By Community Contributor: Tiffany Rose
Raising a child with ADHD can be overwhelming at times. October is ADHD Awareness Month and I am glad to share a Community Contributor’s experience raising her daughter with ADHD. Tiffany Rose, my dear friend and owner of School Scents, started her candle making business with her daughter, Marley, during the pandemic. They found candles really calmed Marley’s ADHD and were a fun way for them to stay busy creating holistic candles in beautiful scents with fun names! Read my Q&A with Tiffany.
Please share your story of caring for your daughter, Marley, and her ADHD diagnosis with us.
ADHD......How do I begin? When my daughter Marley was 5 years old her teacher called me on the phone. I was actually really close with this teacher. She said, “Some days Marley comes into the class and she is on fire. She knows every answer to every question and then others, it's like she is looking up trying to pull an answer out of the sky." She said, “I don't want to alarm you or make any assumptions but can you get her tested?”
This was the beginning of our many conversations in a nutshell. Of course no teacher or school administrator can say the actual words, but for this one, she knew the signs. She had in fact been diagnosed with ADD when she was an adult.
The school did their testing and deemed her a special case because the items she should have scored high on she was borderline, but anything that was difficult she scored high on. Of course, she didn't qualify for any services. I then sought out outside testing. This is the part that made me realize why so many children either go misdiagnosed or do not have testing at all. For some states, the cost is outlandish. But we did it and found that she, in fact, had ADHD with issues of focus and retention. This is pretty common for a lot of girls but it does not show up until later in life or they go undiagnosed and have difficulty with matters years later.
After her diagnosis, my husband and I were on different ends of the fence about having her medicated. I understood but I wanted to be sure she could get the help she needed. So I prayed and this time when the conversation was back on the table, I simply stated we needed to give our daughter a fighting chance at learning. This would enable her to be able to focus while at school. If it works it would be a short term solution. If it doesn't, we could try something else.
Before my husband agreed to allow Marley to take her meds, he decided he would take them himself. He doubled her dosage to see the effects. He said he wasn't willing to allow her to ingest something that he didn't know how it would affect her. In the first couple of days, he said he had never been so focused in his life and completed all his tasks. LOL, but he didn't have an appetite. We knew loss of appetite would be a side effect. After my husband's Adderall discovery, we decided to let her try it. For a few years we found that it did help her to focus and it wore off by late afternoon. Oftentimes, when the effects wore off she was irritable. We learned to make sure she had food and some type of movement because exercise or some activity released good energy for her. We saw positive results for several years but I did not like the way it made her super quiet. She is already a shy child. However, one of the side effects I noticed later was that it kept her so focused she didn't talk much when she was on it. This I did not like.
Toward the end of her sixth grade year, Marley asked if she could come off of her medication. I asked her if she felt she was ready. She said yes. I explained to her that she is at an age that she can self regulate and I immediately agreed to take her off. We called her neurologist and he walked us through the process. I wasn't sure how she would do but she did well the last six weeks of the school year and so far she is thriving in her 7th grade year. Praise God.
What has been the HARDEST part of raising or caring for someone with ADHD?
Her executive functioning skills are tested at times. She can walk past a pile of things and it does not bother her. If something falls, she will walk past it. But the clincher is, she hates a messy room, so go figure. I do stay on her about cleaning up, but she has gotten to the point where she will do it and clean properly, but in her own timing.
She is also super shy. She struggles to speak up at times. She has gotten a little better but I am constantly doing my best to instill confidence in her. It's slowly sinking in and she is slowly beginning to advocate for herself and making lots of friends. My darling teenager is SMART but scattered.
What has been the most JOYOUS part of raising or caring for someone with a disability?
Although she is shy to the outside world, Marley is hilarious. Her sense of humor and laughter brings joy to our lives. She is close with her brother and delights being surrounded by family. Not only is she hilarious, she is kind and creative.
What advice would you give someone who is encountering #LifeUnexpected (raising or caring for an individual with a disability)?
Embrace the challenge. We are only dealing with ADHD so I feel our circumstance is not as challenging as families dealing with severe disabilities and my heart goes out to them for the tireless days and nights of caring for their loved ones. But advocate. Be an advocate for your child. Get to know what you can about what their challenges are and will be. And do what you can to take time to enjoy your loved ones no matter the challenge.
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