I have been told that my eleven year old son has ADHD.....however, after putting him on meds for several years, it doesn't seem to help. His 5th grade teacher suggested that we have an EEG done because she 'just doesn't see ADHD signs'. So we did and it came back normal (very thankfully). Now she's thinking that maybe dyslexia may be the culprit. He doesn't show any responsibiliy for anything. Stares out into space alot and is very hard to motivate. We are taking him for ADHD testing in February. Just don't know what's wrong with my sweet boy. Yes, I am a little biased. But, everyone is with their own kid. Just wanting to know if anyone else has been through this?

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Kim - posted on 02/01/2009

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There are some wonderful responses here.  My 13 year old was tested by the school in 3rd & 6th grades.  Nothing was ever determined.  Then I got information and had him tested privately by a Neuro Pychologist.  He did a whole battery of tests and found out he had 4 issues that answered all the problems we have been seeing.  He is ADD (no hyperactivity at all so I think they fall through more of the cracks), has non verbal reasoning disorder (getting things from the head onto paper is like putting your head through a wall), fine motor skills issues when directly related to handwriting (but no dysgraphia) and organizational dysfunction.  Add those together and its no wonder we struggled with grades, homework etc.  He is a great child and his teachers have always loved him.  Very kind, considerate, helpful but just strugged so bad scholastically.   Now we have him on meds and that made a HUGE difference.  Fortunately we haven't had to work to hard to get med and dosage worked out.  He also has a 504 at school which makes accomadations for him in school (more time allowed on tests, use of calculator or times table, parent determination when home is done plus some others).  Good luck.  It is definately worth the additional testing. 

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Kathy - posted on 02/01/2009

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My son is 5 years old and was tested and diagnosed last spring, he is medicated, I am in the learning process myself however I have been to counseling with my son and learned different techniques on how to deal with his behaviors and his school work. The school has not been friendly to me at all. and its only just begun, he is only in JK however after a meeting with the school board and the teacher and principal we finally have my child the proper help . My suggestion to you is do what ever you think is best for your child, don't allow people to judge you or your son, get the testing and some counseling take what ever is out there for help and use it as a learning tool it will help you in the long run to understand and to cope. Everyday is a new day take it one day at a time you will get there... :)

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MINE your resources- i mean REALLY DIG- we've "fought the fight" with our son and his schools in 3 states for 8 years. we've had all the ups downs etc and many more than described by others - including the legal system when he got in trouble at school- bottom line- testing really can be helpful to know what you are dealing with. it does take ALOT of wrestling with insurance companies. teachers etc. but we are the kids' best advocates, until you are satisfied keep asking for more info and more services- get to know your county's mental health system and a good social worker who can help you work the system

Rachel - posted on 01/22/2009

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My cousin did stuff like that growing up and for years they said he had ADD, when he was a teenager however they discovered that he had Asperger syndrome. 

Charlotte - posted on 01/21/2009

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Hi, My 16 yr.old daughter has ADHD, was diagnosed in 2nd or 3rd grade. I did'nt start her on med's right away because i thought that it was taking the easy way. BUT after my baby ,(holding her head) cried, Mom Please just make it stop! I new we had to do something. We went for testing and evals.and counseling. And more testing and went on med's. I think she's been on everthing. Can't eat all day so she has as much protein and fat's as she can before school(protein icecream shakes, lots of peanut butter---). She's finally on the patch and it seems to help the best for her. She had such a hard time in grade school, no friends, bad grades but she's so smart. Then 8th grade came along and she took off. She's had one C since then. My artist,my funny, wounderful child. She has found her nitch. I think there will always be some problems but it does get better. You love them that's the best thing. I'll be saying a pray for you and your's. God bless you and keep you.

Daphne - posted on 01/19/2009

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Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it and need to hear that I'm (or rather we're ) not alone on this journey. ;)

Angela - posted on 01/19/2009

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There is no easy answer. Testing is always good, counseling is always a good idea, it could also be the meds he is on may not  be the right ones for him. The best thing I did was start taking my son to a Phyciatrist for his evaluations, testing and meds......he is trained to diagnose mental health issues, your pediatrician is not and alsomay not know about all the newest meds ansd effects. Best thing I ever did for my child!

Christina - posted on 01/15/2009

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Hi Daphne,



My son is 13 and until the 5th grade I was in denial that my son had any "problem" whatsoever.  His very experienced teacher showed me stack after stack of his work compared to a small handwriting sample of dysgraphia ("trouble with writing").  He had always struggled with handwriting, reading well out-loud, and spelling, but I didn't think he could REALLY have issues since all of his other grades were A's.  Besides, he was in the 5th grade and no other teacher ever thought he had a problem except that he was probably bored.  She explained that dysgraphia rarely, if ever, came by itself and that we should have him tested for dyslexia (trouble with words).  We did, and he was/is severly dyslexic; he's just also extremely smart so that the high IQ compensated for some of the dyslexia/dysgraphia issues and I was able to convince myself he was "okay". 



