Thanks for writing this morning. I hope you're well!
First, I would encourage you to see a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) to address your questions about your own diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder. Self-diagnosis, especially when addressing a complex neurodevelopmental disorder such as Asperger's is very tricky - and I'd hate for you to start a journey down a path that might take you in the wrong direction. [It would be unethical and inappropriate to make such a diagnosis over the internet, as I'm sure you understand.] Your gp can probably refer you to the appropriate LMHP as needed.
Secondly, regardless of your own diagnostic profile, raising a child with ADHD comes with a number of challenges and exciting opportunities. (It's often difficult to remember those opportunities after working on homework!) There are several excellent books that I have recommended for parents of children with ADHD:
- Susan Ashley's "The ADD/ADHD Answer Book"
- Vincent Monastra's "Parenting Children with ADHD"
- Betty Osmond's "Learning Disabilities & ADHD: A Family Guide to Living & Learning Together"
These sources may help with immediate questions/concerns - but it may also behoove you to establish a relationship with a family therapist with whom you have a good rapport. I'm not suggesting that you will need to have years and years of therapy... merely that having an additional professional opinion with someone you can check in with periodically might be a great idea. For example, the transition from 3rd to 4th grade is often very challenging - and you may need to rely on this professional for a period of time. Then you may enter a period of quiescence in which they're not needed.
Regardless of your diagnosis or your daughter's diagnosis, I am concerned that you reported about "several hours" of homework. The general rule of thumb is 10-15 minutes of homework per grade level... so we're looking at 30-45 minutes of homework per evening, not 3-4 hours per evening, for a 3rd grade student. This could speak to concerns about (a) her learning in general (beyond ADHD), (b) the effectiveness of her medications and/or the timing/dosage administered, (c) the challenges at her school (do *all* 3rd graders do this much homework per night?)
As a student with ADHD, your child may qualify for additional supporting services at school or for certain accommodations to address her learning needs. This might include an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) through Special Education Services or a 504 plan through Regular Education Services. A diagnosis of ADHD does not necessarily lead to qualification for these services/supports - but it may well be worth your while to address your concerns with your daughter's teacher, school psychologist, and/or principal.
Finally, again regardless of your diagnosis, you have the right to some private time or "down time" or breaks from homework (and other parenting duties). I'm not suggesting you leave the home for hours at a time, but taking the necessary breaks to "unwind" from the kids is natural. Parents can take "Time Outs" too... and not only do I encourage that for parents I work with, but I use it at home. Several times, my 8 year old son has asked, "Daddy, do you need a time out?" (He's usually right... I did!)
I sense that you're feeling more of the challenges right now than the opportunities. I would encourage you in your reading to look for the similarities between yourself and your daughter. Even diagnostically, the overlap between ADHD and Asperger's is remarkable. Perhaps what you see presently challenges will be those aspects of your daughter and yourself that bring you closer together. You'll both learn a great deal about one another and yourselves in the years ahead.
In sum, I hope you'll:
- avoid diagnosing yourself. If you want a diagnosis, go to a LMHP.
- consider one of the books I suggested.
- look into the 3-4 hours of homework more closely
- is this a problem with learning beyond ADHD?
- is this a problem with her current treatment for ADHD?
- is this a problem with the school curriculum?
- explore options re: IEP and/or 504 with the school.
- take care of yourself first and foremost. When you board the plane and the flight attendants provide the emergency lectures, they always tell us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before helping somebody else... the same holds true with parenting. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of your daughter.
I hope this information was helpful. Please feel free to let me know if there's more that I can provide.