This was the unsolicited advice our 19-year-old daughter gave me when she found out that her 16-year-old sister Lesley continued to ask for my editing help for an English essay.
I immediately replied: “She still has ADHD-I, you know. That’s not changed.”
Olivia was adamant: I helped too much. At the same time, I felt strongly that Lesley needed the help. My older daughter is majoring in English at her university, and any sort of writing project continues to be her strength. Meanwhile, Lesley’s taking her first Advanced Placement English class as a high school junior and could use a little tutoring to meet the challenge.
Her papers continue to shine with creativity and improved organizational skills, but she still overlooks certain elements as she writes.
For instance, she’s not a natural speller. While it’s true that every writing software program includes a spell check, nothing replaces the human eye. If she writes about something not being “aloud” when she meant “allowed”, the spell check feature completely misses the mistake.
When her text doesn’t support her thesis, I try to point that out and give her suggestions of what she might try. I’m not writing it for her; I’m coaching her to write better.
I realize that helping an ADHD-I child or teen can seem like a habit. Memories of kitchen table sessions that went too long still seem fresh. Learning multiplication tables, spelling words or seemingly random history facts – all these tasks took a bit more time for Lesley than for her sister or brother.
Memorization especially took time. We rapped, we sang, and we slogged through one way or another.
Kayla can tell similar stories about Joe who also tended to need a little more time. In high school, he had documentation in place so that he was allowed extra time on his SAT’s. (If you’re at that point, read this article about ADHD and SAT’s.)
I suppose the question is continually raised: do they get too much? Are these ADHD-inattentive types getting preferential treatment with their medicine, their extra time and all that attention??
How much is too much? How about you? What do you do to help your ADHD-I child? Have you been encouraged or reprimanded by educators or family members? What do your instincts tell you?
Kayla and I would love to hear from you. Sharing with other parents who are walking a similar pathway encourages us all.