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ADHD Challenges To Parents: Part-Time Genius, Full-Time Job

Updated on March 15, 2014
Some ADD/ADHD feel that their perceptions are like this image.
Some ADD/ADHD feel that their perceptions are like this image. | Source

Parents Of Children With ADHD

Could you live with the responsibilities and time intensive commitments inherent in raising a child with multiple learning disorders (LD) and behavoral disorders? I respect parents and grandparents with custody of children suffering these disorders who make the commitment to the long haul.

I worked with ADD- and ADHD-labeled children and youth, and some autistic youth from 1982 - 2009. My associates and I helped achieve some notable successes in the educational and behavioral lives of these young people. However, living with a child that needs attention in these areas - especially more than one, ala dual dignoasis (which is often many more than two) - can be crazy-making and health crippling for the parent(s) and siblings.

Enelle Lamb comes forth with her new book, Part-Time Genius, Full-Time Job to relate her own experiences with her beloved child, who has had what the system calls LD and ADHD and/or ADHD Spectrumand some unfortunate behaviors called Oppositional Defiant Disorder ("ODD" - odd - That always makes us laugh and reduces tension right away with clients), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress ... but the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association is being updated as DSM V and I think we will have a new shipment of labels soon.

In my own work I do not use labels; but diagnoses are a first step in understanding LD conditions and they operations and the treatment modalities that work to help make the best life possible for these young people and their families. Although, millions of adults are now receiving diagnoses for Asperger's and other Autism Spectrum and ADHD Spectrum Disorders in the USA.

Ohio was the first of the US States to award Social Security Disability income to children and youth diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, beginning in the later 1980s. Early on, there appeared a lot of misdiagnoses, but also a substantial number of cases in which family members coached their children to show symptoms of ADHD. After the first decade, these anomalies seemed to largely sort themselves out. ADHD types of disorders are handled in Ohio with drug treatments, talk therapies, and behavior therapies. In Canada, procedures are somewhat different; however, Ms. Lamb's book is an ideal introduction to what may be expected in rather severe cases on the ADHD Spectrum. I think parents with children newly diagnosed and anyone planning to study psychology or sociology should read it.

Note: In Ohio, it has been found that AHDH is related to OCD and Tourette's Syndrome, all of which show promise of responding to Clonidine, first produced to treat hypertension. Enelle Lamb shares in her book something new to us here - that over-the-counter Melatonin sometimes helps these youth sleep. I must say that this is far superior to the left-over Codeine that one parent here used on her offspring.

Tony Shalhoub

Tony Shalhoub at  Edwards AFB on Septmber 2005.
Tony Shalhoub at Edwards AFB on Septmber 2005. | Source

Sick or Different?

Much research has connected conditions such as ADD, ADHD, and OCD to neurological foundations that make a "difference" among people who experience them.

I hesitate to call it pathology. After all, Jack Black is highly successful in his own reported ADD and OCD, making a good income and even making contact with his high school crush and marrying her - and having a family. And many people love Tony Shalhoub's character "Monk" with his OCD and anxiety. But to live with a "Monk" or a Jack Black? - much effort required.

Interestingly, Mr. Shalhoub reported from time to time that he began to pick up short-term obsessive-compulsive habits by acting them out as Mr. Monk. This gives more credence to the work outcomes achived in training these behaviors out of some individuals' behavior sets. However, we must look at Ennelle Lamb's firsthand reporting of her success in raising a child with multiple conditions.

I personally know firsthand of two cases a bit worse than Enelle's experience. One was an adoption in Indiana in which the child escalated to attempted murder of parents and sister and was institutionalized after several years of unsuccessful treatments and education. The other is an Ohio case in which the youth, after troubles in high school two difficult years of college, was fired from five jobs and divorced. He recognized that he was most talented in music and began his own music related business, in which he seemed to be successful. The aggressive behavior and lack of concentration eased significantly.

A mild case here became tragic when a psychiatrist prescribed three antpsychotic meds atop a high dosage of Ritalin. The 7-year-old began to hear voices telling her to tear out all of her bodily hair and lashes and then kill herself. We caught this action just in time and the inpatient removal of all drugs down to a 10 mg daily dose of Ritalin was effective. Each case is different and some can be removed from Ritalin later.

Multiple Diagnoses and Lots of Time

Ms. Lamb is a courageous individual in that she put the effort into raising her son, the subject of this book and about 14 in 2011, and chose to share this adventure with the world. The first person account is one that can help parents in understanding and gaining strength in raising their children and one that can help the rest of the world understand what happens in the lives of these children and their families. My estimate is that many have not a clue. This book is the clue.

Eventually this child was diagnosed with four separate disorders, but Ms. Lamb learned to cope with them over years of effort, at the same time she taught her son how to self-manage them as well.

