Friday, January 15, 2010

ADHD, On The Bright Side

My oldest daughter has ADHD. It is something that I have blogged a little about, but not much because my blogging time is so limited these days. With Piglet's chaotic entrance into our family, and with her high-need personality, my computer time is limited to her sleeping times ... but sadly I must keep my priorities in check, and showering/eating/Teenybop tend to come first.

It's been really hard on Teenybop to have so much change in her life in the past year or so. Between the ADHD really starting to show, Piglet being born, Boyfriend being laid off for most of this past year and now planning to leave for the Army, the addition of my dad to our house while he gets situated in TN, and starting Kindergarten, life has been nothing but a big steaming plate of "things are different" with a side of "sorry, this is the way it is now" for my little girl. She has had some difficulty coping, but generally she is still amazing, smart and beautiful.

As Teenybop's sixth birthday approaches, I've been thinking a lot about who she is becoming and the ways in which she has changed over the past few years. Aside from all the other changes in her as she grows, ADHD is the most noticeable, and the very hardest to deal with. My daughter as a child with ADHD is highly emotional, argumentative, inattentive, and hyperactive. And it's easy to get caught up in all that, to focus on the less than savory aspects of her personality, to see her in a negative light and to really get down on her. Lately I've been struggling to embrace the positive aspects of ADHD personalities, to find the bright side in her character "flaws". Something I've been meditating on is the various ADHD lists that can be found online with just a few simple keystrokes ... things like this summary of the disorder, or even this checklist of symptoms. But there's another perspective to be found. ADHD literature and most ADHD websites that I have seen are focused on the negative of the disorder formerly known as ADD. But then, through another blog, I found another page, one that is positive and even a little appreciative of the personality traits common to the ADHD child ... It says:

"With a name that's 50-66% "deficit disorder," it's easy to focus on all the negatives and problems that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or attention deficit disorder, causes. But there's a whole lot it brings to a person and every one needs to stop and take a moment to realize that there is a reason that it is ADD and not MINUS."

Wow. Add, and not minus. A whole new way of seeing this. And that's sad, that this was a totally new perpective, and I'm sure I am not the only person who saw it as totally new. But this is how we should all see this ... as something that can ADD to our children, that can ADD to our lives, and not always use ADHD as a MINUS. We don't have to see "Parenting MINUS fun = ADHD." Why can't we see it the other way around?

If you have a child with ADHD or if you are regularly exposed to a child with ADHD, I encourage you to check out this positive list of ADHD character traits. See if it doesn't give you a new perspective. I know it did for me, because every time I saw a "symptom" list I would think to myself, "Wow, that's my daughter to a tee!"

But I saw her in the positive list, too, and it means so much to me to be able to see ADHD another way.