May 6: Finding support

This week, finding your personal autism parent posse while dealing with your own ADHD.

ADHD vs Support

I’ve had two competing priorities recently: building a support network of other parents of kids with autism while trying to keep it together with ADHD.

ADHD can be challenging for so many reasons, but for me, the biggest issue is organizing all the things I need to do and making sure nothing slips if my time is short. I had a monster week at work and my personal list of to-do’s was put on the back burner. And now I’ve failed to set up a handful of medical appointments.

Luckily, I did get in to see the doc who prescribes my ADHD meds. Problem is, they don’t work, and I’ve only got a few more to try before having to go back and pick the one that worked best or alternatively, not take anything. It is tempting to say forget it and go unmedicated as I did my whole life prior to diagnosis. But there’s something about finding out you have a condition that causes you so much stress–and having the option to alleviate it.

Which brings me to the personal autism support group that I’ve been trying to cobble together. I have a few leads but I don’t have the focus to do the actual following up yet. As we transition our son to the school district, we receive pamphlet after pamphlet about how important it is to have social support. I’ve never felt like my son has problem behaviors that require it. He’s my son and he’s very good. None of his tantrums seem outside of what I see with friends’ neurotypical kids.

The Real Parent Support Issue

It seems like what I actually need is support for dealing with the other adults that I have to interact with on my son’s behalf, like school district officials and therapists. They are the “autism experts” who have no understanding of how hard it is for an adult with ADHD to function within their systems. It worries me. My son could easily have ADHD too and they’ll treat him as poorly as they treat me. And it’s not as if the two conditions are completely unrelated. ADHD and autism are not rare conditions. And both conditions can be genetic. Zero chance I’m the first neurodiverse parent of a neurodiverse kid they’ve encountered. Seems like there should be some basic understanding of it. But there’s not.

I know I don’t look like the standard ADHD child. I know there are so many misconceptions about ADHD in adults. I’m sure my disorganization is seen as lack of intelligence. I get it. But I’m sick of it. How can I let my son grow up to be an autistic adult when his ADHD parent not accepted as-is by his educators?

We just finished Autism Acceptance Month with continued lack of acceptance by many (not all) neurotypicals who seemingly don’t want to break a sweat and deal with those of us who are different. It feels like the weight of the world is on us to justify why anyone should bother with us. And as I fight to keep it together in a world built for NTs, I’m so done with having to bother feigning neurotypical behaviors. I feel myself giving up. Letting my ADHD flag fly. Not caring whether people are offended. And perhaps that’s just as good as any other support I could be getting at this juncture.

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