ADHD: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

I have a daughter with Attention Deficit Disorder (also known as ADHD). But she’s not a high-energy kid. She’s shy, quiet, content in her own space, and has difficulty making friends. Many people think ADHD looks like someone without an off switch. Sometimes it does, but not always.

I knew there was something different about my child early on. At different times depending on her behavior, I thought she had a hearing problem, or a vision problem, or autism, then just decided she was different. So what? We were okay with different. When her grades started slipping, we started to investigate. A’s one minute, F’s the next. There was no middle ground with her. It was frustrating because she was smart, but struggling.

Even her primary physician, who I like and respect, took one look at her and said, “ADHD? Really?” My daughter wasn’t climbing the walls, or doing giant leaps off the exam table. I ended up getting a second opinion, with a doctor who specialized in ADHD.

As we gathered information about this disability, we discovered there’s more than just one kind. There’s the typical high-energy, loud, always moving ADHD with hyperactivity (which is what the “H” stands for). There’s also ADHD inattentive, which gives you kids that are dreamy, unfocused, unorganized, and content in their own heads and spaces. This second type is less familiar, and it affects girls more often than boys. There is also a less common third type, which is combination ADHD. It includes symptoms of both ADHD hyperactive and ADHD inattentive.

If you have child who seems unfocused, lazy, or distracted, they could have ADHD. Every year, I took my daughter to the pediatrician and asked, “Do you think she has ADHD?” Finally, when her grades started to slide, we made an appointment with a specialist. The sooner your child is diagnosed, the better the outcome.

Trust your gut. If something seems off, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician. As of my daughter’s last progress report, she’s getting straight A’s. Although it isn’t easy parenting an ADHD child, when was parenting any child easy?

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