25 Apr The Gray Area of ADHD
We are faced with choices daily.
Some black and white, and others very gray.
So, what do you do with the gray areas?
One gray area we’ve been struggling with is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Having worked with children who severely struggle with ADHD, we realize that our son’s struggles could be worse. We also realize that his struggle is real.
We haven’t shared much about our ADHD concerns or journey, because through diet and different learning modifications, it has been manageable.
Also, because many who interact with our son will say, “he doesn’t have ADHD, he’s just being a boy!“or “he just has a lot of energy!” Others don’t say it but may even feel “he’s just being disobedient”.
Having had hands on experience working with children with ADHD and unique learning styles, both my husband and I have always held this little thought in our minds that ADHD is a strong possibility with our son; but this doesn’t define him at all.
We made the decision a while ago, that because this isn’t severe, we would not medicate, but modify. This means teaching to his learning style, and monitoring his diet.
How do you know your child fights ADHD if they haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor?
We had the opportunity to have our son diagnosed by his pediatrician, but chose not to for many different reasons. I’ll have to create a separate post to share more about that choice:
Some of the behaviors we’ve notice with our son are:
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Easily distracted
- Difficulty staying focused for any extended period of time (unless its hands on)
- Struggles waiting his turn
- Difficulty sitting still
- Takes longer to complete simple tasks than most
- Poor impulse control
- Struggles to solve problems or independently
Now, there’s age and gender “norms” and then there’s outside of the “norm”. This is where the gray area comes in, but also my years of experience working with children, and educational background.
I wouldn’t say our son is completely out of the “normal” range. But I can say these are things that he admits to struggling with, and sometimes with tears in his eyes. Not only do I pray about it, but often times when we pray before bedtime, he’s wrestling in prayer over it as well. It truly is a battle for him, and he can’t understand why others don’t have the same struggles.
How do we know when it’s an issue of disobedience?
With a lot of prayer and discernment, we have set really clear expectations and boundaries for our son. We understand and empathize with his struggle, but we also expect certain behaviors. For example we expect first time obedience, but we also extend a lot of grace.
We expect eye contact, but we also know we will have to coach hand guide throughout our conversations. We expect listening, but we also know we have to use as few words as possible and have our son repeat what he heard.
Because of our expectations, we have all come to know when we are dealing with a heart issue and when we are dealing with a mind issue. Ultimately mind issues stem from the heart so we continue to address the heart no matter what.
Why Are we Discussing this Now?
Now that it is possible our son will attend a homeschool program through a local school, we’ve been a bit concerned about how he will manage.
And not so much how he will manage, but how others will manage or address his unique learning style and thought process. As we pray for our son and his out-of-the-home schooling opportunity, we are trusting that God has equipped us to teach him the skills necessary in this next season.
We have chosen not to use the terminology ADHD with our son, giving him no excuses. But we have also made the decision to continue to educate ourselves on the disorder, so that we can further educate our son on why he may struggle more than others with certain areas.
We have taught him that we all struggle with certain issues.
We all must struggle daily with our sin nature. Couple that sin nature with differences in the chemical composition of the brains of ADHD kids and those struggles are magnified. ~ Marcy with benandme.com
This is a struggle we all will fight through together. He is unique. His learning style is different. He is special in our eyes and God’s eyes. We affirm him and believe that through Christ, he can do all things. The struggle is real, but he is more than a conqueror!