Family ADHD Life Coach

ADHD CHRISTMAS SUCCESS

Whether you have ADHD or you have a child with ADHD, Christmas can be a fun yet difficult time!  There are many expectations placed on us and often we feel the need to meet everyone else’s expectations of us.  This is not always realistic and can set our Christmas up for meltdowns and disappointments! So lets see what we can do to make a ADHD Christmas success!

Things to think through…

Evaluate Expectations

Are you the kind of person that likes to do as many events as possible? Do you prefer a quieter Christmas with no events? This is NOT what others expect of you. Know what your own expectations are. They may need to be adjusted but this is a good place to start so that YOU have control over what is important to you.

Know the ADHD

Knowing your/your child’s ADHD allows you to adjust your expectations to fit what the ADHD can handle. Get curious about your child’s ADHD. Are transitions difficult? Do they get overwhelmed with people? Do they struggle handling emotions? You may love shopping but get overwhelmed with all the extras that stores have during this season. You may enjoy spending time with your family, but your child struggles with staying at their cousins for a long period of time. Take some time and write down what you know about their ADHD. What executive functions does your child struggle with?

Think Realistically and ADJUST

It is easy to have a plan to do all kinds of wonderful things, often in the name of making Christmas magical. If our expectations do not fit what the ADHD can handle then there will be conflict and meltdowns! We need to have a flexible attitude and be willing to adjust. Sometimes the adjustment needs to be last minute! If your child has had one or 2 late nights and are showing signs that they will not handle another, it is time to adjust.

I just want to say, you can have the BEST plan and still end up in conflict and meltdowns. By doing some planning there can be fewer difficulties AND A BETTER CHANCE AT A ADHD CHRISTMAS SUCCESS.

PRACTICAL TIPS for a ADHD CHRISTMAS SUCCESS

  • PICK AND CHOOSE EVENTS. Take the things you thought through in the above section and see what is most important to you and your family. Plan around those events.
  • PREPARE IN ADVANCE. There is often a balance with ADHD kids with not telling them of activities to early, yet giving them enough time if they struggle with transitioning. They often need to mentally prepare for the transition, but also prepare them for expectations. “We do not need to dress fancy but no sweat pants tonight.”
  • CREATE QUIET TIME. There is so much extra stimulation this time of year that it is important to teach and model rest. Sit and read a book with them or listen to Christmas music by the tree. These things also create Christmas memories.
  • MAINTAIN SOME ROUTINE. This may be difficult if you are away for the season but some similarities of routine can still be kept up. Reading a bed time story, getting dressed for the day, brushing teeth and hair can all be small routines that stay intact.
  • THE “JUST IN CASE” PLAN. You are at a gathering and see your child is beginning to have trouble keeping their emotions in tact, have a plan to let your host know you need to leave early. If your child is aware of some of their triggers, have a plan to calm down in the bathroom when they feel those triggers coming on. By having a plan it will help your child feel supported and know that their needs are important.

I could go on! The most important thing is to think through your expectations, getting curious about the struggles in the ADHD, and being willing and able to adjust if needed.

WE DO BETTER WHEN WE KNOW BETTER

Most of these are things we learned the hard way as we were beginning to understand our sons ADHD. We really had no clue and often put him in situations that were not fair for his age and understanding. Just like you, we have had the meltdowns, explosions, and frustrations. Now I want you to know better so that you can do better.

I truly wish you a very Merry Christmas. If you would like more information or support send me an email.

adhdcoachlaureen@gmail.com

From my family to yours,

Family ADHD Coach Laureen


Back To School with ADHD

Going back to school with ADHD can bring a variety of emotions and behaviors. Gone are the lazy carefree days of summer with less structure. As parents it is time now to somehow bring back more structure and routine! Easier said then done in my house!

Switching Gears

We start the summer with great intentions of keeping a routine, doing some math sheets, and getting to bed at a decent time. By the end of the summer however, most of that intention is MUCH, MUCH looser! My ADHD child is older and I find his need for more structure is not as great as it was when he was younger. However, we often see some behavior changes the first few weeks of school. Switching gears can begin slowly and long before school starts with a few simple steps.

