ADHD

I have learned more about ADHD in the last several months than I ever thought that I would have to know. In talking with my son the other night, he started to tear up and start crying. The words hit me like a ton of bricks “Dad, I don’t have any friends.”

As a parent, I can not even begin to tell you how much my heart began to hurt. Words will never be able to truly describe that moment. I began to cry, but I also quickly thought to respond. I was able to reassure him that he did in fact have friends.

But the reality is simple, he doesn’t have many. So, I quickly found an article called Will My Child Ever Have a Best Friend? and this opening quote said it all:

Children with ADHD often invade personal spaces, blurt out rude comments, and play too rough — all of which makes it tough to keep friends.

This is it I thought! Exactly what I was thinking and feeling all wrapped up in once, because this is my son!

So, as some who that has to problem solve all day, I quickly thought through what can I do to help him? And the only way that I can help, is to create situations for him to be a better friend and to make new ones. I have contacted several of my friends that have kids and we are in the process of setting up play dates.

Is this going to help? Honestly, I don’t know, but I have to do something. As a parent, I have to do everything that I can to give him every opportunity to succeed and I wouldn’t be doing my job as his father if I did not try. We are signing him up also for a social skills class with other children that have ADHD as well, in hopes that he not only learns new coping skills but also to make new friends.

In the last year, I have seen a big change in my son and yes, medication is a HUGE factor. But I also think that he is learning more skills to cope with his outbursts as well. He isn’t jumping to accuse other kids and be so defensive. He is not being so fixated on something that he can’t get past situations and emotions.

Making friends as kids is already hard. Peer pressure. Differences. And to throw ADHD into the mix, it makes it harder. Not that it is something that he is not going to be able to overcome, but I think that it will help. My hope is that all of these things will help him establish friends and learn how to be a good friend to others.

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I was a little more than shocked to get a letter on Saturday morning that my son, Boy B, got most improved for the first quarter of the school year! This is a kid that has struggled in school. Not academically, but he has had issues controlling his emotions and being able to sit still in class.

To say that we have had a struggle with him would be an understatement. The struggles are just as real for him as they are for my wife and I. But, with all of the therapy, both the OT and child psychology are really starting to pay off.

When I got the letter, I was able to make it through the first sentence reading it to him. I was in tears and I rarely cry. But I was just so proud of my son. He has really embraced all that we have asked of him and not once has he asked why? Not once has he asked why does he go to OT and see a psychologist. Not once has he asked why does he take medicine every morning to help him focus?

So as my wife read the letter to him, he just beamed from ear to ear. And his brother, who got an award last year at school, was right there giving him a high five and cheering him on. It was really a great family moment.

So, in a time where most improved would be considered a small accomplishment, I view it as a proud moment. To see that look of accomplishment in my son’s face and for him to see how proud we were of him, is just priceless.

ADHD is not something to be afraid of or ashamed of, but my son, as have we, embraced who is and will continue to get him the help that he needs to overcome his struggles. But today, we celebrate the moment and his ability to overcome something that once caused him to struggle.

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We are wrapping up Week 1 of ADHD for my son and so far, not so bad. And by that, I really don’t know?

I didn’t know what to expect when we started the medication for him to be honest? I really expected him to oppose the medication and he has not at all.  Granted, his physician told us to give it to him in a spoonful of ice cream for breakfast, so who would really complain about that? But, I really don’t know the true effects of the medication either?

We have talked with his daycare provider on a daily and sometimes multiple times a day to get a gauge on his behavior and the two things that have stood out are:

  1. There hasn’t been a HUGE change. Meaning, he is a little more focused, but he is still getting frustrated.
  2. The medication is not lasting as long as we had hoped.

For the first item about still getting frustrated. This is kind of a no brainier, as he is still dealing with anxiety related issues. The hope is that over time those will be less of an issue because he is more focused. There are 2 quick thoughts to this: 1) the dosage is to low and 2) he is bored at daycare. And I personally think that it is a combination of the two. He loves going to the daycare, most days, but he and his brother are older by several years in most cases over the other kids.

As for the medication not lasting very long, most of the medications for ADHD claim to last up to 12 hours. Honestly, we are seeing 8 hours or less. And based off of the other indications, i.e. anxiety, wearing off around 3:00 pm we are going to call his physician tomorrow about upping his mediation by 5 mg.

This is all a trial and error. It is a trial and error for my wife and I as much as it is for my son and his brother. At this point, we are just trying to find the right combination for my son before he starts back to school, as this year, he will be required to complete homework assignments and today, he would not be able to focus on them long enough to complete them.

Tomorrow, we find out if his physician agrees that he needs to be moved up to a higher dosage, because school starts in just a few days.

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Well and there you go, 4 little letters this weekend, ADHD and now we have a diagnosis.

The last year has not been the easiest for us. We have have Boy B in Occupational Therapy and also seeing a child psychologist. And through all of these things, which he has grown a lot, we got the results of his psychological assessment.

Was I shocked, not really? I was actually more shocked when I shared with some family members the results and they asked if I was ok with the results? The results are what they are. Heck, I really was expecting him to fall on the autism spectrum. And besides, I’m not so sure that I did not and probably still do have characteristics of ADHD. So, no, I am not shocked.

But, I am learning at the speed of light some things that we will be doing differently. We have an appointment to his pediatrician this week, but we will also be drastically changing his diet. And just by a very quick Google search for ADHD diet for Children yielded a large list of ideas. Overall, it is interesting to discover how much nutrition plays a direct role into ADHD into the balance of the medication.

And yes, we have decided that, assuming that the Pediatrician wants to go the route of medication, which I am assuming they will, we are open to it. Are there pros and cons to medicine yes. And if you don’t agree with our decision, do I care what your opinion is? No! It is an opinion for a reason and I respectfully ask that you keep yours to yourself. We are making the best decision that we can for our son and we have sought out the advice of multiple people, both in the education and medical fields and they all agreed that medication was appropriate.

I had struggled for a long time about if we were faced with this decision, what would we do? I have struggled with an unknown factor, i.e. will my son’s personality be different? I have struggled with the fact of knowing that my son CAN NOT control his hyperactivity! I have seen it too many times. I have watched him struggle to focus. I have talked with his teachers and they have shared the same things that we were seeing at home.

I love my son. I love both of them equally. But my wife and I have to make the best decision for them, as they can not make the decision for themselves. And our hope and prayer, is that we are able to get the right balance of medication, diet and continued therapies so assist him, so that he is not on medication long term, but will be on it as long as he needs it.

The decision to put him on medication was not an easy one nor was it one that we took lightly. But, we are doing what will help him going forward, especially in school, to make him successful.

This is our new life. This is my son’s new life. He has a diagnosis. We finally know what we are dealing with, so that we can better deal with it. My sons are the most important thing to me and I will do what I can to give them the best that I can, even when it is going to be something like medication.

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