Learning to Live in the World With ADHD

Hi Friends,

I’ve got a great post today from a fellow ADHDer, author, and work-from-home-Dad Jonathan “JO” Oliver.  Check it out:

I didn’t learn that I had ADHD until I was 30 years old. I was in the process of writing my book about Dyslexia when I was diagnosed. While researching for the book, I learned that 43% of people who have Dyslexia also have ADHD. I happened to be one of the 43%.

Once I found out that I had ADHD all of the pieces of the puzzle started to properly fit together and click into place. As a kid, I was frequently told to sit down, be still, be quiet, listen, and pay attention. I constantly wanted to move around and expend the energy that was pent up inside of me. It was a constant struggle in the classroom.

I also saw little boys from my neighborhood be ridiculed to take their medicine if they were moving around and being too active. Adults wanted them to take their Ritalin and go somewhere and be quiet because they were moving around too much. There was a stigma of being disruptive rather than just being active young boys.

At 30 years old, when I discovered that I had ADHD, my heart began to really hurt. I had been struggling with something I didn’t know had a name and it was completely out of my hands. I thought there was something wrong with me and I just didn’t feel “normal” no matter how hard I tried.

What’s ironic about my life is that, at almost 40 years old, is that the things I got into trouble for as a kid, like not paying attention, being too active, or needing to channel my emotions in a certain way are the same things that I get paid to do now.

As an adult with ADHD, I get invited to speak at corporations, community events, and schools to share and connect. Because of my ADHD, I  bring imagery, passion, excitement, and energy to any presentation I give. I love sharing my story because the things that I got in trouble for as a kid were gifts I had the entire time. I just hadn’t learned how to properly channel them.

Since then I have learned to see my ADHD is an absolute gift. I cherish it. I love it. I’m grateful for it. I’m thankful for it. It comes with a lot of challenges. It comes with things that I didn’t know could cause a lot of pain and sadness.

There are still times when I feel a motor running full speed inside of me that I need to shut down. I have learned to manage it so I don’t completely exhaust myself. As I have gotten older, I have become better at managing my energy. I’m not excellent or perfect, but I continue to improve. I know when I need to take a break, a power nap, listen to background music, or journal a bit to bring my energy level down.

I have self-management skills that I utilize when I’m in a room with a lot of people and I don’t want to take over the room with my energy. When my energy is revved up, I can be quite animated and feed off of the energy around me and I recognize I need to be more low key. But, there are other times, when I’m at a dinner party with my wife, and she will tell me to “work the room, do what you do.”

There are a lot of gifts and blessings that come with having ADHD. The most important thing I always share about having ADHD is that it is not a curse. It’s a beautiful blessing from God. Once I learned to connect with myself so I could show up in the world in a way I wanted to be identified, things got easier.

My life has turned out beautifully and I’m grateful that I’m at a place in my life where I can share my story through my new book, To the Little Boy in Me Learning with Dyslexia & ADHD. This project has been a ten-year labor of love for me. I experienced tremendous amounts of emotional healing as I looked back at the experiences I went through growing up as a boy who was undiagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD.  Not only was I able to love and nurture the little boy who still lives inside of me, but I am also hopeful that I will be able to inspire families who are dealing with the real-life struggles of dyslexia and ADHD.


As a personal development coach, motivational speaker, author, and a stay-at-home dad, Jonathan “J.O.” Oliver helps people attain success in the midst of facing some of life’s greatest challenges.  He is happily married to Dr. Saran Oliver and together they have two adorable daughters, Journey and Justice. Being diagnosed with the gift of Dyslexia and ADHD has allowed him to see what is possible rather than feel limited by his condition. Seeking to impart his passion to many, “J.O.” has authored two highly sought after books, “Joy In The Journey: 1st Year Chronicles From A Stay At Home Dad,” and “Impersonations.” His newest book, “To The Little Boy In Me: Learning with Dyslexia & ADHD” will be released in Spring 2019. You can connect with JO through his website: http://www.jonathanoliveronline.com.

Published by Family ADDventures

Nicole Santiago is a learning specialist, student advocate, and founder of Family ADDventures. As a specialist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog: FamilyADDventures.com

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