I am not a scientist or a medical doctor. I don’t even play one on tv. My husband is a doctor, but he is not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or pediatrician. So much of what we know about ADHD comes from first hand experience in our very own home since about 1995 when it first began to rear its adorable head in our eldest spawn.
I did not always, but now firmly believe that ADHD is a real neurological disorder or brain difference. I can find plenty of evidence to support that, as in actual bona fide peer reviewed academic research that proves that children and adults with the hallmark traits of ADHD have observable variations in the frontal lobe which cause problems with focus and attention (not a lack of it, but inability to pay it to the thing they’re supposed to at any given moment), impulse control, and hyperactivity. This cluster of traits affects everything from learning to lack of awareness of their own body in space to ability to make friends and maintain relationships. Recent studies even suggest that people with ADHD have weak eye muscles and too much histamine. Huh. Funny how my one son wears corrective lenses for weak eye muscles and regularly breaks out in hives.
If you want to believe that it is not a real thing and that all these children and adults need is more discipline or play less video games, well, there is just no talking to you. It’s true that you can find experts out there who will back you up on your skepticism. It is widely believed that ADHD is overdiagnosed and overmedicated. This is probably right, but doesn’t mean that ADHD doesn’t exist at all. If you believe it is not real, obviously you don’t live at my house. I suspect that is the viewpoint of someone who has not seen it up close. These unbelievers have not watched students in the classroom or a spouse or their own child suffer because of this allegedly made up problem.
ADHD tends to be familial, connected to a gene passed down from fathers to sons primarily, but girls are also sometimes the proud recipient of the family legacy.
I’m sounding negative. I don’t mean to . There are also some very cool things about the people in my life who have ADHD.
Here are a few:
Barrel of laughs
I’m feeling defensive about it today because of how it leaves my boys often left out of things. Other kids tolerate them, but they end up spending a lot of time alone. Naturally fitting in doesn't happen. Kids with ADHD are intense, driven, and sometimes blurt out the very first thing that pops into their heads with no regard to whether that thing should be spoken aloud. They have a tendency to put other kids and adults off.
It’s hard to see your people who you love suffer and feel isolated. Having others suggest that it’s because of bad parenting just makes it worse. I even had a good friend tell me that she just thinks one of our sons difficulties are caused not because of his diagnosed ADHD but because he is "weird...because, you know, you guys are weird."
What are you gonna do.