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In Your Own Words…

Thousands of people have taken our survey about living with ADHD. Read below to see what they have to say.

You can take the survey too. You just might learn something interesting.

When I first took ADHD medications it was just like the first time I got glasses…the world came into focus. I just wish I could have had them forty years ago. My life would be very different.

– Anonymous

Living with ADHD is like walking up a down escalator.You can get there eventually but the journey is exhausting.

– Kathleen Ely, Helena, Montana

It was a relief when I was diagnosed at age 46 and a lot of my past made sense. I wasn’t just lazy. The medication and awareness has helped me to adjust and cope. I can appreciate my strengths and work on my weaknesses now instead of just feeling like a loser.

– Anonymous

ADHD is not a choice or bad parenting.Kids with ADHD work twice as hard as their peers everyday but receive more negative feedback from the world.


For me, anyway, having ADHD is like walking one step in front of a rain cloud, two steps in front of a thunderstorm [and], three steps in front of a tornado. Forgetting things, making careless errors, being confused. … these things can create havoc! The important thing I’ve learned is to accept errors as quickly as I can, remedy the situation, issue an apology as needed…. and keep moving forward. Afterall, the sky is clear and the sun is shining up ahead!


Because ADHD is not a visible medical disorder people don’t understand that it is just as disabling as those that are very visible. It requires understanding and acceptance that people with ADHD need some accommodations at times to perform to their potential.

– Anonymous

It took me a long time to see how my “boundless energy and curiosity” that were helpful in my professional and personal lives were also limiting my professional and personal lives. Acknowledging and treating my ADD has helped me see and listen more clearly, think ahead more thoroughly, and be more effectively creative. I am also less anxious.

– EH

I find the lack of understanding and knowledge about ADHD, especially among teachers, to be extremely disturbing.These individuals have the most daily influence in the life of a child and an opportunity to assist and help these children develop the skills needed to work with this disorder. Teachers are sadly behind the times when it comes to dealing with in their classrooms and we as parents find ourselves spending inordinate amounts of time advising and educating the educators on how to partner with us and our child to help ensure his success.

– Kim, Cortlandt Manor

My 9 year old son has ADHD and struggles every day for self-control. He is extremely intelligent and especially creative (an out-of-the-box thinker), with abundant energy. He cries to us frequently saying that he doesn’t want to be the way that he is…he doesn’t want to get in trouble for talking in class, he doesn’t want to forget to turn in his homework, he wants to be able to follow the rules. The anxiety over wanting to be the “good” kid is heartbreaking. I tell my son every night that one day he is going to do great things in this world. Be POSITIVE for a child with ADHD!!

– Michelle, West Palm Beach

I would like for people to know that there is a whole segment of the population out there with ADHD who have amazing gifts to offer.They have stories to tell, help to give, jobs to do, people to love, lives to be lived. Without acknowledgement and acceptance of their ADHD by themselves and others, they may bury their gifts, die with their stories, never experience the feeling of putting in a week’s work they feel good about, never learn to articulate the love they truly feel for the people in their lives because they are always working on measuring up and are severely misunderstood by their “loved ones”. They frequently want their agony to end, perhaps even their lives. Can you live with that? If not, do something about it. Start a support group. Give a hug. Help a friend with ADHD. Don’t give up on us. We would not give up on you.

– Anonymous

It’s magic and fire all rolled into one. My son is bright and energetic yet easily frustrated and distracted. It is a constant battle to help him, to get help from others, because so many are ignorant on the issue and think ADHD doesn’t exist. I accept my son as he is and think his ADHD just makes his world that much more colorful 🙂

– Rainbows

This is a mental health issue NOT a behavior issue! People including doctors and schools need to recognize it as such!

– Ridge Meadows, BC

I was so reluctant to try meds for my son. I thought it would sedate him, make him a zombie, stifle his creativity. But I got to a point where I felt his ADHD would destroy our family, and we turned to medication. It turned out to be a wonderful decision. His grades turned around completely (top of his class), and he began to feel intelligent and capable. He could focus enough to express his fabulous ideas. Soon, we realized his dad also suffered from ADHD. We got him on meds too, and it’s been a life changer for our whole family dynamic. Dad feels bitter about not getting the meds as a child, and feels he could have done more in life (it’s not too late!). So I want people to know that just as someone with bad eyesight needs glasses, ADHD medication can allow you to reach your potential.

– Tamsin, San Diego

To the Public HS Administrators and Teachers: My child is not lazy! My child is smart and loves to learn, but my child does learn differently. My child wants to do well, but needs support from qualified teachers that understand learning differences. My child does not have the skills that you think he/she should have by this age. Please help him/her develop those skills. Just because my child is very smart, does not mean that he/she does not have learning difficulties. Create an environment that “truly” focuses on promoting the success of all students. Create an environment that is supportive of learning differences and helps students develop skills needed for future success. Create an environment that promotes self-confidence, self-esteem and independence. Create an environment that “cares” about the success of all students.

– Anonymous

I recently read that parenting a child with ADHD is like parenting five children. This couldn’t be more true. After years of behavioral therapy that was making just a dent in my son’s organizational skills, we finally put him on medication. What a difference! I’m back to one child instead of five. We can now put into practice all the things we learned from those years of behavioral therapy. For all parents who are reluctant to try their child on medication, I strongly encourage you to look into it. I really didn’t realize how much our family unit was suffering until now. Now we all have hope for a brighter, more productive future. And, the best thing is that my son see’s the difference and is proud of himself.

– Suzanne, Chappaqua, NY

ADHD is a neurological and behavioral disorder that affects not only the person with it, but the entire family, including parents and the extended family of parental siblings and grandparents. It tests the limits of the family’s ability to be supportive, understanding and loving.

– Larry, Dresher, PA

ADHD is real and valid. The sooner we recognize the patterns and learn to work with these kids, the better assured we will be that they as adults with be healthy members of society. Teachers and education administrators need to be the strongest advocates of early intervention and support. Unfortunately, many of them deny the existence of this ADHD and aren’t willing to look at sound science that supports this.

– Rhonda Van Diest

Having a child with ADHD is the most difficult thing you will ever have to deal with, because it never ends. Every single day is an exercise in patience (or lack thereof) and forgiveness (you trying to forgive yourself for lack of patience!).

– OV

I used to see misbehaving children in public and think that the child really needed discipline…until I had an ADHD child. I used to think that ADHD was way over diagnosed…until I had an ADHD child. Now I know it’s real, and I can pick an ADHD child out in a crowd. No amount of perfect parenting can undo ADHD behavior. And ADHD isn’t always just about not being able to pay attention or acting hyper. ADHD also drastically affects a child’s ability to process information inhibiting learning and affects behavior limiting friendships and teacher relationships. Medication helps, but there is no cure. It isn’t about bad parenting; these children truly often can’t control themselves. And until you have an ADHD child in your life, you can’t possibly understand. Please don’t judge us.

– G.W., Knoxville

Throughout middle school, I had several conferences with teachers regarding my daughter’s inability to complete work and homework. Teachers brushed off my concerns. My daughter was always placed in a desk at the front of the class because she would talk to others, but still teachers did not see this as a problem. In high school, grades plummeted, homework was not done, I requested testing, and still my concerns were brushed off. I read every book my small library had on school success, and it lead me to think she had ADHD. My pediatrician confirmed this. The semester my daughter started on medication she received all A’s for the first time ever, and stated, “this medication is like a miracle to me.” Her self-esteem has sky-rocketed and she thinks it’s OK to have ADHD. There are a lot worse things to get. Unlike some other medical conditions, this one can be helped.

– Mom of ADHD High School student

I would like everyone to know that ADD/ADHD is REAL. Unless you have lived it yourself or your child has, you may never understand it. It is both a curse and a gift, I believe, and my wonderful, talented, funny, smart son has ADHD, but it does NOT define him-it is not who he is.

– J.McCoy-Golan

When a disability is physical and obvious people are 100 times more willing to help you because they can see it… when it is neurological and behavioral they will acknowledge it but will not give you any special treatments or considerations, to them it is just pure “bad behavior” contributing and perpetuating the depression cycle these kids suffer.


Once diagnosed & treatment started, the changes have been incredible. Math, multi-tasking & overall cognitive abilities have increased many times over! What was once almost impossible for me is now effortless & I find ways to improve daily.


As a parent, it is extremely important to be an advocate for your child.My child was adopted at birth, and I feel strongly that God gave her to me because he knew I would stand up for her and guide her and be her biggest cheerleader, no matter how exhausting it is.

– SP, Florida

Having a child with ADHD is like having three children. It’s exhausting!

– HK

12 thoughts on “In Your Own Words…”

  1. Teachers need sensitivity training for kids with ADHD. They need to learn kindness and compassion and that my child is just as good as the child without ADHD. They need to look in the mirror and see the things THEY need to change, because my son if fine just the way he is. My son doesn’t need his belongings thrown into the hallway and to be told to leave the classroom because he can’t control his talking. He needs a pat on the arm, a smile, an encouraging word. He needs support. Please do the right thing.

  2. If you don’t have ADHD in your life, you can’t understand what it means to have to deal with this disorder. Even with all the available help (meds, drs, therapy, scheduling, repetition, IEPs, etc.), the influence of ADHD permeates the entire family and requires massive amounts of vigilance and monitoring so that you can have a “normal” life.

    There is help. Sometimes medication works; sometimes it doesn’t. But having ADHD or a child with ADHD requires strategic planning and preparation for “emergencies”.

  3. When I was younger I didn’t know I had ADD and I really struggled with some classes all the way through grade school, high school and junior college. In the next 4 years of working, I had some difficulties that eventually lead to loosing my job, so I went back to college to pursue a bachelors degree. I continued to struggle in some of my classes and it was then that I was suggested to get tested for ADD, which resulted in me being diagnosed when I was 30 years old. This opened up so many doors for services, accommodations, and medication to help me become successful in college. The diagnosis also answered a lot of questions I had as to why I had such a hard time in school and in my personal relationships in the first 30 years of my life. I continue to have difficulties in my relationships and in my personal management though. But, thanks to my diagnosis of ADD, I am able to know why I am the way I am and why I do the things I do. I am learning how to meet these challenges and improve myself and be successful.

  4. We have three diagsosed with ADD/ADHD in a family of five. Mom (me) being one of the three. Talk about a chaotic family! We wouldn’t have it any other way. Some days are bad, most are good. We have learned how to make things work for us. What we do may not work for anyone else, but it does for us. If only people could see what a blessing ADD/ADHD can be. There are negatives involved, but soo many positives. We ADHD/ADD people are going to change the world!

  5. Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. (Albert Einstein)

  6. I do agree – I’ve always said that my child with ADHD is like 6 children rolled into 1. He is so smart – has a brilliant little mind. But can wear you down in just a few minutes when he is not on his meds. I would not trade him for anything, but pray one day he is able to better cope with his world. It hurts me so to see him suffer.

  7. My son has many problems at school. He takes his pills but he has behaviour problems. I have spend a fortune to help him but now i can not spend any more because of the crisis. I don’ t know what else to do……

  8. Very informative and inspiring awareness is real about ADHD.I shall use this information in my work as a counsellor in school and above all with my son.

  9. Having ADHD yourself and having 3 of your 4 children having ADHD is living in a totally different universe. It’s probably like having 12 kids.

  10. Being diagnosed ADHD as a child and again as an adult is a god send. There was finally a way to deal with what I struggled with and failed at for so long. When I first started taking medication and things cleared up for me, I thought, “Wow! if everyone else has it like this then normal life is very easy.”
    Then I thought, maybe THEY are the lazy ones.

  11. I adamantly want folks to know that ADHD can look different in girls than it does in boys. We often don’t have the hyper piece and since we are not leaping over desks in the classroom, people often assume it can’t be ADHD. WRONG. When I was young I thought I was stupid and I could not understand why all of my friends were smart…why would they bother with me? I did well in grade school but things slipped when I reached middle school, when the amount of support changed. I was called lazy for not wanting to get up and go all the time. Being told “you can do better” was like being pelted with rocks. Misplaced homework and so much procrastination it paralyzed me made me hate to go to school. Thankfully I had good art skills to give some self esteem. College was a struggle but I made it through. But life was still hard. I was so disorganized that I often bought things I knew I already had because they were hopelessly lost in my house and car. The initiative to get up and clean was non existent. My finances were a mess. Relationships never lasted. I hated parties and social gatherings because it was so hard to stay focused and not be distracted. I felt intensely stupid when I could not get my thoughts together soon enough to comment before the topic had changed. In my head I had great ideas and solutions no one else thought of, but even writing these down was hard when I was so easily distracted. I love to read but could never finish a book. My life was small and lonely. Thanks to a good friend who helped me finally get help for my suicidal depression, I was eventually diagnosed with ADHD at 52. Medication has been a God send. I am so much happier and confident now. I hired a house keeper, I set up auto pay for all my bills, and I have a great loving relationship. And I enjoy making plans which will happen beyond day after tomorrow. I actually invite people over. So friends… inattentive ADHD can be debilitating and sometimes kids don’t grow out of it. They just grow up. And if you have never had to live life without the ability to easily initiate plans and actions, you don’t know what hard work is.

    For those of you with kids with ADHD, it is a life time battle.
    Please help them to navigate and fight for their rights. They
    will be misunderstood and judged, so they need our support.
    FOR ADULTS with ADD/ADHD – I went for 15 years knowing I was ADHD (after son diagnosed) and figured why get treated? I love my job, already graduated college, happily (mostly) married raising 3 kids, so why go to the trouble and expense of opening a can of worms now? DO IT! IT WILL HELP SO MUCH! IT CHANGED ME FOR THE BETTER WHICH IS BETTER FOR MY FAMILY, JOB, RELATIONSHIPS, AND HELPING OTHERS! Good luck!

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