Who Do You Tell About Your Child’s ADHD?

I have spoken many times about talking to your child- and to your family- about your child’s ADHD diagnosis and how it is being treated. And I have spoken about talking to people close to you about how it affects every aspect of your and your child’s life. I have also spoken about talking to your ADHD child’s school and teachers about it, and asking for their help, especially since we do not have a formal individual education plan in South Africa.

There’s one aspect of talking about your child’s ADHD that I’ve never covered here.

Talking to your boss.

Are you frowning at your screen?

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Think about it.

If you have a school-age ADHDer, how many times a month do you need to ask your boss for time off to dash to the school for an emergency of some kind, attend a meeting at the school, or take your child to the doctor?

Speech therapy, occupational therapy, extra lessons, play therapy, seeing your ADHD treatment specialist, psycho-therapy and various other appointments can’t always be scheduled after working hours or for weekends. If you’re lucky your child may have access to some therapy specialists at his or her school, but that doesn’t happen very often. This means asking for time off for various doctor’s appointments for your ADHD child. And since ADHD children are often overly adventurous because they can’t imagine the consequences, you may spend a lot of time getting stitches and x-rays too, which means suddenly having to leave work early or going in late because you’ve had to get to an emergency room. And I’m speaking from experience here.

Sadly, there is such a pall of shame associated with having an ADHD child that most parents would rather nobody knew about it, and whilst I hate to compare ADHD to other illnesses and disabilities, I can illustrate my viewpoint better with an example. Keeping quiet would not apply if your child was afflicted with a visible disability, or an illness like asthma or diabetes. Asthmatic or diabetic children have everyone and their dog know about it because their parents want to make sure people are aware of problematic symptoms and can take steps to prevent a potential problem, or contact mom should the need arise. If your child was physically disabled you wouldn’t be ashamed to tell people, and in all likelihood your bosses and colleagues would know about it too. If your child had a physical disability, or cancer or asthma or diabetes, you would probably be asked what to do in an emergency- or how to handle your child in general.

But we don’t talk about it.

And as a result of never talking, we as parents are labelled as lax or negligent.

In my opinion- and again this is a lesson I took too long to learn- everyone you interact with on a regular basis will be affected by your child’s ADHD at some point (directly or indirectly), and they should know about it. Whether they “believe” ADHD is a real problem or not, they need to understand that it is very real for you and for your child. And it will affect your job on occasion.

Telling your employer you have a special needs child means that they are forewarned for when you need to dash off to yet another doctor’s appointment, or are summoned to the school or aftercare again. Your boss knowing you have a special needs child may make him or her a little sympathetic when you come to work with puffy eyes after crying yourself to sleep for the third night in a row. Telling your employer doesn’t mean you are looking for sympathy- your boss is not a social worker or a shrink after all- but your employer needs to know when there’s something going on that can affect your job.

And telling your boss you are raising a special needs child creates awareness in another person, who may well be dealing with a special needs child themselves.

My Heart Is Broken

I lost my Taxi cat on Saturday. I am quite the basket case right now, I keep bursting into tears. I’ve been blogging about him and my loss on my cats’ blog though, if you want to read more its all over there.

I miss him dreadfully. I keep expecting to see him stroll down the passage towards me.

An Alphabet Meme

I found this here meme on acidicice’s blog, and she stole this from Alida who found it on Drovers Run! I love how the interweb gets smaller on blogs!

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Age– 37. Good lawd.

Bed size– Queen extra length. I think we could do with a bigger one, but I do like being close to my Glugster. We usually share the bed with at least 3 of our cats, and if I’m home all day watching movies playing on the internet doing admin I’ll have as many of 5 of our 6 furbabies on the bed with me!

Chore you hate– All of them! There’s not one I enjoy or ever will! I would have several servants if I could afford them!

Dogs– We have 2 dogs, Thelma and Louise. They were adopted from Wetnose and have been with us for almost a year now.

Essential start to your day– Nothing really. I have an alarm that goes off early to let the dogs out of the house and wake Damien up, but there’s nothing I have to do to get moving.

Favourite colour– I love power colours, red and purple being two of my favourites. 🙂

Gold or silver– Silver thank you, although my wedding ring is white gold.

Height– 1.64m which is a tad on the short side 😛

Instruments that you can play– None! Can you believe it!?!

