can anyone talk to me re: ADD/ADHD? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-30-2010, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My oldest is 9 and she's always been the spacey kid who talks CONSTANTLY in school. She's always out in left field. She's got "head-up-the-butt'itis" all the time and needs to be told 37 times to do anything. She literally cannot handle getting ready for school in the morning without me being ON HER all.the.time reminding her to get dressed, now go brush your teeth, now go brush your hair, don't forget your snack, etc. It makes me INSANE! She loses things CONSTANTLY and would walk out the door without her backpack if I didn't remind her. And up until now it's only been an issue that's annoying rather than disruptive and problematic at school. As long as she's separated from other students and the teacher keeps on her, the talking in class wasn't a huge deal. Or she had saints for teachers who never complained that it was out of control. BUT this year has gotten really bad and I don't know if it's just because the teacher's personality is super strict and she expects a lot from her students or if Mady simply isn't holding her own anymore. She's incredibly booksmart and brainy but her common sense is like nil. Her grades are good. A's and B's. But her effort and conduct scores are as low as they can go. We had a conference with the teacher yesterday and the words thrown around were: "incredibly impulsive," "does not do well in unstructured environments like recess and in the hallway," "does not begin work on time," "disrupts other students near her with constant talking," and "has little to no self-control," and "is definitely a GREAT multi-tasker!" After speaking with a teacher friend of mine about my frustrations with the conference she said that it really sounds like her teacher was pushing me to consult our pediatrician because she cannot come right out and diagnose my daughter with add but she wants me to pursue it because she believes that is what Mady's issue is. Her teacher was very quick to tell me that it may be an approaching puberty thing or an awareness of the differences between boys and girls thing but she was adament that I contact our pedi and discuss the issue with her. At this point I'm lost. I don't know what to do to help her. We always just thought she was a spacey kid and that was normal to her personality but now I am questioning it. She's just so. . . . . bossy and handsy(not in a sexual way but in a way that she pushes and touches and hits in a playful manner when she gets excited) with kids at school and seems to need me to constantly be ON her about everything and she's just SO emotionally immature. I don't know how to help her. Her dad is one of those people who does not "believe" in ADD/ADHD so he's no help. I guess I'm wondering if she fits the bill. Even with all my reading online, I can't come up with answers. The qualities seem so vague and varied that it's hard to see if it's even worth looking into or if my kid just needs a kick in the pants to get her focused at school again. Despite all our conversations about the importance of school and the importance of not disturbing others, she's just not "getting it."
Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated. I'm really lost here.
THANKS

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#2 of 10 Old 01-31-2010, 03:57 AM
 
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Well, as a mom with a kid who has AD/HD, and as a teacher who has taught a number of kids with it, it does sound like your dd fits the bill. Often girls aren't assessed until adolescence (or never!) because they have a different manifestation of symptoms (usually predominately "spacey" rather than hyperactive or disruptive). When the higher grades come along and they're expected to maintain focus for longer and longer periods of time, though, things can come to a head and require intervention.

So... I don't know what to say about your dh not "believing" in ADD. That's a toughie. But I can say, for you: take it one step at a time. Have her assessed by a ped. There are other conditions that can cause the same symptoms as AD/HD, so that's important. And if the diagnosis is AD/HD, don't let it scare you. I highly recommend this book for a general overview that takes a really positive approach. People with AD/HD tend to have enormous strengths that accompany their challenges.

For what it's worth, most people I know who got a diagnosis as older children, teens, or adults were relieved to get it. It's kind of like living in a world where you have cataracts but everyone else can see just fine, and they're always expecting you to keep up. Once you know cataracts are the explanation for how hard things can be, it lifts a big burden.

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#3 of 10 Old 01-31-2010, 11:46 AM
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I have an 11 year old boy with ADHD who sounds similar to your daughter. My son did OK till 3rd grade and then things fell apart. I was told this is the year kids go from learning to read to reading to learn and when many kids with ADHD fall apart at school. He had a disastrous year in 3rd grade, I was getting calls from his teacher, he was tears much of the time, he had only 1 friend, ughh, it was frustrating - b/c he is such a smart kid, funny, loving, energetic, very sociable, etc. He just couldn't seem to get it together.

We already knew he had ADHD but had not used meds or anything. Over the summer we began seeing a therapist and he also started meds. He was a different kid in 4th grade. He still had some trouble concentrating, but his teacher put together a checklist for him to stay on track, and I got a weekly "report" which he got rewarded for if he did well. But the meds just helped him calm down and pull it together a bit. He made a lot of new friends and did really well in school. He stayed on the meds through 5th grade. This past summer he opted to go off (with encouragement from the dr.) He has struggled a little this year in 6th grade but he is holding his own.

