There’s no such thing as an “ADHD child”

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Thanks to fellow blogger and co-contributor here at {a Mom’s View of ADHD}, Kelly Miller, I have a keen sense of how I convey my son, Ricochet, and his differences. This awareness has turned into a pet peeve, and an obsession.

Not one of us has an “ADHD child.” We have a child (or more than one) with ADHD… a child who has ADHD… etc. There is an enormous difference!

My child isn’t ADHD. ADHD doesn’t define who he is — it is only one part of him, and a small part of him at that. Does it feel like it defines him at times? Yes! Sure it does. I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t recognize that. But there is so much more to my child, and so much more to every child who has ADHD.

Our therapist decided this week that, at his next session, she is going to do an activity with Ricochet to show him what a small part of him ADHD is. As much as he struggles in school, he feels like it is the only thing about him. They are going to trace him on a giant piece of paper, label all the parts of him and then talk about the amount of wonderful, other things, about him. I encourage you to do this activity with your kids as well. It will be a powerful visual to help them overcome the feeling that their life is lead ruined by ADHD.

 

My child, who happens to have ADHD and learning disabilities, is smart, kind-hearted, spatially gifted, funny, handsome, a whiz with electronics, great at math and science, a loyal friend, and so much more. He is a great kid who happens to also struggle with ADHD.

Let us know all the parts of your child, who happens to have ADHD, in the comments below. It is inspiring to see it in print, I promise!

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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adhd and stress, ADHD stress, awareness, celebrating gifts, emotional, General ADHD, gratitude, hope, NEWLY DIAGNOSED, self-awareness, self-regulation, Take Care of You ·

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.
  • Ella Burnett

    Another great exercise is to do a “Me” collage – we just did this with our daughter.  Using a huge poster board we tracked all the wonderful moments over the past 7 years of her life.  We defined the roles she plays – daughter/sister/granddaughter/cousin/friend/etc. – we put on things representing her favorite things – teddy bear/best friend, her hobbies, her after-school activities, her favorite books, movies, tv shows, things she enjoys doing and is good at.  She was very proud of it and couldn’t wait to share it with family and friends.  This was actually a school activity, but I can’t wait until it comes home and we can put it on her wall as a reminder that no matter how hard some days are, there’s photographic proof that it’s not all there is, that she does have great days and good times too and that it’s all apart of her life.

  • http://mariner2mother.wordpress.com/ Susan S.

    Great article and project! My son, who has a few neuro things going on (that’s how I think of it), is very sensitive towards other people’s feelings, he’s considerate, he’s a great friend, according to all of his teachers he’s a “good kid,” he’s very intuitive, is a whiz at trains and Legos, is mechanically inclined, and will likely grow up to change the world.

  • http://www.godspromisedhealth.com/ Ron

    You are so right on!  My daughter, Chasity, has ADHD, learning difficulties, a great disposition, unbelievable resilience, a great love for and understanding of people, is great with all kinds of electronics, has a beautiful singing voice, is a champion skater, and the most honest person I have ever met.

  • http://argonnechronicles.blogspot.com/ Dee

    Absolutely.  As much as I talk about ADHD, I never, ever say that Dylan IS ADHD. He has ADHD, but it’s not who he IS. You would never say Johnny IS diabetes or Mary IS multiple sclerosis.  Admittedly, you would say, Sue IS depressed, although you would not say Sue IS depression.

    I love the exercise about all the parts of him.  I tell Dylan all the time how ADHD is part of him, but so is intense creativity and kindness, etc. etc. 

  • Burnsy B.

    I myself have been frustrated by the comment, “My kid is so ADHD” followed by laughter. The challenges encompassed in ADHD are a big deal for parents and these precious kiddos and it makes life tough (VERY tough at times) - but it does not define who they are. It is very similar to loving the sinner and disliking the sin. We don’t always approve of what he does but we always approve of him. This article was a great reminder of that and I know I need lots of reminders along the way. My little guy is hilarious, loving, clever, and a very talented artist. Though he doesn’t always see what he is good at, I think I will take his next ‘down on me moment’ to do either the ‘Me’ collage (thanks Ella!!) or the trace activity. One thing we did once that the kids loved and that they want to do again is to have each kiddo take a turn sitting in the middle of a circle with the family. Each family member goes around and tells the person in the middle two things they really like about them and an example of it (could be specifically from the week). That one could be done once a month! Good luck to all! We’re all in this together!

  • Amy

    My son is intelligent, funny, fun, resourceful, beautiful inside and out, animal lover, nature lover, gardener, helper and probably future leader! He is everything I ever dreamed my child would be. ADHD is just a small hurdle he is learning to clear as he makes his way through life!

  • http://howdyhepworths.blogspot.com/ Jamihepworth

    I hear you on this one. I have a little sister with Down’s Syndrome – not “A Down Syndrome” or “A Down Syndrome sister/girl/child etc. . .” People just don’t know better. It’s good to write about these things, as it can help educate people to think and speak differently than they do about people with disabilities. 

  • Alisha Brignall

    Great post! I just recently received the diagnosis for my son an you are so right. I shared a blogpost recently about how I was feeling about it and would love it if you took a look. I am just starting on this journey. http://www.learningfrommykids.com/2012/08/he-and-adhd.html

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  • http://twitter.com/AbandonPretense Abandoning Pretense

    Just found your blog. My Lucas (6) also has ADHD. I’ve been so overwhelmed and frustrated trying to give him the best I can in a world where it seems like no one ‘gets it.’ Just had another instance tonight during his soccer practice where another player’s grandmother made a comment about Lucas “having something else on his mind,” and was even so bold as to wonder aloud to me if he’d had a rough day. I told her, “No, every day is like this. He has ADHD.” It sounded like I was saying something negative about my child and defending him at the same time. How is that even possible? I’ve been blogging for a while and I never meant to write about ADHD but it seems that’s where I’m headed! It’s a constant struggle. People are the outside are more annoying than the behavior my son exhibits. Sometimes I just want to slap people.  

  • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

    Thank you for this post, my daughter was just diagnosed with this yesterday and it’s absolutely shaking me to the core because I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child too and it did seem to define me throughout childhood.

    My daughter is creative, bright, sweet, loving, funny and full of life.  I am just starting down this road on educating myself on how to best help her, thank you for being an encouragement and a resource.

  • Jennifer

    Wow, I think your description was written for my son. He has been diagnosed with both ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome in the past month. I have another child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder as well. They are both amazing kids, SMART (smarter than smart, really), funny, considerate, caring, awesome readers at ages 5 and 4 respectively, math geniuses and inspiring, curious little people. They teach me to be a better person every day.

  • clarissa

    I agree so much with this post! People need to be educated about ADHD. My daughter was labeled as behavior problem. Her meds to help her focus were labeled as behavior meds. Family and friends didnt even want watch my child unless she took her meds. I solved this very quickly. I took her off the meds this summer and am not putting her back on. She is my daughter, bright, wonderful and fun to be around. She loves animals. I have created a new label for her and that is her name, who she is as a person not her disorder.

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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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