i am a single mother of a 6yr who has add and adhd together and i don't know if i should really put her on meds or what. anyone have any advice for me.

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Heather - posted on 02/20/2009

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My youngest son (8 years old in 2nd grade) had some very severe problems in 1st grade and was very disruptive in class and even managed to get suspended twice. He didn't have many friends because all the kids were scared of his temper. He was diagnosed with ADHD. I believe him having a bad year was in part due to him having a very unsympathetic teacher who didn't have the time of day for him. After he was diagnosed, he got a TSS worker to help him learn some methods to control his anger and frustration in class and at home.This year he has a wonderful teacher and is having a great year and even graduated from TSS.



I did decide to go with meds for him, but he is on Straterra, not ritalin. Different meds work different ways in kids and what works for one may not work for another so you will have to experiment if you go with meds. I saw a huge change in my son the first day he took the straterra and he is now on 25mg a day and if he forgets to take it you can tell. He still has plenty of energy, but he is no longer constantly on the go. I hope you find something that works.

Barbie - posted on 02/12/2009

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My daughter has both ADD and ADHD I am goin to be working with the school her pedi and her couselor to see what we can do for her and if meds but be the only way. She is having hard itme with school and other children she does feel as though others dont like her and they don't want to be friend. So i am goin to take everyones advice and hopefully we can all come up the a great solution for her. thank you everyone

Stacey - posted on 02/12/2009

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Does it affect your child's functioning at school? That is always the question I ask the parents of my patients. A child's "job" is to go to school and succeed. If that is being affected then you've got to make a decision as to how to help your child. Meds for ADHD work very quickly. You can tell if it helps with the first dose. Long term, living with any illness (ADHD included) can affect a child's self-esteem, relationships with others and ultimately their happiness. Something to think about :-)

Rebecca - posted on 02/12/2009

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u cud always try with the medication it maybe beta 4 her, just try u will neva no. my son as adhd i no wot ur going threw let me no how u get on mate

Jenny - posted on 02/11/2009

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Wow, I feel like I'm looking at myself through a mirror. I have a daughter, she is almost 10 now and she was diagnosed with adhd when she was 6 or 7. I have had problems with her sleeping since she was in infant, she just won't stop. It's almost like she's afraid that if she shuts off, she'll miss something. I ended up taking her to her pediatrician (or the one at that time) when she was 3 and I just told him "Hey, you can either help me find a way for her to sleep, or you can have another kid addicted to Benedryl, because I can not be up with her until 2, and get up at 5 to go to work." At that point, the pediatrician recommended melatonin. It is the same hormone that your brain makes to make you tired. But this is scientifically reproduced so it is in pill form. This is non habit forming and will form better sleep patterns. It is over the counter, and not very expensive, 7 bucks for a bottle, depending on brand, etc. I give my daughter one every night as part of our bedtime routine (do not give her too much or it has the opposite effect). Makes my life so much easier, I even take it most nights now. Plus, after we moved and got a new pediatrician, when i discussed her taking the melatonin, she thought it was fantastic and said she wouldn't change a thing.

Another thing I did, when she was in kindergarten, was cut out red food coloring. I know if sounds crazy, and if it wasn't told to me by her teacher first and then substantiated by her pediatrician, I wouldn't have believed it myself. Roughly, red 40 is a petroleum based product. When the product went through the FDA, the amount that was being consumed by people was a fraction of what it is today and therefore had no adverse affects. Today however, Red 40 is in practically everything, from salsa (come on people, just use ripe tomatoes!!), twinkies, ranch potato chips, anything purple, red, and most orange things (I have found some orange stuff that is dyed with yellow). It has something to do with the chemical being in their bodies, they get very hyperactive. It takes reading labels, but it helped a ton. I remember after I had taken her off red, nothing else, no meds were even discussed at this point, my dad (who was visiting us at the time) looked at her and commented to me that she seemed different. Calmer. He said she doesn't seem to be spinning like a top like she was before. He is Christian Science, and I am not, so I had chosen not to even discuss what I was doing for fear of a long lecture, so he did not even know, and he noticed. That was all the confirmation I needed.

