ask touma

touma-kamijou-koh  asked:

Hi! My question is more in relation to character help. You see one of my characters for my story has ADHD, I've been doing research and got the gist of how it works, but my thing is I don't want to offend people when I'm writing for this particular character exactly. I know ways in which I can portray him, but I'm still weighing in the fact of things I might miss that could give my audience the wrong impression. Any advice?

Character With ADHD 

I think the first step to conquering this is admitting to yourself that you may offend someone, and you have to be willing to take that risk. No matter how much preparation you make, there’s a chance that a detail you include could inadvertently be taken badly. That doesn’t mean you’re excused from making those necessary preparations, but allowing yourself to make mistakes will take some of the pressure off. You learn from those mistakes, especially when you consult someone who has experience with ADHD and can advise you better than I can.

First, I think it’s important that you know more than just the gist. It’s good that you’ve done research, and it’s good that you’re thinking about the most authentic way to portray him, but exploring disorder is about understanding it inside and out. This is why it’s often recommended that you don’t attempt it unless you know someone (or are someone) that has experienced it first hand. As someone in that position, you already know what concerns you need to be sensitive of, and you have a unique experience, as opposed to “average cases” or lists of symptoms, or an estimated prognosis. You know what to expect because you’ve seen it, and you know the challenges that those outside of it aren’t aware of.

However, I never discourage writers from attempting something, so if you believe that this character’s ADHD is important in telling your story (don’t use it as a plot device or character quirk), then I encourage you to do some searches on myths, misconceptions, and stigmas of ADHD. Avoid the stereotypes by first knowing what they are. Research medication. Writers often neglect this important piece of the puzzle, forgetting the struggle that those afflicted with any disorder go through when trying to find the right treatment.

Don’t stop at just random internet searches either. Read memoirs from people with direct experience (whether themselves or a family member), or read self help books meant to guide someone battling it. Imagine someone you know was diagnosed with ADHD. What types of things would you read to learn more about it so you can be there for them? You didn’t mention if this was adult onset or not, but either way, find reading material that is relevant to your character. I promise, reading books like this is enlightening, far more so than just reading medical definitions and encyclopedia entries. Understand the disorder from the perspective of someone that’s actually experienced it. 

And followers, if anyone here is willing to answer questions for @touma-kamijou-koh, maybe send them a message and see if they’re interested in your help!

-Rebekah