Growing Up With ADHD – Have Things Changed…?

As a child raised in a time where not much was known about this “affliction” I went through many years of feeling ‘less than’ and ‘inadequate’ in every sense of both words. My sister Stefanie put my growing up years in very accurate detail in The PedREST Story section. The only thing missing was the ‘help’ I dunceboy-finalreceived along the way in believing I was stupid (teachers, other kids..etc) Every school book I had was filled with my doodles and drawings, but not many notes. I couldn’t understand how to decipher important facts from filler words. Therefore, frustration would set in. When I’d look back over my “notes”, either I had captured one full sentence (including the conjunctions) and missed the next five said, or I had words here and there that made no sense. No wonder I hated school and played sick as often as possible! Every report card said, “Suzanne is very smart, but does not work up to her potential.”

And yet, what is so sad is that I saw a lot of professionals! From school counselors straight on up to a specialist in Manhattan! To emphasize what I said before, this “affliction” was not known to the kind of doctors I went to. Many years later I heard the story from my Mother that she had a friend whose child was diagnosed with hyperactivity. She brought me to my therapist’s office (a child psychologist) and asked him, “Is she hyperactive? Does she need to be on medicine?” He looked at me, crawling under the chairs, than climbing on top and jumping on the seat, than jumping onto my Mom’s lap and hanging from her neck… and said, “It is just a phase she is going through.”

And to make matters worse, the hyperactivity part of the acronym ADHD is usually found in boys, more than girls. So for years I got to hear what everyone was telling the boys – “what, do you have ants in your pants”- and not the girls- “stop daydreaming” – which definitely didn’t help things. Kids who had problems in school back then went to “study hall” which again, translated to being stupid. It was an embarrassment because it was generally known that the ‘dumb kids’ had to go there. (It was literally termed the ‘retarded group’.) Schools were set up in three categories… the advanced, remedial, and slow groups, and being thrown in the slow group meant humiliation.

When I was first diagnosed, at the age of 21, it was as if a huge light went on over my head. But still, information regarding ADHD was still very limited. (Pre-Internet Days) A few years later, a book was recommended to me: Driven To Distraction, by Edward Hallowell MD and John J. Ratey,MD. It was the ABC’s of “growing up Suzanne”. It focused (no pun intended) on all the mislabeling, and explained very clearly the disorganization I felt all of the time. Not only did it give a clear explanation of ADHD, (when I was told I had Attention Deficit Disorder, I took it to mean I hadn’t gotten enough attention growing up) but I was finally able to put some humor and levity to something I had found to be so emotionally painful; all of the projects I had started with such good intentions and enthusiasm that led to my feeling like a failure yet again because they were “one more thing on the uncompleted pile” finally had an explanation.

Unfortunately, once this problem came more into the public eye a few years ago, it seemed like every other child was diagnosed with it, and over-medicated, even when it may not have been necessary.

In the years since my diagnosis I have learned quite a bit regarding this issue…for example, that a huge percentage of kids that go undiagnosed end up turning to drugs to self medicate (…I would be one of them.) I have also learned that people (quite often, teenagers) who are not diagnosed and treated are prone to quite a bit more speeding tickets and accidents than others (…again, I used to fit that bill.) And, I also understand that quite often it is inherited. (Thanks Dad!)

As an adult, I discovered new tactics, or “tricks” to circumvent the problems. I knew I could never sit at a desk for 9 hours; I would go crazy, as well as probably make everyone around me nuts! My early experience with school made going back to one for a career terrifying. So I had to figure out what really caught and held my attention. What kind of career would help me be who I am…not who I should be in others’ eyes. And that was when my career as an EMT formed. That was where my creativity shined!

Recently, while talking to my Mother regarding my nephew, and seeing his inability to focus, and sit still, she said something I have heard so many times before, “if I only knew then what we know now…” Over the years, I finally came to the realization that there really is no point in dwelling on the “what if’s” and “If only’s” (ie: What if I had been diagnosed earlier…how different would my life have been?) The fact is, I can’t change what was or wasn’t done back then, but I have a voice now, and it is so exciting for me to watch my nephew (who, by the way, appropriately, is my Godson) receive special education and get the extra help he needs to enable him to reach his true and full potential.

And so, when I think about my own story, I am quite curious about parents today, who have a child that has ADD or ADHD, and the advances and help they receive now, and the process of how they were ‘properly’ diagnosed. Who picked up on the signs and how early was the child tested? And lastly, those of you who have children with this, did you see early signs because you recognized some of your own traits as a child in him or her?

Laura R. | Bronx, NY; Sun., Aug. 23, 2009

I’m studying to be a teacher and know that in the case of an emergency where an ambulance is called, we need to take everyone’s safety into consideration, and children should be the priority! They are very weak and cannot fend for themselves, so we must keep them safe. The #1 cause of death in children is ACCIDENTS that could’ve been prevented!!

Lisa G. | Beaufort, SC; Sun., Aug. 23, 2009

This is a cause that is very dear to me. Children should be our number 1 priority.

Solby M. | Cape Coral, FL; Sun., Aug. 23, 2009

It is very important that the child is being transported safely to the hospital since the ambulance is the first step to getting there when it is a very serious emergency.

Carnival Cruise Lines Contest Looking For a Child Ages 7 to 12

Cruises are becoming more and more popular with families and as a great way to reconnect with family members that may be scattered across the country carnival comeaboard2with inter-generational vacations. Of course this includes families that include special needs kids. Carnival Cruise Lines is fully equipped to make guests with special requirements and disabilities relaxing and enjoyable. Carnival Corporation was recently awarded the “Access Freedom” award, which is presented by the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality and is given to individuals and organizations that have made the greatest strides in advancing opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Now Carnival Cruise Lines is gearing up to debut a brand new ship, The Carnival Dream. The new ship comes complete with an outdoor theater, a 24-hour pizza place and its own on-board water park.

