2 10/23/2012 parenting Education

Hard pill to swallow

hard pill to swallow.jpg
Recently I was with a group of people talking and somehow the topic of ADHD came up.  As the conversation carried along I was surprised to hear so many complain of how many Doctors just like to slap children with the diagnosis and push medication on them.  As well, they claimed that there were many teachers who feel the need to classify children as ADHD when they don’t know what else to do with them.
Honestly I am shocked and disgusted that this seems to be the mindset of so many.  Really, I have never encountered any of the situations mentioned above it has been complete opposite.
In fact today Rlyey my 6 year old dynamite was just diagnosed with ADHD.  Yes really he is 6, and really this is NOT shocking news at all.
For as long as I can remember Ryley has always been a busy boy.  Full of energy, and although at times (okay many times) he can be annoying, he is really a very charming and a really funny boy.  Over the past few years though he began to become very daring and have no fear of anything! Being the mother to such a daredevil though can be exhausting and stressful on the heart though let me tell you.  I kept telling myself “Don’t worry! He is just being a boy!” 
He is able to use tools like his older brother Joshua can and I am talking real tools not play ones! As much as a gift this can be, it is also another reason to give me a heart attack.  Case and point was about a year ago when he managed to get the screen off his window and climb out onto the ledge which is only a few feet wide but almost as high as the roof top.  Crazy. 
Then there are the poles and trees.  We cannot be near one without Ryley climbing them.  Seriously, he has climbed the concrete lamp posts that light up our streets.
Here is a picture of him climbing the basketball net in our backyard when he was five.
ryley climbing.jpg
So about 6 weeks ago I headed to our peadiatrician and explained my concerns about Ryleys crazy impulsiveness, lack of focus, obsessive type behaviour and the list went on.  He wasn’t surprised as he has been Ryleys Doctor since the day he was born.  We only discussed the option of medication because Ryley was becoming a safety concern to his own self and since starting grade 1 in September is constantly getting in trouble, calling out frequently in class and acting like an energized battery that just never stopped!
I wasn’t just handed a prescription though.  Instead I was given papers for me to fill out and for his teacher to fill out.  Roughly 5 pages per week for 4 weeks.  Then he was given a trial dose of ritalin, but here is the catch.  During the 4 weeks the only ones who knew which weeks (if any) had the real medicine of ritalin or a placebo was the pharmacist and the Doctor.
Well this past Sunday was the last day of the trial and it was so clear cut that it was quite obvious which weeks had no medication or a very low dose and the same observations were made by myself, and his teacher.
I am by no means a pill pusher or an endorser of giving young children drugs but there are times when it is needed and this is one of those times.  I want Ryley to be able to enjoy school and be given the opportunity to learn, and have other children want to be his friend instead of being put off by his wacky over the top behaviours. I want him to be safe, and of course, along with the medication there are other strategies that will be put into place to help him along – and being deemed exceptional and having an IEP is already on my list and have started to put those wheels into action.  Yes children with ADHD are now entitled to an IEP but that is for another post.
Do you think enough is done to determine if a child has ADHD? Have you had any experience with the process of an ADHD diagnosis?
Until next time,
Chantel,momof8crazymonkeys
  • Dianna

    I received a call last week from my youngest son’s teacher, she wouldn’t give me specifics but kept saying things like “as a parent don’t you feel he should see a dr.” and “the dr. will know what to do”
    I asked how are his grades, reply “I don’t know..I didn’t check i’m just his homeroom teacher”..ok…”can you give me examples of what’s troubling you so that I can present them to my dr”…reply..”Oh well…no..we’re just concerned”
    This isn’t my first time around this block, my older son hit a wall in grade six as well and after years of asking teachers if they thought he had a learning disability, which they all denied” we learned that he did. Most of these teachers felt he had add or adhd, which he doesn’t.
    We still are frowned upon by the shcool system that we took the private route to have our diagnosed for an IEP rather than wait 2+years to have our son tested thru the school system. INSANE!
    So I can atest that there are teachers out there who are very quick to self diagnose kids and call parents to “gently request” HA! that they seek medical intervention. And I”ve bought my ticket to ride this bus again…we see the dr on thursday….

  • NICOLE

    Hi Chantel,
    I think there is a lot of stigma associated with ADHD and there may have been a time in the past when I think it may have been overdiagnosed. But, my oldest daughter is diagnosed with ADHD and General Anxiety Disorder. I agree with you, in that it is a lengthy process with lots of paperwork for us and the teachers to fill out and doctors visits before anything was decided and before meds were administered. Girls with ADHD don’t usually get diagnosed as early as Emma did because often they come across more as daydreamers and flighty. They tend not to be as physical or aggressive. But, Emma had a few other issues going on that flagged her early (I have been told that most girls with ADHD don’t get diagnosed until around grade 7). We didn’t even go the medication route until about 2 years ago. We tried adjusting her diet (which did help), chiropractic care (which did help), but they were all just temporary fixes. We finally were connected to a pediatrician that was honest and said she needs to go on meds and after we had exhausted all natural options, we said yes. I mean if someone is diabetic, we don’t hesitate to give them insulin, right? Well, her pediatrician recommended that we don’t let the school know that she was starting the meds for about a week and see what kind of reports we get back. Well, what a huge difference, particularly with her focus in school. Her school day became a lot easier and she was able to focus on her work so much better. And the notes in the agenda were so positive….it was so nice to see after years of Emma did this and she was behaving like this. She just switched schools and her new teacher was not aware that she was on medication and after meeting with her and I told her, she was shocked. The meds are better and they don’t leave the kids in a daze or stupor. For my girl, it definitely calms the mind and helps her able to focus on the tasks at hand. So, to all those people who think that ADHD is about out of control kids….they need to do a little more homework and a little less assumption. It is very difficult for these kids in school & life (because often they have more than the ADHD, there is a learning disability as well). My daughter is on an IEP for school and has been for a few years. Our biggest issue is low self-esteem and we all know how that can affect girls, but that topic is definitely for another day.
    Nicole :o )

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