You’re in good company.Â
Simon KennedyÂ wrote a story about how his ADHD affected his childhood and self-esteem as he grew up. He recounts the negative words that hurt deeply. Now, his son has ADHD and this father, while saddened at his son’s diagnosis, sees the joy and courage in his son and couldn’t be more proud.Â They’re both in good company.Â There are several superstars out there that live with ADHD and openly share stories to encourage. Just to name a few – Terry Bradshaw, Adam Levine And Ryan Gosling.
So, take heart and remember Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Here is Simon’s story:
â€œSimon is impossible to teach.â€
â€œA major distraction in classâ€¦â€
â€œWastes his and othersâ€™ time..â€
â€œOne of the worst students Iâ€™ve ever had the misfortune to try and educateâ€¦â€
â€œWill amount to nothing in life if his attitude doesnâ€™t changeâ€¦â€
When I was at school, they didnâ€™t have things like ADD or ADHD. What they didhave, however, was me. I was labeled a problem child from early on â€" a reputation that stayed with me until the end of high school. Back then, the â€œtreatmentâ€ wasnâ€™t a controlled diet, occupational therapy or medication; it was a solid thrashing. No matter how much I tried, I just couldnâ€™t concentrate in class. The facts and figures thrown at me made absolutely no sense, so I became the class clown, trying to annoy the teachers so badly that theyâ€™d throw me out of class to sit in the corridor for the remainder of the lesson. Needless to say, I barely scraped through school, which in turn brought on its own smorgasbord of problems at home.
Being labeled like this led to some serious self-esteem issues that I was only able to sort out much later in life. Iâ€™m still dealing with some of it today. So when my son was diagnosed with ADHD, my wife and I decided then and there to give him the best possible chance, no matter what. We changed his diet, added supplements and vitamins and sent him to occupational therapy for two years. This all helped to a degree, but we finally had to accept that medical intervention was inevitable and necessary.
Now before you pass judgment â€" yes, I agree that Ritalin is over-prescribed â€" but for us itâ€™s been a real game-changer. My son is currently in the third grade, acing his reports and getting full mark for maths at a grade-four level.
I think the clincher for us was when I asked him why he couldnâ€™t seem to concentrate in class and he answered, â€œDad, itâ€™s like when the radio isnâ€™t tuned in properly and all you hear is that irritating noise.â€ That was when I understood. He was drowning in all the static and only the occasional snippet of information was getting through to him. See, ADD and ADHD donâ€™t allow you to filter out and concentrate on one specific thing; youâ€™re trying to concentrate on everything all at once. Itâ€™s like having 20 tabs open in your browser, each of them with their own audio playing at full volume and trying to understand every single one of them, all at the same time.
Iâ€™m not saying that medicine has â€œcuredâ€ him completely. We still have challenges, small and big, every single day. When we do homework together in the afternoon, he gets angry and frustrated easily, and I have to maintain the calm by speaking softly to him. He obsesses over the tiniest details to the point where itâ€™s all he can think about until he either has a total meltdown or the perceived problem is sorted out. Part of that problem is that he battles to see the forest for the trees. Heâ€™s an emotional kid who is easily hurt, meaning we have to be careful how we reprimand or speak to him, being firm yet gentle. When he wakes up in the morning, he goes from fast asleep to completely hyperactive in the space of a minute. Loud and boisterous with a dash of insane at the crack of dawn can be frustrating, to say the least. Itâ€™s also a challenge because we have 6-year-old twin daughters who also need time with Mom and Dad, so it becomes a bit of a juggling act to ensure that everyone gets the attention they need. Unfortunately, sometimes one of them will inevitably feel left out.
My son is also keenly aware that heâ€™s different from a lot of his peers, and I think that plays on his mind a lot. At his last checkup with the pediatrician, he turned to my wife and said, â€œWhat if they canâ€™t fix me properly?â€ The fact that he worries about it so much is difficult for me. Itâ€™s a burden knowing that Iâ€™ve passed this on to him, making his life a lot more difficult and complicated than it needs to be. Yet, the strides heâ€™s made to overcome his ADHD leave me in awe of his determination and strong will. Iâ€™m trying to teach him to celebrate his differences, to revel in them and to be proud of them because they are what make him, to me at least, the most special little boy in the world. And I wouldnâ€™t change a single thing about him. Heâ€™s taught me how to be a kinder, better, more gentle father and human being. Despite the challenges we face each day, we face them together as a family full of love and respect for each other.
I love you, Nicnac. No matter what.
HTÂ Simon Kennedy