Carroll County Times

Sykesville mother and son team up to write book about navigating ADHD, inattentive type

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As a student at Century High School, Andrew Wilcox has participated in marching band and track, and excelled in his information technology classes at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center. Now a senior, Andrew, 18, is preparing to graduate and attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida to study space flight operations in the fall.

Kristin Wilcox, left, of Eldersburg, wrote a book titled "Andrew's Awesome Adventures with his ADHD Brain" that shares her son Andrew's experiences with ADHD. Andrew, a senior at Century High School, is heading to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University next year.

All of these accomplishments are noteworthy, even more so for Andrew, who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, inattentive type, as a third-grader at Piney Run Elementary School.


“(ADHD inattentive type) typically is not recognized. Boys are perceived as (only) having hyperactive ADHD,” said his Andrew’s mother, Kristin Wilcox, of Sykesville. “He wasn’t hyperactive, bouncing off of walls or fidgeting.”

Rather, Andrew forgets about things he doesn’t want to do, making it difficult to complete tasks such as cleaning his room or doing homework. His brain takes in everything, but doesn’t filter things out, Kristin said, so he becomes distracted.


“It is like an overstuffed garbage can with everything falling out and the lid doesn’t stay on,” Andrew said as an explanation. “It’s too much.”

Inattentive ADHD is most often diagnosed in girls, according to Dr. Miguel Macaoay, a psychiatrist based in Eldersburg. Boys, he said, are more commonly diagnosed with hyperactive ADHD or with a combined presentation, which has symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive.

“Boys tend to be more disruptive than girls,” Macaoay said. “This issue, inattentive ADHD, takes a good clinical assessment by an experienced psychiatrist.”

After Andrew’s diagnosis, Kristin learned all she could about inattentive ADHD. With a doctorate in pharmacology, Kristin had studied extensively the behavioral effects of drugs, including ADHD medications, and has had her work published in scientific journals. She was surprised to discover little research on the inattentive presentation of ADHD in boys. So, she took on the job.

The resulting book, “Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with his ADHD Brain,” was released in February. The book’s first half tells Andrew’s story, and in the second half, Kristin shares hers. They hope the book will help people understand the disorder by separating the myths and highlighting the positives.

Kristin Wilcox of Eldersburg, wrote abook titled "Andrew's Awesome Adventures with his ADHD Brain" that shares her son Andrew's experiences with ADHD. Andrew, a senior at Century High School, is heading to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University next year.

“When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t feel like it was super duper, but something bad and incurable,” Andrew said. “I am way more comfortable with it now. It is not a bad thing. I know how it works and how to get stuff done.”

He learned to use a paper planner to keep track of assignments and responsibilities. He tackles projects by breaking them down into manageable segments, whether it is writing an assignment or doing a household chore. When he needs to clear his head, he likes to be outside.

People with inattentive ADHD typically enjoy challenges, are good at problem solving and can “think outside the box,” Kristin said. They are also very creative. Andrew enjoys doing pottery and though he doesn’t like to write, is an “eloquent writer,” she said.


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“Kids with ADHD receive criticism for things they can’t do,” Kristin said. “I went through all that. ‘Why can’t you just do that homework or clean your room?’ Once I understood, I was able to help him with strategies. ‘Here, try this.’”

“He can hyper focus,” Kristin said. “At Embry Riddle, space flight operations is good for somebody like him. It is small, specialized and what he likes.”

Still, she does worry. At the beginning of every school year, Krisitn used to contact Andrew’s teachers to explain how Andrew works and to request weekly updates about assignments, upcoming projects, or tests.

“I don’t do that anymore because I won’t be doing that when he is in college,” said Kristin, who noted that Andrew has been in touch with the university himself, in preparation for his life away from home.

“He wants to go to Embry Riddle and he wants to stay there. He is motivated,” said Kristin, of Andrew taking charge of things his senior year.

“At some point, you have to let me live,” Andrew said.


Their book is available at It’s A Likely Story Bookstore on Sykesville’s Main Street. The authors will be featured at a book-signing event at the store in June.