Friday, April 09, 2010

New thinking

I'm currently reading this book. Not super long. Basically an overview of ADHD.

Reading the book has me convinced that Biniam has it. I'm also convinced that we're managing it pretty well for now. Eventually we may make the decision to medicate, but for now, he's doing well without it.

As it turns out, there are many, MANY amazing personality traits that go along with ADHD. So very many creative, ambitious people throughout history would most likely be classified as having ADHD today.

I've read some things in the book that I didn't expect to read. Our family is not involved in tons of activities and I was wondering if we might need to make some changes, if maybe Biniam would need to be doing more "stuff". Interestingly though, the book actually recommends cutting things OUT of your schedule, that children with ADHD actually DON'T necessarily benefit from being in a bunch of structured activities. I also was concerned about homeschool vs. public school...but this book (which is by no means pro-homeschool or anything like that) talks about how what they need is good time just interacting at home, within their family. That they need time with mom and dad, engaging in familial relationships. That coupled with things I've read online actually make Biniam a GREAT candidate to be taught at home.

Finding out some of this stuff is definitely causing me to think about ADHD in a whole new way. It may be listed in the DSM-IV as a disorder, but now I'm thinking of it more in terms of a series of personality traits that my son lives with. Just like anything, they can make some things more difficult, but they can also prove to be amazingly positive.

Last week I met some girlfriends for coffee. By the time we left the restaurant's play area, Biniam had made friends with several children and adults there. He likes saying hi to people, asking how they are. He calmly sits down near them and engages them in conversation. People generally respond well and he wins them over pretty quickly. :)

That is so not my personality--I'm terribly shy and introverted. I was just never that kid. But Biniam is. People come to our house and their kids are excited to see him. They think he's really fun. I recently showed up somewhere with just Mary, and my friend's son immediately asked, "Where's Biniam?" He's kind and outgoing, enthusiastic (!), and very much at ease with other people. These are positives. I admire these things in him. And they are related to his ADHD.

Yes it is hard when he gets upset at home and has a really hard time calming down. Or when he can't find his shoes for the millioneth time in a week. OR when he carelessly spills his cup of milk at breakfast AND at lunch. (Can you see my blood pressure rising?) But I'm getting better at handling the little annoying things, and really delighting in the positives.

The label of ADHD is so not a "pass" for misbehavior. We maintain high expectations for our kids. Yet gaining an understanding of what it is, and what it isn't, is already making a world of difference. I'm thinking about ADHD in new ways, and gaining even more of an appreciation for my son. It really doesn't get any better than that!


Jeannett said...

So glad you are feeling "okay" about it all...well, as okay as you can you know?

You guys are great parents, and Biniam will be awesome!

Joanie said...

Love these thoughts - great perspective from the book and from you!

J & A said...

You are very, very lucky and blessed to have Biniam's ADHD so manageable - that 'disorder' (I like your classification of it as traits!) can be so incredibly debilitating especially if paired with OCD or depression or any number of other afflictions. I still remember my parents struggling through the diagnosis of my sister's ADHD (plus about a million other things) and the subsequent toll it had on our family. Of course, they were nowhere as calm or as patiently loving about it as you seem to be, which is probably the kicker. Biniam's so blessed to have you, Kevin, and his siblings!!! (As you are to have him!) :-)

Charla Liedahl said...

Hi Brianna--You have such a wonderful attitude about this new season in your life. I will keep your family in prayeer as Biniam grows into the person God designed him to be.

Shana said...

So many of his traits you mentioned sound like our Biniam. In our case, we do medicate, and it is a MUST to get through the day. But hopefully you won't even have to get to that point. I have also noticed that Biniam needs down-time at home, just to keep things simple. It's hard when he's 15 and wants to go play, and he feels like he's being punished. But I can always tell when he's being overextended and just needs to chill at home.


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