In a time where we are all striving for equality in society amongst races, ethnicities, religions, gender, disabilities, sexuality and socio-economic groups…why do I think you should NOT seek equality for your child with ADHD?
Why do I think equality may not be fair?
Look at this graphic..
This is what equality looks like.
Everyone given the same opportunity, chances and privileges.
Except sometimes equality doesn’t work.
Sometimes if you give everyone the same opportunity, the outcomes can still be different. And this is unfair.
Everyone in this graphic was given one box to look over the fence. Equal.
The tall guy didn’t need a box to look over the fence. The little kid was given exactly what he needed. Happy days for him. But the bubba was left still looking through the crack in the fence and had a rubbish view of the baseball game. He certainly wasn’t given what he needed. Look at his body language. He is seriously fed up. Maybe he’ll storm off, kick the box and scream “This is boring, I hate you!”
Now look at this graphic..
This is equity and I think this is what we should all be striving for to help our children with ADHD.
Sometimes, some people need a little bit extra to help them achieve the same outcome.
So now, the tall guy doesn’t need any assistance. The little kid gets his box and he is satisfied. But look at the bubba. Look at his hands in the air – waving them around as if he just don’t care. He needed two boxes to get him to have the same view as everyone else. And there is now harmony.
That is fair.
So what does this mean for your child with ADHD?
It means that sometimes you may treat them differently from their peers and siblings.
Sometimes they may need different equipment at school.
Teachers may need to provide a calm environment, be flexible with the Behaviour Policy or allow a relaxation of uniform rules.
Sometimes they may need to leave early from a birthday party.
Your child may need visual schedules, alarms and reminders to help with their time blindness and organisation.
Sometimes they may need help to regulate their emotions.
Sometimes you may ignore inappropriate behaviour whilst praising and noticing the little positive things.
Mealtimes may look different for your child with ADHD where they choose to have a picnic in the garden rather than sitting with the family.
Sometimes you may need to soothe them at bedtime and stay just a little bit longer.
Siblings will say it’s not fair, you’re treating him/her differently. Well actually, yes you are. Yes you ARE treating them differently.
You are giving your child two boxes to help them get to the same place.
And where is that place?
That place is a destination where all our children feel confident, happy and empowered to understand what they need and how to help themselves.
That’s my idea of fairness.