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article linkschool daze (sarisolden)
posted Thu August 26th 2010 @ 12:41 PM

School Daze

For some of you with ADHD, the beginning of the school year brings relief, the return of  structure, and the return of much needed breathing room. For others of you with ADHD, though, whether or not you also have children with ADHD, those first few weeks of school are overwhelming and can bring with them a miserable and familiar school “daze”.

The assault of forms to fill out, schedules to coordinate, meetings to keep track of and attend, supplies to buy, lunches to make etc. multiplied by the number of children you have... and well, you get the picture.

In some ways, this stage of life where you are dealing with children and schools, can often be the most challenging ones for adults with ADHD, especially for the partner who has primary responsibility in this area. This difficulty is compounded if you have come to evaluate your success as a parent (or worse as a human being)  by how you perform in this arena which is greatly affected by the executive function struggles of ADHD.

Because the challenges of adults with ADHD are largely invisible to others and because these men and women are very competent and capable in other ways, their daze, confusion, and overwhelm in these situations, are often unfathomable to them and to those around them.

I encourage you to try something different this school year. Right now is the time to think about it-before the daze seeps in and takes hold and makes it impossible for you to do anything but tread water exhaustedly and wait for the storm to end. It is critical not to just dive into another  awful daze, waiting for it to be over- plan now while you still can!

Don’t Do It Alone!
Whether it’s your partner, your children themselves(they can do more than you think), a relative who is good at things that drive you over the edge, or a friend you can you trade* with, or someone you pay**, get extra support in the areas you need the most help with.

 *Trade with someone.
For example, a friend or relative who loves to shop could take your children to buy school supplies if that is difficult for you. In exchange, you could provide something that person needs. Think of what you have to contribute, not just what you need and find a willing partner. You could help tutor their child in a subject you are good at, or drive their children to school, or teach them how to ride a bike, or read to them or babysit on a Saturday night or whatever…the list is endless, you fill in the blank.

**Pay someone. Its cheaper than therapy!
I have had many clients who would rather come to therapy to talk about being overwhelmed than hire someone to help them with what is overwhelming them because of the guilt involved in getting that kind of help (even though it is far less expensive to hire a babysitter or a someone to do errands.)

Answer an ad or place one yourself.  Look for a high school or college student or a older retired person to do errands or help around the house or fold laundry or make dinners to freeze. Again, make this to suit your needs- they may be different than traditional help wanted. What will help you out of the daze?  It may be that just a few hours a week would make the difference- just someone to stay with one child while you do an errand or sit with you while you read through or fill out forms. Reduce the overload. There may be a simple solution. Use that ADD creativity to solve this problem.

Here is Some School Daze Homework for You!
Lessons for you to Learn and Practice this school year.

1. Learn to tolerate the guilt of getting support. Practice Practice Practice.! You will learn to enjoy the support once you find the right neutral person.

 2 Learn to say “no” to extra demands at this time of year.

3 Learn to say “yes” to time for yourself -carve it out no matter what! Set up activities for yourself now!

4 Create and protect ADD free zones for yourself and your partner.

5 Create your own IEP as you would if your child needed accommodations to have a good school year. You need one too. Let’s call it an Individualized Enhancement Plan or Enjoyment Plan. Remember if you are depleted, you wont be able to help anyone.

Suggestions for the plan
-Sign up for a class once a week now.  

-Make a date for something you want to attend that you pay for now with husband or a friend or by yourself for something pleasurable..  

-At home set up a sanctuary for yourself or think of it as an emergency exit plan for an unexpected ADD attack! When the cloud of daze descends on you: Where will you go? How will you protect yourself? Figure it out and write down one place in your house or out of your house in advance where you can get out of the chaos for awhile when you need to recharge. Figure this out now. A favorite café, a park bench, a bathtub full of bubbles with a lock on the door. Write down your plan now and post it where you can see it.
Write me at sari@sarisolden.com or blog at ADDjourneys.com. Tell me one thing  you are doing for the beginning of school days to reduce the stress, to reduce the daze, and enjoy the fall, to enjoy your kids, enjoy the parenting, to increase your pleasure. Send me a copy of your emergency escape plans!

Build up the support and cut down on non essentials and remember you, your mental and physical health are the essentials!  

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Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD, Women with ADD, ADHD