I fly at least once a month for my job and each time I arrive at the airport, I am met with the announcement of what color Homeland Security has assigned to our potential travel threats. The color red equals a severe threat of attack, while blue offers a “guarded” risk.
Everywhere we drive, colors represent something similar, as well. From the first time we start to drive, we recognize that the color red, whether on a stop sign or light, dictates that we should stop, while yellow guides us to slow down or proceed with caution.
At least once a month, I see someone post something on Facebook about being “dumb enough to wear a red shirt in Target” and after seeing some version of that sentiment for about the tenth time, I started thinking.
What if I was able to wear a brightly colored shirt that enabled me to alert those around me that I was in the company of a small child with ADHD? What if I had the luxury of presenting myself with a universally-recognized color garment that told people to “proceed with caution” both in how they regarded my child and how they addressed me? Continue reading →
A life long resident of upstate New York, Kristin Osborn lives at the foot of the Adirondack mountains with her husband and two kids, 11 and 4. Kristin is a graduate of the State University of New York’s creative writing program and has been working as a manager in medical sales for 10+ years. Being a mother to a son with ADHD has finally given her the outlet to start writing again, as being able to put her feelings into stories is a therapy that’s hard to match.
I have been following the site for a few months now and it has really helped me to deal with my feelings about being a mom to a four-year-old with ADHD. I know so many people ask questions on here, but for me, it’s helped me to just write down my thoughts about my experiences. It’s even helped me to consider starting a blog, just so I can have an outlet. I bet some people can agree! Here’s something that happened just last week:
Last week a Dora the Explorer fruit snack took an 800-mile trip with me. Through a thirty-minute wait at security and through two flights, that chewy little purple smush hung on tight. I travel a lot for business and so because I have a small child with ADHD, I relish those overnight trips by myself. I get to wear clothes that are clean and that also match and I get to eat in restaurants where the food doesn’t come served exclusively on a red tray. Continue reading →
The saying between a rock and a hard place couldn’t be truer than when you’re trying to help someone with mental illness, addiction and/or another condition. You’ve got your loved one’s irrationals thoughts and need for help and on the other side the bureaucratic red tape of agencies and HIPPA rules alongside of that. The situation can become so muddled you can feel like you’re watching an episode of “The Three Stooges”, but no, this is your life – the reality of it all.
A mental health agency’s recorded message states to make an appointment call between 8:00 AM and 10:30 on Wednesdays. The future client calls – and then calls. After a time, a new message tells the client appointments have been filled – have to try again next Wednesday. On the third Wednesday, the client gets through to a person, a real live one, who tells him to make an appointment, he first has to have a referral from a doctor and a physical (because it’s been some time since he’s been seen by a doctor).
The client then tries to find a doctor. He begins calling a local clinic. I try to help by calling them first to see if they accept the type of insurance and if they’re accepting patients. They are taking new patients, and the receptionists says the future client can call the office. He calls the office; The receptionist says the persons who takes new appointments isn’t there and to call back at 11:00 the next day. The future client tries for two more days with the same result. I call the office back and the receptionist explains that appointments for that day have been filled and the future client just has to try back each day. Continue reading →
I posted this almost a year ago today and it’s still pretty relevant. Thanksgiving and the holidays are really stressful for kids like ours, and unforgiving family doesn’t help matters at all. I’m hoping this year’s holiday will be okay, but I have a contingency plan if anything goes wrong – pay attention to my child and leave as soon as things go awry.
Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go: I have a really great family. My parents, my in-laws, my sisters, their husbands and my nieces – all have been really understanding and forgiving when it comes to dealing with Little J.
Yes, there have been moments, like when my (very tired) mother-in-law was seated next to LittleJ for a 4-hour car ride and he talked non-stop from the maple syrup capital in northern Vermont all the way to their home in western Massachusetts , forcing her to eventually put her hands over her ears to try to drown him out, or the time he called my mom a Big Butt and my step-dad picked him up and turned him upside down to “teach” him not to do that, or the very first time he met his same-age, heretofore peaceful female cousin and within 5 minutes had goaded her into punching him in the head…oh, the list is really endless. But all in all, our immediate family has been very understanding and kind and generous in helping with Little J. Many times much more than I’ve managed to do so, frankly. And I really appreciate it. Continue reading →
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of people who are involved in my child’s life. At the same time I think it’s really easy to feel isolated as the parent of a child with the type of special needs that my son, Little J, has. His over-arching diagnosis is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, which includes behaviors similar to ADHD and mood disorders – what some people, including me, consider to be “invisible” disabilities.