To christen the ship on its maiden voyage, Carnival is going to choose a godchild for the water park, WaterWorks, in the Book of Dreams Contest. The lucky child and family will get a trip to New York to embark on a 3-night voyage. Plus, for every entry into the contest Carnival will donate $2 to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Carnival will also donate $1 for every vote in the contest. Entry details are here

For more info: Carnival Dream Fact Sheet

Carnival Special Requirements Info Sheet


Pediatric Safety Addition:

Rules of Contest from Carnival Cruise Website are located here.

Of key importance – entry must be submitted between August 18, 2009 12:00:01 a.m. EST and no later than September 18, 2009, 11:59:59 p.m. EST on the Sponsor’s website located at, to be entered into the Virtual Book of Dreams Contest.

Miley Cyrus & Pediatric Safety: A winning ticket!

badgesquareWe finally did it!

After countless hours of planning and testing and developing – we finally think we’ve put together a site where everyone who cares about children’s health and safety – (parents and doctors and nurses and emergency responders and teachers…to name a few) – can get together to stay informed on the child health safety topics that have the potential to affect us and the children in our care.

A place where we can show each other some of the ideas that we as caregivers had, and then later turned into products and services that help keep kids healthier and safer; and a forum where we’ve been fortunate to have some experts (pediatricians, pediatric nurses, an EMS safety expert, and a specialist in keeping home & kids toxic chemical-free) who have kindly volunteered time to help out with an open exchange of questions and ideas.

It’s a place where hopefully each of you can find answers and in turn give answers to others who need them. It’s a community where people can support each other… and it’s yours.

So where does this contest thing come in??? Well how do you get to know a new place unless you explore??? And we WANT you to get to know this one – and tell others about it. …And THAT’s where this contest thing comes in 🙂

Introducing: Miley Cyrus & Pediatric Safety: A winning ticket!

**contest extended two more weeks**:

Miley Cyrus7

The prize: as a way of thanking our new friends…

  • For one lucky winner: Two (2) tickets to see Miley Cyrus in concert on November 18th at Nassau Coliseum in New York

  • For another lucky winner: Two (2) tickets to see Miley Cyrus in concert on November 29th at Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA

And here’s how it works:

Below you will find our CONTEST ENTRY FORM. It includes our MANDATORY entry for the contest as well as the opportunity for you to enter a BONUS entry…

For simplicity (and so that you can tweet multiple times) you can use this form for each bonus entry, however if this is an additional entry, please check the box saying this an additional entry so we know you have already completed your mandatory entry requirement. Please note: you must fill out a separate form for the mandatory entry as well as for each bonus entry so we can make sure each entry gets counted.

Starting next Friday, and for each Friday after that we will post opportunities for you to earn additional BONUS entries. Each bonus entry will be listed for that 1 week and will only be good for that week. So be sure to check back each week for the bonus entries …and have fun!


Join our community (note: An email will be sent asking you to verify your membership – you must check your email & and click the link to verify membership )


  1. Tweet the following “Hannah Montana / @MileyCyrus Concert tix Giveaway! Visit for details & plz RT @pediatricsafety #pedsafe” (You may tweet once daily = 1 entry)
  2. Share this contest on your favorite social networking site ” Click share at the bottom of the post and provide the URL where you shared it on the form (Each share = 1 entry)
  3. Name and describe one post from the home page of the site Answer on the form below (Answer = 2 entries, so remember to submit 2 forms)
  4. Blog about this contest – including a request for your readers to tweet or blog about it. Include the blog URL on the form (Blogging = 2 entries, so remember to submit 2 forms)
  5. Join the ANSR for Kids (Ambulances Need Safety Regulations) cause on Facebook and send invites to your friends – help us spread the word that things have got to change (Join the cause = 3 entries, so remember to submit 3 forms)
  6. Sign the ANSR for Kids petition and leave a comment – help us tell Congress that Ambulances Need Safety Regulations for Kids (Signing the petition = 3 entries, so remember to submit 3 forms)

Please note: Each contest (Atlanta and New York) requires a minimum of 20 valid participants for tickets to be awarded – see details in contest rules below


Miley results1 8-29-09Miley results2 8-29-09Our Atlanta Winner: for Miley Cyrus tickets at Philips Arena – Kimberly Sloane #16 – with a Mandatory Entry

Our NY Winner: for a $50 gift certificate to – Dora Gouli – #152 – with an Additional Entry: Signed the Petition (Child safety should be taken very seriously and hopefully this petition on more secure transportation features for ambulances does not get ignored)

Finally…Contest Rules:

Must be eighteen (18) or older to enter. Giveaway has no country of origin participation restrictions, however tickets will be provided at the event so winners must be present a minimum of 1.5 hours prior to concert and bring valid picture ID that matches the name used for the entry or tickets will not be awarded. If prize has not been claimed one half hour prior to the event, tickets will be forfeit. Reminder: Each contest (Atlanta and New York) requires a minimum of 20 valid participants for tickets to be awarded – alternatively a $50 gift certificate will be awarded in their place. NOTE: CONTEST EXTENDED 2 MORE WEEKS Giveaway starts Friday July 17, 2009 and ends at noon EST Friday Aug 28, 2009. Please leave a valid email address with each entry or your entry will be disqualified. You will have 48 hours to email me if you win. Winner chosen using Good Luck to all entrants!

Welcome to the summer of Miley, the summer of kids and the summer of Pediatric Safety.
Miley Cyrus9We hope you find a home at our new community, and that you believe like we do: we’re in this together…and where pedsafe_logo-smallkids health and safety are concerned… ONE OUCH IS DEFINITELY TOO MANY!!