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Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by DietCoke, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. DietCoke

    DietCoke Member

    I am a semi-regular board poster, but I am posting this under an alternate account to protect my child's privacy.

    My son is 7. I have always been very skeptical of ADHD and believed that it is either pathologizing regular childhood behavior, or a result of over-stimulation in the modern world. However, I am starting to wonder if, for my son's own good, it is time to look into some solutions.

    He's a very intelligent boy - his teacher last year called him "brilliant." He devours books that you wouldn't expect a 7-year-old to devour. The other day, for example, he brought home a book about the Battle of Gettysburg. He loves history, science, and math.

    All of that being said, there are issues. He's a huge fidgeter (I am, too), and always has been. When I take him to a football or baseball game, he can't sit still. I know that's the case with a lot of kids, to a degree, but he's constantly bouncing around and running into people around him. He also frequently doesn't answer us when we talk to him, usually when he's engaged with something else. Again, I know this is typical childhood behavior in some ways, but I have been around other children and it doesn't happen to the same degree.

    He has had behavior issues at school, although it has been better this year, because he blurts out in class, or because he won't stay in his seat on the bus. He frequently interrupts conversations between adults, no matter how many times he is told not to. Same thing with saying "please" and "thank you." It is almost impossible to get this boy to develop any habits whatsoever. He also has had some meltdowns, emotionally, that are inappropriate for a child his age. We severely limit video game time because when it's time to get off, even when he's warned well ahead of time, he has a complete nuclear meltdown.

    Last night was kind of the last straw for me. He had a baseball game. He caught for an inning and, as usual, he sat behind home plate and wouldn't move his glove to even try to catch the pitches coming to him. Then, when he played the field, he played with his gum, played in the dirt, and generally was in his own little world disconnected from anything going on on the field. He says he loves baseball, but he's going to get hurt if this keeps up.

    Anyway, I know that's a lot, and I appreciate those who made it to the end.

    I guess I wanted to vent, first of all, because it is maddening for us, both because we love him and want what's best for him, and, second, because I need to figure out what to do about it. I know medication is probably an option, but I also don't want to sedate the things that make him himself. He's quirky, but sometimes, his quirks really get in the way for him.

    Any experiences that anyone can share would be greatly appreciated.
    TowelWaver likes this.
  2. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    The hesitancy to medicate is normal. My experience, however, is that while some medications are less effective, none stripped my child of his personality, which was a big fear once we realized that medication was an option.

    It can be scary feeding your child pills multiple times a day, but sometimes medication can make it easier for them to regulate and function.

    Every case is different and you have to do what you think is best. To that end, try to find medical professionals you trust. That makes things a little easier as you try to make the right decisions for your child.
    Machine Head and TowelWaver like this.
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    See some behavioral doctors or psychologists. Maybe they can help him with his behaviors without medication, and show both him and you techniques on how to deal with some of the issues without medication.

    Barring that, if you do choose to medicate, it may be a long process to figure out what type of med to use and the dosage. There may be some trial and error with the medications, plus be aware of any possible side effects.

    Whatever you do, don't let your school district try to push you into using meds just because they are struggling with handling your kid. This has to be your decision, not their's.

    Good luck and keep us updated.
    Machine Head likes this.
  4. Earthman

    Earthman Well-Known Member

    I have 2 nephews both both of which were diagnosed with ADD and who I am very close with.
    You are doing the right thing by being open to the possibility that your son has ADHD. The earlier it's
    recognized and treatment starts the better. From your description he is certainly showing all the signs that he could have it but obviously he needs to be tested by a professional. I would start with your pediatrician for advise and direction. If you want private testing as opposed to school paying it won't be cheap. But better to have you own person as opposed to schools. Either way if he is going to need
    accommodations in school you will need the diagnoses. Read up on the FERPA laws so you know yours and his rights in regard to education. It becomes a negotiation with the school. If you can find a professional advocate to represent you all the better. If he does have ADHD it's a pipe dream not to medicate if you want him to be successful in school. Try to block out those that say that say the school just does not want to do their job and wants to control your child through medication. Look at it that you will be helping him succeed by finding the right medication that works. Don't let the school push you though into things that you don't want to do. The FERPA laws give you rights . Go in with an open mind when talking with school. There are some really good educators that want to help and will give you good advise.

    If it turns out that he does have ADD become his advocate and fight the urge to get angry if he fails. There will be enough people who won't know and treat him unfairly. He will need your understanding and patience.

    Baseball might not be the sport for him. It's too slow for kids with ADD. Too much standing around for how their brain works. You need action sports like soccer , football and hockey where you can't stand around. No doubt one of reasons that he likes video games is because they are fast paced.

    Sorry for the randomness of thoughts . Good luck. PM if you have any specific questions.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
    Iron_chet and Machine Head like this.
  5. Machine Head

    Machine Head Well-Known Member

    Meds can make a huge positive difference in a child diagnosed with ADHD, I know this for a fact.

    Just closely watch your child if meds become part of a treatment program and watch for any side effects.

