Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Diagnosis of ADHD Isn't the End of the World.

         My oldest child and I are alike in so many ways. Being so alike, however causes us to butt heads because we know how to get under each other's skin. But because he's a lot like me, I am also able to understand a little bit about how he's feeling, what can cause him to get angry, or how to handle a situation so it doesn't blow up in his face. I've been there, I've reacted the same way.

Last year, my son was having a difficult time in school. I was called into the office almost every day because the school wasn't able to handle him. On one particular afternoon, I decided enough was enough and demanded to have a meeting with my son's teacher, the principal, and the social worker who works at the school. I threw down my gauntlet and told them that things needed to be changed. The principal (who had been a huge butt kisser) got called away for something and when she was gone, I asked the social worker, "Do you think that there is a chance that my son has ADHD or some version of it?" and he said, "I think there's a big possibility that he does." With help from the social worker, we were able to have the school psychologist come in and assess my son. She gave his present teacher, his teacher from last year, his case worker from this year and last, the social worker, and my husband and I a questionnaire to fill out. From the questionnaire, we found out that he had traits of a child with ADHD and varying degrees of anxiety- probably because he wasn't able to learn the way that a focused child could learn.

          Right after we reconvened, we all talked about the next steps. I changed my children's primary care physician to one who would be able to make appointments and specialized in ADHD in children. We met with the physician and she was impressed by the actions we took and our involvement with getting a diagnosis. She didn't have to do an assessment because we had one right there with us from the people who see him everyday. She told us that most children only get one done through their parents and because we did it the way we did with others involved, the questionnaire wasn't biased in anyway. She talked to us about options and recommended that we do medication. She spoke to us about the side effects and what each medicine would do for him.

          She also asked a question that surprised us. She asked, "Do either one of you lean towards ADHD tendencies?"
          My husband looked to me and I raised my hand. "I do."
         "It's very common that children who have ADHD have a parent who also carries that trait. Have you been diagnosed?"
         "No."
         "You should. I have ADHD, too and there is such a difference when I'm on the medication then when I'm off. I'm more focused and don't forget everything and can finish a sentence without getting distracted."
          "Maybe I can clean my house and it won't look like a hoarder moved in before it's clean because I can actually focus on one task."
          "Exactly!"

        So.... We started my son on medication. It was an extreme ride between convincing my son to take it, trying the different dosages to find one that works, waiting for refill dates to approach, fights with the insurance company to approve a dose that worked best, and so on and so forth. We eventually found it, the perfect dose. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor questions. One of our biggest fights with our son was trying to get him to take his pill. His gag reflex was in overdrive and the only way that we could get him to take it was to open the capsule and pour it into some applesauce. If we didn't ask her if it was ok, she wouldn't researched it to find out that it was and our fight for something better would have resumed.

       His teacher said that he's a model student when he takes it. He still participated in class and is still extremely creative. He is still him, but more focused. We had worried that when we gave him the medicine, he would disappear. The doctor and the social worker, who also has ADHD, assured us that medication is different from years ago. It is made now so children don't go bonkers or be plain and boring. It's designed to work with your child's brain so they can focus and that's it. They will still be creative and be themselves. It was a relief to see that it was true. In fact, I think it made my son even more creative because he could focus on the task at hand.

        Do you remember when I said that my son and I are alike in many ways? It's very true, but there is one thing that is different, besides the fact that I'm 30 and a girl while he's 8 and a boy; ADHD is more difficult to diagnose for girls. When I was younger and even in college, I had a tough time remembering to do my homework and also had anger/behavioral issues. I just looked like a lazy, bad kid, kind of like how my wonderful son was perceived, but really, those are just common issues with kids with ADHD. My son has gotten the chance to be able to learn and get good grades. He's able to control his frustration with change and gets to be a model student. I didn't have that option because ADHD was still sort of a new concept and a question was never raised about me having it. I recognize it now as I'm older and I watch my son. I used to play house with my pencils and during math, my numbers were assigned genders and I daydreamed all of the time. I never remembered homework until the teacher asked us to turn it in. It took me longer to learn to read than other kids, but once it clicked, I loved to read and I love to write. I still jump around from point to point and when I clean my house, you can't tell because I don't focus on one room, I jump from one task to another. I have to make a point to get working and focus my energy on getting things done. Inviting people to my house is a big motivation.

        Having my child diagnosed with ADHD wasn't the end of the world. It was actually a relief. It gave me some answers and now I know that my child's poor behavior wasn't because I was raising him wrong, it was because of his biology and thankfully, there is something that we can do for him. He's going to be able to learn better and behave better because he's going to be able to focus. He's not going to get frustrated every time a subject is changed or something out of the norm or unexpected happens. He's going to be able to adjust to things and he's going to be able to succeed because he doesn't have the lack of focus holding him back.

       Don't be afraid to advocate for your child. If you suspect that your child has a mental block of any sort, don't be discouraged. Learn about it and start looking for ways to help. Medicating your child doesn't mean that you're a bad parent, and having your child on medication doesn't mean that they are broken or that you've done anything wrong. Biology happens and in my case, I am probably the parent who gave my child that gene, but with support, great things can happen now that we know.



4 comments:

  1. My mom did the applesauce thing too with my meds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so glad to discover this! As an adult, I still have difficulty swallowing pills whole.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing this raw experience! I am sure many can relate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually read a post, yesterday, that said something similar and that mom had ADHD too.

      Delete

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