There’s a few things to completely understand when you have a child with ADHD or OCD or ODD. I’m suggesting that you study what these issues will cause in your child, how it affects their environment, how it affects their relationships and how it affects you.
I’m going to write about my experiences with OCD in this entry because it tends to be the issue that most people have a problem with concerning Auggie. Short of the long, when he decides that he wants something or wants to do something it’s nearly an unmanageable situation to control especially if the child is still very young.
In the past few months I’ve been trying to convince Auggie to think before he acts. If he would just give a moment to the consequences or repercussions and then make a decision he would discover that the people around him or those affected would be much nicer and much more giving. Now, every time I see him or hear of him acting in a way that he shouldn’t we talk about what he should have done. I believe this has been a big help but it doesn’t completely correct the issue.
This is why
How many times in your adult life or even today have you said or done something that you immediately regretted? Foot in mouth style. How many rash decisions are made by adults that have no inkling of ADHD? I have certainly had those moments. Not today. The day is still young, though. Maybe you can imagine then that for a child without ADHD it is multiplied. The need/want of things or expression or action is heightened in a child because learning patience requires… well… to learn and learning requires time. If the child has ADHD then it is multiplied much further. You then have a child that has a need/want that couples with obsession and creates a struggle that is quite formidable for a child that hasn’t quite learned patience.
I find myself asking my son that lives every moment with ADHD, OCD and ODD to think before he acts and then find myself, as an adult who has patiently sat in waiting rooms for hours on end or waited to speak to an operator for longer than I’ll admit ask of my son something that I too have struggled with. Foot in mouth. Then I see him gaining ground and working so hard to go against something in his mind that feels completely normal. I’m asking a person that’s nearly deaf to hear normally. I’m asking a person that’s nearly blind to see completely. I wouldn’t ask that, obviously, but I’m asking my son to do something that requires so much strength and patience for a person in his situation.
Why I ask
Most of the world sees a person with ADHD as a person without self- control who is self serving. They often times blame the person for any issues that come from it. I’ve seen his teachers notes and had numerous meetings. I’ve been given verbal reports of how he acts at times from family and friends. I understand your feelings, I do. That’s why I’m writing “Auggie with ADHD.”
I ask Auggie to push further than any “normal” child because he doesn’t see how frustrated people become with him and when he does realize that he has upset someone he feels as if the world is falling down around him. He blames himself and puts himself down. Obviously, he understands when he’s done something wrong and asking him repeatedly to think is frustrating but it’s not being repeated everyday like it was. It breaks my heart when someone is mad with him or frustrated by him. He has some issues. He’s working to get through them and he’s doing great. I pray he stays on this path.
I’m not sure I can give justice to this explanation because I’m not typically driven by an obsession. Why does Auggie with ADHD act out at times? He becomes obsessed with something. Most people understand OCD has having to level a photo or straighten papers. It is BUT is not. If you feel the need to level a picture but couldn’t, what would you do? Would you scream about it? Would you try to physically push your way past any obstacles to get to it? Would you make excuses for why it means so much to you to level that picture? Would you be able to sleep tonight knowing that picture isn’t level? Would you wake up thinking about it? If the answer is no then you have what is called a quirk. That’s not an obsession. Auggie could answer yes to every question but not for pictures, no.
OCD isn’t just wanting a picture to be level or clothes lined up in the closet which is how it’s usually portrayed in film. OCD is a chained thought that enslaves you. Let’s pretend Auggie wants to ride his bicycle and he’s told no. If this thought has chained him then he’s going to do and say everything in his power to ride that bicycle. He may sneak out. He may lie. He may sulk. He’ll keep asking. His mind is SCREAMING AT HIM to ride that bicycle while he’s pleading with you over it. Then it becomes desperation so he sneaks out, straps on his helmet and feels the freedom of the wind against his face and for a moment he’s not obsessed. When realizes he’s in deep trouble there’s almost a calmness to him. He gave in to the obsession and now it’s over.
*That may or may not have happened a few times in his life already.
I keep asking him to think. As I said, I’m asking him to do something that I sometimes fail at, all without having my mind scream at me and consume my thoughts over it. He’s better than me. He’s learning. He’s finding patience.
Not Softly Into The Night
With Auggie, I never blame his actions on the issues. He knows he has ADHD. I know it. Those who know him know it. There’s no reason for me to keep it in the conversation when something has occurred. I remind him that he has the power to control it and that he should work on that daily which he has been and it’s going to be a process. I explain to new teachers and new people (if needed) that he has a few super powers but never explain that as an excuse. He’s Auggie and he’s going to Auggie regardless so when he’s stepping out of line it falls on him, not the super powers. The heartbreaking part is knowing that for him to fit into societal norms (to keep from bringing Hurricane Auggie onto shore) he has to work much harder than most. He’ll never go quietly and I’ll never ask that much of him.