Learning Disorders

Pills

Meds

Our teenaged daughter was diagnosed with ADHD when she was in elementary school. She went on meds and, oh boy, the difference in behavior was night and day (I think her teacher came close to hugging me). Unfortunately, they also made her self-esteem plummet, because she was now officially “different.”

I am also ADD. I was diagnosed shortly after she was, and was on meds for years for the disorder until my husband and I decided to start having more children.

School Stress

Stressed

Recently, our five year old has been showing signs of having ADHD.  So now I’m debating with myself over taking her to a psychiatrist and getting her diagnosed and on a meds schedule.  I worry our almost four year will be the same way – though she is the most calm of the three.  Can I handle three hyperactive kids?  And no, it has nothing to do with their sugar intake, as I don’t stock sugary items in the house (sugary items are a treat and bought in small quantities very infrequently).

The big reason this is coming up for me is the five year is having trouble sitting still for long periods of time.  Yes, we take frequent breaks because of this.  But it is getting to the point where the breaks aren’t helping. She is frustrated at sitting still and writing and learning her words for reading.  I don’t want reading and writing to be something she learns to hate.  If she were in public school, it would be a no brainer.  I’d take her to the doctor’s office yesterday.  So why do I feel differently since she is homeschooled?  It’s the same reason I think I should be able to homeschool, keep the house in order AND work almost full time from home – I sometimes think I am SuperMom.

I admit, I am in a quandary over the meds thing. I am really grappling with whether or not we need these medications. If they needed glasses, I would buy them. If they really need these meds, I will take them to the doctor and get a prescription.

Question: How do you know when they are really needed, and when would it just be nice to have calm kids in the house? How do I know if it is for them, or for my sanity? Can they really function fully without them….can I?

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13 Responses to Learning Disorders

  1. katery says:

    add meds do not have to same effect on people without the disorder, so if they really make a huge difference i would say use them.

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  2. Age 5 through independent reading (about 7 for my son) was a really hard time for us in our homeschool. I was really stressed, because my son was just fighting me all day long about his school work.

    Looking back, I know I was taking the wrong approach. The task of learning to read & write is VERY energy consuming & they need constant breaks & the work needs to be as fun as possible. Every day when reading time or practice would come up, there were tears or 3 minutes of hard work & then antsy progressing to full out cranky progressing to OMGLOUDMOM.

    I took a different tactic & let my son read Garfield comic books from the 80s at his independent reading time & KABLAMMO he was able to sit still for an hour on end. Hmmm…

    Anyway, I’m sorry to go on & on about me & my experiences on YOUR blog, but it was such a hard time for me that I hate to see other mamas feel like they’re alone in that age. Reading is hard work & it drains them, which drains us. I dunno if your wee one needs to be evaluated or if she needs a change of tactic, but I hope you guys also come through this stage soon.

    Good luck!

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    • Yes, we have an exercise bike that she likes to get on and peddle fast when she’s feeling especially antsy. I guess I’m leaning toward the meds, because that will save us the fighting over sitting and getting it done. I use books on the iPad, and that keeps her still longer than physical books, but it is still such a fight and it is just too much for both of us. I don’t want her thinking school is something to fight against, but I don’t want her thinking less of herself either. GRRR! I keep going back and forth and still ending up on the fence lol

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  3. Renee says:

    My oldest is ten, and doctors pointed to him possibly having ADHD as young as three. I’m not a believer in the drugs-I think they’re overprescribed by parents and teachers who want easy kids based on behavior patterns that can also describe a bored six year old little boy. They can’t show me lab results to prove my kid has a chemical imbalance, so I’ve staunchly refused medication.

    So I’m going to say I’m the devil’s advocate who prefers to find coping mechanisms for her kids and say…do what’s right for you and your daughter. If your coping mechanisms aren’t working and you feel medication is in order to correct a true chemical imbalance, that it isn’t just bored five year old syndrome, do it. Make the decision for your daughter, not society.

    On the other hand, if you feel it may be an age thing, or truly believe your daughter would be better off without medication, there are great resources out there for teaching kids with ADHD. I can recommend a few if you’d like, and make some suggestions that have worked really well for us. These days, my son still doesn’t like school, but he’s an honor roll student who loves to read. I’ll take it what I can get!

    Good luck! Keep us posted.

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    • Renee, yes, we’re coping. I’d love your resources! We took our teen off the medication as soon as I started homeschooling her in high school. It was hard, but she graduated last year with a good GPA. Thanks for cheering us on!

