Michael Phelps' mom talks about ADHD

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Medical Conditions, Celeb Parents, Special Needs

Unless you've been living in a cave for the last few weeks, you've probably at least heard of Michael Phelps. Even when other swimmers are winning, NBC likes to flash footage of the record-breaking Olympic star. But what people may not realize about 23-year-old swimmer is that he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child.

Debbie Phelps, Michael's mom (who you've probably seen cheering and swooning on TV), recently talked to EverydayHealth about Michael's initial ADHD diagnosis and how the family handled it as a team. Though Michael was on medication early on, he was able to be weaned off of it in middle school, in part because of his heavy participation in swimming. Debbie is a school principal, and she's also an active participant in the ADHD Moms Online Community. There, she has an article with tips for parents of ADHD children who are getting ready to start the school year, including:

  • Reach out to your child's teacher to create an environment for learning.
  • Encourage and foster strong childhood friendships, both new and old.
  • Talk to your healthcare professional before the school year starts to make any necessary medication adjustments.
  • Create a predictable schedule at home, as well as a distraction-free environment for getting homework done.
  • Research behavior modification techniques that will help your child outside the classroom.
  • Focus on healthy snacks and good nutrition.
A good friend of mine has an 11-year-old with ADHD, so when Michael Phelps started his gold medal run this month, she made sure her son was watching. After he won that first race, she said her son's face lit up. "ADHD is famous!" he exclaimed, "Mom, can I join a swim team?" She was thrilled to have a positive role model for her son, proof that, though ADHD is definitely a challenge, it's not a deal breaker when it comes to success.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.