Unlocking ADHD writer Lee Chia Ming shares his thoughts as the father of a gifted child with ADHD.
Being a parent of a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is going to be a journey that we, as parents, are blessed with to travel with our precious ones. We get to co-discover the depths of talent they possess, if only we can truly listen to them, find the right support along the way, and help them unlock their minds so that they can adapt and excel in life.
And as the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’ to create the right conditions for our child to gradually come to terms with what the neuro-typical world expects of them, which makes the simple, everyday activities of a child so frustrating. It takes all members of the team to help our kids understand that it is OK, and that our love for them is unconditional, and that with the right help, life does not have to be what our own parents’ generation has survived and relied on: ‘suffering’.
This is not to diminish what our parents have sacrificed for us in order to get us where we are, but know that the world has changed. Technology is as much a blessing as it is punishing task master when it comes to being a necessity, an addiction, and possibly worse. The pandemic has brought a belated attention on our children, with ADHD/VAST (variable attention stimulus trait) or neurotypical. The world of a growing child has changed and there are plenty of evidence that their mental health has taken a hit, even before the pandemic*. What in our mind makes us think that our children are any different, let alone not anticipate greater challenges for them.
What I have realized over this past year of ‘navigating’ the crisis with our ‘twice exceptional’ (hence 2e) child, was that every child is an individual, and that path would be one that has to be tailored as we travel because not all the traditional support from professionals will work in our specific situation. Try as one (and with your spouse/co-parent) may, expect road blocks, frustrating failures and wrong turns, setbacks, moments of desperation and tears, but we must never lose sight of the inner child in our little ones.
Most of the time, there is still that deep need for us to show them how much we love, cherish and approve of them, and that guilt truly messes up their world view of what is normal and have provided that sense of security they have always counted on. And we need to have that presence of mind to seize any moment of clarity, or chaos, to really hear what they are telling us, give them the grace and space to find their voice, so that we can preserve and consolidate the bond that would make a difference in the long run.
Please know that there is hope and lots of heart. We are not alone in this – we are different in what our child needs. There are people out there to reach out to who are willing and ready to share their experience. Many contributing to the Unlocking ADHD website will provide a myriad of background information and resources, that will definitely come in handy as we be the strength and guiding light for those little ones that we are blessed to be parents of.
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