Our Journey to an ADHD Diagnosis

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Published Date: 07/21/2021
Comments: 40

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*This post is sponsored by MoreToADHD.com. All opinions are my own.

Like a lot of kids, our two oldest daughters struggled with virtual learning this past year. Over time, their grades — and their concentration levels – began to plummet, so they started having concerns about potentially having ADHD. After discussing it as a family, we decided to take them to the doctor to be evaluated.

When we were finally able to visit a pediatrician that specializes in behavioral health, we decided to take all three of our daughters. While my two oldest don’t seem to have ADHD, we were shocked to find out our youngest daughter does. And apparently, she’s not alone: nearly 1 in 10 American children and teens have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Falynn is the one child that was able to sit at her laptop, through every school day for the past year, without issue. Being a social butterfly, we thought she would struggle with it, but she thrived in her new environment, learning how to make friends through a screen and completing her school days as though she was there, in person.

little girl reading a book our journey with ADHD
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girl jumping in the air our journey with ADHD
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I have to admit, I had huge misconceptions about ADHD. Growing up with a close family member who had been diagnosed at a very young age, he was incredibly hyperactive, couldn’t sit still, had a hard time focusing and had a hard time controlling himself and his emotions both at school and at home. I always thought that his symptoms of ADHD were the only symptoms. But that is incorrect.

ADHD is one of the most common mental health issues affecting children and teens. It’s a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

I thought because Falynn is able to concentrate and sit still in school and when she needs to, ADHD wasn’t a concern. I was wrong. ADHD is a complex disorder. It presents differently, depending on a person’s symptoms. So when our doctor mentioned ADHD at the end of Falynn’s consultation, I had so many questions.

One by one, the doctor started to help me rethink Falynn’s personality and everyday behaviors through the lens of ADHD.

girl taking a selfie our journey with ADHD
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smiling girl our journey with ADHD
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Although she can concentrate on anything she’s interested in, Falynn also has an incredible amount of energy. When she’s not in school or reading or playing a game, she prefers to be outside running around, jumping on the trampoline, or playing soccer or basketball.

Sometimes, she is so focused on what she’s watching or doing, that we have to call her name multiple times before she acknowledges us.

Falynn has trouble following instructions. She processes them, but she will also rebel if it takes her away from what she’s currently doing.

The more the doctor explained, the more I realized that ADHD looks different in everyone. For example, did you know that ADHD can affect girls and boys differently?

Boys are more likely to:

  • Act out and be restless
  • Blame external factors for their symptoms
  • Suffer from hyperactivity and impulsivity
  • Be diagnosed and receive treatment

Girls are more likely to:

  • Daydream and underachieve
  • Blame themselves for their symptoms
  • Suffer from inattention
  • Be undiagnosed

girl laughing and dancing
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girl laughing with a book in her hand
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Falynn’s doctor wants to wait until next year, to see if her ADHD affects her schooling. At that point, she will go over options for treatment. In the meantime, she gave us some tools to use in regard to behavioral reminders and routine adjustments.

If we ask Falynn to do a chore and she wants to finish what she’s doing first (playing a game for example), we should ask her nicely twice. If she still doesn’t stop and do her chore, we should introduce a consequence. In that case, we would tell Falynn that she should make a choice. She can either lose her game privileges for two days, continue playing her game until it’s finished, and then do the chore, or she can pause the game now, go and do the chore and then resume playing her game.

In regard to routine, at 8 years old, Falynn still needs to be reminded to do things like brush her teeth, get ready for bed, clean up after herself and do her homework. Her doctor recommended that we set a daily schedule so that she will remember the things she needs to do, every day without being told first. Having a schedule will cut down on her overall frustration and allow her to get everything done with plenty of time leftover for recreational activities.

Early intervention is key, so if you suspect that your child may have ADHD, schedule an appointment to speak with a doctor soon and do your research! Girls with ADHD often go undiagnosed, which can lead them to develop depression, anxiety, and/or eating disorders that may follow them into adulthood.

I am so thankful that there are resources like MoretoADHD.com that can give parents the tools they need to recognize, treat and manage ADHD. You can also sign up for resources for both parents and children to be delivered right to your inbox! It’s been so helpful for our family, as we navigate this new diagnosis and wait for answers.

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ADHD looks different for everyone so when our daughter was diagnosed, we were grateful for resources like MoreToADHD.com to help us recognize, treat and manage her ADHD. #ad
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When our youngest was diagnosed with ADHD, we were shocked. ADHD looks differently for everyone. Here are some helpful resources.
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I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. It’s a long journey. As an adult who has literally only been diagnosed with ADHD ( caused by trauma) at the age of 28, it makes so much sense. I’m so glad she got her diagnoses so you can both find ways to work with the ADHD rather than against it.

