What I Wish Others Understood About My Son With ADHD


Each day begins with a bang. Not a gentle, “time to get out of bed,” and then the rest of the routine just comes. Each day and each morning require routine and reminders. And words. Constantly. At 9 years old, my son is capable of dressing himself, getting his breakfast and getting out the door, but he requires prodding and reminders at each step. Things must often be repeated. Tasks that might seem simple to some can take more than 15 minutes to accomplish when your brain is in constant alert mode.

The world is full of stimuli to my son who has ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). There is so much going on in his mind that even tying his shoes can be besotted by constant distraction. To him, there are just so many other things he could be doing or seeing. Why can’t the shoe tying just wait?

The thing I wish more people understood is that he is not doing these things to be difficult. He is not purposely taking longer to tie his shoes, or eat his breakfast, or choose a treat at the store. His 9-year-old brain is just full of so much more! He is in almost constant “go” mode. I believe he sees the world as full of possibility, as many of us do, but he sees it all at once. And he does not understand yet why he must wait to see or do it all.

I also wish more of us understood all that ADHD encompasses. It is not just hyperactivity and inattention. It is also emotional dysregulation, anxiety, difficulty interacting with peers, emotional immaturity, difficulty adjusting to new things and so much more. Most days my son enjoys being with friends and learning new things at school. Other days he cries with frustration because his mind won’t allow him to concentrate enough to learn a new idea. Don’t get me wrong. My son is very bright. But for him to learn a new idea requires more effort and patience.

ADHD means we do a bit more for our son. I spend some days on the phone for an hour or more seeking the best providers in our area we can find. It means I spent almost a full year getting him into a behavioral and mental health center at a top-notch children’s hospital in our city. It meant I made call after call to get that first appointment. It meant that he stayed behind with his dad when my grandmother passed away this winter so he could attend that appointment we waited eight months to get. But I would do it all again. And more. Because this specialist at this top-notch children’s hospital has been wonderful and amazing and kind, and my son is thriving.

I have a son with ADHD. I have a son who also is loving, kind, caring, funny and bright. And I wouldn’t change him one bit.

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Thinkstock image by Kuzmichstudio

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