ADHD diagnosis-- Help me help my DS (long) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-13-2006, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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My DS, who turned 8 two weeks ago, was recently diagnosed with ADHD. He has been attending the same Montessori school for 3 years and this year was the first time they approached us stating real concerns for his social-emotional development. He has always had behavioral issues; he is very oppositional defiant, thinks he should be able to make the rules/ run his own life (independent to the extreme and has been since birth), does anything to get attention and doesn't care if it's positive or negative (he's the class clown at school and often disturbs class). He has obnoxious fits where he cannot control his behavior and cackles this insane laugh, which is kinda freaky at times. He has gotten nothing but negative reactions from everyone for his bad behavior, including us, the teachers and his peers, but he has still been unable to make better choices for himself. He is extremely impulsive and does not seem capable of changing it by himself. His biological father (who is barely involved) was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. The teachers told us at the parent conference that they have been working with him behaviorally for 3 years and there has been no real change, which makes them think it is not behavioral, but developmental. They asked if we had ever considered putting him on medication to help him with his impulsivity and give his brain a chance to slow down and focus so that he is capable of making better decisions.

This same child excels in academics, especially math and reading/writing. He can spend hours reading books and drawing. I believe he is gifted, but no one knows how to deal with the way his brain works, including me. He tells me that school is boring, even though I know the teachers try to keep up with his individual level of learning and challenge him. Their biggest problem with him academically is that he doesn't want to do the work that bores him, only the things he excels at and truly enjoys. At times he has refused to finish his work plan.

So, after the recent teacher conference, i took him to the ped. and after lots of paperwork and a full assessment, he was diagnosed with ADHD. We decided to try putting him on Concerta for a short time to see if it helped. The ped. said that if it didn't help, then that probably meant that he had an extreme case of oppositional defiant disorder which drugs would not help. I talked to my son and let him know exactly what was going on and what we were trying to do. He asked me if he could go and talk to somebody about how he feels, someone who is not a parent or teacher. It was perfect, because i wanted to get him into therapy anyway and I didn't want it to be something he fought because I suggested it. I figured even if it is ADHD, it can't hurt to have a place to talk about your feelings and I know that he hurts because of being made wrong and ostracized for behavior that he is unable to control. He has even said things like he wishes he were never born or that he wanted to kill himself or wishes he was dead. And all because he is so misunderstood!

So it has been about 2 weeks that he has been taking the Concerta and all of our lives have improved a great deal. He is able to handle himself now. He is not obnoxious, oppositional, defiant, etc. He takes no for an answer (for the first time EVER!) and apologizes when he knows he has done something wrong, where in the past he was so polarized he refused to take responsibility for his actions, partly because he didn't want to admit that he had made a bad choice (his impulsivity and inability to think before acting didn't help), and partly because he was so tired of being told how wrong he was.

Now maybe if i was a "normal" mom, I would just be jumping with joy and thanking God for the invention of pharmaceutical drugs to control my son's behavior, but I am not. I know the drugs haven't changed his personality, in fact, they have helped him to focus and let his true essence come through, but I still DO NOT want my son to be on drugs for the rest of his life. I keep thinking that maybe if we just do this for awhile and keep up with the therapy so that he can work out some of his anger and negative emotions for being made wrong for so long, and in the meantime get more information on how to deal with a child who thinks differently than the rest of the world, maybe we could wean him off the drugs and be able to integrate everyone and everything into a dynamic workable whole. Am I crazy? Is there any way? Does anyone have any experience with this? What did you do when your child was diagnosed?

I have been doing so much research since he was diagnosed and started taking Concerta, and i have found so much information, some that leads me to believe that he is gifted, not learning disabled. I see his personality not as faulty, but as so intense and dynamic that no one knows what to do with him, including him. I want to be able to make the best choices for him and advocate for him, but I just don't know what to do. I am contacting a man in our state to have him evaluated for giftedness. I have considered homeschooling him if it turns out that he IS gifted and just doesn't fit into the educational system (even one as progressive as Montessori), but I do not have support from my DP for that. He would rather I keep DS in school and on drugs so that I can continue going to school and working. At this point I feel like I am going to fight for my DS no matter what, even it means taking on DP. He has suffered for so many years being made wrong for his behavior because other people cannot understand him. I just want to stand by his side and say "You know what? I love you and we are in this together and we are gonna find a way to work things out so that we can all have a happy life together NO MATTER WHAT!" I have told him that before, but I know it has been hard for both of us to believe that anything was ever going to change before this drug therapy. Now I feel there is hope, but I still need insight and support, so here I am. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and/or respond to this.
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#2 of 6 Old 11-13-2006, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ishtarmaia View Post
My DS, who turned 8 two weeks ago, was recently diagnosed with ADHD.
Now maybe if i was a "normal" mom, I would just be jumping with joy and thanking God for the invention of pharmaceutical drugs to control my son's behavior, but I am not. I know the drugs haven't changed his personality, in fact, they have helped him to focus and let his true essence come through, but I still DO NOT want my son to be on drugs for the rest of his life.
Check out a natural supplement called Pycnogenol & check out these sites:

50 Conditions That Mimic ADHD

ADHD Drug-free:

Feingold diet:
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#3 of 6 Old 11-13-2006, 05:52 PM
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My son was 'officially' diagnosed about a month ago but has fit the criteria for 1.5 years. We started the Feingold Diet last year after much research and at first it curbed some of his behaviors a bit but as he got older his impulsivity got worse instead of better. Last month we decided to try adding medication to the mix and it is like night and day - he actually got a good behavior report from school. It was by no means an easy decision and I know that might not be the most receptive place for medicating children but sometimes you really don't have any other choice. We are still doing the Feingold program as there are certain foods (apples, go figure) which set him off. We are in the process of examining a GF/CF diet for him - the only problem with that is he is a super-picky eater and is off the bottom of the charts as far as weight goes and I don't want to just jump in and limit his diet some more.

Like you I don't want my son to be on medication forever, I think it is great that your son wants to go talk to someone. I think that is fantastic. Behavior modification is also a non-medicated route that some parents take with their ADHD children. We have tried a modified behavior modification route - it just doesn't seem very compatible with positive discipline - its very reward heavy.

If you are interested in learning more about the Feingold Program their website is - there is also a Yahoo Group (FeingoldProgram4Us) that is a great resource.

Please feel free to PM me if you'd like.
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#4 of 6 Old 11-13-2006, 06:11 PM
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first for you and for your DS.

My DSS was diagnosed with ADHD at age five, just after starting kindergarden. He definitely fit the profile and DH and his mother had suspected as much for a while.

DSS is on concerta too. He almost 12 now and is still on it. He is not in any kind of cognitive therapy,and I really wish he was... I believe that medication, if used, needs to be used with cognitive therapy and diet, if appropriate. In other words, it should be part of the solution, not the sole solution. But, I'm not his doctor or his mother, so I don't get to make that choice. His mom decided the meds were it, and even though DH agrees with me, he can't convince her.

I see that DSS is greatly helped by the medication. When he isn't on it, he defiant, oppositional, can't focus, etc. He's also very, very smart... but can't perform well in school without the meds to slow him down so he can focus.

DH hopes that DSS will "grow out of it" but I'm not so sure he will. DH himself is probably borderline ADD.

IMHO, continue the meds, but investigate other ways to manage the behavior and see if you can wean him off, if he shows improvement with other methods. However, please do this with the cooperation and involvement of DS's health provider... there can be issues with weaning him off of concerta, which, after all, is a controlled substance. Some of the other moms here on MDC have had great success with the fiengold program and with other dietary changes and supplements.
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#5 of 6 Old 11-14-2006, 04:52 AM
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My 7 yr old son was Dx'd with ADD about 9 months ago. His overall behavior and attitude improved tremendously when we started an alergy elimination technique called NAET, and did an anti-candida diet. He still does noticeably better when we avoid sugar and BREADS, do lots of protein. We have had assessments by umpteen clinicians, who are all rather pussled by him, but feel they can help him. All this effort has at least assured him that we are on his side and we want to help him, but he hasn't really made further progress in his attention and ability to control his behavior. However, we think we are on to something new...

While learning from this website:, and this book: The Explosive Child, we feel like we are beginning to understand how he thinks, how his emotions factor in to ALL his difficulties, ways that he might be gifted, why he can't control himself, and better ways of approaching his behavior as well as learning. I wish I could say this WAS the ticket. All we can say now is we hope this is the solution. I have shared this website with his O.T. and his teachers, and it makes sense to them too. In fact, his O.T. has changed the entire focus of her therapy from standard SID therapy to teaching him and helping us teach him to gain control of his arousal level, so that he can remain at his optimal state where he functions very well.

Hope this makes sense. In any case, check out this website.
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#6 of 6 Old 11-14-2006, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you to everyone for the support and links to good info. I knew I could count on you all! I am continuing my research and keep hoping to find the one thing that really helps him. I am pretty sure he is wheat intolerant, because that's all he ever wants to eat. Wheat, meat and cheese are practically all he wants to eat. I talked to DP about going wheat-free for 2 weeks after Thanksgiving to see what happens. I am sure I am intolerant, so I have suspicions that DS ans DD are too. I guess we'll find out for sure. DS starts his therapy this Thursday, so keep him in your hearts and thoughts. Thank you all for everything!
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