How Do I Explain My Autistic Child’s Mental Health To My Younger Kids?

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I grew up with a big sister named Olivia, who always acted strangely for as long as I could remember. We had a five-year age gap, so she should be reading and writing when I entered preschool. However, I could remember Mom teaching us how to do that together, and it was often I who could answer our mother’s questions. Sometimes, Olivia would sit in front of the blackboard quietly; other times, she would begin to wail when Mom acted stern and then flip our little tables, tear our papers, and break our crayons.

In my young mind, I thought Olivia’s actions were ordinary, especially since Mom and Dad never got angry or scolded my big sister. Whenever she had a meltdown, I noticed how they would take a deep breath and exhale as slowly as possible with their eyes closed. Once my sister had calmed down, they would clean up after her and even smile sweetly at her. So, when I acted up when Mom gave me broccoli for the first time and threw the food on the floor, I was so shocked when she yelled at me and told me to go to my room and repent for wasting food like that.

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That was perhaps the first time I felt resentment toward my family. I resented my mother for scolding me for something that my big sister always did. It was not food that she wasted but also clothes, art materials, and grandma’s plants in the backyard. They shook their heads, but they did not say a word.

Of course, I also resented Olivia during that time. I wondered why my parents treated her like an untouchable all the time. They could not bear to scold her or put her on timeout; whatever she did seemed acceptable to them. It did not even seem to bother them when she peed in her pants every time she got mad.

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Understanding The Situation

I stayed resentful towards my family for a couple of years. I felt like Olivia was the favored child in the house, so I tried to distance myself from everyone and not show any emotion. For instance, when my mother made me stay on the porch after my big sister took my favorite pen and I screamed “like a maniac,” I did so without begging Mom to let me back inside. It did not matter if the mosquitoes had my blood for lunch and snacks; I just remained there without crying or frowning. I only went in around dinnertime when my father picked me up and took me back to the house.

My resentment evaporated, though, when I entered middle school. One of our topics was autism disorder back then. During the lecture, the teacher said, “It is often challenging to figure out who has autism based on face value alone. Even doctors take months or years to diagnose someone with this condition. But you can notice some of the common symptoms, such as being unable to communicate, learning slower than their peers, living in their own world, and throwing meltdowns like a little child at any age.”

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I went home on that day and asked Mom and Dad if Olivia had autism, considering those were the same symptoms I saw in her for years. They came clean, embarrassed for not telling me sooner. “We did not know how to explain it to a child,” Mom uttered. “Your father and I don’t even understand autism. We just try our best to raise your sister well.”

One Out Of My Three Kids Ended Up With Autism

My relationship with my parents and Olivia improved instantly. I understood my big sister and helped look after, even though I was much younger. This experience allowed me to handle things better when I had kids, and my eldest child ended up getting diagnosed with autism-like Olivia.

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Ever since I learned about it, I reacted in the opposite way that Mom and Dad did – I talked about it to my two younger children. I did not give them the medical jargon; I merely said, “Listen, guys, I hope you will always play with Jess and not get mad when she throws a tantrum. Your big sister does not feel well, so you should be there for her.” Luckily, I raised great kids. Though they were still young, they did as I asked. I even found out that the little ones acted as Jess’s bodyguards at school and looked out for her all the time.

Final Thoughts

No matter how complicated autism is to talk about in front of children, you should do it. Keeping them in the dark for an extended period might cause them to resent their ill sibling as I did with my sister Olivia. I regretted feeling that way when I found out about her condition, and I carried that with me even now.

If you explain your autistic child’s mental health to their siblings, you can protect their mental health, too.

ADHD In The Family: Things To Keep In Mind

 

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The hard truth is that it is difficult to love someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder fully. It’s hard always to be hesitant of what to say and often feeling like you’re walking on bombs that might explode anytime. You walk on tiptoes, not knowing what step or words will set off the bomb of emotion. This is something that you want to avoid.

If someone in your family is diagnosed with ADHD, you know by now that they suffer every day. Life for them is tougher than the rest of the members who don’t have it. Everything is extreme and overblown. Their intelligent brains are always actively formulating, wondering, building, and never stopping. Can you just imagine what it feels like to a roller coaster in your brain that never ceases to turn and tumble?

From emotional flare-ups to intense opposing behaviors, ADHD manifests several features that may be dangerous to relationships – to families, couples, and friendships. It is a shadowy condition filled with opposites and exaggerations. For example, in terms of focus, you most certainly have noticed that your loved one finds it hard to concentrate when they are distracted or feeling emotional. But when they are very curious about a specific subject, they focus so profoundly that it’s so difficult to get them out of the zone that they’re in. Starting them with an activity is daunting but making them stop is more challenging.

Indeed, true love must be unreserved, but ADHD presents with circumstances that push you to your boundaries in terms of loving someone, even a family member. Whether it’s your husband, your child, or any member of the family, ADHD puts relationships to the test. The most preferred way to set your mind at ease and bring peace into the family is to start learning a different mindset to manage the emotional chaos that ADHD carries to the fold every day and all the time of the day.

