No kid comes with a guidebook. Kids with developmental disabilities of all kinds, both physical and neurological, are as diverse in thought, behaviour, strengths and weaknesses as their neuro-typical peers. With the added anxiety of raising very different children from what is expected, stress levels are higher, parenting is harder and divorce runs rampant among special needs parents. That is why it is so important for them to remain on the same side.
For parents with children away at university, it can be a giant leap of faith to step back and let their young adult children be independent, and know that they will be okay. Most young adults transition to university without difficulty and take charge of this new independent phase of their lives with motivation to do well and the skills to navigate their academic and social lives. But for some young adults, the stress of being on their own to manage the academic and social demands of university life may be a breaking point that heralds or worsens mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.
To really nail the concept of what mental illness is and how it affects both those who live with it and those who live with us, here are a few tips to guide in what I hope will be an ever-growing trend to encourage communication and break down the stereotypes. So without further ado, here are things to refrain from saying to someone with mental illness.
Being out in nature is good for anyone, but it's great for a lot of us ADHDers. Many of us feel markedly better in the woods, walking along the shoreline, hiking in the mountains, anywhere pretty and pristine in a natural setting. It's worth a shot to get out there with your kids at least once a week to see if this helps keep them on an even keel.
There are simply not enough hours in the day for parents of children with developmental challenges to manage the complicated care needs of their sons and daughters. There are a number of ways in which "the system" can work well to support better outcomes for families dealing with developmental challenges.
With my diagnosis, suddenly my life made sense. I resolved to learn everything I could about ADHD. What I learned was that women (who represent about 50 per cent of adults with the condition) are grossly under-diagnosed. We're just discovering why, but the fact that girls and women have slipped through the cracks has left a legacy of unmet potential. I should know. As a woman with a lifetime of über-disorganization, chronic lateness, serial job losses, hypersensitivities, and relationship breakdowns, I can attest to the destruction of undiagnosed ADHD.
ADD is constantly in the news, and the news is never good. Some of these issues are very real and very serious. However, I will not address any of them today. Instead, I would like to take this small opportunity to celebrate the very things that drive some people crazy. Let's shout a big "hurray" for the following:
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a provision for individuals living with a disability to claim a disability tax credit. While this has been in place for a long time, it was just a few years ago that individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) were allowed to claim the tax credit, if they meet the criteria as set out by CRA.
Ariel Garten, co-founder and CEO, InteraXon, a thought-controlled computing company based in Toronto, has managed to beautifully blend the worlds of science, art, business and technology. Often referred to as the "Brain Guru," her innovative technology harnesses the power of brainwaves to control objects and create experiences, from gaming to making a chair levitate.