ADHD Is Not An Excuse

Posted on May 27 2016 - 5:34pm by My Little Villagers

ADHDIs NotAn Excuse

Note: There has been some controversy over this article, so I want to make this very clear. In no way am I saying you need to think the way I do or do the things I do. ADHD affects people differently and what works for my child may not work for yours and visa-versa. If you do agree with the way I think, great! If you don’t agree with the way I think, that’s great too! I completely understand either way, because I know ADHD affects our children differently. I know to be understanding, compassionate, respectful, and supportive, even if you don’t agree with me. Unfortunately, I’ve come across a couple of parents who don’t know to be those things and have attacked me online and accused me of bad parenting because of this article. I am not going to tolerate this at all and you can guarantee my mamma bear claws will be coming out!

My daughter has ADHD and has been in elementary school for two years now. Both her kindergarten and first grade teacher were aware of her magnificent overactive mind and the struggles she sometimes faced while doing her assignments. Homework that should take thirty minutes to complete takes my daughter one hour. It’s not that my daughter doesn’t know the material. It’s that she gets distracted and sidetracked very easily. If I wasn’t there right by her side the entire time, her homework simply would not get done. When she comes to a problem on her assignment that she has difficulty with, she becomes frustrated and has a full blown meltdown. This involves tears and self bashing statements from her, such as “I’m stupid” and “I’ll never be able to do it.” As you can imagine, these meltdowns make completing her homework take even longer.

When I met with the teachers at the parent-teacher conferences, I let them know what homework is like for my daughter. Both teachers understood and showed compassion. Both also told me that my daughter didn’t have to complete the assignment if it was too much for her. Whoah, whoah, whoah. Now I know these teachers had the best intentions and I appreciate their willingness to accommodate her, but I didn’t agree with this solution at all. It simply wasn’t going to fly with my parenting style and values.

You can call me a mean, unfair, or strict mom, but my daughter’s schooling and education is extremely important to me and although my daughter’s ADHD can create some challenges for her, I do not want her using it as an excuse to get out of homework or anything else for that matter. Kids are smart, especially kids with ADHD. If I let my daughter not finish her assignment because she had a meltdown or it was simply taking too long to complete, she would learn that her ADHD really is an excuse. She would think she can get away with other things and she would most definitely try to use that to her advantage and manipulate people.

ADHD is not a free pass at school, at home, or at life. Completing her homework may take my daughter longer than her classmates, but I assure you she is intelligent and capable enough to complete it. Instead of letting my daughter use ADHD as an excuse to not complete her assignment, I use it as an explanation as to why it can be difficult for her to complete her assignment. That is what ADHD is: An explanation, not an excuse. There is a big difference. Instead of shortening the assignment like the teachers suggested, I provide her with tools to help her complete the entire assignment. For math, I let her use Shopkins as counters to make it more fun. For reading, I encourage her to use a silly voice to make it more interesting. For spelling, I let her eat one mini M&M every time she writes her spelling word three times each. You get the picture. Coming up with new and different out of the box techniques to make homework fun for my daughter can be exhausting and time consuming, but if it gets my daughter to complete her entire assignment and actually enjoy doing so, it is well worth it.

The point I am trying to make is this: Kids with ADHD, mine included, should not be taught to treat their ADHD as an excuse. When given the proper tools, resources, and a whole lot of patience from their parents, they are more than capable of doing anything and everything their classmates can do. To the teachers of students with ADHD, please don’t give up on these kids because you think it is simply the easier and less stressful thing to do for the student and the parents. Parents of ADHDers are more than willing to put in the extra work, time, and energy to help their child. Give these students a chance and give them the tools they need to succeed. I guarantee they will surprise you.

Note: If you have a young child with ADHD, check out the fun and stimulating Homework Center I made for my daughter.

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4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Tina June 24, 2016 at 4:33 PM - Reply

    Thank you for writing this blog. My son is about to enter 6th grade middle school. He is combined ADHD, like your daughter. I parented very similar to you. Had him do all the homework. You are very intuitive with the way other people see ADHD children. The social piece is difficult. People don’t believe me when I explain what happens to Connor when there are a lot of kids. Don’t worry, your daughter will go through hard times socially when she is young. It will change in about 5th grade. Maturity is a big thing towards them being able to keep friends.

