Jennifer Gay Summers
Author | Journalist
Does your child go into a meltdown over loud noises? Get nauseous if she smells cigarette smoke or perfume? Run out of the kitchen screaming if you put onion or garlic in her food? She might have sensory processing disorder, commonly associated with ADHD. In this blog, my teenager finds a way to live with her senses:
Welcome to my blog!
I’m a mom and an ex-public school teacher who’s been in the ADHD trenches for the last 20 years, navigating the school system and standing up to those who use judgment as their weapon against differences. At the same time, I’ve watched the gifts of ADHD help my daughter, Lee (pseudonym), blossom into a creative, intuitive, wise young adult.
Raising a child with ADHD is like living on a rollercoaster, riding to the top with your hopes soaring and racing down, holding on with all your strength. In my blog, I write about my crazy and not-so-crazy mom moments to offer encouragement, what insight I’ve gained, and some laughs along the way.
In December, I celebrated seven years of blogging for ADDitude magazine, my favorite national resource for people with ADHD. I’ve been called “Mom’s the Word” for many of those blogs, a name I hold dear to my heart. So often, I’ve felt anything BUT “Mom’s the Word.” My blog is dedicated to all you moms and dads struggling with that same frustration. Together, I believe we can raise awareness and help our children with ADHD succeed.
...After Lee was diagnosed with ADHD, I found out that SPD often accompanied it. We went to an occupational therapist who taught us that a trip to the market wasn’t to be taken lightly. It was a transition for Lee’s brain and body, from one place to the other, and...
...When we told Lee she would have to wait until she was 18 to drive, she was angry. But when her anxiety grew worse in tenth grade, she became fearful. My husband and I went from reassuring her it could wait to encouraging her to give it a try when she turned 18. ...
...I leaned back in my chair, feeling my heart swell. If I had known, when Lee was diagnosed with ADHD, that one day I’d hear these words, it would have given me so much hope. ... “Mom, Alex and I had an argument.” Lee plopped into a chair across from me at the...
Even though I know better, I have this desire to ask questions that put the world right-side-up, especially during this pandemic. But asking the questions that make you feel good can be the ones that push your child over a slippery edge. Here’s a blog where I learn what not to ask:
Valentine’s Day always brought my child’s creative talents to the forefront, as she handmade every friend’s card. It took days, planned in advance, to complete them, but I was thrilled to see her passion. ADHD kids struggle with focusing on what doesn’t interest them, but when it comes to what they love, they have hyperdrive, a razor-sharp focus. Here’s a blog I wrote to celebrate finding your child’s passion:
The first blog I wrote for ADDitude was back when Lee was in seventh grade and hated to shop:
From Calm and Collected at the Mall with My Attention Deficit Daughter-Really!
“Every three months, my daughter comes home from middle school with the top of her Vans peeling off. “No way, Mom, they’re fine. I’m a tomboy. Live with it.” I look down at Lee’s toes, all five peeking through, and we eye each other. We both know what’s coming…the dreaded trip to the mall.” Read more…
In my more recent blog, I talk about the scary transition to middle school, when we parents face the huge challenge of taking a giant step back:
From What No One Ever Told Me About the Middle School Transition with ADHD:
“Despite the September heat, my friend, Melanie, and I set off for a morning walk down one of the steepest hills in our neighborhood. As we left, I could feel she was on the verge of tears and put my arm around her, giving her a quick squeeze. “Josh?” I said.” Read more…
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After being cooped up together for so many months, it’s easy for our family to point the finger at each other when problems crop up. A mistake or feeling of failure can spark anger, even though we know blame doesn’t solve any problems. In this blog, Lee and I tackle blame and personal responsibility:
Shopping Tips for ADHD Children
- Dress them in bright clothing that is easily recognizable.
- Have a plan of where to go before you get in the car.
- Park near the store, if possible.
- Never take your eyes off your child in the store.
- Ask for help to speed things along!
- Look for a cashier with no line.
- Have your money easily accessible. Don’t spend time having to fish it out of your wallet.
- Lee liked to pick up stray pins off the floor in clothing stores. Store clerks loved it. She kept busy nearby while I paid the bill. Just be sure to bring sanitary wipes!
- Keep to your plan…don’t throw in extra stores.
- Lee’s tip: Tell your child she/he will earn a reward for good behavior after the shopping trip is over.