Children working hard at school.
  1. Start conversations around who they are excited to go back to see, what they miss about school, what class they are most excited for.
  2. If you are lucky enough to know your child’s teacher begin talking about him/her.
  3. Have your child/ help your child write a letter to their teacher about things they like outside of school, at school, most excited about and anything else they would like their new teacher to know.
  4. Create an “About the Teacher” sheet to find out more about them. Coffee or Tea? Book or Movie? Sweet or salty? Birthday? etc.
  5. Be curious. Ask your child what they are most apprehensive about in words they understand. Is there anything you are not looking forward to? What is one thing you would change if you could? etc.
  6. Have a practice drive/walk to the school
  7. Buy school supplies together.

These are simple things that maybe you already do. Be conscious of the way your child responds and discusses these things. If you listen carefully you may pick up fears or feelings that your child does not know how to discuss.

Parents…

Parent and child sitting together.

Take time to look at what your needs are for getting everyone back into routine. Be prepared in order to make back to school with ADHD a little easier. When we are not prepared, we tend to put undue stress on our family. Often we don’t even recognize that we are creating stress around us.

What are your needs? Do you struggle with transitions? Are there ways you can make your load lighter for a few days at the beginning of school?

Are you taking care of yourself? What is this question doing in here?! This is suppose to be about my kids! Well this is a lesson I wish I had learned sooner. When I am stressed or anxious my kids can tell. They may not be able to put the words to it but they begin to “feed” off of my emotions. My self care or lack of it sets the tone in the house. Schedule in time for you. Make sure you are getting the sleep you need. For a few weeks your kids need you to be more patient, more understanding, and more available in order for them to make this transition more smoothly.

Be prepared. By assessing your needs, and taking care of yourself you are preparing yourself. However, be prepared for you kids to be more edgy, have more meltdowns, be more sensitive. How can you handle these more calmly? What can you “let go of” for a week or two? Your child is experiencing a lot of changes and new expectations at school right now, they do not need every infraction addressed at home. I’m not saying let all misbehavior go. Rather I am saying have some grace and understanding, be curious about whats going on with them, and choose your battles!

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH ADHD AND TEACHERS

School Supplies

If your child has an IPP/IEP, your school may have a different name, your child’s teacher likely already knows some of your child’s needs. I find it good to give a little time for the teacher to get to know my child without me jumping in to soon. <I will say though that some kids needs are such that you need to be hands on as a parent much quicker.> After a week or so I like to make an appointment to meet with the teacher. My purpose in doing so is to begin building relationship so that I can advocate for my child more effectively. The school year will run much more smoothly if there is a team mentality with the teacher. Here are a few things that can be done…

  1. Thank the teacher for all they do and let them know you are looking forward to the year ahead.
  2. Let them know you are open to hearing from them in constructive ways. Often we hear the negatives, let the teacher know you like to hear the positives as well so you can encourage your child.
  3. Keep an open mind of the teacher regardless of “what you’ve heard on the playground”. Every teacher and child relationship is unique.
  4. Offer to help. Not all parents can volunteer but letting the teacher know you are willing to help goes along way. Sometimes teachers have things that could be done from home.
  5. Recognize that your child does take more time and energy. Be an encouragement to the teacher. A thank you note or gift shows your appreciation for the extra time they spend on IPP’s, forms, and with your child.

BE IN TOUCH

As we all get started on this new year I wish all of you an amazing year. There will be highs and lows. Take each as a learning experience and a chance to understand your child better.

I would love to hear from you! Let me know how your school year is going and if you have any ADHD questions or would like to find out more about coaching.

adhdcoachlaureen@gmail.com

From my Family to yours,

Family ADHD Coach Laureen

Negative ADHD Comments

What do you do when people have negative ADHD comments? We have all heard them.

  • ADHD isn’t real”
  • “those kids just need more/better discipline”
  • “we don’t believe in labels”

The list could go on! Sometimes it could even be a spouse who doesn’t feel their child could have ADHD. What do you do? How should you handle those individuals?

