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ADHD In Shadow And Light

As simple as A or B
As simple as A or B

There can be a lot of differences in lives with ADHD depending on where the light shines in them, and where the shadows fall. Acceptance or denial can mean so much in the long run.

Let’s consider two boys, the same age, in the same grade, in similar schools, in similar towns, each with ADHD.

Let’s call them Art and Bert. Sorry if your name is Art or Bert, this is a fictional scenario, so this isn’t you. This is them. And here they are:

First Art

Art has middle class parents who work hard, catch some breaks, have some troubles, and mostly get by with the ups and downs. Art’s grandma was a teacher. She was one of the good ones, she knew that some children learned differently than others and she had her own version of “No one left behind.” To her it meant that she made sure that every student got the best she could give them in the time she had to offer.

After her retirement, she found out about ADHD. Her reaction was “That explains so much.”

Passing it on

As Art’s father was growing up, his mother, Art’s grandma, told Art’s father that it was never fair to isolate or bully someone for their differences. She taught Art’s father that there was good in everyone

Art’s father was encouraged to seek the good in his classmates, espcially the ones that seemed like they were always finding the wrong way to do things but also seemed like they meant no harm.

Lessons learned

Art’s father became a very accepting person, he married a woman, Art’s mother, who was later diagnosed with ADHD, shortly after Art was in fact.

When Art started showing signs of ADHD, art’s father and mother made a decision to do whatever they could for Art to make sure he had the best advantages available to him.

Art was diagnosed. He was given a prescription for ADHD medication which was adjusted several times to make sure he was on the best type and optimum dosage for him. It turned out that Art’s dosage was lighter than many others need.

But wait, there’s more

Art also received counselling, and had the benefit of an ADHD coach. His teachers and principal were made aware of his ADHD so that they could understand how Art learned best and make decisions for his education that would optimize their efforts and his success.

Now Bert

Bert has middle class parents who work hard, catch some breaks, have some troubles, and mostly get by with the ups and downs.

But Bert’s parents believed that ADHD was an embarrassment. Although several of Bert’s teachers suggested his parents might consider getting some help for Bert, they chose to keep that information to themselves.

Bert himself was never told that there was a very good possibility that he had ADHD. He went through his school years believing that there was something wrong with him, something small but significant.

Anxiety can be passed on too

Because Bert sensed his parents anxiety over his behavior and his school problems, Bert learned to keep things to himself. He hid his lapses of memory as best he could, did school projects at the last minute and though he mostly passed, it was often just barely.

Bert’s life was also one of constant anxiety over his inability to keep everything organized, his feelings of having let himself and others down, and his inability to stay focused on both small details and a big picture for his life.

Bert never learned acceptance of himself because he never had an example of that acceptance from which to learn.

Two boys …

Art and Bert are fictitious. But if you were choosing a life for your child with ADHD, which one would you choose, Art’s life or Bert’s?

Yeah, me too.

ADHD In Shadow And Light

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2016). ADHD In Shadow And Light. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Feb 2016
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