Project to Learn About ADHD in Youth (PLAY) – Real Story

Real Stories from People living with an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

April’s Story

This is the personal story of April and her child Sara. From age 9 until age 15, Sara participated with her mother in the ADHD Play and follow-up studies.

“The PLAY interview process was an affirming experience for both me and my daughter. I realized that ADHD encompasses so much more of a child’s life than his or her behavior. It impacts relationships, family dynamics, school performance, parental practices, and most of all, a child’s concept of self-worth. I think the biggest struggle for children with ADHD is trying to conform to traditional school settings, where sitting still, long-term focus, organizational skills, etc. are rewarded behaviors.

“For each annual interview my daughter and I would always compare notes before and after the interview. She was curious to see what I said about her in the pre-interview paperwork, and I was curious to hear about her answers in the face-to-face interview. It was always a great opportunity for us to talk about things we didn’t usually discuss on a regular basis, such as her self-confidence, her growing independence, her school performance, her behavior, and her relationships at home and school.

“Over time, I was able to trace her own self-confidence and sense of security back to the structure of our home life, her physical fitness activities, her love for the arts, her relationship with her parents (especially her dad), and the loving adults who surrounded her. I think we affirmed that having a well-rounded set of activities, a loving family unit, good routines and limits, and healthy relationships at school are habits to keep for a lifetime. The researchers’ ability to trace data trends on all aspects of a child’s life in such a comprehensive way will hopefully help those affected by ADHD in the future.”

CDC would like to thank April for sharing her personal story.