Jennifer Gay Summers
Author | Journalist
January was a challenging month when Lee was a teenager. She dreaded the long stretch of school ahead that would intensify her anxiety disorder. Many days of school absences piled up, and I felt helpless. In this blog, a friend advised tough love, but that was always the last thing that Lee needed:
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.
For my fellow parents who are raising kids with ADHD and other special needs, here is a blog to give you some inspiration for the new year. Long ago, I chose a gift of a little stone with “Love” on it as my talisman to keep me going through the difficult times. In my blog, find yours, and the inspiration for a wonderful year ahead!
Holidays, for an ADHD child, can quickly turn from a celebration of exhilarating joy to an overstimulated meltdown. Here are some tips experience taught me over the last two decades, as I discovered how to help my child cope with the highs and lows of the festive...
As ADHD Awareness Month comes to a close, I wanted to share with you a blog that tackles one of a parent’s hardest challenges. Homework was the evil demon my child and I struggled with, especially after she spent a long day tolerating a classroom environment. If you...
The holidays are here, along with invitations to parties and family get-togethers. For our kids with ADHD who suffer from social anxiety, this can be a mixed bag of excitement and dread. In this blog, Lee finds the courage to attend a party, only to discover a new best friend:
Making and keeping friends is difficult for a child with ADHD, from paying attention to understanding social cues. Nothing was worse for this mom than to see my child alone amongst her peers, feeling left out. In this blog, I rejoice as middle school comes to her rescue:
Finding a good Mommy and Me, then Preschool, for Lee brought me face to face with both the struggles and gifts of ADHD. Here’s a blog where I learned what she needed:
From Every Child with ADHD Needs a Miss Ellie:
Middle School arrives with a host of challenges for our ADHD kids. Lee’s forgetfulness caused multiple problems. Here’s a blog where the IEP team came to our rescue…almost:
From If Only Little Robots Could Keep my ADHD Child on Track!:
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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As the mother of a child with ADHD, one of my pet peeves was when Lee gave an explanation to a teacher, and it was labeled an excuse. I know it can be a fine line between the two, but there are times, like in this blog, when it’s dangerous to ignore the truth:
Children with ADHD:
- Homework time: Lee always needed a break after school to decompress. Other children might learn better by tackling homework immediately. In either case, it’s best to establish a time that works for your child and stick with it.
- Homework corner: Lee preferred the kitchen table, big enough for me to join her with snacks and keep her on task. Two separate folders, one for homework she brought home, and one for homework when she completed it, were left at the table to take to school. And, a file box for completed assignments the teacher returned on a nearby bench, in case we needed to refer back to them.
- Scheduled breaks: Lee needed a five-minute break every 20 minutes due to her hyperactivity. Setting a timer helped bring her back to the kitchen table.
- Respecting Limits: When Lee grew too frustrated to finish her homework, we stopped and wrote a note to the teacher, explaining the situation. Most teachers worked with us to limit the workload, but if they didn’t, we stopped anyway. Homework, to me, wasn’t worth Lee losing her self-confidence, the most precious gift for a child with ADHD.
High School for Lee was like climbing Mount Everest. In this blog, she finds a volunteer job that helped her cope, giving her a much-needed sense of confidence:
From Writing Fix: How my Daughter Got Beyond Dysgraphia: