Jennifer Gay Summers

Author | Journalist 

May

As the mother of a child with ADHD, I longed for a day when my child could self-advocate and “fix” her problems all by herself. But, when the day came, I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of emptiness that flooded my heart as I let go:

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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.

Blogs

Related

When ADHD and Sports Don’t Mix

When ADHD and Sports Don’t Mix

This month’s blog is for those of you parents who are having trouble finding the right sport for your child with ADHD. Does your child get easily distracted right in the middle of a game? Does she have problems following the coach’s rules? Do you find yourself pleading with her to give the sport just one more chance? Follow me as I set out to find answers, only to miss the one staring me right in the face.

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Less Than Perfect

Less Than Perfect

This month’s blog is for all the moms who’ve ever felt like the world’s worst mother at one time or another. And, it’s especially for those of you struggling to parent a young child with ADHD or any other difficult challenges. Balancing your needs with those of your...

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Speak Up!

Speak Up!

For many children with ADHD, one of the most difficult skills to learn is how to self-advocate. But, it becomes critical when they go to high school and into adult life. In today’s world, where so many kids struggle with anxiety or depression, learning to advocate is a skill not to be underestimated.

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April

Spring vacation can be a challenge when your child with ADHD also struggles with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). When you travel out of town to a different environment, sensory meltdowns can be tough to handle. In this blog, just going with the flow shows our family what really matters:

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March

One of the most important skills a child with ADHD needs is self-advocacy. But, when, how, and where do they get exposed to it? In high school, it becomes even more critical to speak up. Here’s a blog where Lee found her voice and, despite my joy, this milestone came with an unexpected consequence for me:

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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:

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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!:

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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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February

It’s February, the month we celebrate love, and when I look at my young adult with ADHD, there’s so much to love! Throughout the years of Lee’s childhood, I advocated for Lee’s ADHD, SPD, learning disabilities, and anxiety, hoping one day my child would be confident enough to take over this role. In this blog, my dream finally came true, just not in the way I’d envisioned it:

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HOMEWORK TIPS
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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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:

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