If you are parenting a child with an “invisible” disability, like I am, and you go out in public and your child has a tantrum or an outburst or rages or otherwise acts up, you are instantly judged as a bad parent. People just don’t understand a child who looks perfectly “normal”, yet whose brain-based disabilities impact behavior and emotional regulation. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been told that I just need to spank my child – by perfect strangers and acquaintances alike. Family and friends don’t get it, and although they may care about you and your child they can also be quick to judge – based on assumptions they’re making about your parenting, or about witnessing isolated incidents, or through caring for your child for a couple of hours when he was “perfectly fine for me.” Professionals – even those whose profession is helping a child like yours – need to be educated about your child. And support is hard to find. Add that to the exhaustion and unrelenting stress of trying to find answers to your child’s problems as well as the day-to-day management of your lives and it’s easy to become a hermit. A lonely, stressed-out hermit. Continue reading →
If you’re reading this you’re either curious about homeschooling because you think it will help your child, actively homeschooling and looking for tips, or searching in desperation because you’re sick and tired of whatever rigmarole you are going through with your child’s school.
I have been in all 3 situations. And like I said in my last post about homeschooling a child with ADHD or other special needs, including neuro-behavioral disorders, cognitive delays, developmental delays, social skills problems, learning disabilities, or just plain old out-of-the-box thinking, I am pretty new to the whole homeschool thing. I’ve been homeschooling my 10-year old son exactly 1 year and 3 months with a 6 month sabbatical (we sent him to a private special needs school) thrown in the middle. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that pulling our son, diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which includes elements ADHD, ODD, SPD, PDD, cognitive delay, and PBD out of school was one of the best treatment decisions we’ve made for him so far. Continue reading →
Compared to many people, I haven’t been homeschooling very long. J, my 10-year old with ADHD, learning disabilities, audio processing difficulties, developmental delays, poor short term memory, and sensory processing issues, all under the umbrella of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD, is only just starting his 2nd full year of homeschooling along with his brother, 13, who is neurotypical and a typical early teenager. But deciding to homeschool was no easy task, and I’ve read a lot and thought a lot about why this is the best choice for our family. Continue reading →
After 9 Halloweens with my wonderful son we haven’t had a good one yet – oh, except the one when we were traveling and we skipped trick-or-treating in favor of ice cream sundaes. I can honestly say that while it has gotten better over the years, as the mom to a child with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, mood disorder, and slow auditory processing, all under the umbrella of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), I hate Halloween.
1. The candy. The Candy! My child cannot handle dyes, too much sugar, or artificial flavors and so some Halloweens I’ve had to go through every single donation before we’ve even made it to the sidewalk. Airheads. Nope. Skittles. The worst! Laffy Taffy, Mike and Ikes, even M+M’s – like poison. And then once we get home figuring out where to hide it and the right ratio of miniature candy bars per bites of dinner…really, spare me the hassle. One year he feigned tiredness and stayed on the hayride for an entire neighborhood block while I took his brother house to house. When I got back to the wagon he had 8 Laffy Taffys shoved in his mouth. He couldn’t even chew. His face was covered with Laffy Taffy slobber. Honestly, it’s better when his dad eats it all.
Laura Weeds Wright’s blog is The ODD Mom. Here’s what she says about herself: “I deal with more parenting challenges in a week than most parents probably deal with in a year. I’m an ODD mother — the mother of a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I’d love to say this doesn’t define me, but something that consumes your every waking hour can’t help but define you. So rather than hanging my head in shame, I’ve decided to wear the label like a badge of honour. Come with me…it’s an ODD life I live.” This blog post was first posted on her blog in April, 2012.
As I sit here in the middle of the afternoon, chaos reigns around me. On the table beside me sits a stack of bills that I’m trying to juggle payment on — I have to decide which ones need to be paid now and which ones can wait until next payday. In the living room Stitch is playing, happily throwing blocks around and laughing madly as they bounce off the furniture. Down the hall Bear, who should actually be at school right now, is playing his Leapster, the fact that it’s an “educational” game allowing me to fool myself into believing it can be classed as ”work.”
Impulsivity and saving. It’s almost an oxymoron. Except that I don’t think I can carry this “marriage of opposites” off.
Marie thoroughly enjoys working at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels at the mall. She’s a people person. The manager realizes this and puts her out in the mall with a sample plate. She asks EVERY passer-by if he or she would like to sample a delicious Auntie Anne’s pretzel and spouts off her spiel without a hitch. I watched her one time. Those pretzel pieces must be glued onto the platter the way she races over to people. You need to be on the opposite side of the mall to avoid Marie and her pretzels. She’s also good at hand-rolling the pretzels. It’s a win-win situation for Marie and Auntie Anne’s.
The only drawback is that she gets a break when working. And where others would rest during their breaks, Marie shops. She shops before work and after depending upon her hours. I try dropping her off and picking her up in a timely fashion and still she finds ways to buy things. The mall businesses love Marie. She’s an impulsive shopper and buys things without any forethought just because she has money in her wallet.
This impulsive buying brings us to another dilemma. Marie doesn’t weed through what she has; she just keeps adding to it. Then, she feels she must keep all her possessions in her room…including $50 of luggage that she could hide a Shetland pony in.
I realize that it is HER money. I’m trying to get her to be selective, to stop and think. I’m also reminding her constantly that she needs to save for the senior class trip to Disney World. I’m seriously contemplating charging her rent or taxi rates simply to put the money aside in an account in her name that she has NO knowledge of. Any other suggestions?