My Answer to the Question 'What Does ADHD Mean?' After My Child's Diagnosis


What does ADHD mean?

If you Google ADHD, you will learn that the acronym stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and you will read about distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

If you go to a medical professional for answers, chances are you will be given pamphlets and told of medications that might help.

Others might tell you that ADHD is over-diagnosed, and often a parent’s “made-up excuse” for a child who is undisciplined at home.

The best place to go for a true understanding of ADHD is into the home of a family who lives with it. My 12-year-old daughter has ADHD. I’d like to tell you about our experience with ADHD.

My daughter wakes up in the morning and jumps out of bed, eyes wide open, ready to run a race. She believes everyone in the house should also be up and ready to run beside her. She does not believe in sleeping in.

She can’t always sit still long enough to eat a bowl of cereal or tie her shoes, and she strives to fill every moment with noise and movement. If she runs out of things to say, she will sing, bark, moo, or even cluck like a chicken.

At times, her ADHD can cause her to play too rough, spill things, break things, knock things over, constantly apologizing. Only to repeat the things she just apologized for.

She is often distracted from the task at hand by things the rest of us might not even notice: a squeaky chair, a dripping faucet, the flicker of a light, a voice in the hall, a movement across the room, or a dog barking outside.

Her having ADHD means she might ask half a dozen questions in rapid succession but not wait for an answer, because she cannot stop her mind from wandering from one topic to the next. It means medications that help her organize her thoughts, have conversations, follow multistep instructions, and learn.

As her mother, my daughter having ADHD means creating visual schedules and reminders, and going over the rules repeatedly. I model a quiet voice and talk often about volume. I give constant reminders about safety. I meet with teachers and request help and understanding. At times I have lost my patience and have tremendous feelings of guilt for not being more understanding.

Life with my daughter means lots of giggles, silly misunderstandings, fun games, made-up words, a huge imagination that never stops, hugs and back rubs.

Her ADHD diagnosis has meant learning to parent differently. It has helped me to find buckets and buckets of perseverance and compassion I had no idea I had.

It means I work harder and longer, knowing she is worth it all.

Follow this journey on Quirks And Chaos.

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