Adhd and Misinformation
Is ADHD real?
Too often, I hear that ADHD is not real. As a person who suffers from ADHD, I can tell you that it is indeed not only very real, but also very difficult to live with. I can also tell you as the daughter of two loving parents, that it has nothing to do with parents who cannot discipline their children properly. The diagnosis also has nothing to do with pharmaceutical companies just wanting to make money off of normal children. I don't speak as a doctor, but rather as a patient, one who is not on medication for the ADHD. It's real, very real, and alternately very frustrating, as well as occasionally interesting.
The first thing that often comes to people's minds when they think of ADHD is the boy who is bouncing off the walls and can't seem to sit still. That's also one of the reasons that people believe it's not real. This sounds like a discipline problem after all. All that needs to be done is to talk to his parents and tell them that they need to teach him to sit still. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. He may not be physically able to sit still as much as he's told to.
The other ADHD
There is also another kind of ADHD. This one is the child in the corner looking out the window who seems to be daydreaming. This child is quiet and doesn't really draw attention to herself. You never think that this child is not properly disciplined because she's so quiet and well behaved. Well, she's mostly well behaved anyway.
When it's time for her to turn in her homework, you'll often hear, "I forgot it." Her work never seems to be completed because she's lost in her own world during class time. She's smart enough. Her tests show that she has understood most of what she's been taught. She just doesn't apply herself, or so that's what her teachers say.
Truth be told, this little girl is showing that she has ADHD just as much as the little boy who is bouncing off the walls.
But how can two kids with ADHD be so different?
ADHD is complicated in many ways. It's not a discipline problem. That boy genuinely cannot sit still. That girl really did probably forget she even had homework, let alone to do it and turn it in. I can't really speak for the boy in this situation, although he is my son. I can however speak for the girl, because I was her.
Back when I was a child, ADHD was not as commonly diagnosed as it is today. I'm not sure it's because it wasn't as prevalent as much as it was because it was not as well understood. My mother took me to psychologists to figure out what was wrong with me, why I had a hard time going to school, why I couldn't seem to even remember I had homework, let alone actually do it. She did the best she could, but nobody seemed to suspect ADHD, because I was about as far from hyperactive as one could get.
ADHD presents differently in different people. One person may be particularly chatty. Another, like me, may be ridiculously quiet. Some kids are hyperactive, while others are not. Just as there are no two people who are exactly alike, there are no two cases of ADHD which are exactly alike. Every single case is different, and the treatment options are different as well.
This is why it's not a conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies. Some people will do fine without medication, while others need it. I make it without the medication. My son uses medication for his. Each of us has our challenges. I use a lot of alarms and lists, and even then, I'm still not perfect, but I keep trying. ADHD is not an excuse, but a helpful diagnosis to help me stay on the right track, and to know that sometimes I need to give myself a break.
© 2020 Elaine Doxie