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A Letter to the Teacher of My Son With ADHD, From a Mom With ADHD


My son, my husband and myself all have ADHD. We like schedules and knowing what is expected from us. We like things clear and understandable. We need reminders, notes, alarms.

This is how we stay on target and get done what we need to do. But what happens when your 10 years old and don’t have these skills yet? You need someone to teach you how. You need someone in your corner who will stand up for you and be your voice when you just can’t. You need someone to make your reminders, notes and alarms.

ADHD has been used as an excuse for kids who are just kids so much now that when a child who really struggles with it comes into a class they are often grouped with kids who don’t struggle in the same way. Being extra tough on a kid without ADHD may mean more work gets done and they might push themselves to do better. Being extra tough on a child with ADHD may mean no work gets done and they might push themselves far too much.

They may shut down, get angry, talk back, tear up their papers instead of doing them. They may look like they are being bad, but in truth they are trying to tell you it’s too much and they need your help to get through this. They are asking for what they need in the only way they know how.

So often this gets overlooked and the teachers lose a chance to help because they didn’t know the signs. They are trying to help without the skills they need. Sound familiar?

You can’t expect to do open heart surgery if you have only been trained to do stitches. You can’t teach a child with ADHD if you have only been taught to teach kids without ADHD. So why aren’t these kids often given the same help as children with other diagnoses? A special needs class, an aid. Why do we tell them to grow up and deal with it instead of teaching them the skills they need to succeed?

We need to give them the same chance as any other child with special needs. They need understanding, not tough love.

We can’t forget that just because they don’t look different, they still need help. They need us to be there for them and make sure they don’t get overlooked.

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