What is ADHD?


As a mother of two children who were labeled with this learning challenge, I must say the most frustrating aspect of it is that none of the experts can really agree as to what it actually is. Some thoughts have included food allergies, a brain defect, temperament, and a thinner brain cartilage that creates both sides of the brain being equally active rather than the normal right side or left side dominance of the average fellow.

Whichever school of thought you wish to side with, the ADHD brain has proven in many brain scan experiments to have higher chemical activity over the average person. ADHD does have physical and psychological symptoms, as mothers of such children can truthfully witness to. We have seen the mental shutdowns, the shaking nerves (Ashlee use to call this feeling as snakes being loose inside of her when she was little), the inability to concentrate, the inability to organize themselves, and the little hearts that wish to be anything other than what they are.

What ADHD isn't!

  1. It isn't a mistake. God creates everyone for his purpose to glorify His name. The person with this challenge tends to be creative, imaginative, curious, intuitive, original, enthusiastic, playful, funny, overwhelmingly joyful at times, passionate, loyal, loving, and quick to pick up abstract ideas. They are usually good with numbers. You will often find them in adulthood as ministers, scientists, engineers, artists, teachers, writers, and musicians. What a sad world we would have without them!
  2. They are not learning disabled - They actually learn very quickly, but not with traditional lecture and dull textbook methods. They often need information quickly and a variety of hands-on (kinesthetic) activities to help them learn. As one friend put it, they need in effect to reinvent the wheel. More often than not, it is that we are teaching disabled if they are failing to learn. We must step out of traditional methods to often reach them, and that is indeed a challenge to most of us.
  3. It is not a fancy label for bad behavior - I have to be honest here. I absolutely HATE when a child can not seem to behave himself and someone says, "He must be ADHD." Granted, there are times when these children are put into over-stimulating situations that cause them to react negatively. Granted, they are at times impulsive. That doesn't mean they can't behave. In our family, bad behavior is not tolerated. If we moderate the times of disorganization and upheaval in their lives and teach them coping skills, there is no reason at all why our children can't behave themselves. I told my girls from the very beginning that ADHD wasn't an excuse for "I can't." God just wanted them to work harder than most to accomplish goals, because He had a special work for them in their futures that he needed the training that such an experience as this would give them.
  4. It's not the parents fault - I think at times the hardest thing about realizing that your child is learning challenged is the guilt we parents often have. We immediately begin asking ourselves, "What could I have done to have prevented this? What did I do wrong? Why my child, Lord?" and other similar questions. If you begin to realize that God made your child in their own special way for His own special purpose, these questions will begin to lighten. However, they are usually followed by guilt over our own inadequacies at times in reaching them and our lack of patience. You see, God gave you this particular child because of the lessons they would teach you too. I have often said that the greatest gift my children brought was my increased prayer life. Pray, lay it all at the Lord's feet, know that He understands, know that giving into guilt will hinder our ability to follow Him, and dust yourself off with resolve that tomorrow will be better. Also know that you are not alone.