Another Brick in the Wall 8


Last week, I shared a bit at Deeper Story about just one of the many challenges of having a “different” child. I. Response to the many private conversations I’ve had since then, I’ll be using this space to address some other challenges, and some pure delights, in these goofy kids. If you have something you’d like to share, in the form of a post, please email me.


She sat in the backseat, but pressed forward to allow the driver a better opportunity to hear her. The miles disappeared while she described the properties of a recessive gene and recited verbatim dialogue from a movie.

I worried that the driver, a friend of mine, was tiring of the backseat chatter, but every time I snuck a glance at her face, she was smiling, engaged and apparently happy to chat.

Later we asked her, “What does it feel like to sit at the table and actually do the math homework?”

She, for once , was speechless. It was temporary.

Its like digging through a brick wall with a plastic spoon.

Each and every math problem was another wall. She had to restart her brain, and her process every time. No wonder she avoided it. No wonder she liked to pretend it didn’t exist.

I’ve never experienced that. Sure, there are things I don’t like to do. Laundry and dishes stand out as prime examples. But I can do it, rather easily. Math and similar projects overwhelm and paralyze some ADHD students.

She said later, “the worst thing you can say to a kid with ADHD is just try harder.” She’s already digging through mortar with paltry plastic.

Her assessment of what it felt like to do math helped me. It helped me to back off, to think creatively, and to relax my own standards of how long and how well things always need to be done.

What does your kid think ADHD feels like? How can that help us?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 thoughts on “Another Brick in the Wall

    • Jennifer Luitwieler

      Hey, Abby, I’m so glad. I feel like I tried to keep is private for so long, but darn it, I can’t do this alone, and she is pretty amazing. She’s got some great insight, if I just think to ask her! I hope this dialogue helps you. And if you’d care to share how, please let me know. I’d love to hear from a teacher’s perspective.

  • Gwen Arbuckle

    To me, it’s the way I would imagine being in the eye of a tornado would
    be. You can maintain an amount of space for yourself, but there is
    constant whirring of wind, random objects coming too close for comfort
    and an inconsistent direction rather than a steady path. Everything is a
    bit of a battle, and the days where you feel for moments that you are
    winning the battle feel huge.

    • Jennifer Luitwieler

      Gwen, my girl is working on a project for Biology class right now where she has to create a pamphlet to explain a genetic disorder. She CHOSE ADHD. One of the things she keeps saying is that it looks different in every person, and people who don’t have it can’t possibly know. That’s why it’s so important for her (or you) to be able to communicate what it’s like. It helps her, and it helps me. When I understand at least how hard it is, I can lighten up a bit.

  • Angela

    My kid is OCD, not ADHD. He hyper focuses on something and can’t always move on to the next thing because he’s still stuck on the last thing. He avoids things that cause him to have sensory overload–dances, loud music, large groups of people–and prefers his own company or the company of his online gaming friends. He plays sports but doesn’t seek the limelight, preferring to “assist” in scoring. He doesn’t always speak up in class but is a keen observer and notices things other kids probably don’t. Because he doesn’t like to be the center of attention and isn’t a “star” pupil or athlete or social kid, he often feels invisible. He’s attended the same private school since Kindergarten and told me last week that he doesn’t even think teachers and administrators know his name.