Diana - posted on 01/05/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )
My youngest son is now 18 as of December. Trust me when I tell you that I have been through the ringer and back over these 18 years. I've known since my son was 2 that he was going to have ADHD and have had him on medication since he was in first grade. We never used Ritalin, but other medications that weren't as controversial. I've dealt with the bed wetting, inattentiveness, the behavior problems, the oppositional defiance, his fearlessness, the stealing, his younger years being such a socialite and then his middle school years being an outcast, and the last few years of the temper, the mood swings, the stubbornness, the smoking cigarettes after he swore for years he would never smoke, and everything else in between all of this. I've gone through all the counseling with him and for him, begged and pleaded for the counselors to provide behavior modification, tried beyond all measure to connect the communication between the teachers, the counselors, the doctors, the psychologists, and anyone who had any interaction with my son. All of this with extremely little success!
Now that I have worked in the NH Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program for the last 6 years, I have seen, heard, read, and become aware of the research that has been, is being, and will continue to be done to connect lead poisoning and other environmental issues with ADHD, ODD, LD, Bipolar, etc. I've looked at this from my most logical point and made suggestions that if the researchers could find the source of the problems that lead to all of the developmental, emotional, and behavioral issues, we would all be better off treating the source of the problem rather than trying to treat the symptoms! So far, no one is listening carefully enough to take this for truth.
I can suggest for those parents that have IEPs for their children to look into a website that can provide you much information at www.wrightslaw.com. The information they provide in understanding, participating in, and assisting the language writing of your child's IEP is of clear, understandable language that unravels many of the questions you may have. Otherwise, the best thing I can offer you is to network with as many people as you can, share information of your successes and challenges, research your questions and listen carefully to those who are willing to help, even if it's through the internet.
Work hard at getting the circle of communication open and to be strong with everyone who has any interaction with your child. Stay on top of the teachers to ensure they are following the IEP and calling you whenever they are having a problem with your child, no matter how big or small the challenge may be. Don't give in to your child; even if your patience is at its lowest level. Teach them the difference between right and wrong, hold them accountable, don't let them get the best of you! Despite the challenges, you have to stay in control and be the stronger person in this. Whatever you do, you cannot allow your children to take the lead because they have absolutely no idea what they really need or want and if you give in to them, they are the ones who will most likely fall into the justice system. Your direction and persistence is exactly what they need - so stay strong. I don't always get back here to check on your messages, so if you feel a need to contact me, my personal email is email@example.com. I'll be happy to share some of my experiences and suggestions with you. Most of all, I wish you all the best in handling this difficult issue and please, do not give up! Be strong and find strength in others. Push for further research, develop groups in your community or school district and most importantly, contact your legislatures and pressure them to submit bills to ban the mining of lead and any other metals that affect our children's health. Prevention is key, but after our children are affected, we are all responsible for ensuring our children learn to become responsible, financially stable, hard-working and law-abiding adults. The late Dr. Michael Shannon said at a speaking engagement at Keene State College, Keene, NH, that once a child suffers from lead poisoning, they are essentially brain damaged. Lead poisoning is irreversible and can be devastating in high levels. Children between the ages of 0 - 6 and pregnant women are most at risk. Avoid lead dust, clean well on a weekly basis, and if you have any renovations done or windows replaced, learn the EPAs new law beginning in April 2010 regarding the Renovate, Repair, and Painting Rule at www.epa.gov/lead/rrp.
Best of luck and I'm here if you have any questions or concerns. Feel free to email me.