ADHD: An Aunt’s Story by Joanna Murray

It has always amazed me how many of us in the world do end up having some challenges to overcome.  It is how you meet those challenges, which define who you are as a person.  When my niece was 8 years old her and my sister moved in with my family and I for a short time, but to me it seemed like an eternity.  I remember how hard those first few months were on us.  My niece could get really get out of hand, of course at first I thought my sister was a horrible mom, I kept thinking how is she raising this child, my niece seemed so undisciplined.

What really stands out for me the most now is, how unprepared I was.  You see, at the time I was just starting my own family, I had a 4yr old son and a 1-year-old daughter.

My niece was in 3rd grade the year they had stayed with us and she constantly kept on forgetting her homework at school, it became part of the daily routine.  It seemed like I was constantly going to the school to pick up her forgotten homework.  My niece was so easily distracted.  Homework on daily basis would take hours, and I would have to remind her, what she needed to do.

I realize now how difficult that year was for everyone involved,  not only could she get distracted easily, she was not responsible and she could be disrespectful at times.  I remember being called to the school because the teacher would have to remove my niece from class and would not let her back in because she was being disruptive.

By the end of the school year Jessica was held back, my sister had a meeting with the teacher, principle, nurse, and school psychologist.  It was determined that my niece should be tested for ADHD.  This was not a complete surprise to my sister and I, we started to come to the realization that my niece was not a difficult child; but she was having difficulties learning.  ADHD has different side effects for different children, for my niece it mainly consisted of; inattention, difficulty in performing tasks, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Eventually my niece prescribed medication to help her handle difficult situations and control those ADHD tendencies.  Even today, when she misses a dose I notice a change in behavior.  Sometimes I will ask her if she has taken her medication but now she even realizes when she misses a dose herself.  As the years have passed, I have grown and realized that there are no bad children but all children are different and some might need a bit more help than others might.

As for my niece as she has matured, she has come to her own and has a great understanding of what works for her.  She is now 16 and is one of my dearest friends, at 8 I was so ready to send her packing with my sister in tow, but now I could not imagine being without her, she has become like a daughter to me and I love her dearly.


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