Need help understanding and dealing with a recent diagnosis of ADD

Misie - posted on 02/09/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My 6 1/2 yr old son was diagnosis with ADD right before Thanksgiving, prior to this we had always just thought of his behavior as being a typical boy. He is always on the go, talks alot and has a hard time sitting still sometimes, his hands constantly have to be doing something. In kindergarten the teacher was very frustrated with the fact that he couldn't sit still on the carpet and like to pick at the fuzz but if she would ask he a question that was about what she just said he could answer it perfectly so it wasn't that he wasn't listening or didn't hear her but that he just had to keep himself stimulated. Then this year in 1st grade some of the same problems have continued but the teacher is much easier to work with, she is who suggested that we talk to his doctor, we have and we tried Adderall but did not like the personality changes, so he was changed to Focalin XR and he seems to be doing better with this. Now though I seem to pick up on the issues much more than I ever thought much about them before and I feel like I am spending all my time with him wondering is this normal behavior for someone his age, is this part of his ADD, should I be doing things different. I just don't know what to do, somedays I feel like I have to ask him to do things 50 times before I get a response. Somedays it seems like he can't sit still to save his life and he just has to talk non stop.

I know that I can't constantly tell him don't do this and don't do that because I don't want him to feel like he is in trouble because of his diagnosis but what can I do to make things easier for all of us. His fathers answer is always well take this away or take that away but he can't constantly be punished for something that he has no better understanding of than I do. Also his little brother seems to instagate him and try to see if he can get him worked up and I don't know what to do. My son is, and has always been a tender heart, so it doesn't take much to get his feelings hurt. Is this part on his ADD, for example if he has built something with his lego's and his brother breaks it he will cry and scream when he could just put it back together.

We have made an appointment with a child psychatrist but could not get in with one who is on our insurance until March and I just need some advice now as to try and help calm things down here at home until then.

Also, how likely is it that my younger son will end up with the same diagnosis, the more I listen to then the more it seems that he is like his big brother. Am I just being paranoid or could this be a family trend.

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Misie - posted on 02/12/2009

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Thanks for that advice, I had often wondered if that was a possibility. Because it seems like after my oldest started his meds the younger one seemed to calm down too. I really hope this is the case. Thank you again.

Misie - posted on 02/12/2009

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Thank you Katrina. I think the tantrums are the hardest part. I can deal with the other behavior but when he gets to throwing a fit sometimes I just don't know what to do. I feel bad for him, but I also get to the point where I just have to walk away or I will get angry and I don't want to get to that point with him. I really hope that for my younger son's sake we don't have to go down the same path with him but we will do what we have to. I have definately seen improvement in Jeremiah since starting him on meds and I think that we made the right decision there, even though it was very hard for me to do.



I, like you, can only hope that our children are fortunate enough to deal with their diagnosis as well as your brother because all I want for my children is the best life possible.



Thank you so much for the advice and just letting me vent, I really needed to talk to someone who understands. There is no one else in my family with any diagnosis of ADD so this is all so new to me.

Tammy - posted on 02/12/2009

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Be careful about being quick to daignose the younger one.  My daughtrer has a "learned behaviour" problem.  Having a brother a year and a half older than you go through the adhd cycles, dramas and episodes, she started to "learn" when she was little, that this was normal behaviour, and much to the detriment of my sanity, patterned her behaviour after his.  Now she is 11 and knows, and has for some time now, her brother's behaviour is no where near how her friends and other kids her age behave.

Misie - posted on 02/12/2009

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Don't get me wrong we don't let him get away with everything just because he has a diagnosis, he still has to go by the same rules he has always had. I have actually used behavior charts with both of my children since they were very small to help them learn right from wrong and so this is something we are really familiar with. Thank you for the advice.



I do feel that it is an issue with the teacher's. And it is nice to know that my child is not the expection to the rule. I actually got a call from his teacher last week stating that he scored the highest on the standardized testing they took before Christmas. So, I know that he is learning. It is just frustrating that the teachers get so fixated on the eye contact issue.

Katrina - posted on 02/11/2009

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Hi Misie, I have a large blended family. My husbands daughter from his first marriage, my two older children (girl (10) and boy (8)) from my first marriage, and our two toddlers (1 & 2). My two children from my first marriage have ADD. Their father has ADD, and my brother has it. So yes, I would personally say that it does run in the family, but not all children will get it. My other brother and I did not have it, only one in three of the children in my immediate family. I don't know about my two toddlers yet, but who knows? I am hoping that with the diagnosis only on one side of the family this time, they will miss out.



I my case, I sort help after realising the kids could not concentrate enough to learn anything at school, and they were falling behind fast. I could deal with the irrational behaviour, the tantrums, and the lack of focus at home. I too thought they were just being kids. But after realising that if they didn't start concentrating at school, they will be dissadvantaged as adults in the working world, I went down the same path as my mum took years before and started medication, meeting with social workers, etc. I now see a huge difference in their school work, and they are coming up to just below average in the class room. To me, this is great. I have found that you need to give these kids more attention and help when it comes to homework or completing a task, but with enough guidance, they should still be able to complete it.



As for the tantrums, well....I haven't found a way to get around those yet. My son doesn't so much as throw a tantrum, he sulks and puts himself down. It's my 10 yo daughter who throws the tantrums. She will even resort to hurting herself if she is really frustrated. The only thing that has helped with the length of these episodes is to ask her to breathe deeply, stop crying, and convince her that her episode is not the right way to deal with the situation. I have only done this for the last year or so, so I am not sure that it will work on a 6 yo, but you have to try everything, right?



From my past experiences with my brother, they do get better. He was 12 when he came off medication and although he was no scholar, he completed high school and now earns a good wage, has a loving wife and children. We can all only hope that it turns out the same for our babies too.



I hope this helps you. It has made me feel better talking to someone about it too.

Jennifer - posted on 02/10/2009

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Hi, I have 2 children with ADHD. It does run in the family, but not all siblings have it. As far as punishing him goes, I would not just let him do whatever because now he has a diagnosis. Yes, some things are beyond his control, but he still needs to learn right from wrong and how to control these impulses. My son is 7 and he is in therapy and learning to "stop, wait and think." This seems to be helping some. I have also used behavior charts with him. Basically a reward system for a particular behavior. (Try googling behavior charts and you can download some ideas) I simply use stickers and when he gets so many he gets a reward. Having him help you come up with how many stickers and what his rewards will be helps alot. They like making the decisions. This will also work for your younger son too.



You mentioned that your son is still able to answer the teacher's question even though he is distracted with something else. My daughter did the same thing. She was tested and found to be an auditory learner. She only has to hear things in order to learn. Lots of children are visual and auditory learners. This is a good thing. His ADHD should not impact his learning capabilities (my daughter has always been on honor roll). The problem is with the teachers. You will see a big difference from year to year. It is frustrating for them to not have a child looking and paying attention as they teach.



I hope this helps and best of luck to you and your boys.

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