I’m not technically a professional in the sense that I would have numerous degrees in child psychology or genetics. In fact, I prefer to be considered a writer first and a laborer second. However, I have a careers worth of on the job experience with ADHD, OCD, ODD and various other acronyms.
I’ve heard all of the questions people have. I’ve heard every negative comment. I’ve heard every positive comment. I’ve witnessed the best and experienced the worst that these acronyms offer (I’m not being literal when I say “everything.”) So, here’s a Q&A for parents or siblings or friends that have questions from a guy that lives around it. If you have an added experience or advice for a person with (acronym here) then please comment. Same goes for further questions.
Q. Is MEDICATION bad/good
A. I first encountered ADHD with my brothers who were nearly teenagers when I was born. Neither were taking any medication and that was in part due to the options at the time. Many years ago a “professional” would typically give a large dose of Ritalin which would essentially null even the personality of a child. In today’s time, any medicines given are started at very low doses especially any deemed a narcotic. The sole intent now is to help the child focus, stifle obsession, stifle defiance, help concentrate, help… well, help (assume I’m referring to adults as well going forward.) Each person’s acronym, whether spelled the same or not) is different. If you decide to give medication to your child then the doctor should be starting very slowly. IT IS A PROCESS. Please, I would ask that you show patience but I know well how stressed you may be so I’ll ask this instead. Pray. Trust the process.
Q. You think he’ll grow out of it?
For a little context about Auggie’s Deddy, me, I have a character flaw where when I’m asked a question/spoken to or startled I’ll immediately have a “get bent” look on my face. If I don’t want to even entertain the question I’ll just say…
A. No… well, not entirely no but it’s how my children’s brains are constructed. My hope is that they learn how to drive the high horsepower vehicle their in. My brothers, my dad and mother all had/have a version and they all coped or are coping. It’s absolutely possible that they will find control but they’ll never “grow out of it.”
Q. How do you discipline?
A. That’s a difficult question to give a concrete answer. Here’s what I do (disclaimer above)… My discipline is fluid. I do what I can to stay in tune with them. A time out? Spanking? Grounding? Any of those may work great. Really. Keep in mind that ADHD and others can cause “milk in the cupboard” syndrome. The best case I saw of this was with my son when I took away his gaming privilege. He was around six and this was before any medical help. Simply put, he eventually forgot about it existing. His brain wasn’t going to waste time on something that couldn’t be had and as soon as that was apparent… it was milk in the cupboard. Attempt to understand what really drives them and what they really want. Also, timeout never worked with Auggie. His best toy is his imagination and the thoughts of what’s to come. He can even “milk in the cupboard” an activity. It’s fluid, simply put.
Q. How do you do it?
A. No. I don’t do anything but view my child positively or negatively. I get the slight. Not cool. He’s my best friend. Get on with that.
Q. Aww, isn’t he just being a kid.
A. No. It’s not a question about him. That is a question for the parent. An ignorant person is telling you that your child, who may possibly have terrible grades or who lacks social skills and can’t even color a full page in a coloring book before…(the list is substantial for hardships) is just being a kid. I’m not saying anyone is dumb for saying that. I do mean ignorant in the fact of being uneducated in the matter. Auggie has a really high IQ (humble brag and proud Deddy. Don’t @ me.) They’ll test a child’s IQ during the battery of ADHD testing. Auggie practically taught himself how to read. Then, in school, he’s failing basically everything? No. He’s not completing anything. He writes so fast that it’s illegible. Say whatever you want because you’re free to do so but if a child has ADHD then they need particular guidance. They may not need medication at all but they need guidance geared towards the acronym. I used to hear this a lot but the years have been kind to the way the public views acronyms. Thanks be to God for that!
Q. What is ADHD
A. Maybe I should have started here so you would have an idea of how I view it. An ADHD brain and a brain without it are the same thing but built differently. Both are a machine. One machine is made to run at a really high RPM. The other machine is geared to run at a lower RPM. Both of the machines can perform the same task and run the same race but they’ll be driven differently. Sometimes a person with an acronym needs more guidance in learning the roads ahead.
Q. What is ODD?
A. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Tiny is the culprit here when I’m asked this question. Tiny doesn’t enjoy being told what to do which is like most humans. However, Tiny’s first impulse is to defy whatever is being asked of her. She has more control with adults and almost none with a person who isn’t an adult. She’s a brilliant person. She knows she’s brilliant. She dissects conversations to find any argument against what is being asked or told. She’s taught me the most about being a parent because sometimes… she’s right.
Q. What is OCD?
A. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All of my children (maybe not Grey but…) have this column checked. Simply put, when they want something or want to do something their brain tells them they will not survive without having it or doing it. That’s REALLY hard to comprehend if you don’t have OCD. It’s not about fixing picture frames (it may be but typically that’s a quirk.) You’ll get the same answer from someone that has it. I’ve watched my children become physically ill from obsessing over something as simple as a small toy. I really dislike this acronym the most this far because it hurts them the most and then, because of it, I have to ask them to be stronger than all of their peers. They are children and children want things and watching them hurt or weep because their brain won’t let it go sucks. Simply put, it sucks.
Q. Why does he keep clearing his throat?
A. A child that has ADHD will develop ticks. At one point Auggie would constantly roll his tongue. Then he began clearing his throat which sounded like he was hocking up a… you get it. It’s something that, in my opinion, gives them a blanket or a re-center of sorts. It’s usually harmless unless it’s some form of picking but that hasn’t been one of Auggie’s or Tiny’s. Not all children get this play thing and according to the doctor it’s completely natural. That’s not to say you shouldn’t tell your child that it’s an issue. We had a teacher tell Auggie in fifth grade that he would be suspended if he kept “hocking.” Even teachers can be ignorant (again, that’s not too say someone is dumb) but after speaking with her she understood even if she didn’t like that it was happening.
I’ll post another Q & ADHD in the future with a deeper set of questions. For my children’s benefit and privacy I don’t want to be too personal especially at their expense. At least now you have a perspective that’s from a parent with first have knowledge. I know I don’t know everything and maybe my way isn’t what’s best for you but do I hope that if you’re struggling with raising a child or children with ADHD then I will say this… You’re going to get stressed and you’ll find a new breaking point after you’ve hit your breaking point but you have a very special, very unique individual in your life. I’ve never met a person with ADHD that I didn’t remember and quite frankly didn’t enjoy being around. I had to accept that my children do not fit into my mold. So, I expanded my mold and my way of thinking and just put one foot in front of the other. Some days are tough while some are great. EVERY DAY is one to remember.
God bless and I hope you have enough.
*I do implore that you research further ESPECIALLY from professionals. Also, Google what a quirk is. You may believe that you have an OCD. Please, PLEASE don’t wish that on yourself.
**please look past my errors. I’m a writer. Not an editor. I write tragedies and miss apostrophes.