What's Normal?  Come hang out with these crazy horses.

I asked my ADHD son one day what he would say to someone who doesn’t believe in ADHD. Without a pause he said, “I would tell them to hang out with me for a day with out my medication!”

Relationship Matters

First you need to decide if that person will be a part of your child’s life. There are many acquaintances that will make negative comments. If these people are not in your child’s life, they are not worth the energy it takes to explain. Don’t count on those people to be your support and encouragement when it comes to your ADHD kid! You learn rather quickly what settings or company you can talk freely in.

Family and Close Friends

Family and close friends matter.  Find a way to make it work if possible.

When the individuals relationship affects the child, it is important that everyone is “on board” or at least willing to put their opinions aside for the sake of the child. Remember that you likely have had more time to process and learn than they have. Be gentle with those around you as they come to accept your child for who they are. Take a deep breath and try not to become defensive.

Start with where they are at and relate to them. “I struggled with finding out he/she had ADHD as well”, “I didn’t think ADHD was real until I noticed these behaviors with him/her”. Allow them time to process and understand the best that they can.

Generational differences can play a factor in their understanding. You will find some who are willing to try to learn and some who are stuck on their view. It really is not our job to change their view. We can present information and resources but they have to believe it on their own.

What if they refuse to believe ADHD?

If they are a family member and have a relationship with your child, I hope they can put their differences aside for the sake of the child. They do not have to believe it to be supportive of you as a parent and encouraging to your child.

There may be boundaries that need to be set in place with some family members. These can be extremely difficult conversations to have but remember that you are doing it for the well being of your child. Talk to the individual and request ADHD topics not be discussed around the child. Let them know their relationship is important to you and your child and you as their parent are doing what you feel is best. There may be firmer boundaries needed if the loved ones struggle with your guidelines.

GRRRR…

Angry Cat!  Wishing people would be more accepting and less judgemental

As I have been reading a little to write this piece I have become angered! It is unbelievable how many people in this world, that pushes for acceptances of everyone, believe ADHD is made up. “There is no blood test for it” they say. Well is there a blood test for anxiety? Depression? Migraines? “There is so much more ADHD being diagnosed than back in the day”. Yes there is. As well as more cancer, more depression, and other diseases you weren’t even aware of back in the day! How many of those kids “back in the day” grew up feeling isolated and misunderstood and now have depression and RSD (Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria)?

Why does our society have to point fingers and blame the parents? I for one am grateful that some in our society are taking this serious and giving our kids and adults the help they need and deserve. They are not bad, they are often misunderstood. Their brain wiring is different. There is no cure or quick fix. It is a lifetime of learning, finding their strengths and working 100 x’s harder than others to get the same results.

Find Your People

I hear story upon story of some of your battles with the non acceptance of your ADHD kids. For some of you it is from teachers and doctors, and for some of you its grandparents and aunts and uncles. In some cases it is heart wrenching and I want you to know we may not be your true family but we are your ADHD family. Find your people who can understand and support you. There are some great Facebook and Instagram ADHD pages where you can find encouragement and information.(@adhdcoachlaureen for FB @familyadhdcoach for IG).

2 hands making hearts.  Working together we can support and accept one another.

I know, I am living in a fantasy thinking we all can accept each other for who we are and love one another. I for one will not stop trying. This is why I do what I do. To teach, create awareness and support all of you who feel alone. Please reach out to me if you are struggling!

For the mom who needs some encouragement. Here is a blog post for you.

adhdcoachlaureen@gmail.com

From my Family to yours,

ADHD Coach Laureen

Summer Break With ADHD Kids

Summer break with ADHD kids is a much needed break for everyone! It is also a time of year that can have its challenges. Many parents feel summer is a time to let up on schedule, rules, and time allowed on electronics. It is good for these kids to relax and have some of the demands taken off of them. Unfortunately, complete lack of structure can end up causing more stress, and outbursts from your children.

ADHD children need external controls to help manage their symptoms. These controls or structures keep life more predictable and organized for them. This then gives them a sense of security and control when the rest of their world is out of control. All children benefit from structure, but ADHD children need it more. These external controls help set the ADHD child up for success. When a child achieves success at home they are more willing and able to take risks outside of the home.

