Why “People First” Isn’t Enough. Where’s the “Mom First” Language?

By Amanda Morin, Understood.org

My Child Has ADHD, but Don’t Call Me an “ADHD Mom”

Sometimes people who don’t have kids with learning and attention issues marvel at what I manage daily. That may sound like a humblebrag, but it’s not. The truth is I don’t manage more than any other mom does.

When people tell parents like me, “You ADHD moms are so inspiring,” or “You’re such a Supermom!” I don’t know what to say. We’re really no different from other moms.

When I talk about kids who have learning and attention issues, I choose to use something called “people first” language. It puts the child first and the issue second. I don’t call my younger son “my ADHD child” or say that he is ADHD. I say he has ADHD.

His ADHD doesn’t define who he is. Primarily, he’s just a kid. He loves to laugh with his friends, roll around in the mud and play with toy trucks.

The last time someone called me Supermom, I realized we needed to have “mom first” language, too.

Primarily, I’m just a mom. I love to laugh with my friends. I get irritated at my son for tracking mud inside. And I try to figure out how I’m going to make it through another session of playing toy trucks.

From the outside, our lives may look more hectic to other parents. And it’s true, there’s more to do. I have to be more diligent about making sure the day goes smoothly. I attend IEP meetings. I keep track of appointments with doctors and therapists and I manage sensory meltdowns. Sometimes I make mistakes, even when I’m doing my best.

To me, that’s just being a mom. As moms, we all do what we have to do to make sure the kids we have are getting what they need to grow and succeed. That I’m doing what it takes to raise a child with ADHD is, to me, incidental.

Experts tell us the best way to praise kids is to praise their effort, not their personal characteristics. It seems to me it should the same for moms.

So please don’t call me an “ADHD mom” or a “Supermom” just for having kids with learning and attention issues.

The days when I manage to get three kids out the door in the morning, fed, in clean clothes, with homework, lunch money, and gym clothes in tow—and also remember to show up to chaperone a field trip? Now, that takes effort.

On those days, feel free to call me Supermom.

Reprinted courtesy of Understood.org © 2015 Understood, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Finding Ninee’s Our Land: Do All Kids Have Special Needs?

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of guest blogging for the Our Land feature on Finding Ninee. I realized I’ve never shared that post with my readers. So, here’s a little bit of it:

I have two children with special needs. I’m still getting used to saying that and I never know quite how I’m supposed to do it. Do I say, “I have three children, but only two of them have special needs?” Is it more appropriate to say, “Two out of my three children have special needs?” Is what I really mean; “Only one of my three kids doesn’t have special needs?”

It’s a strange phrase anyway. I mean, synonyms for the word “special” include words like unusual, different, unique, and individual. Given that definition, don’t all kids have special needs?

 

Read the rest of the post via-– our land: do all kids have special needs? – Finding Ninee

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Parents, teachers work to educate rising number of Maine kids diagnosed with autism

BANGOR, Maine — Jacob Lewis did not enjoy the fourth grade. He said he regularly felt cornered and frustrated in class. He got into trouble often, but he did not know why. He could understand instructions from teachers, but he didn’t get why they were given, so he didn’t follow them, prompting teachers to scold him.

When frustration overwhelmed him, Lewis would shout, push things off desks and knock over tables and chairs, his mother, Amanda Morin, a former kindergarten teacher and early childhood development specialist, recently recalled.

Lewis, now 12, was diagnosed with a mild form of autism during the summer before fourth grade, his mother said. The diagnosis he received can include children who have all the basic traits of autism but are able to perform well in school, according to Andrew Kahn, the psychologist who diagnosed Lewis.

via—Parents, teachers work to educate rising number of Maine kids diagnosed with autism — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

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