Alice

Photo taken by first-time contributor AJ King, a single mother, photographer and paralegal in Manchester, NH. Her daughter was diagnosed with ADHD almost two years ago, when she was 5. At first, she did not want to believe that her daughter had ADHD. AJ wanted nothing more than for her daughter to be “normal,” which she had felt she was, just a little more hyper than other children her age. She came to accept that she does, in fact, have ADHD, that does not, however, mean she is not “normal,” nor is there anything “wrong” with her. Her daughter takes medication so that she is able to focus at school, she does yoga to calm down, and, has a therapist she talks to once a week. Her daughter is not like most children, not because of the stigma of a mental disability, but, because she is entering into the world of modelling. She has the ability to spend time with photographers, models, and even hangs out with metal bands (AJ does band photography as well as other types of photography as part of her new business, King Photography). AJ has been told by all of the photographers and models that they know that her daughter is a natural model. Her daughter has had to overcome a lot in her short life, but she is doing it, with the help of her parents, family, and friends. AJ does not want her daughter’s ADHD to be a hindrance for her. She wants people to understand that even if someone has a mental illness, it does not mean they are a bad person, or that they should be feared. Rather, they should be loved, just like everyone else in this world. AJ has been interested in photography for as long as she can remember, and despite everything, she is finally realizing her dream of becoming a professional photographer.

About this photo: “This photograph was taken the day before Easter this year. My daughter and I were visiting with my dad, and, it was such a beautiful day out, that, we decided to do an informal photo shoot. My daughter has become quite the model, and, came up with the concepts of her shoot all on her own. She wanted to do this shot, and, after looking at it, she said it reminded her of Alice in Wonderland, which, is why we decided to name this shot Alice. My daughter reminds me a lot of Alice, as she daydreams a lot, and comes up with fantastical stories.”

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19 thoughts on “Alice

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  1. Great photo. I suspect my own 4 year old is going to be diagnosed with the same & am holding her back from kindergarten in the fall, it is difficult to watch, and I am inspired by your exposing her to the arts at a very young age. Incidentally I’m a paralegal from Boston but live up New Hampshire way, so hello neighbor. Best wishes in working through your little girl’s hurdle.

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    1. Thank you so much!

      The biggest piece of advice I can give is to speak with your pediatrician about ADHD, and early diagnosis. The earlier the intervention, the easier it will be for your child. Being able to go to the school early on will help both you, and the school come up with a learning plan. We did have our daughter go to kindergarten (it was half day kindergarten), and, that was helpful. We had the diagnosis in hand, and, were able to work with the school on a learning plan for her. The learning plan has followed through to this year (she is in first grade now). She has extra help in reading, and, when she is having a difficult time focusing in school, she sits at her teacher’s desk, and, her teacher does her work with her. If she has a really difficult time, she goes to the assistant principal’s office, not as punishment, but, it is quieter, and, helps her focus on her school work. We have become very well acquainted with her assistant principal, and, her teacher. We receive daily emails from her teacher, telling us how her behavior was for the day. This helps us with keeping track of how her medication is working, and, it also helps us for when she is home. When my daughter is having difficult day, it is heartbreaking, because, I know it is not her fault. It is frustrating at times, because, I was never exposed to ADHD before, but, we work through it.

      Yesterday was a very difficult day for her. I was embarrassed at first for her behavior in school, but, her teacher is so understanding, and, I reminded myself that it is not her fault. She was born this way, and, I love her just the way she is. She and I are both learning together where she has to work a little harder, and we’re focusing on those areas. Her behavior, such as outbursts, interrupting, and, her impulsiveness are the major areas to work on. She has an amazing imagination, and, loves art. She loves to color and draw, she loves photography, and modelling, she loves singing. These keep her calm, as does the yoga. Coffee, as well. People think coffee would make a child even more wound up, but, in children with ADHD, it actually has the opposite effect. Art therapy works very well for her.

      Don’t be discouraged if your child is diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, it is a diagnosis, and with that diagnosis, you can help your child overcome obstacles that you would not have realized were there, if you did not have the diagnosis.

      I have surrounded my life in the arts in one way or another, and, could not imagine not having her involved! The arts are an excellent outlet for everyone, and should always be encouraged! If you are able, encourage your child’s creativity, it will help so much! Studies have proven that the arts help promote interest in math, sciences, reading, and social studies.

      Hello, to you, too! If you ever need a photographer, I work out of Manchester (we live in Manchester, my full-time paralegal job is in Manchester, as is the studio)!

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