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What Your ADHD Kids Want You To Know About ADHD

Today on the show we're talking to the kids. They're aware, they're living with ADHD, and there are some things they want you to know about their experience with ADHD that might just surprise you. Plus, they way they think about their ADHD might just influence the way you think about your own!

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Today on the show we’re talking to the kids.

Ok, not all the kids. We’re starting with our kids, because they’re ours, they live with ADHD, and they’re pretty astute humans.
There are some things they want the rest of us to know about their experience with ADHD that might just surprise you.

What the Kids can Teach about ADHD

There are a few things that surprised us as we embarked on this journey to interview our kids about their experience with ADHD. First, they’re usually ahead of us in their thinking. They’ve already done their own research, they understand modeling behavior and have started to pick up tips and tricks by simply observing other kids who have their skills on lock, and they aren’t afraid to try new things.

Like most of us, they don’t appreciate being criticized, and they don’t always understand the scrutiny.

Most important, they can see when they’re falling behind and they — again, like the rest of us — are frustrated.

We talk about the study skills and habits that the kids most appreciate, and the support systems they prefer when trying to be productive at home. We share their enthusiasm for the systems and opportunities set up by their teachers and support staff at school, and how their social groups see their ADHD. Finally, we have a few words on medication to report.

The bottom line, from the kids: “I wish people would be more understanding about my movement,” and “Be gentle. I know how my brain works. I don’t need you to tell me anymore. Just give me a little time to catch up.”

We did a little research after this exploration with the kids and found a stunning parallel of reports from others around ADHD communities. There seems to be no time better than right in the middle of our family series to sit back and listen.

Links & Notes


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright: Hello, everybody. And welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on TruStory FM. I’m Pete Wright and right over there is Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello, everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.

Pete Wright: We’re talking about the kids today on the show.

Nikki Kinzer: The kids. Yes.

Pete Wright: The kids are all right.

Nikki Kinzer: The kids are all right.

Pete Wright: That’s what I think. The kids are all right.

Nikki Kinzer: Aren’t baby goats kids?

Pete Wright: I’m part of a little writing group, and we were doing the countable nouns, like adjectives. And so, yeah, I think that goats are kids, but what is a… Oh. Oh, a group of sharks. What would you call a group of sharks?

Nikki Kinzer: I don’t know.

Pete Wright: A shiver. It’s a shiver of sharks.

Nikki Kinzer: I don’t-

Pete Wright: So that’s scary. And I think skunks, right? Like a group of skunks?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: … is a stench. A stench of skunks.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, that makes perfect sense.

Pete Wright: Right? A lot of them in some way describe the experience with the animal.

Nikki Kinzer: Wow.

Pete Wright: Bet you didn’t think about that ever. That was news to me. A stench of skunks.

Nikki Kinzer: Interesting.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: All right.

Pete Wright: There you go.

Nikki Kinzer: A little trivia there for you.

Pete Wright: It’s a fever of stingrays, I think it is. I think it’s either a fever or a fury. It’s an F word.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, I can think of some F words that I could put in there if I saw a bunch of stingrays coming at me.

Pete Wright: We are not talking about goats, sharks, stingrays, or skunks today. We’re talking about the things that kids want us big people to know about their experience with ADHD. And I got to tell you, I interviewed my kids for it, and I learned so much, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right?

Pete Wright: It was actually a great experience. And I think not only did I learn a lot about their experience with it, but it helps reflect on my own. And so, I hope that’s what comes out of today’s conversation. Our conversation with our kids and their relationship with ADHD and their experience with adults and how that might impact our own. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Before we do that, head over to Takecontroladhd.com. You can get to know us a little bit better. Listen to the show right there on the website, or subscribe to the mailing list right there on the homepage and we will send you an email each time a new episode is released. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook anytime @takecontroladhd. Facebook has actually come out with podcasts, like a built-in podcasts tool. I can’t figure out how it works. It’s terrible, as far as I know.

Nikki Kinzer: Interesting.

