Over the past weeks I have been coming to the computer to write and then realizing that I wasn't ready yet. I have been reading some books on ADHD. I have been thinking about what this all means. I have also been working with my son on some challanges he is having now that the first grade adventure has started.
The first book I read was by Dr Barkley and it was a bit depressing, I thought it would be more fun because of that great big dog Barkley on Sesame Street. Turns out it wasn't the same dog and in fact it was a human! The book did have a practical tool at the end, the suggestion and explanation of having a points system to help with behavior. I downloaded an App called Kidzpoints to help me track it because I am very likely to misplace a chart, and forget to put poker chips in a jar (as it suggested.) We have done it for a week and it seems to help with a few things, like calm hallway behavior. I would say the program and my son are still in the honeymoon phase and he may decide it's for the birds next week. I hope not.
I also found a book called The Gift of ADHD. From this I found some interesting things, I also found a lot of anti-medical worldview. I am not all about drugging my kid but I thought the book was kind of rude about it. There was hope in the book though, and something else happend. I recognized myself in some of it. It put everything in a positive way and explained how people with ADHD feel the feelings of others very intensely. Most people feel it a little but but for ADHD folk, they feel it much more. It said that children with ADHD feel the emotions of others but they don't really know where it is coming from, and then they act it out to try and understand it. So say, student Susie is having a bad day and very angry, if they sit next to her they will start to feel her anger. They actually feel it is there own anger and they might just throw a fit and act angry to understand it.
I thought that was cool. I thought about how my husband and my daughter cannot "feel" others emotions at all, and how I have trouble sitting near certain people at church if they are going through a hard time because I feel the emotion so much that it is overwhelming. I am also drawn to comfort them, but some days if have my own things going on it's just too intense to handle. I usually push myself to handle it anyway because if I feel that much, they must be feeling so much more and need a hug.
After my information gathering was done (is it ever really done?) I went into reflective mode. I have been going through the daily routine and pondering in the back of my head what all of this means. We are still the same family that we were two years ago but we also have a better sense of self, and it's amazing how we all fit together. Some of us can tune in to emotional needs, but when we become overly emotional and flipping out we have other members of our family who can keep a cool head and tell it like it is without feeding off our energy.
At the end of my pondering I came up with this: We are who we were made to be. We don't have disorders or syndromes (although the labels will help us to find tools to make ourselves better people. ) We are simply people, who happen to be neurologically wired differently from the majority of humans. We are part of a body. The body has many parts, and if everyone was a foot then we wouldn't be able to think, if everyone was a head we wouldn't be able to step forward. We were created to have these "quirks" for a reason.
As with anyone, neurotypical (normal) or autistic, we all need to grow and change and become the very best version of ourselves we can, but we must make sure we still remain ourselves through that process.
I would never want my son to lose his zest for life, his enthusiasm, or his energy. I would however, prefer he learn to sit down during circle time instead of running around the room tackling people. I would never want my daughter to lose her ability to notice tiny details and give amazing insights. I would like her to be able to have more back and forth conversations though, so that she could hear other peoples insights as well. I wouldn't want to lose my ability to feel peoples emotions and give them comfort, Although I would really like to stop losing my keys, train of thought, coffee mug, and car in the parking lot.