During the 3 hour test for dyslexia, it was noted that he was never able to sit still for more than 60 seconds at a time.  He couldn't sit in his chair without getting up in some way for more than 3 minutes.  The dyslexia testor had to time each of these abilities (or lack thereof).  A simple computer program at the pediatrician's office (then confirmed at the psychiatrist's office) showed he also had ADD.  This is different than ADHD.  Attention Deficit Disorder can be with OR without hyperactivity.  Just because a child is not hyper does not mean he does not have an attention deficit disorder.  Dr. Amen of the Amen clinic has used  functioning MRI scans to differentiate between 6 or 7 types of ADD.  Simply put, someone with attention deficit disorder doesn't have the same wiring in the brain as someone without ADD.  But the brains wiring can be vastly different from one child to the next- and only a small percentage are also hyperactive.  It just happens that my son is hyperactive as well as ADD- but in a very rigid environment (like elementary school) he could keep it in check.  When he hit middle school and many of the "walk in a straight line/no talking in the hallways" rules were relaxed, he absolutely fell apart.  Not only did HE require medication, a few of his teachers and I did as well!



 We went through so many medications before finding one that made a difference and didn't keep him awake all night.  Then, we had to play with the dose.  We've had to do that more than once, deciding which side effects we could live with and which we couldn't.  He's in counciling and I am considering bio-feedback for him this summer when his schedule frees up.  Counceling is also a very important part of his ADD issue- we are learning how I can regulate his behavior so that I can then teach him how to self-regulate.  My husband is also ADHD (and can't take the meds) as well as dyslexic, dysgraphic, OCD and has anxiety issues.  He doesn't always respond in a way that my son requires to keep himself in check, so counciling is imperitive (I'm in with him, not leaving him to meet with a councilor on his own).



We're now pursuing testing for his twin sisters who are almost 7 and showing most of the same learning patterns and behavior patterns.  They may or may not have all the same issues he has, but I'm finding out a lot sooner this go-round and have a better grasp on the steps I need to take to get them diagnosed and on the route that will make learning enjoyable instead of humiliating and/or frustrating.




One thing  I've learned from all of this is that my son IS normal.  Every child's learning needs differ from every others.  Dyslexics and ADD children are hard-wired differently and so may need special intervention and often times medication to help them learn and control their mind/body; but what works for one child may not work for another.  Nutrition plays a key role as well (caffiene doesn't affect my son, but red and blue food dyes do), and his allergies to food and his environment also affect his ability to focus and learn.



Off meds my son is impulsive and easily over-stimulated.  He has anxiety disorders that increase without medication as well.  He has to be on meds 365 days a year.  His mind shuts down the adrenaline flow when it should ramp it up.  For him, that is normal.  He can't walk from point A to point B: he has to skip, jump, hop, run, etc.  He doesn't sit in a school desk; he perches.  Many ADD kids have to sit in the back of the classroom so that they aren't distracted; my son sits in the back of the class so that he isn't a distraction.  And when his anxiety overwhelms him, all the meds in the world can't compensate. And when he is in love with the subject he is learning about, it's like a pit bull with a steak in it's jaws: nothing will shake his focus off of that thing.  There is no limit to what he can accomplish- many many people throughout history have excelled despite (or because of) such a "disability".  His father (the ADHD/Dyslexic/Dysgraphic/Anxiety-Issue/OCD parent of our brood) is a Dentist who does amazing work but can't read a book out loud to save his life!  Einstein could contemplate the universe and unlock the power of the atom, but he couldn't count out correct change or do simple addition/subtraction.



I know I'm rambling, but my point is this: see a professional and have your son diagnosed correctly.  It takes hours of testing and the experience of a professional trained to read the results of those same tests to determine what your son's normal is.  An EEG can rule a lot of things out, but only extensive testing can really determine if your son has ADD or ADHD, dyslexia or dysgraphia, or one of a million other things that could be causing him extreme frustration at school and away from his safe zone of home.



One more suggestion: do a google search for ADD (not ADHD) symptoms and Dyslexia symptoms.  Read several articles from different sources and become farmiliar with what these issues have in common and how they differ.  It will also help you in your dealings with the health care professionals you will need on your team.  And be wary of the results if they don't match what you see; one public school system in our area almost never gives a diagnosis of dyslexia or ADHD because they don't want to spend the resources on kids who need more than the "normal" kids do.  And this info was given to me by one of my child's doctors, a teacher in the district, and a former school councelor in the district.  We're going to have the girls tested privately to make sure the test results are more accurate- they won't have anything to gain one way or the other since they'll already have our money for the testing...

Deborah - posted on 01/14/2009

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Hi Daphne!



Don't feel alone.  I think that's why we all are members here.  We've all been through it.  My son is 17, now a Senior in HS and diagnosed with ADHD.  He was diagnosed in Second Grade.  Since day one of Kindergarten, we've had notes come home from school, principal phone calls, troubles with other students, you name it.  It's been a long and sometimes trying sojourn, but all in all, I have to say, my son is a wonderful kid.     



Testing is the right way to go, but once you / he finishes with testing, doctors will throw lots of different things at you -- counseling, drug and dietary options, etc.  It's up to you as a parent to figure out what's best for you and your family.  For us, I got tired of what the drugs did to my son, so we took him off the meds.  Informing the school that your son has ADHD may place him in a different category of students too, so think of that before you let the school know the outcome of his tests.  (For our family, it was better to inform each teacher, but not inform the school itself.) 



I also think that teachers feel so much stress to get so much crammed in each day and any time there's a student who's deamed "difficult" requires more attention and detracts from what the teacher had in mind for the day.  To that, I say "deal with it".  Most teachers don't like me because of that, but so what.  (I'm a teacher, too.)  Teachers get paid to teach and not all children are polite, obedient, perfect students.  So, don't let teachers impose their thoughts on you.  (Most of them don't have Psych degrees!)     



You need to do what's best for you and for your family.  And his teachers will just have to deal with whatever decision you make. 



Hang in there!  You are a great mom, doing a great job!!! 

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