Pete Wright: Who knows? I set it all up, so the podcast should be automatically delivered. I’m still doing it manually because I don’t trust them. It’s not working, as far as I can tell. If you are a listener and you find the show via its own post, sure would love to know how it works for you.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Right.

Pete Wright: Let us know, because it seems a little bit crazy so far. Anyway, that’s Facebook. And if the show has ever touched you, if you’re a regular listener, if you’ve been listening for a long time, we sure would love it if you would head over to Patreon.com/theadhdpodcast and consider becoming a regular supporter there. Supporters get some fun things. First of all, you get notification when we go live to record this show. You can join us and watch the livestream. That’s a lot of fun. You get early access to the shows. I try to do it a full seven days early. It’s usually a little bit closer to five or six, but you get early access in your very own podcast feed that comes from Patreon. You subscribe to the show there and you get members-only early access to the episodes. And I cut out all of this stuff. What you’re hearing right now? It’s not in the member feed. None of Pete’s nonsense. I cut it all out. So that’s that. For a few dollars a month, you can guarantee that we continue to grow the show, add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. Visit Patreon.com/theadhdpodcast to learn more. Do we have news for the good people today, Nikki?

Nikki Kinzer: No.

Pete Wright: No?

Nikki Kinzer: No updates today.

Pete Wright: Let’s talk about the kids. Yeah, how did you approach this conversation? Where did this come from?

Nikki Kinzer: Where did this come from? All right. So ImpactParents, well, they just have launched their podcast and they’re going to be on our show in a couple of weeks, and they had asked me to be on their show. And part of what I was going to be talking about was my daughter’s diagnosis. And I thought, "Well, to be extra prepared for this show, I wanted to interview my daughter and just get some information from her so that I wasn’t assuming anything." Because it’s easy for us parents to assume things.

Pete Wright: Oh God. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: I mean, let’s just be honest.

Pete Wright: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: And got her permission, because I wanted her permission, too, that it was okay that I talked about her experience and everything. So we’re all good. So I thought this would be a good conversation for us to talk about with our family series is: What do our kids think about their ADHD? What do they want us to know? What helps them? And I’m hoping that today, parents who have children with ADHD, maybe you learn something new or maybe you relate to us and you feel less alone because we’re dealing with it, too. Whatever it might be, I just thought it might be helpful to have this conversation.

Pete Wright: I think it’s really interesting. Your daughter is how old?

Nikki Kinzer: She’s 16.

Pete Wright: 16. Mine’s 15. And I think that’s kind of the sweet spot for: (1) having a conversation that allows them to demonstrate their level of awareness of their ADHD, and not quite old enough where it’s no longer present. Because my daughter, who’s 19 going on 20, is no longer thinking terms of her experience relating her ADHD to adults, but with adults.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. With adults.

Pete Wright: Because she’s an adult.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Right. And that changes your perspective and it makes the stuff she experienced even five years ago less tangible. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: She can’t really quite think about it. Like, "I don’t really remember what I would want my teachers or parents to know."

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: Everything was presented in terms of accommodations, and it was just sort of like, "Do you agree that you need extra time?" And everybody would nod their heads, and she would say, "Yeah, I guess I do."

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: But to hear my son talk about it, and to read some of the comments from your daughter, I think was really interesting.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Even if I didn’t learn anything incredibly, powerfully new, just seeing the collection of comments was transformational.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well-

Pete Wright: Where would you like to start?

Nikki Kinzer: I would like to start on one assumption that I made. And I felt like when she got diagnosed, I felt like, "Oh, I need to give her all the information in the world about ADHD." And I really had this pressure like: I want her to accept it and I wanted her to feel loved, and everything’s going to be okay and I don’t want her to worry about this. So I felt this need to educate her. And I did get her a couple of ADHD books that were geared to teenagers, and they were good. In fact, I’ll put in the show notes one of the ones that I thought was really good. But anyway, what I found and what I didn’t know is that she did a lot more research on ADHD than I thought she did. So she did it on her own.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: She Googled and learned about it. And so, there were a lot of things that she already knew or was not surprised about when they would come up.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Which I thought was really interesting.