I find it unbelievably frustrating and arrogant when people don't believe in ADHD. I have some in my family too. Arrogant b/c tons of medical literature documents it, it is in the DSM, it is a recognized disorder. Yet b/c it is invisible and many of the symptoms involve behavior, somehow it doesn't "exist". Can you still get your daughter evaluated even though your husband is a "nonbeliever"? There are other options besides meds. My son's therapist helped him to learn strategies to deal with it in the classroom, his teachers have beeh helpful and I have learned ways to help him at home. Just on example is using checklists that he has to physically check off as he gets things done. When I want him to do something, I touch his shoulder and use his name before asking, I can't just call to him from another room.

It can be frustrating but the good news is that it is true that people with ADHD often have many strengths. I don't consider my son to have special needs. He is just more challenging than most kids! I come to this forum for my younger son.

Good luck to you.
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#4 of 10 Old 01-31-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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You may want to start with a child psychologist. We did this with DS. She did both a connor's test(subjective data you and your DH will answer, as long as your DD's teacher)and a TOVA test(objective). I was glad she did the TOVA test as well b/c it was a test that measured DS in a way that wasn't just based on observations, but real data from a test that DS did in her office on the computer. Google it. Also I'm glad we started with her b/c she doesn't prescribe meds and we did everything we could for several years before using meds, which DS now uses with great results. We did neurofeedback, dietary changes, classroom modifications with little results. While we never wanted to have DS on meds, eventually we did and the results have been so beneficial! We both were in denial about DS' diagnosis and when he started 2nd grade and had a meeting with his teachers within the first couple weeks of school we knew we had to do something and at least give meds a try. We met with his pediatrician and since we had over a years worth of reports from the psychologist she reviewed those and was able to prescribe medication for him that day. He is doing so much better now with being able to focus at school and has better control of his impulsitivity and hyperactivity.
There are different characteristics of add/adhd and based on what you've described about your DD it does seem she fits the description. Have you reviewed the DSM criteria for add/adhd? It does upset me as well when people "don't believe" that add/adhd is a real diagnosis. I've spent hours reading books and online about add/adhd. I have accepted that DS does have adhd. Once I personally accepted this fact, life has been so much easier. In fact when DS was in preschool teachers had noticed his symptoms but I blocked this out thinking, he's young,immature, just being a "boy"(I know that's not a good way to put it!)but now it has explained so much! We help DS as much as we can and know this is part of life. His "symptoms" weren't going away, he wasn't outgrowing them, and different teachers were all saying the same things, year after year. It's just so nice now to see him excel in schoolv Good luck to you and your family while you search for answers including a possible diagnosis and then find the solutions that work for you all! Sorry to be so wordy!

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#5 of 10 Old 02-01-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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I have a 7 yo son with ADHD (& SPD, LD) & a 11 yo daughther with ADHD (& LD & Tourette's) & like a pp said, ADHD manifests itself differently in girls than in boys. Here's a DSM criteria list that may help here: http://add.about.com/od/evaluationan...smcriteria.htm

Getting your dd assessed is a great first step. Going thru your pediatrician will basically serve as a stepping stone for a referral (either for assessment thru your school psych/panel and/or privately (with a psychologist/psychiatrist).

Some things that we do at home that help give some order & sanity back to *everyone* are:

1. Use a chore chart, so she can constantly check her progress off. I made a simple one on the computer & put it in a plastic sheet protector & give them a dry erase pen to check off the boxes.

2. Use a timer & set reasonable time limits on whatever (shower, getting dressed, doing one assignment)

3. Fresh air breaks throughout homework time to burn off some of that "hidden" hyperactivity

4. Chewing gum (either before or during homework --again for that hyperactivity part) --you'll know whether your child can chew gum & work at the same time or not (my son can't; my dd can).

5. *Daily* fish oil. *Caffeinated* tea (read studies where some caffeinated drinks contain the same amount of stimulant as Ritalin --which may be something interesting for you to research & consider). Stay away from foods/drinks with dyes.

6. Using a weighted blanket and/or standing while doing homework (the added pressure seems to help).

Getting your dd assessed will allow her to have an IEP which will be her "passport" for teachers/classroom to make allowances for her situation & tailor it to *her* needs so she can be as successful as she can be. (We home school, but my 3 yo son is enrolled in EC/SE, so he has an IFSP (like an IEP), so have exp thru that) --just wanted to give you full disclosure.

If you haven't already guessed, we've taken the "natural" route --I'm not encouraging/discouraging 'scripts --just saying what we're doing. We see a naturopath. The natural supplements that have been prescribed for my children have worked okay for my dd (but mostly for her Tourette's) & haven't done anything perceivable for my ds... so we're still researching. But all of the above listed items we do & are tried & true things that have helped us manage ADHD in a healthy way for everyone. HTH!