How does one live with someone that suffers all of ADHD, ODD, an Anxiety Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress? More importantly, how dose one live with oneself amongst these disdorders and survive life? My first reaction is that a CNS transplant would be just the ticket, but we don't have those. My father used to say when he encountered folks with untreatable or difficult health problems, "There ought to be a shot (injection) for that!" We also do not have one of those for the spectrum disorders.


Punch Between the Eyes

The snare that hurts the most perhaps in these types of cases is the onslaught of friends and relatives that tell you as parent that there is nothing out of the ordinary about your child - even when he is colicky from birth, "highly agitato" as Kinky Friedman might say, and highly sensitive to stimuli - like noise, smells, flourescent lights, touch, temperature, all kinds of things. Exasperating.

This is like my soon-fired supervisor telling an LD student that because the young man had a physically based visual disorder in which he saw NOTHING in the center of any page he tried to read that he simply had to TRY HARDER. The student dropped out of school.

Another example is of a fine lady with severe fibromyalgia whose friends and family tell her. "You look fine, so there's nothing wrong with you."

Are we in the Stone Age? I must ask.

Not only can the uninformed be of no help at times, they can be of harm.

Older Theories Revisited

On Wednesday, March 29, 2011 the Federal Drug Administration issues a few comments about ADD/ADHD and food additives. We in America and other parts of the world already know that red dyes act as environmental estrogens. What else might they do? In the 1990s, a large study in New Jersey found food sensitivities to worsen hyperactivity symptoms in children and youth. Some pointed to these additives as a cause, not substantiated. Is the field of red dyes also a perpetrator in ADHD symptoms?

Will red dyes be regulated to a farther extreme after total examination by the FDA? Perhaps.

We know that certain substances make hyperactivity symptoms worse - sugar, although not a CAUSE of hyperactivity; MSG in some kids. Red dyes? We thought so in the 1990s. Let's see in the 2010s.

Comments and Experiences

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    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      I can vouch for that! LOL

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      It was, Hello hello. The work was tiring at times, but the parents must have been exhausted.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      I admire you to be able to work with these children. Any little achievement must have been fantastic.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I hope good information sites and support groups grow in number and members. Enelle shows a lot of courage in her book, never giving up. That's important. Thanks for commenting friend RedElf.

    • RedElf profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      Most interesting article. Lots of information yet to be uncovered about many of these disorders. Kudos to you and Enelle for spreading much-needed info and support.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Doctors here found that in a certain number of cases - in boys - a lack of sufficient oxygen reaching the brain was a cause back in the 1990s. Exercise worked in some of those cases. But here's a quote:

      "Structural Differences...Preliminary research into this theory has shown that a small percentage of people with ADD or ADHD have forebrains about 10% smaller than those who do not have ADD or ADHD." -- from

      This confirms the frontal lobe involvement. Others think it is all about neurotransmitters.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Thanks so much Patty - very informative hub! I hope you enjoyed the book :D

      I would just like to add (for BlissfulWriter) that ADHD, ADD, OCD, and ODD are all frontal lobe disabilities. I believe that Autism, Asperger's and Tourette's are also in the same category. This means that there are issues with the proper functioning of the frontal lobe. None of these disabilities can be "caught", and "causes" fall to the medical practitioners to discover, as they aren't simple to find as say, the causes for Type II Diabetes. (as an example...)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      @BlissfulWriter - I'm not a physician and I have no knowledge of a single specific cause(s); but research continues and phsyicians and medical scientists seem to be finding increasing numbers of genes and other DNA elements linked to some of these behaviors and symptoms. Some projects have shown that the kids' bodies were reacting to red food dyes and/or MSG seasoning. Enelle shows in her book that different types of music and video games might make behaviors and anxiety worse and I believe that as well. There is a fleeting suggestion I've seen that links some of these disorders with the mom's not breastfeeding - but I've not seen research on that. I'll look.

      Neurological "things" seem to be reason for some symptoms and one psychiatrist, Dr. Houk in St. Louis MO feels that some conditions are linked to a particular person present in the infant's life regularly during the first three months that intertupts development and mom-baby bonding. I can think of one thing that might do this - loud metal or rap music and violent/loud video games constantly going in the house. I can't be sure.

      Other lay and research persons think perhaps that pollutions in air/water/food or vaccinations may be to blame. It is a hard question to answer completely.

      @schoolmarm - Yes, support is very important.

    • schoolmarm profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      I'm sure this will be very helpful information for parents that are having to deal with this. I can't imagine. There can never be enough support for them.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      7 years ago

      I heard there is a rise in the spectrum disorders such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, and autism. What do you think is the cause?


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