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Mindful : June 2016
SHOULD Here’s an example from my medical prac- tice: Whatever you may know or believe about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, when accurately diagnosed it represents a medical disorder in which self-management skills lag behind peers. For example, a child may be 10 years old but have the abilities of someone far younger when it comes to focus, organization, and planning. This fact is frustrating, demand- ing, and sometimes overwhelming for both par- PERSPECTIVE ents and children—but until we catch up their abilities, that child’s specific skills will remain exactly what they are. There is a common perception that someone with ADHD should do a better job. “If only they tried harder or cared more, they’d stop forget- ting their homework!” But a student with ADHD can’t manage schoolwork until taught ways to handle his or her condition, and that takes lon- ger-term planning and diligence. Stress under- standably continues until the issue resolves, but the added “should” further burdens parents and children. As with any challenge in life, overcoming ADHD requires seeing it as it is. When a child with ADHD believes she should be able to suc- ceed through effort alone, it undermines motiva- ILLUSTRATIONBYMINDFUL 50 mindful June 2016