Chicago mom: Coping with an ADD diagnosis

My 6-year-old daughter has ADD.


I said it.

Those who are regular followers of my blog will probably shake their heads in agreement or at least in understanding.

I have journaled over the past four years (well the past three years really since that is when I started getting more real on my blog) about our struggles.

I used to write about crafts, DIY projects and recipes primarily for the first year of blogging.

Then I let all of you in.

And I fell in love with all of you.

And I opened up.

Became real.


Sometimes too honest.

You were there when I told you about crying on the bathroom floor after my youngest would go to bed.

You were there when I told you a former friend wrote something devastatingly mean about me and my mothering on my blog.

You were there when I told you there were days that I asked God why? WHY?

Please. Give. Me. Strength.

Our youngest started behavioral therapy in 2011.

It helped.

A lot.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then she went to preschool and thrived.

It was at the end of the year when the teacher approached us and said that she felt that our daughter had some sort of a delay.

When asked to perform a task, she would stop, think and then repeat what she was asked again.

And again.


That was my heart, by the way.

A different therapist was recommended: an occupational therapist.

She told us that my daughter was having trouble processing information more than a “normal” (WHY DO THEY USE THAT TERM ANYMORE) child her age would.


Went back to our old behavior therapist.

Everything running smoothly.

I worked with her all summer on numbers, letters and colors and basic preparation for school.

Things were looking up!

Kindergarten starts.

Horrible first two weeks.


Adjusting, crying, struggling.


Two weeks in, her kindergarten teacher recommends she be enrolled in an extended reading program.

Because out of the 26 letters of the alphabet, she only recognized four in a 30-second fast paced quiz.

In the hallway.

Of the school she is frightened of.

On week one.


At therapy in November, the therapist recommended that we get her a Neuro Psych Evaluation.

That it will narrow out everything.

And we will finally have a definitive answer after five years of struggle, tears, fear and frustration.


A few weeks later we had a conference with the teacher.

Our daughter is doing well in kindergarten.

She is adjusted, learning and knows every one of those letters and numbers.

But she is struggling as well.

She can’t stay focused as long as the other kids.

She gets up and sits on the rug after too much learning.

She can’t get organized as fast.


After two months of evaluation with an amazing psychologist, we got an answer on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014.

Our daughter has ADD.

Attention Deficit Disorder.


Honestly, the husband and I weren’t surprised.

But it was the realization.

The words.

The label.

Our daughter will be affected by this for the rest of her life.

She will always have ADD.

She will always have to manage it.

She will have to work harder than the average “normal” child to get an A on a test.

She will always have to learn to control her emotions and her reactions.

And I don’t care what anyone says, I feel guilty.

You can tell me up, down and sideways that it isn’t my fault.

I will still feel that way.

I am her mom.

It is inside my body that she grew for nine months.

What happened?

Did I take a Tylenol too many times for the migraines I had?

Was I too stressed out during my pregnancy?


I want to protect her.

Shield her.

From the mean.

The judgmental.

The holier than thou.

They are out there.

We are already seeing it.

But we are already seeing amazing sources of support and help.

Her teachers are my heroes.

They are so excited for her when she thrives, it makes me want to cry.

When I was in the classroom helping out in January, the teacher told me as her eyes lit up how amazing Ella is doing now.

It made my heart soar.

I know she won’t always have these amazing teachers but I hope if they see how fierce we are about our daughter succeeding that it will be contagious.

I want her to not only do well and thrive, I want her to OWN THAT SCHOOL.

I want her to set the world on fire, in a good way.

I want her to do whatever she wants and to never be told, “No, you can’t do that.”


I am grateful that my child is healthy, that she has a roof over her head and that she has a family that loves her dearly.

She is the lucky one.

ADD will not define my daughter.

And I cannot wait to see what she does with her forever.

I know it will be amazing.

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