Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back to the Future

It's a little bit trippy being ADHD step-mom to an ADHD kid.

When I was a kid, I had ADHD, but nobody really talked about it back then, and I was not diagnosed until adulthood. I certainly had trademark ADHD issues to deal with (anger management, organizational difficulties, focus and hyperfocus issues...and the anxiety that often comes with living with unmanaged ADHD) and my mother was actually very effective at helping me to address them, even though they were not brought up in that context.

She taught me to clean my room my putting "types" of stuff into piles and then finding a home for the piles. (I still organize this way and this is how I teach the kids to clean...) She talked to me directly about having "big" feelings and figuring out non-destructive ways to deal with them. (I had books like Mr. Grumpy, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day...and paid a couple of visit to a nice therapist who helped me to learn new ways to deal with feeling angry) Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this, is that I would not be surprised if my mother was "diagnosable" with ADHD...she was able to teach me these skills, but has also had to work at many of them herself. Kind of cool to think about...that we ADHDers may be more able, in some ways, to help others at times, than help ourselves.

In any case, stepdaughter is very worried right now about keeping track of things. Oh...don't I know how that goes.

We talked about how the best thing you can do is pick ONE PLACE for a particular item (in this case, an MP3 player) and always put it there. Just start with one item. And always, no matter what, try to put it back in the same spot. Don't have to be perfect and get it right every time...but the practicing will make it a little easier.

Sigh. Yeah.


  1. At least you are there can anticipate & be pro-active. Maybe you can get a bunch of stackable interlocking plastic file trays and/or some bookcase type thing with many cubby holes...EVERYTHING Will BE in Relatively Plain Sight....... You can use the color coded labels for place locations...MP3 player and all electronic stuff BLUE...YELLOW for Schoolwork Stuff....Green for Heath Related stuff. Pink for money, wallet purse, keys RED for Cosmetics and so on. Might be good to draw map of room and closet so you can write inventory---Closet has some many jackets and what they are & clors...same with pants/jeans...Kinda like you could do in kichen cabnets so you don't buy extras---I for example have 5 bottles of SOY SAUCE. Don't need that many.

  2. These are great suggestions. I'm just starting to find clever ways to engage little chickadee in learning to work with her ADHD...I am sure trial and error with various types of visual cues will be necessary :) I still work on my own all the time! (and of course I will forever...haha...) extra challenge here is helping her figure out what to do when shuffling back and forth between mom's house and dad's house...we've clearly only just begun...

    PS: I have five dog leashes for one dog!