I continued to be grateful for all of the wonderful care I have received from others. Cancer is one of those, “it takes a village” kind of conditions and I have greatly benefited from my treatment by so many villagers. My professional specialty, ADHD, is also one of those “it takes a village” kind of conditions. I am gratified in my work for all of the support that the various villagers, teachers, therapists, parents, physicians, occupational therapists, tutors, etc offer to the kids I see. However, it is unusual for all of the villagers, in the case of kids with ADHD, to be on the same page. People with ADHD often have behavior problems that are irritating, challenging, and sometimes unsafe for others. Even without behavior problems, it is hard for others to understand the inconsistency of their performance, why it is so hard for them to develop good organizational habits and such. To add to the confusion, people with ADHD do not have trouble attending to or persisting on tasks that are enjoyable. It looks like they “can do it when they want to” and for boring or frustrating tasks, they just need to gut through them like the rest of us. But “gutting through” the frustrating, the uninteresting, and the mundane is extremely difficult. Since people are individuals with different strengths and weaknesses and ADHD can vary considerably in terms of symptom presentation and severity from person to person, it can look very different from person to person.

Often kids with ADHD get blamed for their problems even though they are primarily due to their very serious and chronic disability. People with say, “He should be able to do x and y. He shouldn’t still be doing z.” All the “should” tells you is that a child hasn’t reached your expectations. It also often tells you that you are frustrated with the child and perhaps not sure how to help. Unfortunately, this state of affairs sometimes leads to giving up and concluding that the kid is just “bad” or “lazy” or some other harmful label.

I have been treated for breast cancer since May 25th. No one has blamed me for my disease. And I don’t blame myself either but I do know that I put myself at higher risk for the disease by being overweight on and off for so many years. Nonetheless, people have been motivated to help me and to treat me with compassion. People don’t give themselves ADHD. It is largely genetic and the non-genetic factors such as poor prenatal care and early malnutrition are not ones over which kids have control. I’ve seen kids as young as 4 being blamed for their disability. I wish these children could more frequent enjoy the same love and compassion as a 46 year-old lady with breast cancer.