PRACTICAL SUMMER BREAK TIPS

With a summer schedule its important to find a balance. We do not need to create the same rigid schedule that a school year may impose. It is important to relax but also find a schedule that works for your situation.

  1. DAILY PLAN: Have some predictability through the summer days. Keep a morning routine such as get dressed, comb hair, brush teeth. Have a few chores each day to be completed. Everyone reads after lunch for 1/2 hour. Plan for meals to be at regular times. In the summer I find it easy to prolong lunch being as I am not always hungry. When temperaments start to fluctuate I realize they have not eaten in awhile! Being proactive keeps the “hangry” emotions away!
  2. WEEKLY ROUTINE: Have certain activities on specific days of the week. Every Thursday may be the day you go swimming, Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays, Wednesdays may be invite a friend over day. Organize it however it fits for your family.
  3. SCHEDULE REVIEW: Create a habit of reviewing the days events the night before or at breakfast. That way if there are any changes to the schedule they will have time to mentally prepare for the change, thus hopefully reducing meltdowns!
  4. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: This is a must for ADHD kids! Physical activity increases focus and cognitive function. Sometimes it is hard to fit this in. Work it into their chores if there are days you can’tplan for much activity. Depending on the age they could have chores such as mowing the lawn, carrying the laundry baskets for you, vacuuming, washing windows or helping you with whatever your chores are that day. Younger kids often find it fun to help mom!
  5. BEDTIME: If you are anything like our family bedtimes go out the window a bit in the summer. In the reading I have been doing, everyone states how important it is to keep their summer bedtime similar to the school year. It is hard on kids to fluctuate too much. Now I know my teen may have some issues with this! So I have been thinking of a compromise. Monday-Thursday we may keep regular sleep and wake up times with Friday -Sunday being more flexible. That being said I am not one to let my teen stay up until the wee hours of the morning. I do believe that is hard on their minds and bodies.
  6. BOREDOM: Research shows that boredom is good! This gives them opportunity to be creative and come up with their own plan. I love when my kids say their bored! I usually respond with a “Can I help you with that?” They know that usually means they will be helping me out with something! That something may be fun or may not be. These are often the times I see my kids creativity come out the most.

FUN SUMMER TIPS

Don’t forget to have fun! Our kids may need some structure and routine but they also need to be kids. Here are some ideas to fit some fun into your schedule!

  1. SUMMER BUCKET LIST: At the beginning of summer, brainstorm and pick ones that would be feasible to do.
  2. STRENGTH PLANNING: Each of your kids has their unique strengths. Plan some activities around those things. For example, library trips for the reader, dinosaur park for your paleontologist, hikes for the nature lover.
  3. SET GOALS: Pick 1 or 2 must do goals. For example, go to 10 new playgrounds, try 5 new flavours of ice cream, ride your bike around a new area of town etc.
  4. SOMETHING NEW: Choose an activity that is new to all of you and give it a try!
  5. SOUS CHEF: Summer is a great time for kids to help in the kitchen. From shredding lettuce to letting your older kids plan a meal or 2.

CONNECTION

A lot of these tips, whether practical or fun, build connection with your kids. This is a season to connect with your kids in a different way, and them with you. Within the scheduling and planning there can still be flexibility. Just beware of changing plans spur of the moment and how you handle that with your ADHD child. No matter the age! Goodness I still struggle with that!

As you head into summer break with ADHD kids I wish you all the best! Take this time to learn more about them and the things they love. I am realizing how quickly things change and learning to embrace each stage they go through. Laugh more, love more, and let things go that do not matter.

From my family to yours,

Family ADHD Coach Laureen

ADHD ACCOMMODATIONS

When I hear “ADHD Accommodations” I automatically think of school accommodations. Most schools allow for accommodations and I find they are very beneficial. What about at home? Have you ever thought of if your child needs them at home?

