I recently attended the graduation at my son’s school in Conshocken, Pa.
It is called AIM Academy and is a school for learning differences. Although my son was not graduating, I went to hear Dr. Ned Hallowell, a child psychiatrist and expert in the field of ADHD.
Dr. Hallowell spoke about the need to reinforce the positive when speaking about a diagnosis of ADHD. Children should understand with this diagnosis that they are so capable of seeing big pictures and being entrepreneurs.
I believe that he is right, if only by looking at my own family. But the tough part of course, is to get through that academic environment without the negativity of misguided school administrators with expectations that far exceed the ability within the child’s framework.
Without being able to look outside their own box, so to speak, many within the school environment do not understand, accept, or support our kids with ADHD and their abilities.
Yes, abilities that do not shine here….So the question is, how can this child get through this tough very negative environment successfully? I think Dr. Hallowell’s presence sent all of us a message who have kids with ADHD and know their gifts and strengths outside of the academic setting.
I saw my son with ADHD and dyslexia totally enjoying this expert’s speech. He knew it was about him, no negativity, just positivity and the ability to take on the world someday. But the key is someday.
What is the answer to success until then?
I think Dr. Hallowell cornered the answer: One person who is a role model who supports, promotes abilities, reinforces gifts, and diverts him away from negativity, ALL THE TIME. The positive must overtake the negative, and it can. In one brief moment, I saw it happen. A child who understood the seriousness behind the comedy. A child who appreciated being represented as gifted, special and capable.
Yes, we parents are the role models who must step in and support our kids with ADHD.
Not only to support academically but to support WHO they are; to be that special icon of fortitude, positivity, and humor. I can’t think of better characteristics to carry our children with ADHD forward into the world with all of their talents.
Blog post by Karen Lowry, R.N.,M.S.N., a Parent2Parent ADHD Family Trainer for CHADD and ADHD Coach, AAC and blogger for JenningsWire.