Pete Wright: That is one of my surprises, too, that there is a level of awareness that I thought was mine, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: That I was having to be the one to hand that enthusiasm over to my kids.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: But they already have it.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: They already had it, and they already had that level of understanding, and they don’t need me to talk to them about it anymore.

Nikki Kinzer: To shove it down their throat.

Pete Wright: Right. Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Yeah.

Pete Wright: That was actually one of the things my son said. That, "Don’t worry about asking adults to be gentle." And he said, "I know how my brain works. I don’t need you to tell me any more. Just give me a little time to catch up." He said, "My brain has a mind of its own. I get that."

Nikki Kinzer: "I get that."

Pete Wright: Yeah. "I don’t need you to describe the experience I’m having anymore."

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: I feel like I do that all the time. It’s always framed in, "Well, let me tell you what you’re experiencing."

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Accidentally.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: I don’t mean to do that.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, I know.

Pete Wright: And I know as teachers do.

Nikki Kinzer: It’s so accidental.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And one of the things that I picked up myself with Paige is that she will see what works for other people. Now, I asked her, in her core friend group, if anybody else that she actually hung out with a lot had ADHD, and she said, no, she’s the only one that has it. And so, she’ll look at other people in the classroom, and she kind of can spy them a little bit, and she’ll see, "Oh, here’s this one kid that’s using a lot of sticky notes. I wonder how he’s using them." And then, she would try it. So she’s very willing to try things, but she doesn’t like to be told what to do.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: So she wants to come to her own conclusions. So what I came out of this is that she wants to do her own research, she wants to see what other people are doing, and she wants to make the decision of what she wants to do.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Well, I had exactly the same thing. Hates it when people think that because you have ADHD, you can’t do things, likes getting help, but there’s a line that can be crossed and gets super frustrated when an adult or a teacher tries to help too much. There’s very much the sense of, "You can tell me what to do or how to do it, but not both."

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: "I’m going to have to explore." And I think there is something about that, the spirit of exploration. If I’m at a point where I can put energy and attention to a thing, then you got to let me try it.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: You’ve got to let me try, and I would expect nothing less for myself.

Nikki Kinzer: Exactly. That’s right. So in my interview with her, there were a few things that she just actually told me about. They weren’t from questions. She just said for homework, one of the things that she does is when there’s a chapter that’s being assigned or whatever, she’ll look at what questions are going to be asked on the homework, and then she reads the content; and she does this almost every single time, because she needs to know what she’s looking for, otherwise she just doesn’t retain it. And then what she’ll do is she’ll take a little sticky note where she thinks the answer is, and then she’ll go back and look at that, and then do her homework.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: So it’s a couple of extra steps, but this, again, is something that I didn’t teach her. She figured it out because she knew that when she reads, she can’t just read something once.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: It won’t stick.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: She won’t remember.

Pete Wright: And that she’s already a pretty solid mimic. Like she sees somebody else doing something like that, it’s pretty easy for her to adapt to that, which I think is really powerful.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). When taking notes, she will write down a few key words to remember what to look for, so this helps her remember. A lot of people in her grade at that point weren’t even taking notes, so she was one of the few that actually would highlight certain phrases or words. She made it very clear that she doesn’t always understand what the teacher is asking. So if the teacher asks a question, she usually has to hear it twice or get more of an explanation, because she doesn’t quite connect the dots right away, which is really frustrating to her, which we’ll talk about a little bit later.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: But it is frustrating. One of the things that I did encourage her to do… Because at this point, she doesn’t have accommodations, but I’m going to talk about that too in just a minute. But what she did do is I encouraged her to still go to the office hours when she had homework that she didn’t understand, so she did. She would go to office hours. She would email teachers. Ask questions when she needed more of an explanation. She did end up talking to a couple of her teachers about her ADHD, so they were very aware of what was going on, and that helped. That was definitely a big thing. Now, towards the end of the year, she was taking Spanish, and the test was going to be an oral test, where the teacher would speak Spanish and she would have to write it down.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: And she was really nervous about it, because she’s like, "I’m not a verbal…" What am I trying to say, Pete? It’s hard for her to hear it-

Pete Wright: Yeah, to hear it. Right.

