Throughout my career in pediatrics. I’ve heard those sad 4 words over and over again – “What’s wrong with me?”
I hear it all the time in my office. I was once seeing a young woman I’ll call Emily for a routine physical. The conversation with Emily and her mother in my office quickly turned into a lengthy discussion about what her mother saw as Emily’s anxieties, struggles, and failures.
Her mother only added, as a fleeting reference, that her daughter was an eighth-grade cheerleader.
I sat in my chair and thought about what this scene must feel like for Emily. She was awash in talk of all of her negatives, “her defects.” From the way that her mother described Emily’s station in life, her strong points were undoubtedly afterthoughts, left in the shadows.
I knew that her mother meant well in venting about her concerns for Emily, but I needed to make it clear that there was, in fact, nothing wrong with Emily.
She has FastBraiin.
It’s not a disorder; it does, however, compel her to pay special attention to controlling her own impulsivity and attention because of how quickly her brain works.
My extensive research and work with ADHD individuals has led me to better see the full scope to which they have incredible strengths and advantages. They take risks. They have imagination. They think outside the box and they change with the times, rather than trying to delay the inevitable need for change.
In short – there’s nothing wrong with them at all. They’re not damaged, they’re different.
That’s a message that we need to reinforce for our kids at every chance that we get. We need to celebrate them and ensure that they fully understand that there is nothing “wrong” with them.
Here are some ways that you could try to explain FastBraiin to children without focusing on the negative:
- Stress to ADHD kids that they don’t have a disorder; they simply need to control their impulsivity and take care to invest their full attention in tasks.
- Talk candidly about the role that medication can play. I have often told some patients that I would think of medication for someone with ADHD (or as I prefer to call it, FastBraiin) as being a bit like running shoes for a runner. It won’t cloud out who they are, as much as it will allow their true inner self and true gifts to shine.
- Point to examples of accomplished figures who have come from a similar place; there’s a reason why so many students take heart in the example of Einstein, a notoriously “unfocused” student who is said to have put it eloquently: “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
We all have unique strengths and weaknesses–and people with a FastBraiin are no different. Let’s focus more on their strengths, and watch them soar.