    Some insurance will cover diagnostic evaluations such as are done by the University of Minnesota:

    Clinical Services

    Start with your primary medical professional, but I strongly encourage seeking out specialists in the field as in the link above.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  6. Earthman

    Earthman Well-Known Member

    Would add don't medicate to control behavior, medicate to assist him academically and athletically.
    If he has nothing going on for day don't give him the medication cause you or your wife want to keep him calm. On those days just give him the freedom to be himself without medication. They need to learn the difference of how and when medication helps and when it doesn't.
  7. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Our oldest son had/has ADD, and it sounded a lot like the OP's issues. The thing is, when I told my mother what was going on, the symptoms he was showing, she replied, "that sounds just like how you were in school." We tried our son on several meds, but after awhile, he just flat-out refused to take them. Said it stifled his creativity, and we weren't going to force him to medicate against his will, if he honestly felt that way. He agreed that if he had a big exam, he'd take an Adderol, but that was it. He still has adult ADD, which he says actually helps him in his job. He's an ER tech and he's mastered the art of multi-tasking in stressful situations. And I've been taking meds for it as well, for about 10 years now. I'm a lot more focused than I used to be.
  8. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Just off the top of my head....

    There are different types of ADHD, which are addressed differently. You need to get a workup by a neuropsychologist. See if you can get the school to pay for it. If not, get it done.

    A lot of parents seem to want to medicate without therapy. My personal opinion-- medication should be used so that the child will accept therapy-- then be weaned off at some point-- it can always be restarted for flare ups.

    Therapy is the gold standard. Medication is such a useful tool, but medication alone won't do it. He needs to be able to teach himself to control impulses, calm himself down, organize himself, etc etc.

    There's a wonderful organization called Child Mind Institue www.childmind.org ... go to their topics section and read more. Get on their e-mail mailing list. TONS of useful information.

    If you intervene early, the better the outcome.

    I know of several kids who channeled the ADHD into becoming doctors, scientists, etc. That hyperfocus on his interests become very useful in adulthood if he's had the tools to cope with the downside since he was 7.

    There's also a great book called Welcome to Your Child's Brain which has some amazing tips for ADHD-- little things that are easy to incorporate that you might not immediately think of. For example, I believe one was a compelling study that shows the more time the child spends outside, the fewer the outbursts-- in cases of ADHD.

    I have a child who was diagnosed with a certain type of anxiety. We intervened early, though, and the diagnosis got dropped. But it's still something we keep tabs on.

    ETA: Agree with Earth on the baseball thing... try other sports, but it's not unusual for kids that age to pick flowers during soccer games, baseball, etc.

    On the DEVICES.... Here's what I would do. Lock it up. Literally put it in a safe. Create a reward chart. Theme it out with his favorite science thing-- be it rocket ships or dinosaurs, sea creatures-- whatever. Figure out the behavior you want him to do-- but it must a be positive behavior. For example: Saying please or thank you. OR remaining calm after the device time is over. Everytime he achieves the positive behavior, he earns a check mark on his reward chart. When he fills up the reward chart, he earns 15 minutes of screen time.

    Then you gotta stick to it.

    My rule with myself is to never SUBTRACT points or check marks. Once they're earned, they're earned. But they don't get rewarded for bad behavior, no matter how much negotiating is done.

    Finally on the devices ... a shrink once gave me this tip... Set an external timer. Something that is not YOU and is not on the device itself... like a kitchen timer. Make sure he understands the rules up front: When the timer goes off, you calmly turn off the device. If you don't, you don't get your reward. According to the shrink, the kid can get mad at the timer, but not you-- he knew the rules up front.

    And finally, it should be repeated: Stick to it. It will be brutal. He will negotiate with you. He will attempt to wear you down. Take that device and put it back in the lock box. :D

    Reward and praise the crap out of him for good behavior !
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
    Ace likes this.
  9. Earthman

    Earthman Well-Known Member

    Good thoughts Lugnuts. Therapy should always be part of the process but if you are sending
    the child to a high achieving public school system its almost impossible to succeed without
    medication. The teachers are neither trained nor have the time. The child will fast fall behind. The therapy route is better
    suited if you send child to a private school that specializes in learning disabilities.

    If you can get the "work up" paid for by the school system all the better but you choose the
    neuropsychologist, do not use the schools who may be more apt to have the schools interests in
    in mind over the child
  10. Machine Head

    Machine Head Well-Known Member

    Individual Learning Plan.
  11. DietCoke

    DietCoke Member

    He does well in school, even behaviorally this year. (It was an issue in years past. The teachers seemed to attribute it to immaturity because he's young for his class. I wonder if that may frequently hide a diagnosis of ADHD?)

    But last night was our worst yet at the baseball park. He played in the dirt pretty much the whole time, even as balls were hit past him. He was looking everywhere but at the pitcher while he was waiting for the pitch. He was taking one warm-up swing after another as the pitcher was already in his wind-up, and didn't even seem to notice as every adult in the park was shouting, "Get ready, batter!" He cried when the concession stand was out of gum.

    It's really frustrating. He says he likes baseball, so it's not like we're forcing him to play. We got home last night and he was really into the game on TV. We've even played Strat-O-Matic, though he tends to have mini-meltdowns when his team strikes out in big situations or if he gives up runs.

    He showed an interest in chess last weekend, and I might pursue that. It's something that demands attention.
  12. typefitter

    typefitter Well-Known Member

    I think the first thing you need to do is have him professionally diagnosed. The brain, especially a developing one, is a complicated thing. A lot of what you're describing sounds like my eldest son, who has mild autism, not ADHD. Weirdly enough, it was sports that finally tipped us off that something wasn't typical about him, very similar to your experience last night. The reading, the meltdowns, the difficulty with transitions... That all rings familiar to me as well. Once you know whether he's clinically something or other, then you can figure out the best way for your family to treat it. I hope this doesn't sound patronizing or obvious, but I would say an appointment with a child psychologist might be your first step. An official diagnosis can open doors to a lot of treatment options in schools especially.
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