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Trying to understand what your family member with ADHD feels will help you improve on how to deal with them and become more loving, patient, empathic, and compassionate. Keep in mind these characteristics that your loved one with ADHD presents.

They get easily worried and anxious

As profound thinkers, they are overly wise to the things, people, and words around them. When they are in a crowded restaurant with people laughing boisterously, they feel like they’re in the front row of a rock concert. A sad news clip can set them up for a whole depressing day.

It’s hard for them to focus when they’re emotional

If they’re worried over something or if they feel annoyed, your loved one with ADHD cannot and will not think about anything else. This makes it difficult for him to communicate properly or work efficiently.

They focus too extremely

When they set their minds on something, on the other hand, they delve deep into it, and you won’t pull them off from that something very easily. They would go way too deep.

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They have very active minds

The ADHD brain never ceases. The ordinary on and off switch is nowhere to be found in that brain of theirs, and there are no brakes either. This is something that one has to deal with.

They appear to be listening, but they’re not absorbing

Your loved one may be looking at you when you are talking, watching your mouth move, but the first sentence will take a long time to absorb. They hear you, but their mind is somewhere else. They are contemplating the opening and closing of your mouth and how your eyes are looking at you.

It’s difficult for them to work on one task consistently

Rather than concentrating on something or someone facing them, individuals with ADHD look blankly at the beautiful painting hanging on the wall, or that weird insect moving vigorously in the air. Like going through a maze, they move in one path, but they can’t stay on for long. They’ll soon be busy finding a new path.

When they begin a task, they find it hard to stop

When they’re doing something interesting, they can do it for hours without stopping. Even when they’re exhausted or hungry or thirsty, they won’t get food or water because they can’t keep their eyes and minds off their target.

They are not able to control their emotions

For a loved one with ADHD, their emotions are over the top and hard to contain. The intricate wires in their intelligent brains cause their feelings and thoughts hard to process. They require more time than usual for their systems to operate efficiently.

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They are talented and profoundly perceptive

When they look at the outside of a box, they see what’s inside. This is one of the most beautiful and interesting aspects of ADHD and what makes them geniuses. Artists, writers, performers, and inventors flourish in this area.

Truly, your family member with ADHD can be difficult to love and care, but when you get to understand the affliction that they are battling against every single day, your heart will soften. Love and affection will take over anger and annoyance. Now you see a soul that wants only to be understood and accepted.

 

 

 

Pandemic And ADHD – Judgments In The World I’m Living In

It is quite disappointing that some people think that having ADHD during this pandemic is a disaster. That no matter how they try and think about positivity, they often believe that people like us with the condition won’t make it in a day. It is not that alarming, but quite hurtful though. Yes, we may be struggling with some mental health issues, but we are confident that the emotional aspects are all the same with those individuals who don’t have a mental condition like us.

Impulsiveness

When other people think about ADHD, impulsiveness often comes first in their minds. Well, not that it is not correct, but some interpretations during this pandemic are not that true. Others assume that we get to feel pressure ten times more that we don’t think about our actions and responses anymore. Honestly, we do know what we are doing. It is just that we can’t control ourselves sometimes, especially when we feel too anxious. But who else doesn’t? I mean, most people struggling during this time acts impulsively. These people do not think through their decisions and rely on quick feelings too.

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Poor Time Management Skills

For individuals with ADHD, time management is quite confusing and hard. I certainly agree that people with a mental condition like us often fail to prioritize tasks and sometimes fail to handle their obligations. But in this time of the pandemic, people with ADHD are not the only ones prone to those unhealthy skills. Normal individuals without mental condition also suffer from a lack of self-esteem due to their inability to handle their time properly. It is not only us that live in a world full of uncertainties. So there is no sense in looking down on us just because we suffer from a mental illness.

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Low Frustration Tolerance

Another disappointing thing is when people make us feel that we are overreacting about everything. That our condition is something that they can laugh about because they think we are not in control. Well, at the point of controlling our mood and reactions, they might be right. But for the majority of all individuals in the world, I can pretty much say that they also have low frustration tolerance during this time of the pandemic. People experience a lot of financial, emotional, physical, and mental issues that break them. So that means low frustration tolerance is not limited to us people with ADHD only.

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Hard To Control Behavior

Perhaps this is the worse time for us with ADHD because others look at us as unreasonable individuals. As much as we want to behave generally as others do, there are limitations to what we can offer due to our mental health condition. When people tell us that we are unreasonable for not paying attention, having trouble focusing, and disorganizing, they are correct. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t listen. That doesn’t mean we intentionally want to present behaviors they dislike. Honestly, we can function and concentrate.

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Can’t Handle Relationship

Sadly, for most people, they view individuals with ADHD in a very hurtful way. Most of them assume that because we have ADHD, we are no longer capable of being in a relationship. And that our mental condition is locked in psychological learning disorder that overlaps mental incapacity. But that’s not true. Yes, we encounter some problems with our relationship due to our behaviors, but we are still capable of loving and caring.