Nikki Kinzer: … and then compute it. So giving her direction somewhere after like the first stop sign, she’s done.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: You know?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: But so, I said, "Well, maybe you could email that teacher and let them know what’s going on and see if you can’t take it in a different way."

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: But she didn’t want to do that. And one of the reasons is is she doesn’t want to look different from her classmates.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: And so, she just took it. She did fine. But I will tell you, there’s some resistance of how much help she wants to get.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And that was the whole thing about accommodations in the first place is I asked her, "Well, next year when you’re actually in school full-time," because COVID kind of switched everything up for her, "will you ask for accommodations?" And she said she will, but she doesn’t want anybody to know about it. She does not want her friends to know about it. So she does not want to be in a different testing room. Her accommodations for her, I’m not exactly sure what they’re going to look like until we get there.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: But she’s very self-conscious about being different.

Pete Wright: Yeah. I got some of the same reflection. My daughter, when I think back on our experiences, we were kind of reflecting on her going through high school now that she’s out of it a ways, and middle school, we had accommodation set up, and generally the only one she used was time-and-a-half on assignments. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: She did do some exams that required a certain amount of focus or a certain kind of focus. She did some of those using time-and-a-half as well, and would go to the testing center. She didn’t have that much problem because it was a big school and there were a lot of kids with accommodations.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: So she actually would have looked different had she not made use of them. But she also kind of felt that way. That there was a thing where if everybody was doing it in the classroom, she wanted to do it in the classroom. If there was flexibility and others made use of their accommodations, she would do that, too. And so, there was very much a just sort of walking-with-the-pride kind of a mentality for her. My son, high school, he made use of accommodations, time-and-a-half a little bit, but mostly high school so far for him has been one giant accommodation. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Nobody knows what they’re doing after the freshman year that he had. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Yeah.

Pete Wright: It was all chaos.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Same thing with Paige.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: I just think there’s still a lot we don’t know about what’s going to happen, and it’s getting less certain every day as of right now. Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: So I don’t really know about that, but I do have… The office hours thing that you bring up? Absolutely reflected on that. Especially in this last year. If there was a Zoom office hour date with a teacher, he was there.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: He was there every time. First of all, because he’s chatty and he likes to build relationships with his teachers. Everybody knows him, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: He likes those relationships. But also, he would use it as like reflection time on the assignments. And the teachers eventually got very accustomed to, "Oh, Nick is here. We’re going to just review what we talked about briefly in class and we’re going to talk about… If nobody else is waiting in line for anything urgent, I’m going to help him through whatever he needs to be focused on." That was really useful.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.

Pete Wright: In terms of his workflow, multiple screens changed his life, because he did not have enough screen space on the little rinky-dink Chromebook they give him to actually have everything open at the same time that he needed open. And I had an old monitor that we put up on his desk and he plugged into the Chromebook, and now he has, on one screen, very large, he has blown up, full-size, the assignment, and it provides a map that he can’t unsee. It’s burning into his retina as he’s on this screen actually doing the work. And that was really big-

Nikki Kinzer: That’s good to know.

Pete Wright: … was for him to be able to have a giant map and focus on that, right in front of him.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: That was the same thing that my daughter experienced, we’ve talked about before, with reading. Had some real struggles with reading until she got a Kindle and was able to make the font very, very big.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: It’s not that she didn’t know how to read. It’s that there were too many words that started distracting her too much.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: And so, she became a very fast reader once she could adjust to that.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Yeah.