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  4. Kim says:

    My son, who is now almost 14, was diagnosed with ADHD in the 1st grade. After finding the right medication, that worked with him, the change was astonishing. I have dealt with the stigma that comes with “drugging” my ADHD child for the last 7 years, or so. I swear, the next person to utter the words “He just needs discipline” will probably get punched in the nose, lol. I have, at times in the past, succumbed to the scrutiny and taken him off the meds. The results were heart-breaking. His grades would plummet. He was unable to focus. It was just a mess. It got to the point where I simply decided that I was not going to allow my son’s self-confidence and future to suffer due to others ignorance regarding his diagnosis. Once back on his meds the grades would rise and he would seem more at peace. It was during the process of his diagnosis, in which I realized that I too have strong ADD tendencies. People who are not personally affected by this disorder have no idea what it’s like to live a day within our minds. I give them 1 hour, max, of trying to cope…especially in a busy environment, before they would see the light. The medication my son is on is a stimulant… and yet it calms him and allows him to focus. Give the same stimulant to a person not affected by ADD/ADHD and they will be literally bouncing off the walls. Most of my co-workers have their morning cup of coffee to wake up… I drink it purely because I have noticed the change in my ability to focus and prioritize my work. Sorry that this ended up so long and ramble-y …. I am just a tiny bit passionate regarding this topic. LOL Feel free to contact me if you ever want to chat. It helps to have someone else who “lives it” in your corner 🙂 As a side note, here is my ADD/ADHD background: My 16 year old daughter’s adoptive mother informed me, about 10 years ago, that she (my birth-daughter) was diagnosed ADHD. My 13 year old son, who I wrote about above, was diagnosed ADHD. My self-diagnosis of my own ADD, lol. and finally my youngest, who is now 7, who I and our family doctor suspect to have high functioning autism/aspergers… was recently diagnosed, by our school system, to have ADHD. Although he is a handful and a half, I will NOT pursue medication for him due to the fact that I do not concur with his diagnosis… at all. If we were truely only medicating to make things easier on us, as parents, he would be the first one I’d be pushing the pills towards… LOL I medicate my oldest son for HIS benefit, not mine. Sadly I doubt society will ever be able to understand this…
    OK… enough with my book. Sorry about that, again… lol Have a great day!!!

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    • Kim, thanks for the comment. I went through similar things, the bowing to pressure and taking her off meds and then going back, with my now 18 year old. I remember when I first started dating my husband and he started really hanging out with me and the then 9 year old and his admitting he had thought ADHD was hooey until he met her (when he saw before and after meds were administered).

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    • Renee says:

      Kim: O have seen many, many children on meds that really just needed more discipline. I tutored them. I babysat them. And it drove me crazy. I’ve also seen kids like yours that truly benefit from medication. Think of it like you would an antibiotic. If you’ve tried going natural and it’s getting worse instead of better, if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to and getting nowhere, it’s time. Don’t ever be ashamed of that.

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  5. Kim says:

    …and here is one of my older posts, from a time when I had taken him off the meds, in case you care to take a look. http://kimberliah.com/2011/05/18/the-kaleidoscope/

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  6. Kim, I’m going to not try to write a book, but like many parents we worked with a behaviorist, reward plans with school, calm parenting (because well, calm is beter) and a lot of it worked. We didn’t want to put him on meds because he had a kidney transplant 5 years ago and he was on tons prior with dialysis and of course anti-rejection meds…so we kept the fine line NO to drugs. But then depression set in. It was a hundred things all together but I am certain his struggles in school, having “behavior issues” being labeled bad, blamed for things because he was labeled and subtly bullied by kids and adults and well, he was a mess. We started him on meds and honestly we couldn’t believe the difference. He couldn’t either, “See, I’m not a bad kid.” Ugh.

    Now we’re 3 years down the road (and well, a bunch of other things happened) and he’s in 6th grade, stable, and while it’s a special needs school, he’s doing terrific and meds adds to the mix. I think for me, after all was said and done, I realized (for me) that I didn’t bat an eye at meds during kidney failure, dialysis or after transplant. I run to the ER for meds to fight regular and life-threatening infections. I don’t know why I didn’t think of ADHD meds as the same. But for my kid, meds for adhd are as important as those other things because his self confidence hangs in the balance.

    You know you can also get some support for parents on my social network http://www.supportforspecialneeds.com – there’s a behavior issues group, adhd, med discussions, etc. So join us if you want a another group or even just to join the private Room for Rants group — anything goes there and I vet people.

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    • Julia, thank you so much for this information. Yes, when it comes to “regular” medical issues, we don’t blink an eye. The more feedback I’m getting from this article, the more I’m leaning toward calling a doc on Monday. 🙂

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