Ariane’s Story

Oh My God … Tiggers bounce and so did my kids! Bounce, bounce, bounce, 24-7; at the dinner table, on the furniture, when it’s time for sleep. High energy? Puhleeze .. super charged octane at 110%. Whispered comments and disapproving glances from strangers were the reception we would receive at family outings. Something was awry with our beautiful babies. When my youngest was actually expelled from nursery school, we knew we definitely had a problem. My husband and I felt like the world’s worst parents. When we actually received a diagnosis, it was a relief. Okay, AD/HD … we are not horrible parents! Let us proceed to take care of this.

Here is where things became truly interesting. Apparently there was not a simple, general fix for this neurobiological disorder. After much research, we opted for multimodal therapy for our children. Although this approach worked well for our daughter, we were to later find out our youngest son was the 1 in 16 who becomes rapidly tolerant to medications. Thankfully, we were able to find a wonderful physician with an open mind who helped us tailor a plan suited for our son, who is now doing exceptionally well all things considered.

We are still working with our school district to ensure he receives all he is eligible for under IDEA/Section 504, and this is on-going. There is still a lot of prejudice and preconceived misconception regarding AD/HD which must be overcome. Our eldest two children did go on to graduate and are quite successful in their own right.

We are extremely proud of our talented kids.

During this interval, we discovered that I, as well, have AD/HD, and that my father suffered with this affliction. To think, I used to blame by absent-mindedness on being blonde! And the truth will set one free …. After the fact, I have returned to school with a new understanding of my limitations and a clearer perception of my abilities, and an understanding of why I had such a hard time in school years earlier with my first attempt; now with a passion and desire to help others like myself and my children, I am working toward an MD in adolescent medicine and a PhD in neurobiology.

To have AD/HD is not a bad thing at all. We have the ability to see things from a different perspective than the average, run of the mill person (in my opinion, it must be rather boring being normal). If you learn to utilize the strengths that you have with AD/HD, it can totally outweigh and compensate for that which we lack.

For example, I have the ability to conceptualize in 3D within my mind’s eye complex structures related to science. When I discovered this, I mentioned it to my son and he asked, “What’s the big deal, mom? Can’t everybody?” After asking around, we found out that not everyone has this ability. Personally, I thought it was totally awesome.

The downside of all this is that I have 2 different calendars lying around my office and 1 in my purse to keep track of appointments, times, etc., and still, without fail, unless I have a confirmation call 24 hours prior, I usually forget – because I forget to check the calendars! Oh well, time is just a concept that I find not to be totally relevant unless it applies to my children’s curfews. My husband, bless his heart, helps us keep track of everything else like assignment due dates, keys, books, etc.

Finishing tasks? Rather than looking at the overall picture and becoming overwhelmed, I have learned to take one aspect at a time, finish it to completion, and then move on to the next ….. in using this technique, pretty soon things that seemed rather complex become simple and, more importantly, become finished, done and over with before you realize it. This technique has worked well for me not only in simple projects, but in major life dilemmas as well.

One day, the gene will be discovered, a cure possible, better ways to treat the symptoms available. Ongoing research at Duke University under the auspices of Dr. Alison-Koch are promising an ascertainment. We have hope. Until then, we have AD/HD …. and it’s not such a bad thing to have!