edited: Monday, October 15, 2007
By Joseph G Langen
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2007
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This article is a personal account of an eleven year old girl's struggle with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and is based on an interview with her. The article was originally published in Attention Magazine.
HALEY’S STORY Most of what is written about AD/HD is from the point of view of professionals, teachers, or parents. Little is written from the child’s perspective. Many children are befuddled by AD/HD, or embarrassed to talk about it.
Haley is an articulate ten year old girl who was diagnosed with AD/HD in first grade. Her father is in treatment for cancer. Her parents are divorced. She lives with her father and half brother. She has visitation with her mother who is remarried and has a new baby.
Haley realized there was something different about herself in kindergarten or first grade. She knew there was something was wrong but did not know what. She later learned it was called AD/HD. She sees her parents as both having AD/HD as well as her grandparents. She thinks AD/HD can be genetic for some people. “Parents probably give it to their kids.”
Haley has been on medication since her AD/HD was discovered. “First I was on Ritalin. Then I tried Concerta but it didn’t help. Now I am back on Ritalin twice a day. She does not think her AD/HD will ever go away and does not really care if it does since she is not that bothered by it. She finds that sometimes AD/HD helps her. “I started doodling in class and found out I wanted to be an artist. AD/HD gives me a sense of creativity." She took time out from the interview to show me some of the drawings she had finished or was working on.
She is angry about AD/HD. “It makes me mad at people and makes me blame them. I don’t know how this happens.” On occasion she gets hyper during lunch. “Sometimes I act really goofy. Last week I was squawking like a chicken.”
Her friends have asked her why she is so hyper. She finally decided to tell them she had AD/HD. She explained what she knew about AD/HD to her friends and felt they understood her. Haley finds that with AD/HD she has some trouble keeping friends. “I have mood swings and then get in fights with my friends.” Haley also sometimes gets mouthy with her friends. They yell at her when she does this.
Three girls on the bus still tease her about being “weird, hyperactive and crazy. A lot of kids in school make fun of me for playing with things in class.” She thinks her AD/HD makes school boring for her. As far as subjects, math, gym and health are okay. Science and social studies are good, especially when they do hands on activities. Sometimes school is boring though. She did like micro-school where everyone had a job during the last half hour of the school day. There is a post office, bank, restaurant and court. She works in micro media production as an artist and makes signs for people.
She also has trouble doing her homework. “I lie and say I don’t have any homework so I can spend more time with my father.” She usually does not do homework because it is boring.Also she does not feel she gets enough time to spend with her father.
She would also like to have more time with her mother who has a new baby. “When I don’t do my homework, I get in trouble and am grounded or have to stay after school. She had not thought of talking with her father about having more time together, but decided to try it. Sometimes she tells her father or mother she hates them or doesn’t like them any more.” I don’t really mean it but sometimes I just blurt it out.”
She would also like to see her grandparents more than she does. She takes a second pill when she goes to visit them. She thinks they spoil her. She does not think AD/HD makes any difference to them and does not think her visits with them would be any different if she did not have AD/HD.
Haley has not talked much with other kids who have AD/HD. She knows there are others in her school but does not know who they are. She was in a group for kids whose parents were divorced and remembers there being a couple kids with AD/HD in the group. She would like to be in a group where everybody had AD/HD because they would understand what it is like for her.
She finds it easier to concentrate if what she is doing is fun or if she can work with her hands. She finds it hard to concentrate when her AD/HD is bothering her, when she thinks about her father being sick, or when TV is on.
Haley's is one voice of children with AD/HD. Her circumstances are unique to her and her perspective cannot be generalized to all children with AD/HD. Nevertheless, her story is a reminder that all children have their own understanding of their condition and unique reactions to it.
Knowing your child's perspective on AD/HD and their concerns can be helpful in knowing how to be supportive.
Web Site: Commonsense-Wisdom
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|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
No one knows until they've been there, or been educated through informative writes like this; thank you for writing this. I, myself, don't understand AD/HD, however, this tells me what children who have it go through. (My best friend has 3 children--out of 4--with AD/HD. Don't you know she's 'bout to pull her hair out!) Well done, and thank you for sharing Haley's story.
(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.