“When I was a kid they didn’t call it behavioural disorder. They called it being a little brat”. Rachel, whose son is diagnosed with a “behavioural disorder” responds….
The above quote popped up on my Facebook timeline recently. It was on a picture of a sullen looking girl with her arms crossed in a bit of a strop. It was shared by someone who knows me. Who knows my son and who knows that he is diagnosed with a “behavioural disorder”.
This, quite frankly, is what is wrong with a lot of society when it comes to ‘new’ disorders and not knowing enough about it. Instead they just jump on with what everyone else says and declares that there is no such thing and instead it’s the parent’s failings.
Prejudice is something we face every day. It will be something that Jake will face for the rest of his life. We live in a society where we only accept disabilities that we can see. Everything else is seen as false and just an excuse. It’s not an excuse. It’s real. Disorders like ADHD have been around for many years.
I recently watched a 3 hour presentation about ADHD and how to deal with it as a family by Dr Russell Barkley. In his presentation he mentioned that a medical journal dating back to the 1890’s had been discovered and under the heading “Conditions of the Mind”, the symptoms described were what we call ADHD today. Conditions like ADHD and Autism have been around for many years, but as a society we are only just accepting that these disorders exist and they are being recognised as disabilities, although there are still many out there who disagree that they are real issues.
The amount of children, and adults, that are being diagnosed with ADHD is ever increasing due to the fact that the more research is being done. The more we learn about it, the easier it is to diagnose – although a fair few misdiagnoses do happen. I believe that it is the increase in children being diagnosed – it is estimated that around 2-5% of all school aged children have ADHD –which causes more prejudice as people are not being educated about these kinds of disorders.
An American Neurologist was in the papers recently claiming that ADHD doesn’t exist. I read the article and disagreed with it. What upset me more was the ignorant comments from people who clearly do not know children with this condition. They were blaming ADHD on lazy or bad parenting and that it’s naughty behaviour from kids who are not nurtured and are unloved.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything we need to nurture Jake more. We need to teach him to deal with his disability. We need to teach him to behave in a manner that is accepted by society. We need to teach him time management, as ADHD children have no understanding of timescale. This needs to be constantly repeated, as ADHD children have no short term memory.
Raising a child with any disability is hard and instead of blaming parents for the way their children are, for judging the parents and attacking the children, we should be finding out how to help parents more, whether it’s simply helping around the home, helping out with the children, offering respite or simply a shoulder to cry on when things get tough. Raising a disabled child isn’t easy and it doesn’t need to be any tougher prejudice and ignorant comments from those who know nothing of this condition, and are not prepared to find out.
Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Rachel’s journey into ADHD. If your child has a disability, feel free to post your comments here and Rachel will respond. Rachel writes the excellent Confessions of a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum) blog, has four children and runs her own online party store. Take a bow Rachel!
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