Michael Phelps ADHD Medication: Here’s Mom Debbie Phelps’ Advice On Raising Kids With ADHD

Michael Phelps ADHD Medication: Here’s Mom Debbie Phelps’ Advice On Raising Kids With ADHD
Michael Phelps Agência Brasil Fotografias / Flickr cc
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In Michael Phelps fashion, the U.S. Olympic swimmer has a gold medal during the 400 freestyle relay at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. This is the 18th gold medal of his career, and some would say that his remarkable success can somewhat be attributed to his mother, Debbie Phelps.


Debbie is not just a mother. She is also a middle school principal in Towson, Maryland. Some would say that because of her job, she has a lot of experience when it comes to kids. Nothing, however, could prepare Debbie when he learned that her son has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.

“That just hit my heart,” Debbie remarked. Michael was diagnosed with the condition when he was nine years old, after one of his teachers told Debbie that her son is unable to focus on anything during class.

“It made me want to prove everyone wrong. I knew that, if I collaborated with Michael, he could achieve anything he set his mind to,” Debbie added.

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Also read: Olympics 2016 Swimming: USA Stars Michael Phelps Events Schedule, Live Stream & Preview

After his diagnosis, Debbie decided to work more closely with her son. She strove to maintain Michael’s interest in learning certain things, such as reading and math. In fact, she used her son’s love for swimming to get him to solve basic math problems. Instead of handing him an equation to figure out. She would ask him questions like, “How long would it take to swim 500 meters if you swim three meters per second?

According to Debbie’s interview with Additude magazine, she found it challenging to keep Michael focused during his swim meets. At one meet, Michael even angrily ripped his goggles off when he was ten after only finishing second. Later on, she would tell her son that sportsmanship counted as much as winning. She may have not known it, but she helped set Michael on a path to success.

Today, Michael is a living testament that anyone can do anything they set their heart and focus to, even with ADHD. For Debbie, she is proud to see her son winning gold medals over and over again. According to a report from USA Today, Michael believes that his 19th gold medal is more special than others, as it was the first game in which his three-month old son Boomer got to see him win.

Also readTeam USA Olympics: Gymnasts Overwhelmed By Japanese In Rio

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  • I am sincerely not interested in any more of this mother’s nonsense advice on parenting children with ADHD.

    After her last publicity campaign (funded by drugmaker McNeil, was it? ironic), I knew of parents taking their children off ADHD medications and throwing them in the pool. As if Michael Phelps’ talent with swimming and his apparently uniquely “fish-like” physiology were attributes conferred by ADHD.

    Good grief.

    Michael Phelps might be a hugely successful Olympic winner, and good for him. But he went on to risk killing people multiple times, as a drunk driver.

    His coach couldn’t understand how such a young person with so much money could be so unhappy. He obviously doesn’t understand how ADHD symptoms can make a person “insatiable.” They are only as happy as their last reward, and rewards are fleeting. (Dopamine is called the “reward” chemical for a reason, and many people with poorly managed ADHD will self-medicate with an endless array of “rewarding” behaviors, many of them destructive.)

    Then Phelps finally goes into therapy (perhaps court-ordered), where blah blah blah….he decided it didn’t matter if he annoyed people by talking incessantly, etc.

    Insight? Not much in this family.

    He can win all the Olympic medals he wants to. That’s not going to make him a well-developed human or role model to his son, “Boomer.”

    I just hope he doesn’t kill anyone once he’s back out of the pool and on the road.