Pete Wright: So it’s that same kind of thing that I’m seeing.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: The Quizlet. In terms of workflow, Quizlet has been huge, because he is both a visual and a sort of auditory-kinesthetic learner, and so to sit down and make his own sets of flashcards terms and explanations, it has been very, very useful. And we had to kind of condition him out of just finding terms that somebody else has created in the Quizlet database.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: For those who don’t know, Quizlet’s a flashcard app, but it has this giant back-end catalog where others can submit their flashcards into this repository and you can search for them. And especially if teachers do it, they’re building flashcard terms off of their textbooks, so you can search by textbooks and find these fantastic sets of flashcards. Well, you can also create your own, and that’s what we’ve really spent years learning how to do. And that has been very, very helpful. And finally, this is one I’m really interested in you reflecting on, body-doubling does not work at all for him. He cannot stand working silently in space with somebody else. It does not motivate him. He said all he wants to do is talk to them and can’t shut that part off. And I think part of that is just maturity. He’s at a point where it’s not quite triggered yet that the work is more important than the social time. But I also wonder, is that just a personality type thing, in your experience? Are there people for whom body-doubling doesn’t work because they just want to talk?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, it could be the difference between inattentive and hyperactivity, or hyperactive ADHD, or a combination. Right?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Because my daughter was diagnosed with inattentive. Although there are things that she does that… She’s more combo, I think, because there are things that definitely come out that’s more hyperactive. But no, she has witnessed me do my study halls for years.

Pete Wright: Sure. For years.

Nikki Kinzer: Right?

Pete Wright: Right. Right.

Nikki Kinzer: So she knows what I do, and she hears me doing the Pomodoro. And last year, when she was first diagnosed, I said, "Well, you know what? Why don’t we try it? Because I’m going to be in my office doing this, and right across from my office is our dining room. Why don’t you sit there and you do your work, and you can just follow along as I’m doing it?" And it worked really well for her. Now, part of that might have been because she doesn’t have the opportunity to talk to anybody in that situation, because she really was just by herself and going along with it. But she will do Pomodoros, which is the 25-minute work, and then she’ll usually take about a 10-minute break. And she’ll dance or she’ll walk around. She does get her energy out, which is really helpful. But there was a couple of times last spring where she asked me if I was going to have a study hall. She was asking for it, because she knew she needed to get the work done. And so, she came and she was on the computer. She didn’t show her video, but she was on the computer, she got her work done, and then left when she was done. And it worked really well.

Pete Wright: Wow, that’s great.

Nikki Kinzer: She also loves being on the bouncy ball as a chair.

Pete Wright: Yeah, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And she loves fidget toys, too, so as she’s working, she’ll click something.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: I got her a whole different bag of different fidget toys. So yeah, for her, it works.

Pete Wright: Yeah. I think that’s interesting. And I wonder if we’re going to get to a point… Because that was my daughter’s issue, too. When she talks about her experience with ADHD as a kid, it was such a hyperactive experience. It was like sitting on the floor under the desk, moving, standing around in a class, all the way through probably her sophomore year in high school, and then something clicked and that was no longer the issue. Everything changed. And then, it was all fireworks in her brain. And so, that was interesting. What did you learn about the relationship with meds?

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, okay. So first of all, I would say without the medication, my daughter definitely notices that she has a more productive day when she works out in the morning.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: So if she does any kind of exercise, she always notices that she has a more productive day. We are not a real great example of medication, like a story around medication, because of COVID. Because she was diagnosed in February of 2020. Everything shuts down in March of 2020. And her school was so relaxed… Not relaxed, but I mean, she went to school for two and a half hours, four days a week, so she didn’t feel like she needed the medication. And so, she only took it if she was going to have to take a test, or she felt like… There’s some classes that she didn’t like as much, and so she wanted to focus for that. But she told me that she really doesn’t like how it makes her feel, and that’s why she doesn’t take it on a regular basis. For her, she feels like, yes, it helps her focus more, but she feels like it takes away some of her bubbly personality.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Now, I will say though, Pete, it can change because when she goes into school and she’s in-person and she’s full-time, and there’s going to be more expected of her, she may want to reevaluate that. And if it still isn’t… And this is what I tell my clients all the time, if it’s still not making her feel right or not right, then we’ll go back to the doctor and say, "Okay, can we try something else? Can we try a different dosage?" So I’m not opposed at all to keep playing around with it. It’s just that the timing with COVID was just… It just didn’t give us a chance.

Pete Wright: Yeah, it makes it really hard to learn anything.

