We were told that we had to put our son in a school for mentally retard individuals. To this day I get chills when I think back at that moment when those words were uttered to me. Why do we fight for parents every day? Here is the reason; if I did not have the background I had at that time and just believed the “diagnosis” of the so-called professional, an occupational therapist of the Department of Education in South Africa, we would have lost our child to a place where he does not belong at all. How would our lives have turned out if we did not have a mind-set of doing our own research, getting knowledge, more opinions?
My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was only 7 years old. I remember so clearly how I felt as a parent. I immediately took all the blame on myself. I did not understand or had enough information to know that it simply was not true. I trusted the so called “expert” at this stage, a well-meaning teacher with a beautiful heart, but she did not have the authority to make such a suggestion in the first place.
Looking back today at our journey as parents, we ALWAYS had to advocate for our children and then we taught them to do that for themselves.
My message today to all parents who have children with ADHD and adults with the same condition is that ADHD actually gives you a SUPERPOWER that no one else have. It depends on how you look at it, your perspective. Forget about the things that your child cannot do, like sitting still, rather focus on the stuff that they are really good at, whether it is playing ball or doing a brilliant oral or creative essay. Focus on the fact that your child has the biggest caring heart ever. The really SAD thing is that people with ADHD are told what they cannot do more often than the opposite. It is sad because they only need one person to believe in them, just one.
Start looking for the gifts that you or your child have, focus on those, but at the same time, give them THE TOOLS they need to get through a day that requires them to sit still or keep quiet etc.
What we have found over the years of working with ADHD children, the more the children see that you actually understand and help them overcome what they find challenging, the harder they try to improve it. All it takes is understanding from the parents, teachers and the child/or adult themselves.