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Growing up with ADD: A mom’s perspective

He’s not a kid anymore. He’s an adult. Life hasn’t been easy growing up with ADD. Every day is a struggle.

As a child, he was picked on and teased by the other kids in school. Teachers wrote him off as a problem child. Socially, he was awkward and it was hard to make friends. The world around him made no sense.

Over the years, he was tested for everything from Tourette’s syndrome to autism. But his parents knew it was something else. He was 7 years old when a new doctor came to town who specialized in testing and treating children with ADD/ADHD — a fairly new diagnosis at the time. He was tested and his parents’ suspicions were confirmed. He had ADD, as well as dyslexia, chronic depression, and early signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Years of trial and error with medications, therapy, and counseling helped. But eventually he figured out on his own what worked for him — structure, routine, and developing a set of skills for staying on track with school work and life in general. He developed his own organizational system that made sense to him. A GPS system in his car became an essential. And writing things down and making lists helped him tremendously.

He always loved to draw — it made his world more tolerable, more fulfilling, and less stressful, and it was the one thing that captured his attention for hours. In college it became his passion. With the encouragement of an instructor who recognized his talent, he decided to make art his major. He is now focused and driven, getting excellent grades in all of his classes, and next year he will be moving out on his own while he earns his bachelor’s degree.

He’s still working on his social skills and self-confidence, but all the pieces are starting to fall into place. His future is full of promise and brighter than ever.

This piece was written by a Monterey County mother who requested anonymity.