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#6 of 10 Old 02-01-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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Gifted kids and ADHD/ADD kids both have a delay in the maturation of their prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex controls executive decision making and planning and regulation of social behaviors. In ADHD/ADD kids that delay is about three years on average. (http://www.pnas.org/content/104/49/19649.long) That means at age 9, a kid with ADHD/ADD probably has about as much ability to plan and self-regulate as a six year old.

They're literally "young for their age."

The delay might not be all bad. At least one research team has speculated that the delay provides an increase in creativity and an ability to continue to learn at a very rapid rate.

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspo...hd-gifted.html

At least some of these kids will "grow out of it" when their prefrontal cortex matures.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-01-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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Glad you asked this question, justmama. My Dh and I have been wondering the same about our 6yr old son. Much of what you described hit home about my son too. He comes with a lot of medical issues, congenital defects. So sometimes it is hard to sort out what is a delay or an issue. As I have been researching, it seems it is not uncommon with kids in his syndrome to have either ocd or add/adhd. He lacks focus, is impulsive, needs contstant repeating to complete tasks and is really figity. Interesting about the maturation delay, we've always said he is young for his age, but sort of chalked it up to being globallly delayed in fine/gross/speech areas. But he is socially behind as well, not that it is so noticeable at age 6 (at least by his peers or himself). Mama Jewel, thanks for the list...I found the gum chewing interesting. Ds seems to concentrate much better at homework when he can "do" something, like chew. I usually put out a small snack that he can take one piece at a time while working.

I had a conversation with his peds a few months ago, he was really quick to offer meds which I was shocked and turned off by. Not that I am opposed to meds, but I thought there would be more of a system of diagnosis. So thanks for all the links and info. At least now I have a starting point. He does have an IEP, we even asked his teachers if they suspected add/adhd. They did not want to answer, so that's when we went to the peds. I have an appt with his school psychologist, so I guess I will start there and see where it takes us.
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#8 of 10 Old 02-02-2010, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much all! The link to the DSM guidelines helped and she does fit the bill for the inattentive type. Sounds like they wrote it with her in mind! I am planning on making an appt with her pedi tomorrow to discuss the issues as we've been without a pedi for a few months. I don't blame you all for your frustrations with my comment about her dad not believeing in things like this. I share your frustrations, which is why I believe it has taken us so long to come to a consensus on what to do with her. I've thought since about 1st grade that she had some problems with attention and focus and "forgetting" things constantly. And her dad shares those frustrations, but I think it's because he truly believes that she needs a proverbial kick in the pants to get her to shape up instead of this being out of her control. We are married but separated and things otherwise have been fine between us so I hesitated to rock the boat and go over his head on this issue unless I truly NEEDED to. I guess I just wanted someone to agree with me that this kind of behavior was not "normal" and that it wasn't just me not being strict enough(which I've been accused of multiple times, being too lenient). I appreciate all the suggestions for non-medicated "treatments" and coping strategies that we can implement immediately before any diagnostic opinion has been given to help her stay focused long enough to handle her homework. I'm not against medication when it is applicable and helps but non-medication options that we can do NOW to make a difference in everyone's frustration levels are really helpful! I guess I'm just really frustrated because my 5 year old seems to have more self-control than she does. That's where the difference really comes out strongly.
Again, thank you all so much for weighing in on this. I intend to start pushing for evaluation as soon as possible because something has to be done. I feel like it is not fair to her to let her continue to do poorly in school and be punished at home so often for things that truly may be out of her control.

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#9 of 10 Old 02-03-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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Just wanted to add that omega 3,6,9's have been studied and the research indicates they are great supplements for add/adhd.

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#10 of 10 Old 02-03-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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Justmama, regarding your dh balking against the adhd term, someone here at MDC made a good point once. We can get caught up in getting a diagnosis for our kids, but ultimately we just want to find tools to help our kids cope with issues, regardless of what causes those issues. Some of those tools people use to deal with adhd could be very useful for your daughter. Maybe you can share that perspective with him.

That said, a good screening from an experienced specialist can be very helpful!

Check out this book, You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!

I grew up thinking I was fundamentally a Lazy person. I was told I was lazy and because homework was difficult, I believed it. You can't imagine how damaging this attitude is. So much shame, feeling like I was a bad person because my brain didn't work on all cylinders. People treated it like a moral issue, instead of a health issue.

To your dh I'd say it's very easy to insist your child just needs to work harder and apply herself more to her school work, as opposed to accepting that his child's brain is wired a little differently.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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