There are quite a few individuals with ADHD who might fit into other people’s descriptions. But I encourage everyone to learn more about our condition before handing out their judgment. If regular counseling does not work for you, you can always try talk therapy through BetterHelp. It may help you sort your thoughts and emotions better than talking to loved ones.

Reminders For Managing ADHD During COVID-19

I know the situation can be difficult and challenging for individuals who are managing ADHD during this pandemic. However, if the system, plans, and organization of addressing the condition during this chaos get noted, there could be a slight chance of a better life. And if people with ADHD maintain their schedule the way they usually do, it can be a great help in allowing them to stay emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy amidst this global crisis.

The Important List Of Reminders

Ensure Enough Medication – If you are a person with ADHD and are taking medications, you need to have enough of what you are taking. Since the pandemic situation limits people from going outside, your number one priority is to avoid running out of your prescription. But you also have to consider the disadvantages of having too much. You might get caught up with too many drugs on your reach and become dependent on it all the time. With that, be sure to check regularly and only secure the amount you need so you can continue taking your meds.

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Adjust On Your Routine And Stick With It – Now that you experience this weirdness of the situation, you need to stick to the new routine, you can come up with as much as possible. This level of disruption in your life will make it challenging to keep your focus on productive things. You have to try adjusting to your schedules and then try to work on it slowly and manageably. Make adjustments that are necessary for your living. But note that you can’t put things all together. So if you can also partition the things you can do in a day, it would be great.

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Be Considerate In Meeting Your Body’s Needs – Normally, having an ADHD condition requires you to eat healthily. It will allow you to fuel your body with enough nutrients and energy. Yes, there will be times that you won’t have access to the healthy foods you usually eat. With that, you need to ensure proper exercise to compensate for that insufficiency. It doesn’t have to be a full-course workout session. You only need some physical activities that are enough to pump your immune system. You can do some push-ups, sit-up, jumping jacks, and so on. Then it would be best if you also got enough sleep to allow your body to self-heal and rejuvenate.

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Secure A Social Connection With people – Having ADHD is challenging; that is why you need an outlet for emotional and mental strain. You need to ensure to keep contact with people even though they are not within reach. You can try and utilize technological devices to communicate with your loved ones and share thoughts with them. Ensure to have a meaningful conversation that can allow you to vent out emotions. Do not let yourself get drained with isolation and loneliness. Remind yourself always to find an alternative to connect socially.

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Find Time To Meditate – In this pandemic time, there is so much negativity going on that can affect your current condition. So before it entirely takes a toll on your life, be sure you practice meditation. Be mindful of connecting your mind and body to your inner peace so that you can deal with this situation properly. Yes, things will not always go your way.  But when you stay positive despite the chaos that has been going around, you will emotionally and mentally make it.

During this global crisis, it is hard to keep up with your schedule, especially if you have a mental condition. So be sure to keep up with these reminders. If you seek help, the BetterHelp psychologists may be what you are searching for. You can trust them to assist you for as long as you need them.

Prevent Your Child From Being Bullied

Teasing is an inevitable part of childhood, and kids with difficulties are often the target of bullying in school, especially those with ADHD.  They usually do not know how to react appropriately and would sometimes just be silent about it, especially when someone teases them.  When this happens, parents should be the children’s comfort and refuge.

 

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The Brain Structure Of My Walking Disaster  

As of 2011, CDC reported that 11% of children in the United States ages 4 to 17 had been confirmed to have ADHD, and the number continues to rise. Traditionally ADHD has been diagnosed based on a psychological and medical interview, information from school teachers, and a direct observation of a child’s behavior,” according to Arshya Vahabzadeh M.D.

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The School Psychiatrist Can Help Your Kid Succeed In School 

A child with ADHD is expected to have difficulty in school as he will be required to sit still, quietly listen, concentrate, pay attention, and follow instructions.  Their brain power is there, but the difficulty to focus hinders their ability to finish their tasks.   “Typically, jumpiness, inattentiveness, and impulsiveness, behaviors thought to be signs of ADHD, first turn up in a classroom situation,” says Marilyn Wedge Ph.D. Their hyperactivity and too much energy make them incapable of understanding the instructions and they may disrupt the class.  What others do not realize is that they do not do it on purpose, but just that their brains would not let them.    

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Therapist’s Guidance To Teaching ADHD Kids Social Manners

 Children with ADHD are no different than any other regular preschooler age kids.  They got temper tantrums, interrupts you when you’re talking on the phone or when you’re with someone, and shout while on the dinner table to get attention.  It’s just that children with ADHD tend to do things in a quite exaggerated way because of too much energy and they do it quite more often. According to Monnica T Williams Ph.D., “Children with ADHD have difficulty focusing on all but the most engaging tasks, are easily distracted, and need greater stimulation to maintain attention.”

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