Writing, kids, and ADHD

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Sit at the desk. Don’t wiggle, don’t bounce, or turn upside down. Stay.

Ha ha.

If a prankster posted a Keep Out sign on the school’s front gate, a number of kids would conclude the sign meant them.

keep-out-sign

As teacher and principal before ADD/HD became common teacher jargon, the kids struggling with moderate/severe ADD/HD symptoms were often placed in emotionally disturbed (ED) special education classrooms.

When I retired from teaching, I put two novels on hold that were in various stages of outline, draft, and research and wrote Running Nowhere, a coming of age trilogy. The three books tell the story of Conor Kelman—a boy with ADD/HD during a time before the disorder was recognized.

I wrote the trilogy in hopes that those familiar with ADHD would find solace, and a weird comfort in recognizing the hardship and struggle children-parents-students-teachers face coping with ADHD.

The books are fiction, written for entertainment. Nothing clinical inside the pages, but those familiar with ADHD will recognize the symptoms and the addictive, obsessive, impulsive behaviors. Yes, behaviors that many kids coming of age have. However, the ADD/HD group will recognize the struggle and inward pain of being different.

Today, the ADD/HD acronym is everywhere. Yet, kids suffer. Frustrated with teacher conferences one after another that produce no change, parents panic when ringtones announce a call from the school.

Sadly, ADD/HD is the butt of jokes. To many, it’s a non-existent cop-out, not a disorder but an excuse for poor parenting and run-away behaviors.

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What do you think? Real or excuse? Over-diagnosed? Meds or natural treatment? What are your thoughts and experiences with ADD/HD and school? Your input will benefit others.

Keep them strong

strong characters

It’s the fight. It’s not winning the game.

Protagonists of contemporary fiction might not win or come out on top, but they remain strong throughout the conflict. If they lose, they go down fighting.  Additional strong characters support and help the protagonist achieve victory. If not joining the fight itself, they offer compassion and empathy.

Life struggles can kick our butt no matter how hard we fight, or how tough we are. The people and objects creating the conflict are strong as well. However, the taste of victory remains until the person, place, or thing behind the struggle wins. If the protagonist fails, we know it wasn’t lack of moral fiber.

Readers identify with the main character. They identify with struggling through problems, tough times, sometimes making it, sometimes not. They rely on the strength of the character. They feel it. They need it. Many people are either undergoing personal trauma and conflict or know someone who is. They know survival requires strength. It’s fighting the fight, not giving up. Character behaviors are transferred to the reader.

Strong characters give hope. Hope that we can make it through the most basic human conditions.