Job title– I am The Cupcake Lady!

Kids– One, and technically he’s not a kid anymore- my knucklehead just turned 20! I do so long to have a baby with my Glugster though… but we won’t go there.

Live– In a suburb of Johannesburg.

Mom’s name– Mommy darling. 😛 I call her “ma”.

Nicknames– Erm… Boobalicious? Babe? None really.

Overnight hospital stays– My first was when the knucklehead was born and I’ve had 3 stays for asthma plus complications.

Pet peeve– Oy… where to start!? People who don’t buckle their kids into car seats. Cellphones in movie theatres. Road hogs. Children with no manners. Inconsiderate neighbours.

Quote from a movie– “Who cares what psychiatrists write on walls?” Twelve Monkeys. I LOVE this movie! Brad Pitt is genius!

Righty or lefty– Righty.

Siblings– Two sisters and a brother.

Time you wake up– It varies. On weekdays I have a 6h30 alarm to wake the knucklehead for work so he’ll have enough time to take a shower and brush his teeth, I would like to sleep late on weekends but it doesn’t happen often anymore… I think I’m getting old.

Underwear– Large. Big? 😀 I like underwire bras because it gives my ginormous boobs some shape, and I go for as much comfort as I can. I wish I could wear pretty matching undies, but F+ cup sizes are generally sturdy rather than decorative! 😀

Vegetables you dislike– I like pretty much all of them…

What makes you run late– Distractions! I am so easily distracted when I am busy with something, and I try and prepare the night before as much as possible.

X-rays– Lots! I once had a full body isotope bone scan where I had to lie as still as possible and it was torture. My lungs have been x-rayed so many times they have started smiling for the camera, and my ankle was done when I tore the ligaments in 2009. Oh and the dentist’s x-rays too.

Yummy food you make– I’m pretty good in the kitchen I think, I can follow any recipe and I love to experiment.

Zoo favourite animal– I think here I have to go with the birds or the reptiles. Horses are my favourite favourite animal, and if I wasn’t so ridiculously allergic and asthmatic I would ride as often as I can!

There Is No Doubt I Am Spoilt…

And if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you will agree with me.

Yesterday, my darling Glugster walked in the door with a big box in his hands. I didn’t think twice about it as he brings our wine club box home occasionally too, and then then knucklehead asked him what was in it. He said “nothing”, and then I asked what was in the box, and he said “Its for you.”!

It was filled with all sorts up cupcake goodies! Wine bottle stoppers, clocks, salt and pepper shakers, a teapot and a wall clock!!

I love you my sweet Glugster! Thank you for thinking of me and for loving me so much!

Reviewing Sea & Sand

A few weeks ago, I was invited to read and review the book “Sea and Sand”, written and illustrated by Jonathan Lang.

Jonathan wrote the book in order to explain his and his wife’s divorce to their two young children. Jonathan and his wife have a fabulous relationship which is very unusual, and as he says in the book’s foreword “…even when things don’t work, they still work out.

First of all, I was very impressed with the book itself; it’s a big book printed on quality paper with wonderfully colourful illustrations.

I’ve never been divorced, but I raised my son on my own. I was exceptionally blessed in that my son and I have always spoken to each other about everything, but there were times when I wished I had a story I could tell my son to explain why I was raising him on my own…

Using sea turtles and land turtles, Jonathan tells a story about how two similar- yet very different animals- fell in love with each other’s specialness and got married. He tells of how both turtles sacrificed parts of themselves and the things they loved to try to make each other happy. He tells of how they loved each other and their children. And he tells of how the sacrifices they had made weren’t making them happy and they were afraid their children would be miserable. The story ends where Jonathan explains living apart and shared custody as something that made Erin and Timmy turtle happier grownups, and that the turtle children need never worry about as they are still loved by both mommy and daddy turtle.

I liked this book. The language is simple and clear, and the story is easy to understand. It explains wonderfully how two people can really love each other but not be able to live together because they are just too different.

I can imagine how reading a story like this to children who are going through or have experienced divorce- as sad as the story may be- may ease the stress a child feels when his parents can no longer stay together. No matter the reassurances, children often blame themselves if their parents split, and think that had they behaved better or done better at school things may have been different. This story puts the responsibility for the split squarely on Erin and Timmy turtle’s shells, in a nice way. 🙂