I admit it. There have been times through my years as a mother where I questioned the existence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I wondered if there were inattentive parents out there, or parents who just weren’t prepared for the high level of attention children need. Of course, there was no such thing as ADHD when I was growing up. We didn’t have kids that had labels like these – or kids with food allergies. No one in my SCHOOL (not just my grade) was allergic to peanuts, food dyes, preservatives, or gluten (come to think of it, who knew what gluten was back in my day?).
More than once, the thought crossed my mind that maybe teachers were getting lazier. I recalled the nuns of my time, many of them with 30 or more kids in the classroom, and not one ADHD in the bunch. They ran the classroom like drill sergeants, and they didn’t have time for ADHD, so of course it didn’t exist.
But now, from the other side of the fence, I can see it, up close and personal. There is absolute physical pain on the faces of the kids who suffer. They sit on their hands, they bite their lips, they rock back and forth to prevent themselves from standing up and moving around. There is actual, physical PAIN involved with this diagnosis.
They struggle to get assignments done – not because they don’t have the intellectual ability, but because they lack the ability to do 20 problems on a math test or 10 sentences on their spelling homework – is excruciating. They are frustrated – not with me, or the amount of work they have to do, but with themselves for not being able to do it. Their feelings get hurt when points for good behavior are awarded to “teams”, and their teammates are constantly berating them for not being able to “behave”.
ADHD is truly one of those things that you really have to walk in their shoes to understand. I wish I’d made the journey much sooner.