The swimming champ's mother is honored with a donation to children's charities

By Cynthia Wang
Updated August 19, 2008 10:35 AM
Credit: WENN

Now that he’s won his eight gold medals, Michael Phelps is officially the “greatest Olympian of all time.” Now the swimmer’s mom, Debbie, has an impressive title of her own.

Johnson’s Baby has dubbed Debbie their “Mom of the Olympic Games” – and the company will donate money in her name to children’s causes. (She’ll also film a commercial for Johnson’s on Wednesday.) The award came as a nice surprise for the middle school principal, who tells PEOPLE, “I am so honored.”

But Debbie has a cause of her own: She is the national spokesperson for the Facebook group ADHD Moms. “I just felt I had a voice to be able to share with the moms online community about ADHD,” she says. “We do podcasts and articles.”

Michael was diagnosed with ADHD when he was nine. “He was non-stop, always going, always questioning,” Debbie says. “When the teachers brought it to my attention about his lack of focus in the classroom, that’s when I got concerned.”

Debbie sought health professionals who helped provide her and Michael with proper care and understanding for kids with ADHD.

“When he was nine, 10, 11 years old, he would sit at the pool for hours,” she said. “That’s why when I was talking with his teachers, and they’d say, ‘He can’t focus on anything,’ I’d say, ‘Well yes he can! He can focus on the pool.’ … He was able to focus on what he loved.”