Nikki Kinzer: We learned nothing.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: I mean, we learned nothing.

Pete Wright: Yeah. We have a little bit more of a history, because we have been dealing with meds and kids for a number of years. And so, I’m to the point where both of the kids have a really solid experience with their meds. They know what it does for them, they know how it changes them, and they know what it allows them to do. I mean, our very first lesson was when my daughter, as a very young girl, said, "I feel like there’s a party outside, and when I take my meds, we can close the window and I no longer hear it."

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: At least it’s it reduces the external distraction. Well, I’m seeing the same thing in my son. His reflection was, "Don’t be afraid to let me use my medication as a tool that I know it is. There are days when I should be able to tell you, ‘I don’t need it today. I don’t want to take it today.’ But there are days where I absolutely… And you might think I don’t need it today, but I absolutely feel like I do. And so, don’t be afraid to let me drive that. Now I’m in high school, even though I’m new in high school I know, but I feel like I get it already. You can trust me to have that relationship with my own medication, and I’ll tell you when it’s doing something that it shouldn’t be." So I thought that was pretty powerful.

Nikki Kinzer: I think so, too. And there is something else that she said to me that I think parents need to be very, very aware of, especially in the high school age and college. She’s had people offer her money for her Adderall.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And then when she’s like, "No," or, "What are you talking…" Then they pretend like they’re just joking around.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: But my guess is that if she was one to say, "Yeah, okay," they’re not joking around.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: So you really do have to be careful and talk to your kids about that, because people will ask.

Pete Wright: Has your daughter’s doctor pulled your daughter aside to have that one-on-one conversation?

Nikki Kinzer: About that?

Pete Wright: About relationship with [inaudible 00:26:26]? Yeah. Because our ours got to an age where we were no longer in the room anymore, and they said, "I ask you to leave. I need to have this conversation with your child."

Nikki Kinzer: Oh. Yeah, yeah. We haven’t been in the room. Yeah.

Pete Wright: I mean, that, for me, is a real lesson of the responsibility that we’re giving the kids.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: And I’ve just watched two shows in the last weekend. The Flight Attendant is a series on HBO Max and The Final Girls, which is a slasher horror kind of comedy that just hit Hulu. And both of them have a whole thing about Adderall, like open market for Adderall. And one of them, The Flight Attendant, it’s a mom selling her child’s drugs back into the high school to another Adderall dealer kid in high school.

Nikki Kinzer: Wow. That’s crazy. Yeah.

Pete Wright: Awful.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Yep.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s crazy. Well-

Pete Wright: It’s out there. It’s real.

Nikki Kinzer: It is real. And I have to say, there’s a couple of things that she also said to me around the social piece of it. One of the things that’s frustrating for her is if she can’t move, she will do that shaky thing with her leg a lot, and somebody will say, "Oh, well that must be your ADHD." But it’s not a supportive thing to say.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And so, then it hurts her feelings because it’s not supportive. It’s coming out like, "You’re annoying me."

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: But she also told me that she doesn’t mention her ADHD to many people because: (a) they don’t believe her or they… Or, yeah, well, I shouldn’t say "A." They will say they don’t believe her and think that she’s just saying it to be cool.

Pete Wright: Obviously those people don’t have ADHD.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, obviously, they don’t. Yeah. But I think what the reality here is, and what the perspective from her that was so enlightening for me, is that this is what she’s dealing with.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: This is real.

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: People will put her down thinking that she’s making it up.

Pete Wright: Yep.

Nikki Kinzer: Or make fun of her.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Oh, it-

Nikki Kinzer: It makes no sense.

Pete Wright: Yeah. It’s awful.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: I asked my son about that After kind of thinking through your notes. I said, "What is your experience with your peers?" And he said on the other side of that. He was like, "Nobody gives me any trouble." They either have ADHD or they don’t care. And maybe it’s because he’s, again, new to high school. Maybe he just hasn’t kind of had that experience of a real year, but so far, we haven’t had to face that specifically.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, and it could be a gender thing, too.

Pete Wright: Yeah. True.

