His positives come to mind quickly: he is creative, passionate, and funny. For every “negative” trait associated with ADHD,there is a corresponding trait of awesomeness to celebrate during ADHD Awareness Week. It is often the same with my son Clark’s “co-morbid”condition, Asperger’s Syndrome.
The negatives aren’t hard to remember either. He is unfocused,/distracted, relentless, attimes insensitive, and always impulsive.
The distractability can drive us to, well, distraction. But we laugh about it. One time our daughters Marie, Liz, and Susanne madet-shirts for all of us to wear with Clark’s picture on it, captioned with”Huh?” and “What?” Yep, that’s it, at the top of this post. Distracted. Definitely.
Another time as we rode the Maid of the Mist at NiagaraFalls, the Boat Captain advised us that if we saw anything out of the ordinary,we should report it to the crew.
“Should we tell them about Clark?” I teased.
See how the negativedistraction can turn positive at times? Go Mom,getting away with that little comment.
Clark is funny. He is very funny…sometimes. By the sheernumber of impulsive swings he takes at the ball, he is bound to connect. By the will of his relentless pounding, he occasionally scores a homerun. Or not.
“What do you want to do tonight, Daniel? I want to gosee Harry Potter and the Butt of the Monkeys,” he announced to the thin airone day.
“I like cheese.” (Repeated 7,000 times a day for 3 years)
“I’m a dog.” (Repeated only 5,000 times a day for 2 years)
Often he misses theball by a mile, leaving us befuddled, bemused, or uncomfortable at hisunfunniness. Sometimes evenwounded. Like when he blurted out,”Why can’t we talk about our summer vacation in front of Liz?” (right in front of Liz) when we had told him that she wasn’t getting to go with us on vacation because she was visitingher mother. He is sweet, he doesn’t wantto hurt any feelings, but he is missing the “social savvy” andempathy genes.
Take the issue of race, for instance. Clark is very comfortable with people of all races, and he finds humor in race where other people feel awkward and uncertain. Meanwhile, I am an employment lawyer and human resourcesconsultant. I live in terror of hiscasual comments.
Like when he wasplaying Scattergories with his girlfriend and her parents and sisters. His girlfriend is Black, or, Blasian as shedescribes herself on her Facebook profile – her father is African American andher mother is Filipino. [Clark could not look more Caucasian if I painted him with Sherwin Williams “Reflective White.”] As an answer to”things that are black” beginning with the letter F, Clark’s answerwas The Fosters.
Yes, their family name is Foster.
Luckily, they all thought he washilarious.
He is missing a good set of antilock brakes onhis brain and mouth. When he gets theurge to speak, when he feels the need to indulge his own funny bone, absolutelynothing will stop him.
“It doesn’t get any funnier if you say it ten times,Clark,” I advise him.
“We’ve dropped that subject an hour ago. Let it go,” Eric counsels him.
I started this blog, though, talking about the positives. Clark’s worst ADHD/Asperger’straits are positives to him. Theytranscend their “disorder” label, especially when he is regularlytaking his meds, which enables him to SLOOOWWW DOOOWWWNNN and utilize some of the skills he has (sort of) learned, and even more so since he hit magical age of slightly lessenedsymptoms, which for him was 16.
You will forget about his “disabilities.” You will marvel at his amazing”abilities.”
But you probably won’t.
You might cheer or pump your fist, however, instead.
Meanwhile, I am whispering in his ear. “Please, Clark, please my amazing boy, remember: never, ever, ever let anyone shut you up.”