When I was young I was always in trouble– if I wasn’t in trouble with my parents I was in trouble with the teachers. I always had a hard time staying still, staying quiet when I needed to or keeping my hands to myself. I was a problem child and was hard to manage (my poor parents). I was diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) at about the age of 5. Back then I felt like something was wrong with me, but felt that to be my “excuse” when I got in trouble as well. That flew with everyone else, but not my parents. I grew up in a strict household, as I’ve mentioned before, so trying to be a quite and regular 5-year-old was even harder in my household.
How bad was I? “Dennis The Menace” ring a bell? My uncle nick-named me that when I had poked some woman in the butt with a pin and ran away. I had escaped the sight of my babysitter and went wandering around the department store. I saw a pin on the floor and as I turned the corner I see this big woman bending over with her butt in the air as if it was a sign! Clearly, I had to poke her, right? Now it’s hilarious, but back then I had got in so much trouble. Eventually, my mother upped the ante and I had to be tied up with a freaking leash! Can you believe I had got that bad my mom went to those extremes? And even with the “leash” I’d still go wondering around and get tangled up with everything and everyone in sight. Nobody could hold me back!
I was eventually put on Ritalin which my mom hated, but if she didn’t then she’d be looked at as a negligent parent. I can’t even recall if it helped me, all I remember was going to the nurses office to get my daily dosage. For those who are unfamiliar, Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Basically given to children/adults who are disruptive or a menace to themselves and others.
I couldn’t stay still and was all over the place with my body and mouth, haha. I just kept thinking of better things to do or say when the teacher was talking so I’d act on it and get in trouble. Imagine being a carefree individual, okay child, and being scorned for it! Unbelievable. With all my “issues” my grades weren’t that great because I didn’t know what was going on and could never concentrate on just one thing.
Once my mom eventually stopped giving me the Ritalin she had to take other measures to keep me on track. We hired tutor after tutor and none worked except for one that my 1st grade teacher introduced us to. She was an amazing person who had retired from teaching, her name was Mrs. Joyce Housman. Mrs. Housman would come to my home all the time and teach me what was being taught in class with more ease and patience– it helped tremendously. Once I moved on to middle-school she was still in my life, not in the tutoring-type of way, but more in a supportive way. My mom had enrolled me in Huntington Learning Center for a couple of years.
I don’t know if it was the program that helped me or me finally realizing I had to think about a future and settle down, but eventually I was getting serious about school. People have this misconception that people who have ADD or ADHD are dumb or slow– that’s not it at all. We just need a lot of attention. So having a tutor, going to a program, and getting after-school help, helped me out a lot. For more information on ADD please read NY Times overview on it.
You would think that having ADD would be a disadvantage because we are put in a box as being diagnosed with a mental health issue, but it’s not. I strongly believe it’s not a metal health issue, these scientist or whoever just want to diagnose people to make them seem superior to the rest of us and make the bug bucks.
I think getting help for your child is extremely important and I’m not talking about solely medicating them with pill after pill. Pills period are not good. I was on Ritalin for just a short-time and it did help according to my mom, but having that extra push by my mom, teacher and program was extremely helpful. We just need that one-on-one without the distraction of other people or things– it’s hard and it’s a long road, but being patient and persistent on working with your child is needed.
Now as an adult my ADD is both amusing and annoying. I’m always talking about one thing and then in a split second I’m talking about something else or I’ll think I had said something, but in actuality had said it only in my mind and never out loud. I can’t even stay focused on a subject. I think this helps in that I can be sociable with everyone, I don’t have those awkward moments of silence with anyone because I make myself relate-able to my surroundings. So that’s a plus 🙂
Patience? What does that even mean? I have very little and the little I have is strictly towards Ziana– no one or anything else. I am the definition of a Type-A personality. Everything has to keep moving at a fast pace. This helps in me multitasking at any job. I was always doing more than three things at a time and was efficient.
Think before you speak? If I haven’t learned to do that now, I don’t think I ever will. I blurt whatever comes to mind whether it’s good or bad. And what may sound bad to you sounds fine to me which is why I initially said it anyways. Sometimes what comes out is just stupid/funny like having a Jessica Simpson moment (which I have a lot of) or brilliant ideas that you couldn’t even think of.
Staying still is a huge task I need to work on, haha. I hate being stuck in one spot or one place so moving around is ideal for me. Long drives to Pennsylvania is torturous for me! Sure I can go on pitstops along the way, but I hate wasting time (sigh).
With every downside you believe you may have there’s always an upside. Don’t let any diagnosis define you or your child– your actions and ways help define them.