29 December 2016

The ADHD Taboo

ADHD shouldn’t be a taboo subject

When my kids first started school, I came across parents of children who were describing other children that were displaying negative behaviors and who were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder - (ADD) as just naughty children and that the parents were using ADHD as an excuse for their behavior.

I heard things like –

 “Oh that kids on Ritalin, his mum makes out he has ADHD but he is just naughty”

Firstly – do you even understand how hard it is to get professionals to listen to you about your child’s ‘behaviours’? And secondly, do you have any idea how much time and effort parents like me, have put into researching, or persuading GP’s to make these referrals - only to be told to go on a parenting course - Most families get turned away at a first appointment after not only spending just half an hour with a clinician to be told to go on a parenting course but they most probably noticed symptoms at an early age, to be told referrals could only be made when the child reached age 6 and then put on a waiting list that was about 2 years long.

Do you really think we have the energy to do all of that because we can’t be arsed to discipline our children correctly?

These appointments aren’t just being offered to anyone and everyone that believes their child has ADHD because they are uncontrollable and unruly. They are like gold dust. There needs to be a set of evidence to even get through the door, and then most places have a triage nurse that will call you and they decide on the urgency of need.  Most of us fight tooth and nail for our children and often the strength needed to fight these systems leaves us exhausted and diagnosed with conditions of our own that are caused by severe stress. Trust me we aren’t going to put our families through that just because are children are naughty.

The child’s school gets sent a questionnaire directly, which they do not have to share with you so you have to wait about 6 months to find out if they have put contradicting evidence down resulting in a refusal to assess. This can be severely detrimental to the mental health of these children and their families.

I was lucky to have gotten such a good clinician that she saw through the schools report and sent a psychiatrist in to his school to do an assessment there. Luckily she had because he could have ended up miss-diagnosed based on one schools uneducated and simply ignorant form filling.

ADHD isn’t a behavioral problem. 

Yes it is associated with bad behavior but this condition is proven to be neurological. Children aren’t behaving this way on purpose, because they are parented badly or because they lack respect. They simply cannot help it.

And trust me I wish my child didn’t suffer with ADHD. I wish I didn’t need to worry about her and her siblings safety at every single minute of every single day. I wish I could leave the house with all three of my children and enjoy long summer walks, or be able to go and do a food or clothes shop with them in tow. Do you know what else, I would also love to do? be able to take my child into the school playground to pick my other children up, without people judging or sneering at my hyper – active, child who doesn’t listen to a word that I say, instead of sitting in a designated disabled car parking space, waiting for my 9 year old to finish school and walk to the car so that we are all safe. 

I wish that it was my parenting that causes my child to behave in this way.

Because then at least I could change my parenting, but I simply cannot change my child’s brain.

People need to stop turning their noses up at ADHD and start educating themselves on the real facts. They need to start respecting these children for who they are. Respecting their parents for the fight they fought for their children and the way they navigated a system that is like driving whilst blindfolded and handcuffed, because that’s how it feels when you first approach anyone with suspicions of ADHD.

I can almost guarantee that I am not the only one who often doesn’t offer the information that my child is diagnosed with ADHD. I bet I’m not the only one who doesn’t offer the information because it is such a taboo subject. People simply need to understand, so that more families like mine aren’t thought of as a bad egg, a family that doesn’t parent appropriately and has children who are naughty.

My child doesn’t run away from me into roads on busy car parks because she’s ignorant and disrespectful, she has impulses that she cannot control, not that she wont control. That coupled with the added inability to understand consequences to her life mean that the risk is even more dangerous.

Please be ADHD aware. 

Please respect these children.

 Please respect their parents. 

I work my butt off trying to teach my daughter about how dangerous certain situations are, please help me and families like mine to teach our children instead of being judgmental and chastising, gossiping in the playground and Chinese whispers about other children. It isn’t fair. If you have questions about our children we would be more than happy to answer than. At least give a chance to defend our selves instead of giving others the idea that is simply wrong and misleading. Lets all be there for each other instead of alienating people because you don’t understand.

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  1. What is the best source to educate myself on ADHD in your opinion? Thank you.

  2. Anonymous21/1/17 09:39

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting, In my experience at the moment my children are my best resource. I have two children diagnosed with ADHD and they are like chalk and cheese. ADHD is at its worst very unpredictable so i guess its just knowing your children (Or yourself) inside out. Watching, being alert, being aware of dangers before anything can happen, risk assessing places before you go there. Avoiding things that you know is going to be inappropriate and in turn setting the child up to fail. Obviously i do my best and I'm in no way perfect, we get it wrong regularly but we learn from those mistakes. i hope that helps. But if i find any resources in future ill be sure to let you know. Thank you