How do you Describe ADHD?

As a person with ADHD when I see my son do things I understand it. I know that it is an impulsivity. He has no control over things he does,  but very often feels bad afterwards. A perfect example is last night he and his brother were fighting over stuffed animals. Keep in mind Matthew is only 3 and Garrett is 8. Matthew starts to throw a fit and pushes his brother. Garrett irritated and over the fit impulsively slapped his brother in the face.Now yes both kids got in trouble and Garrett felt really bad afterwards. He is not a bad child, he actually is most compassionate and won virtue of the month at his school for Kindness. I say this so those of you who say he just needs more discipline will shut up! The problem is that he really didn’t have control over it. His body went faster than the common sense to stop, there was no time to “think before you act”. Part of this makes my heart ache for him because he is getting punished for something that was beyond his control, while knowing that he has to be disciplined and learn.

I subscribe to a magazine that is the most wonderful resource for kids and adults with ADD/ADHD. It’s called ADDitude. Today in one of there emails I received a link to a wonderful article that will explain to you AND your child about ADHD.Here is the part I really liked:

Jeremy and his parents seem tense. Jeremy, his baseball cap on backward, stares at a spot on the floor, as if he wants to be somewhere else. Mom and Dad lean forward, looking at me with anticipation and fear written on their faces.

I get to the point. “I have great news for you. We’ve learned a lot about you, Jeremy, and guess what? You have an amazing brain. Your brain is incredible.”

Jeremy looks up, and Mom and Dad lean back a bit. “Your brain is like a Ferrari. Do you know what a Ferrari is?” Jeremy nods, smiling. “Well, your brain is like a Ferrari race-car engine. It is very powerful. With the right care, you will win many races in your life.”

I pause. “But there is one problem.” Parents and son shoot looks at me. “You have bicycle brakes. Your brakes are not strong enough to control the powerful brain you’ve got. So, sometimes, you race past places where you mean to stop, or you ignore instructions you mean to hear. But don’t worry. I am a brake specialist. I will help you strengthen your brakes, so you can become the champion you are.” For the next 15 minutes, we discuss the race-car brain outfitted with bicycle brakes.

Here is a direct link to this article. It is sometimes very hard to explain to a person who does not “get it” how you can’t help it. If you or your child have ADD/ADHD how do you explain it?


2 Responses

  1. Post-it Note says:
    I love this story! It totally made me cry! It's hard for me to think of what to say to a child but this is really good. I think I understand so much better myself and ADHD and how to think of it for my own perspective and coping strategies than how to talk to my son or help him (although I thought I'd be so perfectly prepared). It's hard to watch my 5 year old coming into it. In the past couple months he has been really forgetting things. This reminds me of one time I was walking down a hall and remembered something I had forgotten and I quickly turned right around to go get it and ran right into my friend's dad. I was surprised that he wasn't annoyed with me and after I apologized he said, it's okay, you just don't have any brake lights. Obviously the whole Ferrari analogy is an analogy not literal but it still reminds me of that experience and I think my friend's dad knew that I was always going a million miles an hour and not always able to stop and control myself even though I wanted to.Paige
  2. Great article! As an elementary teacher I have worked with many students that had ADD/ADHD. I love the analogy of teaching kids to use their brakes. It's important for parents and teachers to be "brake specialists". Thanks for following my blog, I followed right back and look forward to reading more about this topic! Lisa Criss-Cross Applesauce

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