My 7 year old daughter has ADHD and within that are several other traits that impact her behaviors, her relationships with others and her successes socially and academically. She is very impulsive, can be anxious which in turn will evolve in impulsive behavior, is oppositional, and lacks many executive functions. Her occupational therapist has also said, she has sensory integration issues as well.
She is also very bright, affectionate, friendly and adapts well to new situations and people. Her teachers told me she loves to participate, she has a great sense of humor, often is the class clown and has a style of her own.
Now depending on who you speak to, some of these traits can be resolved daily through medication (concentration and focus and some alleviation of anxiety), behavior modification (rewards or points systems), peer therapy groups (both with occupational therapy and psychology) and cognitive intervention (online games, improving executive functions). No matter if it's cognitive or neurological - her impulsivity is a huge obstacle.
This morning, my husband and I met with the director of her peer therapy group and as we went down the list of challenges, once again, I felt that they were describing me. I had the same reaction when I read the report from my daughter's occupational therapist when describing some of the the traits associated with sensory integration.
As adults, "the lightbulb going off" moment, has been when we hit our mid 30's. When suddenly we are faced with tower of responsibilities, ranging the gamut of financial, home, parental, marriage, work, aging parents.
Were my learning disabilities situational or neurological? How did many of us who can identify with these disabilities, make it through childhood, adolescent and college? We somehow did but admittedly, it was difficult and we paid a price for it. Many of us were affected through our relationships with our peers and or our academics. As adults - with our jobs, our relationships, our self confidence, our choices in life. How many of us have avoided our potential because of fear of being anything less than perfect? Of feeling like a failure or just afraid of taking the risks that are necessary because we just couldn't get our act together to move forward. How many of us have self esteem issues that are so paralyzing, that we rather be unhappy in a state of predictability, than venture out and try again and again until we find the right circle of friends, the right job, hobbies, etc.
I am not saying that if you have ADD or ADHD as an adult, as well as some of the other labels that are associated with it, that what I have just describe is the norm. Of course, many folks are very accomplished professionally, socially, personally, but speaking from my own experiences and emotions, having a daughter with many of these challenges has really awakened me to my own disabilities and has helped me pinpoint the beginnings of my self confidence issues. For example, I would describe myself as outgoing, but I also get very anxious which leads to self doubt, which on a dime can turn me into a wall flower. Though admittedly, I find it very hard to stay there very long - I am too gregarious and soon want to participate, and then they cycle starts over again.
A long time dream of mine was to either work abroad for a nonprofit or create my own. More, Recently, I've become more and more interested in the desire to start my own business. My reasons for not doing any of the above, has been my inabilities to move beyond a fear, whether it's justified or not, and to just do it. To force myself into an uncomfortable state. To force myself to work really hard on my management disabilities, my social anxieties, and impulsivities. I hope that through all the hard work that I am throwing myself into doing, for my daughter's well being, that not only she will become a very self confident, well rounded, and able human being, that I will have also become one too.