Welcome to One Small Step for Parents! Our goal is to help you find the right resources, support and information that is needed to make informed choices. Without the proper tools we, as parents and adults, don't know what will help our situation or what works and doesn't work. Here at One Small Step, we have done our best to take the guesswork and confusion out of the equation by supplying tools, resources and online support.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Social Networking and ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and ODD, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, are not "Media Friendly" disabilities. There are few, if any, movies made about this subject, or portraying the protagonist, or supporting cast as having these disorders. There are no fund raisers, front page stories, movie star endorsements, or media coverage to bring these disabilities to the attention of John Q. Public.

The people suffering from these disorders are not generally quiet, withdrawn misunderstood individuals, rather they appear to be brash, abrasive, undisciplined, angry children/young adults who seem to delight in causing upheaval and chaos wherever they go.

This is only half the story. These children are rarely undisciplined, and their disabilities magnify 'normal' behavior to a point where 'normal' consequences or discipline appears to be ineffective. Again, this is only half the story. The only way to truly understand what these disabilities can do to an individual and their friends and family, is to live with it.

Unfortunately, if you are 'lucky' enough to have a child with these disorders, you are ostracized from normal society and relegated to the outskirts with little to no support, help or information. You feel completely alone because no one understands what you are dealing with and others view you as a poor role model and terrible parent.

This blog is attempting to change that perception through social networking. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others can be adopted to spread the word that support is as close as the click of a mouse. When I was immersed in the daily negative, sometimes caustic, and always stressful behaviors of my six year old, there were no support groups and very few programs designed to work with ADHD/ODD children. There was no one available to explain why my son acted the way he did, and there were no solutions either. No one seemed to understand what they were dealing with and looked to me to provide the answers. Answers? Hell, I didn't even know the questions!

However, over the years I did my own research and learned everything I could about ADHD and its attendant disorders. In short, I helped myself. It wasn't pretty, and there was a lot of trial and error, but today I am in a position to be able to help my son, and it is working. It is slow and sometimes difficult, and almost always frustrating, but it is working.

Through Facebook, Twitter and Hub Pages, I and others, are spreading the word that support and information are available for others dealing with these issues and behaviors. Everyone can write, tweet, link, or like, the content available on this blog or forum to get the word out. Let your friends and followers know about this site and spread awareness and help for anyone living with these disorders. It doesn't cost any money - just a few minutes to click a mouse, so what do you say? You can help someone else get the support and information they need simply by clicking the like, tweet/retweet or link button on your social network profile, so please, take a moment and pass it on.

Thank you!
Enelle Lamb

Friday, February 24, 2012

Community Support Forum for Parents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Children

I would just like to say "Thank you!" to all the people who are using the Community Support Forum; whether for questions and answers, information or support. We may not have all the solutions, but by adding your voices, we are helping one another, and other parents find the support they need and deserve. We shouldn't discount our experiences - they are a most valuable resource!

We all knew, when we embarked on this journey, that children didn't come with user manuals, but we were safe in the knowledge that there were many tried and true remedies, handed down from generation to generation that we felt would be enough to sustain us along the way...that and what we learned from our own parents. However, we soon discovered that these same tried and true remedies had no effect what so ever with our children, and we were left adrift in a sea of misinformation, alone and cut off from our friends and family, with no one to turn to for advice or help.

Living with any disability is difficult, but when you live with and love someone whose diagnosis does not afford them the help, programs or funding to find what they need, sometimes the only thing we can do is to band together to help ourselves.

It has taken fourteen long years for me to find programs that offer specific parenting skills and parenting groups (that would have been helpful several years ago,) for children like my son. There appear to be more programs available now than there were when my son was six and seven. This is because there are more kids being diagnosed with these disabilities than ever before, and the professionals in Child and Youth Mental Health are starting to provide the necessary services that parents need.