Very likely you are already making these accommodations. Having more than one child, and not all of them having ADHD, I have found I have had to remind myself to provide this at home. I find it is easy to forget that my ADHD child may need more help, more reminders, more time to complete things at home.

writing homework on a table

Lets just clarify terms for a minute. Different school regions use these terms differently. You will want to check what your regions terms mean. In our area, ADHD accommodations are given not only for diagnosed children but made available to any child. Accommodations help kids learn the same material and meet same expectations as their peers. These include things like having a quiet space in the class to go to, longer time for tests, frequent breaks, etc.

Modifications on the other hand change what a student is taught or expected to learn. This would include things like having shorter or easier reading assignments, being tested on 10 spelling words instead of 25, writing shorter papers, answering fewer test questions, etc.

Recent Reminders

My son is now of age that he can write his drivers learners test. In order to add incentive to study I have limited the amount of times I will pay for it. A friend of mine commented that she was surprised I wouldn’t have him pay after his first try. It was said in fun but it made me think about my reasoning. I realized that I knew he needed to see the test and get a feel for what it was like. Of course I hoped he would pass his first time, but I was also prepared that he may not. In a sense I was automatically building in an accommodation for him.

ACCOMMODATIONS AT HOME

Through the years I have noticed that my ADHD child needs repetition and consistency in learning some new skills. He also needs things he struggles with to be broken down into small chunks. This is because of the struggle ADHD people have with executive function. As I list some things that have worked for us, remember that some of these have taken months or longer to create a habit or routine.

Morning routine:

Two girls together body doubling.   Just having someone in the same room can help an ADHD person accomplish more
  • Body Double – This strategy can be used in many instances. A body double is having someone in the same room/area while the ADHD person completes a task. My son struggled staying focused getting dressed. If I were in the room he would stay focused. Remember he was quite young and not needing privacy at this point! I would stay in his room remind him of every step. Little be little I would give him opportunity to try himself without my interjections, to the point I could leave his room and just check on him.
  • Morning Chart – This could be index cards that they flip when they are done a task. Laminated picture chart that they can mark off with dry erasers.

Homework:

There have been times when I know my son can not complete the amount of homework given. At the beginning of the year, check in with the teacher and have a conversation around the days when you know your child has had enough! Most teachers trust your judgement. I let the teacher know we will complete the homework as soon as we can.

  • Work Anywhere – Let them lay on the floor, read hanging off the couch. AS LONG AS THEY ARE WORKING.
  • Breaks – They have already been working all day so allow plenty of movement breaks.
  • Body double – While they do their homework, sit near them and read a book, or work on your paperwork.

Chores

Chalkboard clock.  Be flexible with time.
  • Show, do, let them – When introducing a new chore start with them watching you. Then move to them helping you and eventually they can do it alone.
  • Allow longer time – Just as they may need extended time to do school tests, so may they need extended time on chores.

Socially

Kids playing together.
  • Safe Space – Create a place in your house that your child knows they can go to when they need to calm down.
  • Practice – Practice conversations around the dinner table. Role play with siblings different social situations.

Ultimately ADHD accommodations are put in place to help your child succeed. If something isn’t working well in your home examine it. Do they struggle coming off electronics? Maybe they need a transition accommodation. Do they struggle cleaning their room? Perhaps it could be broken down into chunks over the week. Make difficult tasks achievable and fun so that they can have success!

From my Family to Yours,

Family ADHD Coach Laureen

To The ADHD Mom…

Dear ADHD Mom,

Raising kids is hard. As you know raising ADHD kids is even harder! I use to think that maybe I was just a wimpy mom. All the other moms seemed to think I just wasn’t coping as well. They seemed to imply they had it more together than I did because their child was better behaved. Their child could sit in circle time. They could sit, color and they knew the alphabet and numbers all before kindergarten.

Over the years I’ve come to realize something that I want to share with you. YOU ARE NOT A WIMPY MOM. You are a mom who was given a challenge that most people do not understand. They think our lives are similar but I am here to remind you that THEY ARE NOT. An ADHD child brings much love but many challenges.

