I get that ADHD is over diagnosed these days but it makes me mad that so many people completely discount us because of it. Are there children diagnosed as ADHD who aren't? More than likely but can we ever really know? Here are some things I've been told/heard over the years that tick me off and my replies.
- "Why don't you just medicate him?" We decided early on that we were not going to medicate our son until/unless he decided he wanted to give it a try and understood the side effects. I think it's a very personal decision and there is no right answer (medicate/don't medicate). We love our son just the way he is and don't feel he is "flawed".
- "Are you SURE he's ADHD? Did you take him to a doctor?" Yes, we took him to three different doctors in fact. Two of them diagnosed him within five minutes of watching him.
- "You should send him to public school, they'll teach him to sit still." No, in public school he would be considered the "problem child" and constantly in trouble because he CAN'T sit still for long periods. He fidgets. He needs to get up and walk around. He needs to walk in circles as he thinks about things. Remember being in college and listening to a boring lecture. Not fun is it?
- "You really should teach him some manners and to not rudely interrupt!" My son actually has very good manners. How many 11 year olds do you know who say "yes, ma'am/sir", "please", and "thank you", hold doors for others (to the point we have to make him stop), and so on? He interrupts because he can't help himself and he feels awful afterwards! For him there isn't that connect in his brain that says, "Whoa hold on until they finish". If you tell him, "Just a minute I'm talking", though he will do everything in his power to not interrupt you again.
- "Have you tried eliminating sugar/dyes/gluten/dairy/etc from his diet?" Do you honestly think we would be doing this if the answer was that simple? I mean, what parent wouldn't jump at the chance to have their child NOT suffer if it was something so simple as removing sugar or dyes? I do feel people are trying to help when they say this so I don't get offended. Just know that most times yes we have already tried all of those.
- "How do you deal with his constant talking. I'd go crazy!" Imagine not having a filter between your thoughts and your mouth. Imagine not being able to think something and keep it to yourself even though you know saying it might hurt/embarrass/alienate someone. Imagine the embarrassment you would feel. Imagine knowing people aren't listening to you because you've talked too long. Wouldn't that hurt? Welcome to my son's world! Whether the thoughts are good, bad, weird, sarcastic, funny, or sad they are out as soon as he thinks them. The thing is, this boy is brilliant. I learn so much from just listening to what he has to say.
- "It must be so hard. You poor thing!" Don't pity me. Do you know why? I am the luckiest mom in the world to have this amazing, funny, intelligent, loving little boy as my own. I wouldn't have him any other way and I only regret that HE has to deal with this. For me it isn't a burden. He has brought so much wonder to our lives. It is eye opening and life changing to see the world through his eyes. The love that this child has in his heart just blows me away.
- "Well you can hope he'll grow out of it." Most likely my son is an ADHD child who will grow into an ADHD teen who becomes an adult with ADHD. What I hope is that throughout his life he finds the tools to be his own personal best. I hope he never feels he is "less" or a "loser" because he has a harder time with things than others. I hope he continues to find people who love him the way he is and don't feel he needs to be "fixed". I hope he always knows his family has loved him just the way he is and never wanted him to be anyone other than his true self.
I'm not going to make excuses for my son, I don't feel I need to. I hope though that if you have someone with ADHD in your life, maybe you understand them a little better now. If you know a parent of someone with ADHD hopefully you won't make any of these rude statements. Don't miss out on knowing an amazing human being because you're not willing to look past their "social faults". We' re all fighting a battle and none of us are perfect.