Having a child with Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder can be a scary thing for a parent. We wonder how our child can ever become a productive member of society. As scary as it is for us I wonder how hard it is for our son. Does he know that he’s different? Can he imagine how hard his life is going to be when he grows up?
Our son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 years old and just starting kindergarten. The teacher noticed the symptoms in the middle of the school year – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. My wife and I had our doubts. After all aren’t all five year olds like this? What concerned the teacher most of all was his inability to create interpersonal relationships with other children in his class or the school.
The teacher pointed out that our child would go off by himself during recess and play with imaginary characters. Other children would attempt to play with him and include him in their games but he would lose interest almost immediately and go off again on his own. As he got older we noticed he would relate better with younger children than those with kids his own age.
In the class room as school activities became more difficult he would lose focus and get distracted by any little stimuli. He also had trouble completing his tasks and required frequent instructions. He’s 9 years old now and just finished the 3rd grade. Well, that’s not entirely true. He has to successfully complete summer school to proceed onto the 4th grade.
At this point in his life he doesn’t have any friends. He tries but the other kids have shunned him because they don’t understand why he acts the way he does. They know he’s different and call him names or tell him he’s crazy. It upsets us but for him he seems to forget about the insults almost immediately. He might remember that someone called him a name but can’t remember who it was. The teachers aren’t any better. We tell them what he has and they nod their heads and say they understand but seem to go on with business as usual.
Sometimes I’m relieved that he forgets so quickly so that he doesn’t have to carry that burden. It stresses me out and keeps me awake at night knowing how hard and how simple his life is. He has such a hard time with math but he’s a savant when it comes to art. His sketches are out of this world and we do everything we can to promote his love of drawing.
I wonder sometimes who has it harder him or us. Will he out grow it? What can a parent do to help a child with ADHD? We’ve read all the material and instead of using medications we have chosen to use love and support to help him. A child with ADHD needs consistency and structure. We communicate our instructions frequently and clearly not overloading him with too much and we encourage him to be the best he can be. The only punishment we use when he chooses to disobey is removing his art sets. This gets him on the right track immediately.
As far as school is concerned that’s a different ball game. We have gone through the channels and have tested him which proves he has ADHD. The school has created a program which cuts down what he’s learning into smaller manageable blocks. When he takes tests he is allowed to take frequent breaks so he can release the energy that builds up from inactivity. Everyday is a challenge but we still can’t figure out who has it harder, him or us.