It’s officially ADHD Awareness Month, and there are so many ways that you can help spread awareness! Over 6.4 millions kids have been diagnosed with ADHD, and chances are, if you’re reading this, your child may be one of them! Join us this month as we help eliminate the negative stigmas associated with ADHD and encourage parents, educators, families, and kids to embrace ADHD as a strength and to develop strategies to help kids be successful!
Here are some ways you can get involved!
- Share Your Story
ADHD is nothing to be ashamed of. Parents and kids sometimes feel embarrassed to tell their family or friends about an ADHD diagnosis for fear that they treat them differently or simply say, “ADHD isn’t even real!” These mindsets come from all of the stigmas surrounding ADHD. By sharing your family’s story, you are helping the people closest to you better understand ADHD and how it impacts your daily life. You may also be the encouragement that another parent has so desperately needed! So share your story, the good and the bad, on social media, to a parent group at school, or to a friend or family member!
- Support a Local Event
Each year, we host our Eagle Run 5k to bring awareness to ADHD and raise money for scholarships! It’s likely that something is happening in your area as well! Check out your local parenting sites (i.e. Charlotte Parent, Atlanta Parent, etc.) or find your local CHADD chapter to see who will be hosting events!
- Join the Online Community
There are tons of online events happening that are a great resource to parents of children with ADHD. The ADHD Awareness Expo is happening Oct. 2-8 online. This is a free virtual event that gives you access to tips and strategies from nationwide ADHD professionals and experts. ADDitude also has tons of blogs and webinars throughout the month that can be great resources!
- Remind Someone with ADHD How Awesome They Are
Whether it is your child, your spouse, a co-worker, take some time to remind someone in your life with ADHD how awesome they are! Let them know specific qualities about them that you appreciate and enjoy.
What an awesome day! A dark, chilly October morning was brightened by energy and enthusiasm from SOAR staff, students, volunteers, and of course RUNNERS! The Eagle Run 5k is not new to SOAR, but it has been newly revived to help celebrate ADHD Awareness Month with our local community. Upon its return last year, a lot of hard worked rendered little results and left a lot of us here at SOAR feeling disappointed. But as you know, SOAR doesn’t believe in failures, but sees these situations as lessons learned and used this disappointment as motivation for our 2015 run.
It was a SUCCESS! We are so grateful to all of our sponsors, the outdoor community, every single volunteer, and to everyone who laced up their running shoes to support ADHD. Thanks to you all, we were able to raise $1,800 for the SOAR Scholarship Fund that will be designated to provide unforgettable adventures to youth with ADHD in our community.
We were lucky to have all of our Academy at SOAR students in attendance as well as a very special SOAR alumni and his father, Chris and Terry.
Chris has attended SOAR the past three summers, participating in our NC Academic Discovery course this past summer. After seeing so much growth this year, Chris’s parents encouraged him to join the cross country team at his high school, something that he has stuck with the entire season! Go Chris! When they heard about the Eagle Run 5k, they knew Chris would want to get involved, despite living three hours away. While it was great to reunite and hear about all of the successes Chris has had since his time at SOAR, it was also an incredible race-day reminder of what this event was all about! Chris and all of our students were an inspiration to everyone involved to continue our efforts in eliminating the stigma surrounding ADHD through awareness in our schools, communities, workplaces, nationally, and globally!
We are already thinking ahead and looking forward to next year’s race. We hope to see even more SOAR Alumni as well as increased support within our community!
Thanks again to all of our sponsors.
United Community Bank
Asheville Adventure Rentals
Irene Wortham Center
Navitat Canopy Adventures
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Mast General Store
As an adventure-based program for youth with ADHD, we get this one a lot. ADHD is for girls too! And so is adventure! 1 in 3 children diagnosed with ADHD are female. This skewed statistic doesn’t mean that girls have less ADHD; it likely means that fewer girls are actually being diagnosed. This lack of diagnosis can have major effects on girls’ confidence, friendships, and academics.
The symptoms associated with Girls with ADHD are presented quite differently than those of boys. Many boys have more noticeable symptoms such as blurting out answers, constantly fidgeting, or consistently walking around the classroom. These are noticed more because they are disruptive to others, leading teachers and parents to seek assistance. Girls, however tend to display symptoms such as staring out the window or being easily distracted, showing carelessness on tasks, misplacing items, reluctance to participate, or excessively talking to a classmate. Many times these symptoms will go unnoticed or are viewed as a girl being chatty instead of possibly having ADHD, leaving parents with lots of questions and little answers. Boys tend to express their emotions and frustrations outwardly, while girls with ADHD are more likely to internalize these feelings, leading to increased comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, self harm and eating disorders.
Developing friendships is one area where a late or missed diagnosis can have a big impact. For instance, a couple of boys may meet on the playground, after digging in the sand together and finding a common interest they may develop a friendship. Girls on the other hand play a careful dance of reading visual and auditory communication. Personal space and tone are intricate parts of maintaining friends. When these interactions are unsuccessful, girls are more likely to blame themselves and simply quit trying in the future. But these friendships are so important! Each year at camp, we are able to see how girls thrive in an environment without judgement and that offers support in areas that just don’t come easy for some kids. Being able to be yourself and not worry what others are thinking, makes meeting a new friend and striking up a conversation so much easier.
Resources that Can Help
Understanding the different ways that ADHD can present itself allows teachers, families, and friends to intervene and be proactive in helping young girls manage their ADHD for a successful outcome. If you suspect your daughter may have ADHD, we encourage you to check out this three-part series from the Child Mind Institute to learn more about getting a diagnosis, telling your daughter, and how to help her.