  2. Interesting read and love this. I am going to share this with my brother in law as my niece may have ADHD or something similar. I am signing up for their resources to share with him 🙂

  3. I have friends who have kids with ADHD. And it’s nice to know that parents nowadays are becoming more open about how to deal with it. ADHD is no longer that taboo..

  4. I’m so glad that you were able to recognize and have her diagnosed. It’s so interesting how it presents itself so differently for each person.

  5. I admire your courage and strength in raising your daughter. Thanks for this informative post. I know more parents can be aware of this. Thank you again.

  6. It must be nice to have the diagnosis so you’re aware, but you’re right all types of conditions will present themselves differently in different people so it can sometimes be hard to know x

  7. There Are a lot of misconceptions about ADHD. As a teacher I hear them all the time. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  8. I absolutely love that you shared your experience with receiving your beautiful daughter’s diagnosis. I know ADHD very well and it’s true – it presents itself so differently in everyone (and yes…. Even more tricky with girls) – but once the diagnosis comes – it all really makes so much sense. I’m so glad you are getting the support and resources you need! What a great kiddo!

  9. Diagnosis is a great start and will open so many doors for her. It definitely doesn’t define or change her though.

  10. My goddaughter was diagnosed with ADHD as well. I’m glad you followed your instincts and got the resources you need.

  11. I am glad to hear that you found support for what you were seeing in your daughter. She’s fortunate to have that guidance.

  12. Yes! I learned all of these things the hard way, too. I also learned that there are other ADDs, as well. My son has ADD/I which is Inattentive. He really doesn’t fit the stereotypical ADD because it it so associated with hyperactivity. Thank you for shining a light on the differences of this complex disorder.

  13. That’s good that you were able to follow your instincts and figure out what is best for your daughter. It is always nice to have answers.

  14. This was really interesting and useful. having read this I suspect one of my children may have this. I’ll need to book with our doctor and check.

  15. Thank you for being so open and sharing your story. I will definitely share this with other parents.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story. It helps me a lot of reflecting on mine and to have some questions about my kids!

  17. It can be hard to find the right diagnosis. I have a friend dealing with a similar situation, they are really struggling.

  18. I find it interesting that girls are more likely not to be diagnosed, this is a very interesting factoid. I wonder if this factors in to why there seems to be more and more in the world, since it could have been undiagnosed for a very long time over a longer period of time?

  19. I’m glad you were able to get a diagnosis for your youngest at age eight! You’re so right – ADHD symptoms can present differently in different people, and girls often go undiagnosed.

  20. I think you’ve shared something so beautiful and personal here. ADHD is becoming much more a part of our world today and the sooner we can understand it, the better we are placed to handle and deal with it!

  21. This is great information to share with other parents. I am so glad that you were able to get to the right DR to help your daughter get the treatment that she needs to succeed

  22. I have a nephew who has ADHD. At first, we are having a hard time dealing with it, but after his doctor explained his situation it really helps us easily manage and deal with it.

  23. This is a wealth of information about ADHD. The condition is not easy to recognize and your post is a great help.

    1. Aww, this is inspiring. Thanks for sharing your journey. I know someone who has ADHD and at first it’s really hard but now we know what to do.

  24. I can relate to parents woho have children with uniqueneeds. I have a friend who have autism and it is always a struggle each day taking care of his little boy.

  25. ADHD is such a tough diagnosis. For as long as I can remember, it has carried a stigma of negativity. The truth of the matter is that kids with ADHD, much like kids on the autism spectrum, are actually quite functional as human beings. I do hope your daughter remains the happy child she is amid the diagnosis.

  26. Thank you for sharing your story. As a father with two small kids, I rely mainly on stories from other parents such as yours for information.

  27. My oldest has ADHD. We found that giving her ample warning before asking her to change tasks helped her a lot. MoretoADHD.com sounds like a great resource!

  28. My son was diagnosed at 16 and I wasn’t very accepting of it at first. But after a lot of research, I realized he definitely has it. Not noticed as much in school as we have since being out of school.

  29. So important and super helpful to know what you and your kid is like and how it someone processes information and attention. Didn’t realize how differently boys and girls experience ADHD.

  30. I love this. My son also has ADHD. Natalie might have ADD. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and I think it makes kids more creative!

  31. What a great read. This is so packed with information about ADHD and is a really interesting post. As a teacher I thoroughly enjoyed reading about you and your daughters journey.

  32. I’m so glad you shared her story with us. ADHD takes different forms, but most of us only know the one fidgety one.

  33. I’m so glad you were able to get her diagnosed. In addition to all of the other hurdles that kids with ADHD have, it’s unfortunate that they also have to deal with not being diagnosed so often.