Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Common, yet little spoken of, issues accompanying ADHD

Recently, I was talking with some friends in my church who also have ADHD children. I was asking them if they have seen similar things in their children that we have been dealing with for years. We have gotten so used to them, that we have just chalked them up to the quirks that every child possesses. But the more I saw the similarities in these other children, the more I began thinking that maybe these are characteristic of all children with ADHD.
So, I did an informal poll of some families on an ADHD forum that I'm casually involved with, and VOILA.....wouldn't ya know it......almost all of the responses I received said, "YES!! We struggle with almost every one of those!!" So I'm going to ask you, if you are a parent of an ADHD child......do you see these things in your children? I can guarantee you that you will not find them in a formal list of "typical" symptoms that you will read in your Pediatrician's office nor online at any website that discusses this issue. I think that these are just things that you realize are there after YEARS of dealing with it. Here's the list:

Do your children:
  1. Have sleep issues? Whether they don't fall asleep quickly, or wouldn't be bothered if they stayed up all night, or wake up at weird times fully awake and wake you up or do stuff in their rooms?? How do you handle that??
  2. Prefer (almost crave) being outside? Do you have to bolt the door shut with extra locks to keep them from just going outside without your permission? Do they seem calmer when they come inside?
  3. Have an almost unusual love for animals. Like it consumes them?
  4. Have issues at almost every meal about what is put in front of them? Can you tell that certain textures bother them? Or certain smells or they way something looks? If it looks like something alive, can you tell they just won't eat it? How do you handle that?
  5. Think or at least verbalize that everyone "hates" them?
  6. Just say disrespectful things to you (or other adults) like a "knee-jerk" reaction even though they have been taught it is wrong, understand it is wrong, and seem to not really mean what they say?
  7. Enjoy time on the computer, but could take-or-leave the TV?? Would they stay on the computer as long as you would let them, but not in front of the TV?
  8. Have a special memory or sentiment attached to EVERY little thing they've ever owned? Is it hard for your child to throw stuff away?
  9. Rarely seem like he/she gets sick?? If everyone in our family is down with a bug and exhausted and needing to just be in bed and quiet, my son is still bouncing off the walls bugging us. If he does come down with something, it only lasts like 12 hours or less.....He has NEVER been on an antibiotic of any kind for anything....he's almost 8.
  10. Not need as much affection as your other children? I remember my oldest daughter always pushing away from me even as a baby at bedtime instead of being a snuggly one. To this day, she rarely comes to me for a hug or any kind of physical affection. My son tolerates discipline better if I pull him to me and talk softly, and wipe off the tears and rub his face, and hug him a little. But that's about it. He rarely approaches me, but will calm way down if I put my face close to him or hug him, etc.
  11. Seem to have a gift for creativity? Like just creating stuff out of nothing? For example, my daughter (ever to hate throwing things away) has gone through the neighbors trash on trash day, and pulled junk out to make "things" out of it. She used to constantly tie "things" to other "things". I couldn't keep socks in her drawers because she was always tying them up to make "rag dolls" she called them, or whatever else she needed to join stuff together. Drove me crazy!!! I'm hoping someday she will actually make something useful. I did enroll her at JoAnn Fabrics for a jewelry making class in which she excelled and has made beautiful pieces. But she didn't stick with that for long, of course, and kept leaving all her supplies out so all the younger siblings were messing with it. Now we're on to the next thing.

I've been doing a lot more reading about ADHD here recently, and came upon the term "neurologically impaired" when referring to this issue along with several other different brain differences. It makes sense to me that learning that ADHD is a REAL issue, a REAL differential in the structure and function of their brains, that these other things that are so sensory in nature would naturally be a problem.
But I never really like the term "handicapped" or "impaired". You see, I serve a BIG God. I believe in and live for a God who loves each of my children and created each one of them with a special purpose and design. Each one of them has God's fingerprints on them, just in different ways. They each have their own unique "mark of ownership." I don't believe they are "impaired" or "handicapped". Challenged maybe, but aren't we all? I prefer to look at the great things each of my children has the potential to reach, not the things that could potentially hold them back. These issues my children live with also come with amazing gifts not given to everyone else. So what if my child is not going to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee? So what, if my child is not going to be an academic star? So what, if my child will NEVER or RARELY get a 100% on her math test? Does that mean God can't use him or her? I believe the answer to that question is unequivocally, "NO!" I'll talk more about what the Lord has been showing me about this in an upcoming post!!

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