours that are symptoms can be hard to deal with for me. But they are also hard for him. He doesn't think like me. He doesn't understand some social cues. He doesn't understand personal space. He doesn't understand why his playing really loudly can sometimes cause adults to be irritated - he doesn't realize that he is doing it. And he isn't doing it on purpose.

I can tell him a million times that he needs to "be quiet" or that he must "calm down" or "stop moving" but that isn't going to make him stop. It will just make me more frustrated. It will also hurt his self esteem. But I will still do it. I am only human. 

Loves to Learn! 
The worst part about ADHD is that these kids are smart. Not just book smart, but smart beyond their years. They are creative, and think outside the box. They are leaders, forward thinkers and trail blazers. They take risks. (this may be because they lack the executive functioning not to think about risk, before they take them... But this is beside the point.)

The reason why this is bad is because you, the parent, the teacher, the adult can forget so quickly that these children are different and your expectations of them will be off. You will expect more of them than needs to be expected - and that isn't fair to him and it certainly isn't fair to you.
But life isn't fair. 

The best thing I can do is educate myself and continue to ask questions. Try to view the world from his eyes. Try to remind myself daily that he isn't like his brothers and to stop comparing them. To see them as individuals with different strengths and weaknesses - not better nor different - but unique to them. 
Inquisitive

It has taken me a long time to write this post. We knew that he was a challenge when he was younger and had flags go up as he progressed in school. Why such a bright kid was having so many problems, we knew it was coming. I didn't want to know - and even now am wary of the diagnosis as it is a label..and who really wants the label good or bad or indifferent? 

But I need to own it. To be an advocate for him and for our whole family. To learn and share my knowledge to other families going through the same thing but maybe not as vocal as me.. (who is) who maybe don't have the same background as me and maybe don't know what questions to ask. 

I struggled when they gave me the 12 page report that outlined all the tests and issues and suggestions and considerations about my son. But you know what? Its just a piece of paper. He is who he is for a reason. It is my job as his mom to give him the tools to be the best that he can be just by being himself.
                                                
I love this boy!!

**update Aug 31 - After writing my blog I recieved some comments and so I decided to compose a Vlog for you. (sorry for the lighting and the crappy quality - working on it)

7 comments:

Jay Fiset said...

Well thought out and much appreciated!

Alisha Brignall said...

Thank you!

Serenity Now! said...

Love it :)

I also struggled with my son's diagnosis. Now that he's getting older and some of his friends are online, I don't write about it as much ...

I think I was fortunate to also be diagnosed with ADHD, because I have always been better able to understand how he's feeling and what he's thinking ... and it's NOT a definition of who someone is. It's just biology.

Alisha Brignall said...

Thank you for your comment. :)
My husband is the one with ADHD as well so he understands it much more than I do. I am jealous sometimes because somedays I find it really hard to cope - as I forget it is just biology.
This is still new to me though so I hope it will get better - or I will learn how to deal with it better.

Shawna Toth said...

"To see them as individuals with different strengths and weaknesses..." I struggle to remember this every day parenting three boys, only one of whom takes risks, refuses to sit still, and struggles to understand why he sees things differently than we do. We do our best, that is all we can do. And we constantly remind him of all the strengths. Thanks for sharing your story!

Alisha Brignall said...

No problem Shawna, I know how difficult it is to balance the family when you have 3 boys! Sometimes I feel like the other two need more attention too because I am so focused on the eldest. It is a learning experience every single day!

Amy Aucoin said...

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I have been reading for hours now about ADHD and parenting a child with ADHD and this is the first to have me bawling. I too am in Calgary (NW) and am just beginning this journey. Learning how to be a better parent for my son who we believe has ADHD. We are now looking into having an assessment done. I'd love to hear from you if you know of any local resources you've found valuable.
Thanks again for your heartwarming account of your son. I too feel much the same about mine.

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