Unfortunately, these services are not always offered in our communities, and with today's financial and/or time constraints, it can be difficult to access them on a monthly, weekly, or sometimes daily basis...hence the Community Support Forum. This feature allows us to connect with other parents who are dealing with and surviving, (sometimes barely,) the stress associated with these disabilities. We may not have degrees in psychology, and our parenting skills might be brought into question by many parents, (who, I will add, do not deal with our type of stress,) but we have a wealth of information to pass on to other parents like ourselves.

We know what doesn't work - we have tried and tested the formulas! We know what types of medications seem to help our children, and what ones don't seem to make a difference. (I will say here, that each child is different, so what helps one might not be as effective for another, but overall, some stand out more from the crowd.) We know that sleep, (or lack there of,) food additives/processed food, allergies, potty training, discipline, consequences, and a variety of other items seem to plague our children and make it harder for us to parent them.

All of this knowledge should be, and needs to be, available to every parent who is fighting the same fight we are. Simply by sharing your stories, parents realize that they aren't alone. There are other parents out there dealing with the same issues, and that tiny bit of knowledge helps them gain the stamina necessary to get out of bed each morning - witness the over one hundred and sixty five lengthy comments on my original article - almost all of them saying thank you for posting this story.

So, for those of you who find answers, support, or a measure of solace and comfort from the Community Support Forum, I ask for your help. Tweet, Facebook, or simply pass on the link so that others can benefit from our experience and knowledge. Thank you again, and now I'll pass my soap box to the next person!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Diamonds for Valentines

Every mother expects one day to be introduced to her son or daughter's significant other. For some of us, this can be a revolving door, with new love interests being introduced monthly or even weekly in some cases. However, for parents of Attention Deficit Disorder, (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, (ADHD) children, the prospect of potential partners is somewhat diminished due to the constant display of (sometimes) disturbing behaviors. Yet, even though these behaviors can inhibit or limit social interaction, there is still a good chance your son or daughter will, at some point, be the target of Cupid's arrows.

My son, who will be fifteen in May, is one such casualty.

It is most interesting to be granted a back row seat to this budding romance. On one hand, my son can still be quite child-like in his play, opting for playing with guns (including sound effects,) or swords and vanquishing invisible opponents. On the other hand, he can appear quite grown up, discussing the car he wants to own, future living arrangements, and of course, his girlfriend.

Christmas came and went, along with thoughts of gifts for his girlfriend such as i-Pods and lap-tops, much to my relief. When they broke up near the end of January, I felt it was a good opportunity to remind him of our conversation about buying expensive gifts and possible short term romances, all of which went out the window when he reconciled with his girlfriend the second week of February.

With Valentine's day looming on the horizon, talk turned once again to gift giving. This time, instead of i-Pods, he shifted his gaze to diamonds. Try as I might, he would not be dissuaded from the idea of presenting his Valentine with a diamond pendant. (I suppose I should thank my lucky stars he wasn't thinking of a ring...) He was adamant that I spend upwards of $100.00 - in his words, "Don't cheap out Mom..."

Now, I know what you must be thinking. Diamonds? For a thirteen year old girl, from a fourteen year old boy? Are you off your rocker? Let me assure you, I am not nuts, nor will I allow my son to rush out and spend all his paper route money on a diamond pendant. Fortunately, my schedule did not allow for the both of us to shop for a Valentine's present, and since he can be easily distracted by his video games, he did not have the forethought to use public transportation to achieve his goal. However, this meant that on the eve of Valentine's day, after working an emergency shift for a Fortis BC gas leak, I was zipping through Zellers to find a "diamond" pendant for my son's girlfriend.

I found a lovely initial that I thought would satisfy both my son and his girlfriend and made my purchase. I won't divulge the price, suffice it to say it did not 'break the bank', and was well within the range of 'perfectly acceptable' when it comes to 'possible short term romance' gifts!

My son was thrilled with the pendant and presented his girlfriend with her gift this morning in class, sending me a text saying "she loves it!" 

Time for a well deserved "way to go Mom" and congratulatory pat on the back!