Come time for first grade, she was having a very hard time. She was disruptive to others in her class in addition to struggling with her own learning. That summer, (between her first and second grades) I went to her pediatrician. She would not even discuss having her tested (because at that point, she hadn't even been diagnosed yet, I had done everything on my own). He referred me to a child psychiatrist (which ever one of them handles medication). They did an evaluation over a period of time to see how she reacted. Once all the test results came back, she was off the charts, it was like what I had suspected all along was confirmed. Anyways, then and only then was any medication discussed. There are so many new medications out now that to be honest, ridalin was never even mentioned. My daughter is on a pill called Concerta. It took a couple weeks to get the dosing right, but at no point, EVER, would I have tolerated her being in a "drugged" state. It's almost like she just took a deep breath and looked around and went "okay, I want to do this now" and actually chose one thing to do, instead of being all over the place. It is a twelve hour pill, so I give it to her in the morning before school, so no one but those you chose to discuss the problem with need to even be told she's on medication. I thought it was going to be something like drugging my daughter and then having to have the school keep medication there, so she could take more medication at lunch . . . you get the picture.

Anyways, the last and biggest thing that I would suggest is routines. This is the number one thing that has helped my daughter stay on task. I have both morning routines and bedtime routines all on five fingers (thumb: get dressed, pointer: brush teeth & hair, middle: wash hands & face, ring: backpack & shoes, pinkie: pill / thumb: pj's & clothes for tomorrow, pointer: take melatonin & shower, middle: brush teeth & hair, ring: reading time, pinkie: lights out) The reading time helps her calm down and brings the entire environment around her to a stop, allowing her to relax and get to sleep easier. Anything you can set to a routine, from her shower, to her breakfast in the morning, to chores and allowance, she seems to be able to focus on those easier, I'm assuming because she knows what's coming next.

Sorry to ramble on, I know medication is not for everyone, but also, keep in mind that everyone's chemical make up is different, therefore, the chemicals needed to bring them into balance are going to be different from the person next to them, or your friends kid, or whomever. There are tons of medications out there, and your doctor has the job of figuring out, as quickly and easily as possible, which one would help you the most. That's not always an easy job. So, if you decide to go down that road, give it a chance. It's a night and day difference with my little girl, and not in a bad way.

Barbie - posted on 02/11/2009

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I will thank you. My daughter is in counseling through the school and outside of school so i am working with both of them and i will see what they both have to say. Thank you for your advice and i keep you in mind for further info. thank you and good luck with your boys

Ruth - posted on 02/11/2009

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My 17 year old was diagnosed at the age of 5 and I put him on meds.  For him I found it to be the worst thing I could have ever done.  If I had it to do over again,  I would try to help him with counseling, diet, and vitamins.  I have learn through research and friends that diet plays a big role.  But also learned through my own research and so very close friends that along with counseling and diet there are vitamins that can help.  Two of them off hand are Fish Oil and DMAE.  Good luck and if I can help further let me know.

Barbie - posted on 02/11/2009

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Well they are saying she has both. I only have adhd.So i am not familiar with add but i am going to do research about it. and i am goin to talk with her pedi and teachers and couselors too see what the recomend for me. I appreciate all the advice. With me having adhd i can control myself and have learned to deal with certain situations, but with having both it will be a challenge for me. Thank you all for the advice wiilll keep that in the top of my head

Mechele - posted on 02/11/2009

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Hi, my name is Mechele, and I am a teacher also.  I also have a sister with ADHD.  You need to either work with your pediatrician or find one you can work very closely with.  You will know, because they will ask you a lot of questions before they give the prescription, and have checklists for the teacher and you to fill out to help determine the extent of the problem.  ADHD is often hereditary, and this hurts.  Because they need more structure and routine than other children, and this is often a struggle for a parent with this disorder themself.  There are many behavior modification strategies and environmental things you can do.  Having said that, I have students who can not function with out their meds, and feel stupid because, unmedicated, they work as hard as the other kids and can't get anything done.  It affects more than just falling behind academically.  Know too that there is often a 2-3 year maturity difference in a child with ADD oir ADHD, and this affects learning also.

