ADHD Strikes

Since June, we’ve officially known that RR has ADHD and a remarkably slow processing speed. We suspected before (or we wouldn’t have had her tested) since she is both vibrating with life and blissfully inattentive on the regular. We wondered if it was interfering with her ability to learn (it was) and with her ability to make friends (it might be). So now we’re fully in the throes of making life as consistent and as motivating as possible.

At least, I see it that way. All the efforts to make sure she knows when to brush her teeth hinge on early preparation, reminders, and motivators. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has an almost 10 year old who wouldn’t dress in the mornings if her clothes weren’t already laid out and waiting for her. But maybe I am. So now her parents have a fleet of routines to follow and reminders to set in place and I’m pretty much exhausted by that already. On the plus side, it’s actually working and, if we remember to remind her to pick out clothes, we can start a chain reaction that includes getting dressed, eating, brushing teeth and hair, and putting shoes on all by a reasonable time in the morning. This is a triumph.

This is also exhausting (for me). I don’t like feeling as though everything has to be done the same way every time or keeping a list of all the trigger actions we have to take to get the chain reactions we’re looking for. But I dislike reminders more than I dislike routine so, here we are. We’re also motivating her with gold coins (Brazilian 25 cent pieces) in a jar which I’m halfway against (come on child, just get the bedtime routine done, please) but more in favor of than sticker stars or U.S. money.

Speaking of money, RR has a very blasé attitude about it all: Why do we even need money, mama, why can’t we just trade for things? Money is not a motivator.

So now we have some extra services at school. This is better than what we heard from the specialist at the end of last year which was that RR was looking at others’ papers rather than doing her own work. When reframed, it looks entirely like ADHD and not malicious intent. I still don’t love the specialist but her demeanor has changed entirely now that there’s a diagnosis at hand.

I hope this doesn’t make things needlessly hard for RR. While I feel like we can get a handle on the inattentive part of it all, the slow processing speed could hurt her ability to form close friendships as she gets older. That’s heartbreaking to think about, so I don’t.

5 Responses

  1. My girl was diagnosed a few years ago – there’s a lot I want to say here, but instead, let’s get together and chat soon.

  2. Aw geez, I feel you on a lot of this. Keeping routines and creating schedules also helps Ansel thrive (as is often the case with ASD) and I am constantly worried about what their life will look like socially. So, you know, YES. I hear you, I see you, I feel you. Parenting is fucking hard.

  3. I was diagnosed with ADD at about RR’s age. Honestly, the best thing my parents did for me was put me on medication. I had a really hard time with math and people until I was on it, I remember being at the kitchen table for hours doing multiplication tables and just not getting it, and I’d always impulsively say the wrong things around others. After I began taking a low dose of Ritalin, I could focus on things I wanted to focus on, not on whatever seemed shiny to my brain, and there grew a filter between my brain and my mouth, so I wasn’t saying everything that popped into my head all the time.

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