reader’s story: Stephanie


an interview with: 

Stephanie Dunkley
ADHD child(ren):
Kyra, age 10, 4th grade
NON-ADHD child(ren):
Tanner, age 15, 9th grade

Who are you?

I am a SAHM who seems to be very active and not home much. I have two wonderful kids who drive me crazy, yet are the joys of my life. I admit that my kids are spoiled. I will just about do anything for them. I’ve often said that I do have a part-time job… it’s keeping up with them and their schedules.


Describe your ADHD child using only ONE word: funny

What about your life makes your ADHD story uniquely yours?   

I don’t know that my story is all that unique. Both of our kids are adopted, but that doesn’t truly make our story unique. We knew from an early age that there was something “not quite right” about Kyra. She was VERY hyper and wasn’t talking. When she did talk, it was always VERY loud. I can’t count how many times I had her ears checked because we thought she couldn’t tell how loud she was. When she was seven years old, her psych told us that she thought Kyra was bi-polar. We have since had her re-evaluated and found that although she does have a mood disorder, she is not bi-polar. We seem to spend an awful amount of time between doctors, counselors, etc.


How did your ADHD child come to be diagnosed? 
When Kyra was in kindergarten we were at a parent/teacher conference and the teacher told us that she had nick-named her Tigger. She had this name because she seemed to ‘bounce’ all over the place. My husband and I weren’t exactly sure how to take that information, but I talked to her pediatrician and we started the evaluation process.

What are your ADHD child’s strengths/gifts/talents? Weaknesses? Obsessions? 
Kyra is VERY outgoing. I’ve often joked that all you have to do is smile at her and she is your best friend for life. She’s very naive too (which could be a strength or a weakness). The kids tend to tease her because she’s not as socially mature as the rest of her class, so being naive is helpful in that situation. She’s very funny, the things that she comes up with sometimes keep us laughing A LOT. Her biggest weaknesses are her mood swings and her impulsive behavior. Those two things keep our family on edge.


What sports or extra-curricular activities does your child participate in successfully?

She is participating in cheer and she takes piano. She has a tendancy to want to participate in something really badly and then will only go a few times and want to quit. These two things she has stuck with though. There are weeks that it is a HUGE fight to get her to go to either thing though.

What strategies do you employ to cope with ADHD? 

PATIENCE!!!! I’ve tried really hard to not let her mood swings affect the way I handle her. She may be screaming at me at the top of her lungs and my first reaction is to scream back, but most times (NOT all the time) I can just look at her calmly and respond. (Realize this has taken me YEARS to master!)


If you could give one piece of advice to a parent of an ADHD child just diagnosed, what would it be?

Hang in there and read all you can. Find a support group so you can feel validated. One of the biggest challenges I had to face was feeling like her behaviors were because I was a bad mother. It took me YEARS to finally overcome that. I realize that she is who she is, and that it’s not because of my bad parenting.

If you could have a free 60-second spot on a public broadcast station, what would you share, show, say? 

I would try to educate people about ADHD. The media makes us believe that ADHD is all about hyperactivity. There are soooo many more layers to it than that. My daughter is a perfect example of many of those layers.


Does your child take medication to manage their ADHD? Is so, what medication and at what dosage? How does it work for them? What side effects do you see?

Right now she is on Focalin 2.5 mg (3x day) and guanfacine 1 mg (3x day) and this combination has worked well so far (keep your fingers crossed). The biggest side effect of the focalin is that she has a hard time falling asleep.


Does your child attend public school or a special school? Does he or she have an IEP or a 504 Plan? What kind of accommodations do they receive? 

She attends public education and has an IEP for speech, math and reading.


What else would you like to share with other parents on this similar journey? 
I would just hope that parents realize that they aren’t alone. I can’t begin to count how many of my friends have said that they feel so alone. It’s nice to have websites like this where you can feel safe and validated and realize that you aren’t alone in this journey.


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COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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