Updated: Jun 4, 2021
Having a child who is diagnosed with ADHD can be a stressful time. Learning to support and set your child up for success at home and at school can be a challenge, learning to implement tools to help your child succeed can be overwhelming. Liam was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in the 1st grade and by all means I do not have all the answers, but I hope by sharing what I have learned and what works for us it will help others feel supported.
ADHD stands for Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and every child shows different signs and needs support in different areas. Some children are more on the hyperactive end and some children can be more on the attention deficit end or both! Although Liam was always a very active child it wasn't until he got to school that his struggle with focusing really stood out. Liam struggled with being able to finish one task before moving onto another, sitting without fidgeting, and following multiple step directions. At home it was often a challenge for Liam to complete multistep requests, for example if I ask Liam to get dressed, brush his teeth, and make his bed. He would complete the getting dressed, but get distracted before completing the other tasks. As a parent it is difficult to notice your child needs extra support, and not entirely sure where and watching Liam everyday have something to report from school was tough for me let alone how tough it must of been for him because he couldn't help his actions. At school he would have tough days and get spoken to for talking out of turn or not being able to sit the whole time on the rug, He would come home with piles of unfinished work that we would have to do and return to school because he was unable to complete the work in the time that was given in class. After going though this for some time I spoke to his doctor about it at his check up and it made sense to have him tested. The testing process included input from his teacher, parents, and group observation after this was all submitted and reviewed by a specialist he was officially diagnosed. Being diagnosed by a specialist allowed us to request accommodations in school. Liam's accommodations included things like extra time on assignments and/or tests, being able to take more breaks, and being allowed a fidget tool during rug time etc. At home I observed and noticed Liam was very focused on time it seemed to help him feel in control of his day and that helped him stay on track. We also noticed that taking frequent breaks helps Liam not feel overwhelmed for example if we wanted Liam to read for 30 min a day breaking it up throughout the day by 10-15 min here and there helped him retain what he is reading rather then rushing through. We used a schedule not just for reading but for his whole day it helps him know what to expect and how to approach every part of his day. Implementing all these tools takes patience and requires moments of stopping and putting ourselves in their shoes. When reading and researching how to help children with ADHD thrive something I read stuck with me and that was "imagine how hard and overwhelming and sometimes scary it can be to have all your surroundings heightened and distracting you at all times and you cant turn it off". That's what most children with ADHD experience and it can be extremely discouraging if no one around understands. For a long time this was really tough on me and hard to find patience at the end of the day when your already extremely drained from the normal daily demands. Always remember its OK to take breaks and practice self care in fact its needed and 100% necessary to keep going and being the best you for the little bunnies who need us!