    Thank you for writing this blog!!!

    Tina

  2. Michelle June 24, 2016 at 7:21 PM - Reply

    I completely agree.

    Your a no nonsense mum.

    I think that’s the best attitude to have.

  3. Jennifer April 1, 2017 at 12:19 PM - Reply

    I agree with your “not an excuse” blog. I” actually quite excited to have come across your blog. My daughter was dx last summer with ADHD and Executive Functioning Disorder, after years of struggling in the classroom. I didn’t understand what the “problem” was, why teachers kept having a hard time with my child. She is the “baby” of 3 and the only girl and we call her Precious. I just assumed she was a bundle of energy and that girls were different. I was so used to the daily struggles of getting her ready everyday, the crying about not wanting to go to school, being late to everything we attend. Then 4th grade came and her excellent teachers helped me gently see the light. She isina new schoolthis year that doesn’t require her to sit at her desk from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm with only a 20 mintue recess break. To expect an impulsive child to sit at the same staring at the same 4 walls for 8 hours was crazy, they even ate lunch at there desk. At her new school she is there for 6.5 hours and switches rooms for subjects of study giving her motor breaks. Her previous school was a new charter school ina temporary location that had spatial issues which is why they were in there classrooms for so long and the school has an extended learning day hence the 8-4 hours. My daughter has always been straight A’s. She has never struggled academically, homework is easy peasey with it usually being down before she gets home. Onthe rare occasion that it isn’t done she usually completes it 20 minutes or less with no arguements. What is the problem you ask? She is impulsive in class. She can’t keep quiet. She is easily distracted and will start a conversation with or start singing when bored which is often. She learns quick and doesn’t lime to stay on one subject for to long. She has told me more than once she doesn’t understand why they have to keep going over the same math all week. I’ve tried explaining that some children don’t learn it at the same pace as her and that they need to make sure eveyone understands before moving on. She understands but can’t sit there quietly. I’ve met with her teachers twice and explained this, I td them at her old school she was a math tutor, it was a job given to her to keep her busy in the classroom so she wasn’t disruptive. I’ve told them she loves to read as long as her work is done allow her to read a book. These are strategies her orevious teachers found worked best for her but forsome reason even though they’re in her 504 they still email me asking for ideas. My biggest issue I have at the moment is she was not allowed to be on honor roll because one teacher gave her a C for conduct. We had a meeting with the school about it and she said our daughter is disruptive in class a lot. Umm….yeah we know. Knowing that children with ADHD can suffer from low self esteem, depression, ODD, and other things am I crazy to be angry at the teacher and her administrator for keeping it a C. Mind you at the end if every school year if you make honor roll all 4 terms your invited to a soecial recognition ceremony where you receive a medal for your hard work. Because this one very new to teaching teacher gave her the C in conduct she is not allowed to go to there ceremony. Me, I don’t care, I know my daughter is smart, capcable, and will have a great career in her life. BUT, she sat in my couch crying because she didn’t make honor roll. She knows it’s because she talks out but she said I try mommy I just can’t help it. What am I supposed to do with that? I don’t think the administrator or teacher fully understand that she not only has ADHD but Executive Functioning Disorder which are both impulsive disorders and the latter of the 2 leads her to have no filter and she blurts out what what comes to her mind. No this is not an excuse or a free ticket for her to be rude, disrespectful, or disruptive. However I do beleive students with these dx should be graded differently for their conduct. Just as my son who is dx with Tourettes Syndrome if he started swearing in class (coprolalia-sudden utterances of swear words) it wouldn’t be held against him as it is part of his disorder, why is my daughters impulsiveness being penalized via her report card furthering damaging her self esteem? Am I being u reasonable? Please be honest. Thank you.

  4. Reva May 8, 2017 at 9:23 PM - Reply

    I appreciate your style and I always made sure my son did his homework when he had it. Usually he didn’t have too much because he was able to complete it in class. My problem now is he is in HS and he won’t work in class. He is on Vyvanse 70 and still and he can concentrate, but if he is not interested in doing it..he just won’t. I don’t know what to do. He flunked Algebra I freshman year and now he is fixing to flunk it again and English and Reading.

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