I’ve had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to write a post to help the members of my Facebook group, Homeschooling the ADHD Child, better understanding their children. Basically, a “what you need to know” post.
It was a daunting task because I’m not sure there’s enough paper to write all that would need to be said, but I believe it’s very important for parents to be informed –and not just parents with ADHD children. Thankfully I found a video that says it better than I can.
The first thing you need to know if your child has ADHD is that your child has a significant, life-affecting, long-term mental disability. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a problem that will affect your child’s entire life in monumental ways.
I’m not exaggerating when I call it a mental disability. I live with this disorder. I know how hard it is. I know the daily battle. (Although it is not technically a mental disability which you can read more about here.)
Just as if you have a child with Downs Syndrome or diabetes, you need to UNDERSTAND AND MAKE ACCOMMODATIONS.
This is a serious medical condition that you need to understand and take seriously. Just like any disability, your child will need a crutch –like a wheelchair or leg braces or in this case your help with regulation (see more info about regulation in the video below).
If you think ADHD is a willful problem in your child, that it’s because they’re not trying hard enough or are choosing to be difficult, the bigger issue than your child is your lack of understanding. Your lack of understanding and support has the ability to negatively affect your child in huge and lasting ways. I counsel adults who have lived a lifetime with the damage of hurtful and critical parents.
Having ADHD means that your child is developing 30% behind other children of the same age. This means that your child can be 2 to 6 years more immature than their non ADHD peers even if they have a high IQ. This lasts into adulthood.
Your child needs unconditional love. I say this over and over on the Facebook group. They need to know they’re loved regardless of how their brains have developed, regardless of their ability to perform, regardless of how disappointed you are that they cannot live up to your expectations, regardless of their anger or emotional outbursts. They need to know that you will love them no matter what.
ADHD is a problem with self-regulation due to underdeveloped parts of the brain. This can be measured and proven scientifically. For this reason a child with ADHD needs help self-regulating. It is a brain disability in which the part of the brain the regulates inhibitions isn’t working properly.
This video series is long, but if you never watch anything else about ADHD ever, watch this. It is about 3 hours total but is broken into smaller videos in a series that could be watched in shorter chunks. Watch it over a period of time if you need to.
Be informed. Don’t believe the lies about ADHD.
You NEED to understand what’s going on in your child’s brain. You need to understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. You need the tools to help him.
This video provides that.
While there are a few points I disagree with, the majority of this information is on par with what my doctor (a leading ADHD clinician in our area) told me.
This video is from 2009.
Some of the treatments discussed have been further studied, and new treatments have been made available since that time. One such issue is supplements and omegas.
Since this video was made new studies have shown that some supplements, particularly fish oil, can help ADHD. He is right that it doesn’t make it go away.
Additionally, I think that more ADHDers than he suggested find improvement from diet changes. I would guess 25% or more from my experience working with adults and kids with ADHD.
Take the time to watch this even if you don’t have a child with ADHD.
A significant part of the population does have ADHD children and the more actual, factual scientific knowledge people have about this topic, the more we can dispel the myth that it doesn’t exist, that it’s just bad parenting, or that it’s caused by too much media,TV, and video games.
ADHD is documented all the way back to the 1700s –way before any of those so-called “causes” existed.
This disorder is one of the most misunderstood disorders out there. The public and media has continuously perpetuated lies about ADHD. Consequently, people believe it is made up.
Science gives us the explainable facts that show it is not a created disorder but a legitimate and significant issue.
In the video, Dr Barkley discusses the need to be careful about social interaction. What he says supports my view that the homeschooling atmosphere is best for ADHD children (although he doesn’t mention homeschooling specifically). The mentorship/apprenticeship style homeschooling education would be a safe environment for a child who has delayed development such as ADHD.
As a caveat, this video is from an evolutionary perspective and does not take into consideration the soul or the effect that the Holy Spirit has on our lives as Christians. I have ADHD, and the Holy Spirit in my life has empowered me to live beyond my diagnoses.
I hope this will be encouraging and educational for you.
PS This is not the place to debate the validity of an ADHD diagnosis. There are other places to debate this, but here is not one of them.