Research shows that divorce rates for parents with ADHD kids is higher. There are higher stress levels and a lower feeling of competence. Having an ADHD child requires a constant vigilance and a high level of energy. (Candice Odgers, Psychologist) I also feel we have to fight and advocate a little (sometimes a lot) harder than other parents.

There are the dreaded parent/teacher interviews where we are unsure what bomb will be dropped next. Agonizing over whether to medicate or not. Wishing others saw in our child what we see in them. Watching as your child is left out of birthday parties. There is self doubt and guilt after understanding the ADHD brain. Reading book after book trying to understand our child. Also the immense relief when you meet someone who truly understands.

A FOREIGN COUNTRY

The ADHD parenting journey is on a road that not everyone is on.
ADHD Parenting is a road less traveled.

ADHD mom you are NOT a failure or a poor mom. You are on a road less traveled. Because of that there is a lot of learning and understanding to be had. We do not move to a foreign country and suddenly fit in and know the language! Rather we read about it, study it and it can take years to speak and understand the language. ADHD is the same. Your child is a unique ADHD kid with special gifts and talents. It takes time to understand what ADHD is and how it works in general and then how it works in your child specifically!

You know the needs of your family best. Don’t give in to the pressure to be like others, or to raise your child like others. There may be times you need to stand firm in order to do what is best for your ADHD child. They need that! They need you to be their cheerleader in a world that can be a difficult place.

Now, I wish I could say that I was patient, understanding and did the right things for my ADHD child. But I didn’t. I didn’t know that it was normal for him to have immense and intense emotions. I didn’t know that he wouldn’t learn social skills the same way others his age did. Nor did I know that rewards and punishment meant nothing to him. I tried my best with the knowledge I had but I wish I had more knowledge earlier in his life.

YOU’VE GOT THIS

ADHD mom, you will make mistakes. You will have moments you regret. There will be times you know you need to be patient but that child has stretched you to your outermost limits and you explode! Or the stress from home or work piled on top of an emotional child gets the best of you. IT’S OK! Apologize and ask for forgiveness. Show your child that you can make mistakes but your love for them is real.

There is no one else they want. They want you… their mom. They know that you will be there, that you’ve got their back. Lines will be pushed, limits will be tested but they will know that you are always there for them. These kids often have the biggest hearts and are quick to forgive and move on. They are a gift. Given to you because you are the best mom that they could have. AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT!

BUTTERFLY WINGS

Like a butterfly emerges
And unfolds its graceful wings, 
A child grows and develops
With the love a mother brings.
I'm thankful for the times
When you encouraged me to try,
For God gave me wings, 
But, MOM, you taught me how to fly.


-Robin Fogle

Happy Mothers day!
From our Family to yours,

Family ADHD Coach Laureen

Lets Talk ADHD…

There are many misconceptions of ADHD in the world. A person who is newly diagnosed or a parent who has a child diagnosed must sort out what is truth and what is misguided information. This can be very overwhelming! There are many reliable sources to gather information from and I will list a few at the end of this blog.

Lets start with ADD vs ADHD. It use to be that medical professionals distinguished hyperactivity by using ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADD was then used to describe those who did not have the hyperactive component. Now, however, professionals use the term “ADHD” to cover all ADHD types.

There are 3 types of ADHD which are used to classify where people fit in the ADHD world.

  1. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive: This is the type most often noticed by teachers in the early years of school, but not exclusive to children. These children squirm in their seats, often act like they are “driven by a motor”, fidget, talk a lot, interrupt others, struggle with self control and blurt out answers. This type is more common in children and men according to ADDitude magazine.
  2. Predominantly Inattentive: Formerly known as ADD. Kids with this type of ADHD often are not diagnosed as quickly. They are daydreamers, easily distracted, and may come across as shy. They are not disruptive in class as they have less struggle with impulsivity and hyperactivity. They do however make careless mistakes because they have difficulty paying attention to detail, and organizing tasks and activities. This is more common in women and girls. (ADDitude Magazine)
  3. Combined: These people present with both of the above characteristics. Kids/Adults with this type of ADHD have difficulty with hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention. Typically, as these kids mature they have less difficulty with hyperactivity and impulse control according to Understood.org. I believe often the hyperactivity/impulse control is still there but they have learned to manage it through exercise and other strategies.