Nikki Kinzer: It could definitely be how they’re relating to their social circles.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And I know there’s a lot of drama in these circles.

Pete Wright: Yeah, a lot of drama.

Nikki Kinzer: And so, whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but it might be.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Couple of more points we had: (1) timed activities are incredibly stressful. And for us, the accommodations have been really, really valuable. He said teachers have gotten actually really good at noticing, and they reach out when they feel like he’s stuck. They notice when his behavior changes and he’s not moving on from question to question, and that’s really valuable. He does use the technology, though. He emails. He uses Canvas to reach out to teachers outside of class rather than talking in-person. Because, again, to your point, he doesn’t want to stand out like that.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: He doesn’t want to have people watching him like on stage talking to the teacher, which is a version of sort of standing out.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Repetition is excellent. And he said, "Even when I know I don’t want to, sometimes I need to be repeated upon."

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: "I need to have things done many, many times. Don’t worry. Don’t stress out if I need to read aloud." Sometimes he needs to read quietly to himself in class. He needs to go full ASMR in order to hear his mouth making the words’ sounds of things that he has to read.

Nikki Kinzer: Sure.

Pete Wright: And he says, "I wish people would just let go of that. It’s not a problem. I know how to read. It’s not like I can’t read without moving my mouth, but I need to hear that whisper of words in my ears, because I am also an auditory learner. I need to hear the words to let them sink in, and I wish people would let that go. It’s not a big deal."

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: "Just let it go." And yeah, so that was the large part of it. He is in a school where when the kids start projects, they’re allowed to put headphones on. They’re not allowed to watch Netflix or listen to a lot of music, but one of his accommodations is white noise. And so, he can put white noise in his ear bods. Ear bods? Ear pods? AirPods?

Nikki Kinzer: Eye holes?

Pete Wright: In his eye. He can put sound in his eye holes. He can put white noise in his AirPods and his headphones.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: And that allows him to get a little bit more distance from the world at large.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: So anyway.

Nikki Kinzer: And then, just a couple other things. I asked her, "What would you tell someone who was just diagnosed?" And she said, "Don’t be ashamed. Embrace it. We are the best people in the world." That’s that positivity coming up.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: "Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re not stupid and nothing is wrong with you."

Pete Wright: Yeah. That’s really nice.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: I already talked about the, "I know how my brain works" bit, which I think is really powerful. I asked him, "What do you want adults to learn?" And he said, "Just be gentle."

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: And that, "It’s okay. All of this is okay. I know it can be frustrating sometimes." But that "my brain has a mind of its own" is kind of a good message.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Well, and that’s actually… On closing, that’s very similar to what she said, too, because my question was, "What would you tell parents?" And she said, "If you see your child getting frustrated, especially in school, have patience. They are trying. And try to help them instead of getting mad, and see it from their point of view, and understand that their learning is different from others."

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And I thought that was really powerful, because it is so quick for us to get, "Whatever. You didn’t do enough," or, "You didn’t spend enough time," or whatever. And she’s like, "Just be patient."

Pete Wright: Yeah. Yeah. [inaudible 00:32:56].

Nikki Kinzer: Because they are trying. And I think that’s really important to know, too. They don’t want to disappoint anyone.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: And it’s already too easy to feel bad about yourself for not being able to do the stuff that you know you’re supposed to do. The thing that I thought was most interesting I did, after we had this conversation this afternoon, I started searching for other resources that sort of catalog a similar conversation of what kids are dealing with and what they face. And I’ll tell you, it is amazing just how much these other resources parallel what our kids are saying. And I think that was incredibly useful, that no one is an island in this conversation.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Right.

Pete Wright: They’re all dealing with this stuff in a sometimes quite similar way.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: So really useful stuff. I hope it’s useful for others in your relationship with your kids. I hope it changes maybe the way you look at yourself. Give yourself permission to be okay. And thank you for downloading and listening to this show. We sure appreciate it. Thank you for your time and your attention. Please don’t forget, if you have something to contribute to the conversation, we’re headed over to the show talk channel in our Discord server. You can join us right there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.