Barbie - posted on 02/11/2009

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Hi candace.

I totaly agree with you..See she is in a bilingual school where she is learning spanish and english. she is not having a problem with that it is more on the learning math problems and solving problems.Also she has a tendancy to go off track with her talking as well. She can talk let me tell you but her brain gets so confused that she tells you like ten different stories in one sentence. I also have trouble with puttin her to sleep. She tosses and turns all night and gettin her up in the morning is a challenge. I am also adhd and i was on med until my mom took me off when i was lttle now i cope with doing massages. I became a massage therapist and i found that theraputic for me. but for her it seems to be a struggle for her in learning new problems and tryin to solve them. Thank you for the advice and i am in the mist of talking with the teachers counselors inside and outside of school to find the best solutions to her problems

Candace - posted on 02/11/2009

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Barbie,



I teach special education and there are a few things you need to consider in making this decision.  Are the attention problems impedeing your childs ability to learn?  If so, is the teacher trying any different learning strategies?  What is your childs time on task at home and in a classroom? 



I am really only looking at the educational side for you. 



Remember that if your child struggles to learn the conventional sit in your seat way then it is the teachers job to make sure they are doing what they can for your child in the classroom.  If your child struggles with this then you know other children are as well so if you advocate for your child then you will be helping many children. 



If interventions have been tried then meds may be the way to go.  I am ADHD and never took meds.  I found other ways to cope.   and were completely against them until I started teaching.  I feel that they can really help a child focus and get their work done.  As this age it is a tough decision because if you choose to go without medication make sure you stay on top of your childs education and make sure they do not fall behind.  I see a lot of that at the high school.  Students lost so much education because they were not on meds and then they get put on meds and can focus but they are missing years of education or have huge gaps (and then some end up with a Learning Disability at the High School because they are 2 or more years behind).



I feel that it is difficult to decide to what extent ADD or ADHD is going to affect a child long term if they are as young as 6 years old.  I think that it is great that you are going to make an informed decision.  Koodos to you.



I hope you understand this babble because I know it is not very well organized but I am very tired but wanted to respond.

Barbie - posted on 02/11/2009

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Danielle i haven't talked with her pedi yet. I am going to do that some time next week cause i am also going to talk with her counselor and see what she says. Thank you very much

Danielle - posted on 02/11/2009

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Hi Barbie! I am currently in pharmacy school and it just so happens that we covered the different options for children with ADHD.  Have you talked with your Pediatrician about behavioral modification therapy? Just a thought. I would feel the same way about not wanting to start those medications for my children. Take care.

Barbie - posted on 02/11/2009

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Thanks pamela. I am adhd myself and the funny part is my dad doesn't remember me being that way but my mom does. I am tryin to cope with mine and hers at the same time. I haven't decided on the medications yet. I am just trying to get a feel to find out what worked for other and try some tips for myself and my daughter. Thank you for your advice. The funny part is my daughter doesn't like coffee. Hope all is well with you and your son. My daughter gets restless at night too. I will try to do something like that or maybe even a massage where i am a massage therapist. But once again thanks for the advice

Pamela - posted on 02/11/2009

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Hi there Barbie !I am a single mother of a child that was diagnosed with A.D.H.D and also global developmental delay. For myself it was really hard for me to keep up to Jason when he was small. He would never sit still and be calm like kids do once in awhile. Jason's doctors recomended that he should go on ritalin , so I tried it. Jason had the side effect of nervous insominia, which made him 10 times more hyper , very whiney and couldnt rest at night , I had to wrap him in a sheet for him to get any sort of rest at all. Well I got Jason off the medication cause I felt it wasnt working for him. Then there is my Aunty Vanessa well her son was diagnosed with a.d.h.d too and the ritalin worked miracles for her son , He's alot more calm , he's doing amazingly in school. I guess the only advice that I can give you is that sometimes medication works for some kids , thier paerents call it a god send, but then there is my situation where I didnt find the medication very helpful at all. All children act differently . If you decised to try it out , I hope everything works out for the best , but if the medication does not work , try giving your 6 year old coffee. I know that sounds crazy , but when I gave Jason coffee it really calmed him down. Take care

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