The other day I took my children to the park for a play date. It was one of those fantastic North Carolina days where the air was warm, the breeze was light, and one could forget that it was winter. My girlfriend was lamenting how her son, “Isaac,” was being punished at school by having his recess revoked and getting the dreaded silent lunches. This sweet boy has a heart of gold and is incredibly bright, but struggles in the classroom due to his ADHD. I know, you are all eye rolling and head nodding — if you have a child with ADHD, then there’s about a 100% chance that your kiddo has been forced to have a similar consequence.
There’s a lot more to ADHD.
As I said a couple weeks ago, in my latest book, The Insider’s Guide to ADHD: Adults with ADHD Reveal the Secret to Parenting Kids with ADHD, I devote nearly an entire chapter to all the parts of ADHD that doctors, therapists, and teachers don’t tell parents about upon diagnosis, or sometimes ever. There’s inflexibility, meltdowns, sensory processing struggles, executive functioning deficits, etc. So, I decided to make “All the Other Stuff They Don’t Tell You” a regular series here on the blog — it’s a lot of information. Today I’m going to discuss what I consider hell-on-earth for kids with ADHD and/or autism: SCHOOL.
My son, Ricochet, is a very sensitive individual. He gets very emotional very easily. For years, he cried over just about everything. When he was picked on, he cried. The crying in those situations lead to more bullying, and even more tears. He was often told to “act his age,” or “quit acting like a baby.” Even with the added autism diagnosis about nine months ago, people still felt this behavior wasn’t age-appropriate.
We’ve been working long and hard on how to interpret the actions of his peers. With poor nonverbal communication skills and a very literal interpretation, it has been an uphill battle, with no end in sight. He is constantly upset by the words and actions of his peers, even when they’re really showing camaraderie, because he just can’t see it. Read More
Invisible Disabilities at School
Ya’ll, I’m tired. I feel like I just fought the bull barehanded, and the bull won. Again. For the umpteenth time. It doesn’t matter how I change up my approach, or how mean or nice I am, I’m still flat on my back wondering what happened in the end.
This is what it’s like for parents to deal with the education system when they have a child with invisible special needs. If my child were non-verbal, would anyone question that he needs help? If he were deaf? Blind? Wheelchair-bound? Nope. Nope. Nope and nope. Read More
Why do schools insist on antiquated methods?
For most U.S. students, their life at home and their life at school is like living in two different centuries. At home, they use a personal computer, a tablet, a cell phone, and maybe even a smart phone. They communicate with it, read books on it, record scenes of life, and use the alarms and reminders for time management. Yet, at school, they are several decades back, still using notebooks, #2 pencils, and large, heavy, out-of-date textbooks. Why?Read More
Defining ‘Academic Success’ for Kids with ADHD, Autism
Most individuals define academic success by grades and test scores — A’s and B’s and high scores on benchmark tests are a success. In turn, average and failing grades are indicative of not being successful at school. When your child has ADHD and/or autism though, you have to modify your yardstick as well as your definition of success.
Growing up, I was expected to earn all A’s and B’s, because my parents knew that I had the intelligence and skills to do so. When I brought home a C once or twice on a report card, I was immediately grounded. These house rules taught me that grades were a measure of Read More
Don’t fall into the history trap.
As I wrote about earlier this week, the fear and anxiety around school is back, now that there is less than two weeks until back to school for Ricochet, my son with ADHD, mild autism, and dysgraphia. His history of school struggles has taught me to worry incessantly about how school will go. Couple that with starting a new school (our public middle school that serves 7th and 8th grade) and I’m in a full-on panic.
However, there are things we can all do to prepare for a new school year when we have a child with ADHD and/or autism, to ensure we, parents and kids alike, start with our best foot forward. Here are the five ways I prepare my son for a new school year.Read More
The Fear is Real
To say that our last school year was painful for my son, Ricochet, and myself, would be a gross understatement. He was so totally misunderstood by teachers and staff at the charter school he attended that it got to the point where he began harming himself at school to try to get picked up early and flee the discomfort. Every teacher and administrator Ricochet dealt with felt certain that his above-average intelligence meant he could do everything they asked him to do and more, despite Read More
Am I lazy?
I’ve been feeling quite lazy as of late. I haven’t had the motivation to do anything “extra,” and I have been a lot more lax with my kids and what they choose to do with their time. I have felt a lot of shame about this over the last several weeks, since summer started and I nearly came to a complete stop.
That is, until I realized I was simply taking time to exhale. Read More
I’m an award-winning author, parenting mentor, and ADHD-obsessed momma on a mission, dedicated to helping you survive and thrive in this special parenthood.