How are you? How are your kids? I hope all has been going well.
I haven’t updated on B in awhile and thought it would be a good time to do so!
As his mom, as well as someone who has studied mental health and has worked with children with ADHD for most of my life; there is nothing I hate more than someone thinking ADHD is just excessive energy and can be cured by putting said child on a treadmill. (Yes, I was really told that once.)
I thought it would be a good idea to share some information about ADHD so people can get a better understanding of what we are dealing with. Not only that, but ADHD is also the root cause of several other issues that we are dealing with as well. (And I am sure if you are a parent of a child with ADHD, you can relate.)
What is ADHD?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
It is not that they chose to not pay attention, fidget, or act without thinking; it is that their brain is wired differently than yours or mine. Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity is out of their control.
ADHD is typically diagnosed as either inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type, or combined type.
B is combined type and it affects his home life, school life, and social life. If he were old enough to hold a job, I am certain it would affect his work life as well.
How ADHD Affects a Person
Our journey with B has been ongoing for several years now.
After being ‘fired’ by his therapist (she did the ethical thing by letting us go as she felt that she could not help our situation and someone else would be better suited); we got B into a well-known facility to be re-evaluated and begin treatment.
We have learned a lot. He has new diagnoses that go with his ADHD, he is getting treatment, and we as parents are learning so much more.
One thing we never really understood (and I would believe many do not) is that ADHD affects the executive functions in a person.
Your executive functions (or cognitive processes) are organizing, prioritizing, and activating to work; focusing, sustaining, and shifting attention to a task; regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and processing speed; managing frustration and modulating emotions; utilizing working memory and accessing recall; and monitoring and self-regulating action.
We know that with B, he has trouble with organizing, prioritizing, and activating to work; shifting attention to task (although he is really good at focusing); managing frustration and modulating emotions; and monitoring and self-regulating action.
He does great with focus, sustaining effort, regulating alertness, processing speed, and using memory and accessing recall; it’s the other areas that he struggles which we now know isn’t because he’s a jerk; it is because his brain is wired to function differently.
I really hope that helps people understand what ADHD is and that it’s not just something a kid can “run out”. It’s not something a parent did wrong or that we can control any more than you can. It’s who he is. It is how he is made.
It isn’t as black and white as people make it sound and if you have ever spent real time – a real substantial amount of time – with a child with ADHD, you can see the struggles that they try to deal with. (Which in turn means parents struggle to. The struggle is real y’all!)
As for B, his ADHD still comes with the anxiety (although not as much as it used to be), learning disorders (his speech which he has been in speech therapy since Kindergarten and has almost completed all of his IEP goals), and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (which I will open that can in another post, another time.)
We currently see his doctor once a month. We are seeking therapy for him as well as parent management for us. His medications have been adjusted (and have been working wonderfully the past month, but I am sure just writing that has jinxed us all now!) and we have a referral to see an occupational therapist for his eating.
He still has good days; he still has bad days; he still has amazing days, and he still has some not so great days. It’s still a learning process for all of us as a family, but hopefully, the more we educated ourselves (and others) the more we can learn to handle who he was made to be. We can find happiness and hopefully find support from others who get it. (Because if you’re a parent who struggles with mental illness like we do, you understand the lack of support in the world.)
So with that, I sign off until next time.
Please know you can always leave me a comment, shoot me an email, or hunt me down on social media if you need to chat! I am always here for support! xo
Want to read more about our journey? Try these: