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ADHD: The “H” is for Help

Author: Adrianna and Ryan Walden
Published Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By Adrianna and Ryan Walden

We've known for a while that our daughter struggles with inattention. Ryan and I felt it would be beneficial to have her tested before she needs to navigate middle school academics, which is quickly approaching. When the test results came in, I was completely puzzled by the ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) diagnosis. I wasn't surprised by the attention deficit part, but I never thought of Sophia as hyperactive. She's not a child who is accident prone or disruptive at school.

However, this journey has taught us that ADHD often looks a little different in each child. And, I've come to discover what the “H” in ADHD means to us. It doesn’t mean Sophia is jumping on the couch or running around until she wears out. It's much more complex. I see it as meaning “Help” for my kid who presents hyperactivity in a much more subtle way. Here are a few examples of how ADHD presents itself in our home.

It’s walking in on our daughter eating the last piece of chocolate cake, crumbs everywhere, with an honest, "I just couldn't help myself." It’s why she constantly taps on the table, sings, or beatboxes during a sit-down activity. It’s the reason why she’ll have a wave of really high grades, followed by a series of very low marks – all in one week.

Sometimes, ADHD is why she leaves several unfinished Lego statues in a corner of her room. It’s why I’ll find a pile of crumpled papers with only a few words written on each because "It wasn't neat enough." It can look like Sophia isn’t following directions, when she’s actually trying to avoid a task that feels impossible.

Sophia’s notorious for going upstairs to get laundry, only to return 20 minutes later with a Rubik’s Cube, a stuffed rainbow llama, and a bow and arrow … but no laundry. She's known to create laugh-out-loud comics on lined paper with misspelled words. She's incredibly creative, playful, witty, empathetic, and living happily in the moment. These are only some of the attributes that she embodies, including having difficulty with attention, focus, and, yes, hyperactivity.

Whether your child displays more easily recognizable signs or more subdued signals, remember ADHD doesn’t have to be viewed as something negative. We're embracing it because we see the subtle signs of uniqueness in each characteristic, and we are here to help her every step of her journey.

If you have questions about ADHD, please consult your pediatrician.

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 14 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.