Sunday, 30 June 2013

In modern Australian society there  are a few topics that are guaranteed to split any group of people right down the centre.

In no particular order they are asylum seekers, Ford vs Holden, gay marriage, State of Origin football and ADHD.

Now, I have some pretty firm views on some of those topics but today, let's focus in on ADHD. 

As I've spoken about in previous posts, the First Mate and I have beaten a weary path together over the past few years, culminating in the suggestion he be assessed for ADHD.

There ensued a flurry of reports, anecdotal records, documentation, assessments and requests. I bounced incessantly between teachers, GP's, guidance officers, learning and behavioural specialists, optometrists and paediatricians to be finally spat out of the Whirling Dervish experience with a formal diagnosis of both Hyperactive and Inattentive ADHD. And a prescription for medication.

Now, I consider myself a fairly intelligent woman. I started my research long before we received the diagnosis. I've read books, consulted medical specialists, learning support teachers and most importantly, other mothers to try and arm myself with the necessary information to make educated choices for my son. Everyone has a different opinion. And everyone has a different interpretation of the scientific facts (somewhat like religion really).

I've discovered two things in this process. 

1) There is no single solution for managing children like the First Mate. It is a process of elimination. Two steps forward, one step back. Try, try again. It's taking snippets from all the sound advice you've read, heard and stumbled upon from various sources and piecing them together like the fabric in a shabby chic quilt. Individually the pieces are scraps, but when sewn together, those scraps are functional and comforting.

2) Be mindful of your audience. I'm a fairly open person. I've certainly been accused of being too open often enough. I tend to discuss my life with anyone who will listen if I think it will help either them or me (hence the blog!) but since entering the realm of ADHD I've had to learn to guard both myself and the First Mate. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, ADHD can be a very divisive topic and there are more than enough people ready to shoot you down if you raise this in public.

I'm not here to prove its validity as a medical condition or give evidence towards the effectiveness of medication. That's not my role or my purpose. I believe it's important to seek out information from a variety of sources and challenge your views in order to feel confident in your choices. It's not helpful to blindly barrel ahead with single minded focus to the exclusion of new data, research, ideas and options.

HOWEVER, it is an equally futile use of precious emotional energy to invest too much in constantly justifying yourself and your choices to people who may not have your or your child's best interest at heart. People who will feel the need to use your 'poor parenting', 'bad diet', lack of discipline' (we are all familiar with these oft regurgitated stereotypes) to push their own agendas. To feed feverishly on your insecurities to feel better about themselves. You needn't look too hard for these jackals. There are plenty of them out there.

Perhaps it's the budding anthropologist in me, or perhaps it's purely out of my own personal necessity, but I believe in the old adage "It takes a whole village to raise a child".
For this single mum to a boy with special needs, my village is everything. Filled with an eclectic mix of people, my village provides me the benefit of differing values and opinions balanced with the strength and support to forge my own path. We provide a united front against the jackals.

Image source

United we stand, divided we fall. And let's face it, some days, to simply still be standing is an immense achievement in itself!

Keep on standing.

The Captain.


  1. Captain, I love this post. Well said re the quilt analogy and confidence is key. Xx

  2. Thanks Flora. I thought a seamstress as fabulous as yourself would appreciate that analogy :-)


Share your thoughts with me.