Boys and girls, regardless of the type of ADHD, tend to be diagnosed at different ages. Typically boys are diagnosed at a younger age, around age seven. Girls on the other hand are usually not diagnosed until the age of twelve. According to Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, “girls are less rebellious, less defiant, generally less ‘difficult’ than boys. They’re socialized to please teachers and parents making ADHD harder to spot”. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD whereas girls are often overlooked because they don’t act up as much.

My son was not a “bouncing off the walls” type of child so when he was diagnosed with combined I was surprised. He was active but not in the way I thought hyperactivity played out! My son fidgets alot. You will find him picking at things, tapping, twirling pencils and occasionally he just can’t sit. In preschool he would sit on his mat… and twirl around on his bottom like a top! He knew enough to stay seated though! These are all components of the hyperactivity portion of ADHD. What helps him? Physical activity is a must! It is getting harder in his teen years to just go outside and play but he does well shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn. He also can be found often with an elastic on his wrist that he plays with when he has to sit.

Here are a few of my go to resources when I am looking for reliable information on ADHD. This is not an exhaustive list by any means!

Family ADHD Coach Laureen

My child’s been diagnosed with ADHD, Now what?

There can be many questions and emotions involved when a child is diagnosed with ADHD. Questions such as

  • “What does this mean”
  • “What is ADHD?”
  • “Do we have to medicate?”
  • “Was it something we did?”

There are emotions such as fear, sadness, anxiousness, surprise, and disappointment. These are all real and they are all normal. They are all questions and emotions we had as a family as well. Occasionally they still rise to the surface as this journey of ADHD discovery never really ends!

Our son was first diagnosed when he was in grade 2. I had worked with ADHD children in the past and so I had some knowledge but experience working with children is much different than when it is your own child! My husband had limited knowledge of ADHD and was taken back a bit by this diagnosis. I remember sitting watching my son as he played with toys and listened as the pediatrician spoke to him. The “responsible mom” wanted to have him stop what he was doing and look the pediatrician in the eye. As the pediatrician explained to my son how is brain was like a Ferrari with bicycle brakes, I remember wondering what this was going to mean, asking myself “why him? why us?” Even though I knew this was not the worst thing in the world I was still sad, disappointed, and afraid.

So what’s a mom (or dad) to do?!
First of all, know that all of you will be okay! You will get through this. You are stronger than you think or feel at the moment.

Second, let yourself feel all of your emotions. When we become parents, whether we mean to or not, we have certain expectations of what our child may be like. We expect a normalcy, though now I know there are many variations of normal! Let yourself grieve. Some may not understand this but many of you will. When we discover that our children are wired differently there is a sense of loss. Give yourself permission to feel that grief and work through it.

Thirdly, learn about ADHD but more importantly learn who your child is. Every ADHD person is different. Each with their own struggles and gifts just like the rest of the people out there. ADHD people have certain struggles that make many parts of life more difficult. Learn what those are for your child and give them extra support in those areas.

And finally, this is a journey of discovery. This is not a race for information or a mentality of fixing your child. You will need extra patience, gentleness, understanding. Take it a day at a time. Go easy on yourself and your child, find your tribe that understands you, AND PRACTICE SELF CARE.

Seven years ago we knowingly started this journey. It has been hard. There have been tears, realizing my son eats lunch and plays at recess alone, or hearing how he “takes a temperature test” to see if kids are able to have him around. There has been anxiety and fear, wondering how he will learn to fit into the expectations of school, hoping his new teacher will have patience for him. BUT there has been joy, happy tears, and much success as I see him comfort a younger child on the playground, or include others because he knows what it feels like to be left out. I never would have thought this journey would have taught me so much. Not only on what ADHD is but on my child’s unique outlook of life, and on who I am as a person and an ADHD mom.

To find more people in the same tribe follow me on IG @familyadhdcoach and FB @adhdcoachlaureen

Family ADHD Coach Laureen