“Simple Tasks Seem Overwhelming to My Child”

Take your pick — the misconstrued labels for children with inattentive ADHD (once called ADD) are as vast and varied as the symptoms they manifest. Often misunderstood — or worse, neglected — at school, children with ADHD face unique challenges complicated by outdated ADHD stereotypes.

Here, ADDitude readers share the biggest challenges their children with inattentive ADHD face at school and home. What struggles does your child with predominantly inattentive ADHD encounter? Share your stories in the Comments section below.

“Mind-wandering is a challenge for my daughter when she needs to complete schoolwork, especially reading. She has a hard time focusing and will fixate on sounds around her (ticking clock, hallway conversation, foot-tapping classmate, etc.) rather than the one sound she needs to hear: Her teacher’s voice. However, her inattentiveness and mind-wandering are a total asset when she’s drawing, writing, or creating because it allows her to be fluid, make connections, and find flow.” — Anonymous

“Often our 5th grader doesn’t hear us, and it can be very frustrating. He is very gifted, but the inattentiveness has caught up to him. I see him wrapping his computer cord around his hand or doodling absentmindedly instead of completing his assignments.” — Anonymous

“The biggest challenge is my 16-year-old daughter’s room. I’m tempted to call it her ‘swamp’ because it is absolutely a mess of everything you can imagine — dirty clothes, clean clothes, wet bath towels, food and drink containers, jewelry, school supplies, make-up, unfinished crafts, papers that should have been signed and returned to school — scattered on the floor. We’ve tried everything from kindly reminding her to tidy up her room to doing it ourselves when we can’t take it anymore. It’s really exhausting and sucks so much energy from us.” — Anonymous

“The biggest challenge is my 16-year-old daughter’s room. I’m tempted to call it her ‘swamp’ because it is absolutely a mess of everything you can imagine — dirty clothes, clean clothes, wet bath towels, food and drink containers, jewelry, school supplies, make-up, unfinished crafts, papers that should have been signed and returned to school — scattered on the floor. We’ve tried everything from kindly reminding her to tidy up her room to doing it ourselves when we can’t take it anymore. It’s really exhausting and sucks so much energy from us.” — Anonymous

“My son misses verbal instructions at school, or if he hears them, he doesn’t remember them. He doesn’t want to call attention to himself by writing them down.” — Anonymous

“The biggest challenge for my daughter is accessing appropriate support at school. My daughter is quiet and intelligent so teachers assume she doesn’t need support. They do not see the hours of additional study and near panic and frustration that happens at home. The amount of time she spends on organizing and building routines so she can manage are mind-blowing. It is so difficult to watch her needlessly struggle. Also, her budding independence means she wants no interference from her parents. This desire for independence is mismatched with her not-yet-there social, money, and time-management skills. I see students with ‘extra energy’ receive a lot of attention and help, and the inattentive kids — especially girls — are left with messages that they are ‘lazy,’ ‘unmotivated,’ and just need to ‘try harder’.” — Anonymous

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