by Diverse-Thinking Mum*
My daughter has ADHD. It’s not something I was even aware of for years. It took a teacher to hint (they’re not allowed to say) that she might be neurodivergent, after two years of teaching her. The clues were there – lack of focus, constant fidgeting, speaking over others, chewing anything and everything, general chaos. But kids do these things anyway, so I was not entirely convinced.
I knew my exuberant, bright girl had trouble ‘fitting in’ with the ‘calmer’ kids - not that it bothered me, but it bothered her. (I am a single mum, so I thought maybe she was just better at talking with adults, as she was always with me.) So, we did the Vanderbilt school/teacher questionnaire and visited a paediatrician. The diagnosis came back as mild-to-moderate ADHD.
I don’t know about you, but I’m that keen on labels for people, however I recognise that it can be vital in certain medical circumstances. And for us it was useful to have the official diagnosis, as it can open up a world of resources, guidance and support. In fact, as she has grown, she has gone from hiding her ADHD to sometimes stating it quite proudly as her point of difference.
There have been struggles and epiphanies, both for her and me, as we learn how to navigate the ups and downs of ADHD. We’ve had heightened sensitivity, disorganisation, anxiety, arguing, non-linear thinking, vivid imagination, thrill-seeking, deep affection, brilliant ideas, half-finished projects, and much more. I could write a book, but no space here!
What I will say is, I am amazed by my daughter’s resilience, her humour and her talents. She may find it hard to focus unless she loves a subject (then she will hyperfocus!), but she is not afraid to follow her passions and speak up for what she believes.
Her vitality, her cheekiness and her ability to think differently from 90% of the people in a room make her endlessly fascinating, and yes, sometimes exhausting, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
I know other parents of kids with ADHD who say similar things. And there is a very useful website called ADDitudemag.com, where anyone looking into this area can find a wealth of information and inspiration.
In fact, I read a lovely quote there recently (on their ‘living with ADHD’ page) from someone with ADHD and I will share it with you today.
“My ADHD fellows, stop seeing yourselves as broken and start noticing that, with attention deficit disorder, you have a superpower that is literally unstoppable. You can provide something new to the world through your quirky passion, follow-through, and joy of pursuing that which does hold your attention….You cannot sleepwalk through an unauthentic life. You were born to soar. And if you can live each day with enthusiasm and self-love, at the end of your life you will know you lived your life — and not that of someone else.”
Finally, I’d like to thank the HT for creating this space. It’s about time we had somewhere to share our news and advice in the ‘mainstream’ media.
Neurodivergence is everywhere and our voices should be too. That’s the only way to create a more understanding, open and adaptable society for ALL.
*name withheld for privacy reasons