Falling Through the Ceiling summarizes our experiences in the context of the Sankofa Proverb. The Sankofa bird is a mythical West African bird with its head turned backwards carrying a precious egg in its mouth. The Ghanian meaning is “forever forward never backwards”, interpreted as you must know your past to not repeat it. We have shared our lives working through ADHD and building on what we have learned. In the spirit of the Sankofa bird, we have continued to nurture our precious eggs, our sons and our marriage.
The book evolved from our passion to relate our experience of Hope and Healing, even if it would be a painful story to tell. By being both candid and often humorous, we wanted other families to know that they are not alone. We also knew that we needed to highlight the dangers of being enablers to other parents, to help them recognize and unlock the childhood and adult gifts of ADHD.
As an ADHD affected family, we could not find books about ADHD to help us to understand what can go wrong in families like ours. We knew other parents who were also in denial about professional assessments of ADHD. Yet, we had learned, with difficulty, how to work with multiple generations of children that are affected with ADHD, and wanted to offer hope and concrete do’s and don’ts to families rather than “just suffer through” clinical directions.
From “Suffering in Silence” to “Frustration and Resilience”, we share the struggles that we survived. Discussion and acknowledgement of ADHD in African American families has historically been the silent enemy among us.
Our objectives are:
· Lead a frank discussion of the visible and hidden effects and costs of ADHD to our families, highlighting the gifts.
· Provide a blueprint for elucidating causes and effects of hitting the wall and ever-increasing possibilities through diagnosis and treatment.
· Support our sons as they use their ADHD gifts to create their own paths from “Frustration to Resilience.”
EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
Suffering in Silence
“Defiant, daring behavior leading to failures, including sexual acting out, running away from home and inviting danger, were our reality in our house full of ADD.” – Audrey and Larry, parents
We were an upwardly mobile, middle-class family. If you asked our friends, they would have said we were loving, active, hardworking and provided for our children. As our careers took off, we earned more income, moved to better neighborhoods, upgraded schools and cars, and we did the things most people want to do … we weren’t trying to keep up, we were the “Jones family,” after all.
Yet our friends and others didn’t know what was happening on the inside. What happened in our house stayed in our house. Our house full of attention deficit disorder (ADD) was an open minefield of poor decision-making, risky choices, immature behavior as well as lyin’ and denyin.’ We had issues and covered them up by solving the problems, enabling the behavior and giving in to the bright ideas of the day.
Our sons were well-mannered, handsome and smart, yet our house was full of failure, impulse and self-focus, especially as our three boys aged. Nobody ever knew what was happening because we, the parents, got them out of trouble. As the years went by, more and more “below-the-surface” activities started emerging. These behaviors were not obvious to the naked eye but were present and intrusive, just like the unseen foreboding presence of an iceberg. Eighty percent of an iceberg is under water, massive and dangerous, able to sink ships like the Titanic. This is how attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can affect families, especially when undiagnosed or ignored.
Without humor and hope, we would not have made it. If our stories resonate with your family experiences, perhaps we have something in common.
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Audrey and Larry Jones would love to meet your group in person or provide a written interview for your blog! They are also available for Internet radio interviews.