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A Link to Learning Lennon

One of the greatest blessings of my work as a community engagement coordinator is connecting with other parents on their own journey to support their neurodivergent children. All of our children are different in so many ways, but we truly can understand one another and what it means to walk a mile in one another's shoes. We have a common connection. We find common ground. We have a genuine compassion for the struggles and a genuine sense of pride in each child for the successes they achieve.

I am honored to have the opportunity to share the work of one of my friends, Kate. Her son, Lennon, is an absolute legend. He sparks joy in everyone he meets and he is destined for greatness in this world. I reached out to Kate to ask her permission to share her new Facebook page and some of the work she has published thus far. Her work is inspiring, and informative, and offers practical ideas for success for families with children diagnosed with ADHD. Thank you to Kate for her partnership and her wisdom. We can all benefit from her work and her willingness to share her journey.

I love how Kate describes Lennon as her "more" kid. It truly encompasses how many of us can describe our little ones. Sometimes "more" happiness, sometimes "more heartache," sometimes "more" anxiety, but the majority of the time- "MORE" JOY!

An Introduction with Kate and Lennon

Hi! I'm Kate and this is my son Lennon!

Ever since Lennon was a toddler he seemed "more" than other kids his age- more excitement, more meltdowns, more energy, more defiance, more overstimulation.

When he was two we thought "Well it's just the terrible two's". When he was three we thought "Well it's just the "threenager". When he was four we thought "Well maybe it will get better soon".

All through these years I had a hunch something else was going on. In May, Lennon was diagnosed with ADHD and while it finally helped us to start to help him, I wish I had had more resources to help him earlier. That's what I hope this account will be for others who have a "more" kid. I hope to share what's worked for us and what hasn't. I'll share more of our story, things we struggle with, and activities and parenting strategies that have worked for him. "More" kids are hard but they are also amazing.

Want to know my #1 tip for parenting a "more" kid?

Make it fun! Lennon responds 100% better to what we'd like him to do if we approach it as fun instead of a directive.

I've found the key to this is not to give the directive first and then if he refuses try to backtrack and turn it into fun, but to come at it as something fun and exciting right in the beginning. Here are some examples from our own everyday life:

- I know he won't want to clean up his toys so I come in the room and say "Guess what?! I'm going to race you and get more toys put away first!"

- I anticipate that he will be resistant to brushing his teeth so I say "I have a cool idea! What if we video us on superhero speed on my phone while we brush your teeth and watch the video then?"

- I can tell he is getting frustrated with a toy so instead of telling him to take a break I say "Hey! You want to have a dance party?” I turn on his favorite song and we dance to take a break

How do you make everyday tasks with your kids seem fun and not commands?

"Maybe you should talk to a counselor or therapist".

My sister said this to me after Lennon's 4th birthday. I was describing again the amount of daily tantrums, separation anxiety, inability to wait, and hyperactivity. She said as much as her kids weren't perfect they weren't doing any of the things I was describing. I had been thinking this myself lately because I felt myself at a breaking point, but I wasn't sure what my husband would think.

Later that week, I hadn't mentioned it to him yet but Joe came to me and said "I think we need to talk to someone about Lennon". This led us to reach out to a behavioral specialist that we scheduled an appointment with. These appointments would be just Joe and I as they walked us through some parenting strategies that might help Lennon better.

These appointments plus some of the books I'd been reading were so helpful in giving us some strategies that worked better with who Lennon is! I'll be sharing some of what worked for us over the next few weeks.

I think most important to note here is that in order to help Lennon we didn't end up having a list of things HE needed to do to make it better for the US. WE had to change our way of thinking and parenting to be able to help HIM.

One of the things Lennon gets really frustrated about is not knowing how to do something/refusing to try new things that seem hard to him.

Some examples that have been hard for him in the past include cutting with scissors, dressing himself, riding a bike, and related to the photo below: drinking from an open cup.

This photo was taken at a school field trip last year to a park. When it was snack time, the teachers pulled out plastic water bottles for all the kids. At home, Lennon had still refused to even try an open cup. We had started working on it in Occupational Therapy but hadn't gotten very far yet. So he was not happy and insisted he wanted his regular water bottle. The plastic bottle was his only option and he ran away crying and yelling while his other classmates started their snacks.

I tried to talk with him and calm him down but it wasn't working. His wonderful teacher came over and was able to calm him down and we eventually got him to come back and try the water bottle. We tucked a paper towel in his shirt because he was concerned about it spilling and I helped him try the tiniest sip like he was learning to in OT.

After this incident, I talked more with his OT and she recommended some special nosey cups on Amazon that had one lower side to make drinking easier. They came in three sizes and we started with the smallest, putting his favorite drink in it. We tucked a paper towel in his shirt and we got him to practice with the cup because he didn't have to tip it back as far. Pretty soon we had moved to the medium size and then the large size and then a regular cup! Now he has no issues drinking from open cups!

What we've learned with Lennon is that he sometimes needs tasks broken down into easier steps. To me, drinking from a cup seems so easy- just tip it and drink! But to him it felt hard and uncomfortable which led to meltdowns. Breaking it down into easier steps to achieve the goal really helps him!

Please check out and FOLLOW Kate's page, Learning Lennon. It is full of a wealth of knowledge that will be so beneficial to any parent!

All my love and support, Anna

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