Friday, December 16, 2022

Parenting an ADHD Kiddo

 Good morning friends and happy Friday! Are you on break yet? Liam and I had our last day Wednesday and while technically today was supposed to be LG's last day, we are currently on an airplane to snowy Colorado! Woohoo! 

I was initially very hesitant to write today's post, but I've had a few of you reach out to me via email about ADHD or with ADHD related questions... and since this is something I get asked about by people in person frequently too, I figured it couldn't hurt to write a post about it. There is a lot of misinformation out there about what ADHD actually is, so I figured I'd clear a bit up before we begin. 

I don't want to share too much personal info about LG on the internet for the whole world to see, so I will intentionally keep some of this vague. If you have any further questions though, please feel free to email me ( And in order to break up this super long post, I will be adding in some cute pictures of our little bundle of energy over the years. 😍

So first, what exactly is ADHD? 

- ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the part of the brain located directly behind the forehead. 

- ADHD affects roughly 10% of school-aged children, but can often be tricky to diagnose. The two main symptoms are hyperactivity and inattention, and there are several other symptoms that fall underneath those umbrellas. Impulsivity, irritability, disorganization, and anxiety are a few of the other symptoms. 

- There is a spectrum of severity with ADHD, as with many other disorders. You can have a case of ADHD so mild that you go your whole life without realizing it, or you can have a case so severe that a diagnosis is undeniable. Most people fall somewhere between those two extremities on the spectrum. 

So for today's post, I want to start at square 1. I want to tell you our story and how we were able to identify that Lily Grace had ADHD and how/why we were able to get a diagnosis at such a young age (she was 4 at the time).

So, let's begin!

Our family's story with ADHD actually begins roughly 25 years before Lily Grace was born...  with mine and Devin's early childhood/elementary school years. Devin and I both had undiagnosed ADHD and while our symptoms presented very differently, the end result was the same: we both struggled because of it. For me, I was the kid who flew under the radar and struggled with inattention/inability to focus. I learned how to mask it pretty early on and it wasn't until this past year that I realized things I've been doing my whole life weren't "normal" and that I was masking ADHD symptoms.  Devin on the other hand had symptoms so severe it would've been impossible to miss. Devin was the little boy who was very hyperactive and struggled in school because of it. He was never rude/defiant/mean, but unfortunately had the stigma of being the "bad kid" because he would often fall out of his chair, impulsively shout out answers, and be "out of control" or "wild". We all knew "that kid" in school growing up, right? Well, Devin was "that kid". It is honestly a miracle he turned out so well!! 

There is more to the backstory of why neither of us was ever officially diagnosed or treated as children, but that is a LOT of unnecessary info and could be a whole post in itself. All you really need to know is that Devin and I both have it, were never diagnosed/treated as children and while it didn't impact my life all that much, it did negatively affect Devin in school. 

Now, let's fast forward to Devin and I getting married and deciding to have kids. 

From being a teacher for so many years, I was pretty familiar with ADHD. I knew ADHD is highly genetic and that if we ended up having kids, there was a pretty high chance of at least one of them having it. Because I was an early childhood educator for so many years, I had a solid understanding of what was within the realm of typical development for young children. Our sweet girl first started showing signs that something was different from the time she was 2 years old. 

Lily Grace's ADHD presents both as hyperactivity and extreme impulsivity. Impulsivity, in the clinical sense, is defined as "action without foresight". This means that she often acts before she thinks, then afterwards realizes "oh shoot, I wasn't supposed to do that". Or, she knows something is not a good idea but is unable to control her impulse to do it anyway. 

That may not sound like it would be a big deal, but unfortunately it was becoming a safety issue. For example, there was one time when she was playing in our backyard and I was putting Liam down for a nap. There is nothing in our backyard that is unsafe/that she couldn't play with, so I felt comfortable putting Liam down and occasionally watching her out the window. At one point I heard her holler "mommy, look at me!", and when I scanned the backyard I couldn't see her anywhere. She said "no mommy, up here!" I am not exaggerating when I tell you she had climbed one of the trees in our backyard and was 20+ feet high. This is action without foresight. "This is fun" without a single thought about safety. Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD kids can often be described as daredevils, and that fits our girl to a tee. 

If any of you have a child with ADHD, you know that getting a diagnosis nowadays is a PROCESS. We mentioned it to our regular pediatrician probably 3-4 times before she started to take it seriously, then I had to ask her for a referral to the specialists. The waitlist for the specialists was 6+ months, and in the meantime we were to visit with a behavior therapist and an occupational therapist, both who specialized in ADHD. After our initial appointment, she was prescribed a medicine which she takes daily. Again, if you have a child with ADHD, you know the medicine can be a whole process in itself too!!

All this to say, we are in a very good place now and I am incredibly grateful for the team of people who is helping our girl to shine. She is doing very well in kindergarten and LOVES school. We try to teach her that just like God made all of us look different on the outside, He made us all different on the inside too, and that includes our brains. 

Please, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or email me. I am happy to help in any way that I can! Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!!


  1. This was very interesting. As a high school teacher, we know very little about ADHD or ADD. I think it is assumed that all of this "is handled" in elementary years? Also, growing up in the 80s, no one cared what you had, you just had to be good in school. This is a funny coincidence because of one my 20 years old twins is finally getting tested today for it. He didn't mention it to me until he turned 18 and then I couldn't handle any of his medical appointments, so he finally started trying to get diagnosed. There was a long wait apparently and it's finally happening. I wish I had checked on this sooner, but he did so well in school, and it wasn't even on my radar. Preemies can be candidates for learning issues, so I was on the lookout, but he never acted liked a kid with ADD or ADHD. I believe there are even college scholarships for kids with different diagnoses - keep that in mind for the future. Thank you for bravely sharing and I am so glad she has a great plan now.

  2. I think both of my boys have some symptoms of ADHD. One is very hyperfocused and the other has the anxiety and disorganization symptoms. I'm hoping to get them both evaluated this coming year because they are wanting some accommodations at school!

  3. I know this post will be so informative for moms everywhere. My husband feels that he probably had ADHD growing up, but it just wasn't recognized back in the 70's!

  4. Such a great post! Working in a preschool for so many years. I have seen many children displaying clear signs of ADHD but it's a shame that it is such a long process to get a diagnosis. It's also hard to have 'that' conversation with a parent who understandably doesn't want to hear that their child may need extra support.

  5. Your post was very insightful. Does ADHD also include inability to focus on studies / reading? My niece has never been able to do so, she is 17 now and still struggles in school.

  6. Thank you for sharing this post! What a sweet girl you have!

  7. Y'all are such amazing parents for pushing to get this figured out for her so early in life so she can thrive!!