Thursday, May 2, 2013

ADHD - What I know, What I don't, and Where We Are {Day 2}

Welcome back to Day 2 of blog every day in May!

Today's prompt is ...
Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at.

So since I am in knee deep with parent surveys, doctor surveys, switching doctors, psychologists, and medication, I thought I would share with you my story of ADHD and my son. This is what I know, what I don't know {but am in the process of finding out}, and where we are in our journey.

Please remember this is a sensitive topic. What I am doing or what I have done is my own personal choice for my child. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be. I am just trying to do what is right and what is the most healthy for my child.

I guess I have always known that Little Man was super active, even in comparison to other boys his age. He never really walked he just ran. And when he started talking, he never stopped. Never has a day gone by that my boy hasn't spilled something, lost something, or grass-stained something all in his quest to get things done fast. But he is my boy and I just felt that this was a "boy thing".

By the time he was 3 years old and in day care I was constantly getting notes sent home about Little Man's behavior. He was in trouble for playing in the water fountain or for not eating his lunch. I would get notes about why he had bandages on his knee, or elbow, or forehead all the time. It got so bad at one point that my Mother refused to go pick him up because she was always signing a sheet about his behavior.

When he started Kindergarten I thought ... This is it. He is getting older {5 years old} and his immaturity will start to go down. I still felt his behavior was just more "boy" and still wasn't ADHD. I would get phone calls from his Kindergarten teacher saying that he was forgetting to clean out his mailbox at the end of each day. Also, he was forgetting to turn his homework in even though it was done. 

When he started First grade once again I thought ... this is his year. He will start to do well. He will have to calm down because he will be in school all day now. But once again I started receiving notes about his behavior. He had behavior charts taped to his desk with rewards such as candy, more gym time, and an extra recess just as long as his behavior was in line with what his teacher wanted. Little Man wanted to stand next to his desk rather than sit in his seat but he couldn't stand still next to his desk so his classmates saw him as a distraction. He would speak out of turn at inappropriate times. He still struggled to turn his homework in and the nightly homework was like being in battle with a rabid pit bull then my cuddly First grader. He was in Reading Recovery { a early reading intervention that you can read more about at} and a math program to help him be at a first grade level.

By Second grade ... I was getting nervous because every year up to this point lead to behavior charts and interventions. His teacher was more understanding and gave him special responsibilities in the classroom to keep him motivated. He still received math and reading interventions but by the middle of the year he tested out of them. He did have a behavior chart half of the year but the second half of the year it didn't seem like he needed them. But at the end of the school year we did begin to have an issue. Little Man was being a bully. From what it seemed like to me his struggles were causing him to become very insecure. Instead of allowing the kids to make fun of him he started making fun of them. After a rough meeting with his teacher and the principal Little Man started seeing the school counselor. His meetings with the counselor did seem to help but he still struggled in all aspects of school - even in P.E. which I thought he would flourish in but not following directions caused him to get in more trouble.

In Third grade ... his teacher was "old school". She was strict and Little Man had his good and his bad days. At this time I started researching changing his diet. Immediately, we went dairy free since this was an element I thought would be the easiest. But little did I know that milk was an ingredient in a lot of processed foods and/or seasoning packets I would use. Before I changed his diet he would drink milk all day long and have about 3 yogurts a day. I found a website that I found to be very informative and helpful {}. I started giving him coffee with protein every morning along with two scrambled eggs. His behavior did improve but nothing drastic.

He is now in Fourth grade ... this is the year that I started the process of getting him diagnosed with ADHD. I had his classroom teacher, his intervention teacher, his father, and myself fill out the Vanderbuilt ADHD surveys.{this is where you can print a copy of these forms -} I made an appointment with his pediatrician to go over the forms. From what his teacher scored him and what his father scored him ... his issue wasn't ADHD but my form said that he was. We left with very little answers but with a prescription for generic ridalin. I didn't fill the prescription and I cried for 3 days. Maybe I was too hard on him. Maybe I was expecting too much. But by November his behavior was getting worse and his father wasn't following the diet. He was constantly detoxing from dairy. So I filled the prescription and started him on it over Thanksgiving break. He can have dairy again but I try to limit it. {Even on medication, he gets very hyper after just one slice of pizza!} As of today, his teacher's say that they can tell when he isn't on his medication but they don't see that much of an important in his behavior when he is on it. I have an appointment next week with a different doctor. I am hoping to switch his medication, get him back on a dairy free diet, start him on a gluten/casein free diet as well, and have a better relationship with this new pediatrician. He is back to drinking a cup of coffee every day again and I am seeing a slight improvement. Homework is still very challenging for him and some days we have to fight in order for him to just get it done.

Books that have helped me ...

Louder than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism by Jenny McCarthy.
While Little Man doesn't have Autism this book gave me the courage to fight for my child. Doctor's are not always right and sometimes stepping outside the box to help your child is the right thing to do.

The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook
I read this book a long time ago and plan on reading it again before I start Little Man on his new diet.

What I know ...

* Having a routine is very important. If we stray from the routine Little Man's behavior is affected.
* Keeping a calendar on the wall with Little Man's activities written in make a huge difference. This way he can see what he has to do for the day.
* Allowing Little Man some down time during homework saves us from fighting.
* Video games make his ADHD worse. 
* Omega 3 is a wonderful supplement for ADHD children in order to promote higher brain function.

What I don't know ... Yet ...

* How can I provide my son with a healthy {dairy, gluten, and casein free} diet on a very limited budget?
* Are there safe homeopathic remedies that would eliminate his need for medication?
* How expensive would the homeopathic remedies be?
* Should he detox from toxins prior to starting a homeopathic regimen?

So that is my story! Are you a parent of an ADHD child? Did you suffer with ADHD as a child? What information do you know about ADHD that I should know?

Please share!

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