40 answers

12 Year Old Diagnosed with ADD

Momma's - I am looking for feedback regarding medication and ADD. My 12 year is struggling in school and has for some time now. One Dr diagnosed him within 2 minutes of being in his office, then he preceeded with the testing...he recommened medication right off the bat, he didn't offer to do further testing, he just labled him ADD. If he is truly ADD and needs medication I want to know more about it. His peditrician wanted to just throw meds at him too. Is this my only answer?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all of your great feebback! I will be exploring many of the options that you all mentioned!

Thank you momma's

Featured Answers

EVERY drug is toxic. This can be controlled by diet and elimination of food poisons through processed foods. Go read this woman's website and download her book, Dying to Get Well.

Ritalin saved my son. I, too, was reluctant but became desperate. My pediatrician requested information from my son's school and us, via a lengthy questionnaire. He was "so" ADD according to the feedback as interpreted by the doctor. He went on very low dose Ritalin (some tweaking needed) and he almost immediately responded extremely well. I have since overcome my guilt in denying him this opportunity sooner and waiting until desperation ensued to do it. I do wish I had done it sooner. He went from a struggling, nearly failing student in 4th grade to straight A's throughout 5th and we're off to a very good start in 6th.
My doctor allayed my concerns by equating it with coffee - my husband can't function with out his morning joe and I would never deny him that. However, Ritalin is quickly in and out of the system once correct dosage is determined and it's not addictive - neither of which can be said for caffeine.
Good luck!!!

There is a listening therapy called REI - Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention. It is very easy to do, not toos expensive (when compared to a lifetime of meds) and has worked well on many children I know. The website is REIinstitute.com. I truly believe in this program.

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Hi, A.. Lots of good ideas listed here. While you are exploring your options, be sure to talk to your son's school and get him enrolled in Section 504. It's a government program under the American Disabilities Act. Here's a website with more info and their definition:

http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

"Section 504 requires the recipients (school in this case)to provide to students with disabilities (ADHD included)appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual needs of such students to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and related services."

My son in enrolled in section 504 and it's helped alot. He is still in regular classes, but may have seating closer to the teacher, modified assignments, testing in smaller groups, etc. Let them know he's been diagnosed and then schedule a meeting with his counselor and teachers. They can tell you what areas he's having problems with and then make approptiate modifications. HTH!

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A.,
Look at Neurotherapydallas.com I can't remember if that is the website or not but you can google Dr. Jonathan Walker in Dallas. He is an expert on ADD and helping with neurofeedback and NO meds. Good luck!!
L.
P.S. He also has free seminars where you can go here him speak and ask questions.

1 mom found this helpful

NO! Check out sites that offer alternative education for kids labeled add or adhd in your area. No drugs required.

In the old days, kids with ADD became the hunters, the explorers and the adventurers. Today they are drugged and told to sit in the classroom and mind their hands to themselves. They are isolated in their homes because we are afraid to let them out for fear of their safety.

Try having him checked by an allergist for any food allergies first. Try talking with your son and asking him why he has a hard time - he might tell you. Place him in opportunities where his 'business' is an advantage.

Not everyone needs drugs. I had a hard sitting in the classroom and still have a hard time sitting still but I accomplish ten times as much as my neighbor who can sit easily for hours. No drugs required. :)

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I have eleven years experience teaching. When I was young and in college I never believed in medication for ADD. My opinion changed one day because of a student in my class. In the words of a seven year old, "It's like my brain will do what I tell it too." This comment was made by a student in my class the 4th six weeks in 2nd grade. This IMO is the most difficult time. We were learning regrouping and many other difficult concepts. He was a student who was struggling academically. When he began taking medicine, at a very hard time of year...his grades increased 15 points in every subject. My point. Sometimes medicine does work and sometimes it doesn't. It depends on the child and numerous other factors. I wish you much luck. I love that a parent wrote in her comment. If your child had a heart condition would you refuse medication for other options? It is just something to think about. You are the expert on your child! Do what you feel in your heart.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm living in your world!! My 13 yr old son was diagnosed with AD/HD last Oct. You need to start with a full evalution. I HIGHLY recommend JoLynn Wilburn, educational diagnostician, ###-###-####. They will do a complete workup with testing and evaluation. The report is extensive and will tell you exactly what's going on and what help you need to get for your son. You'll need a psychiatrist to prescribe meds and JoLynn will be able to suggest one. Hope you find this helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

I would get more testing first and also look into alternative treatment plans. Biofeedback can be helpful and the DORE Program is extremely helpful. I believe I have had ADD all my life and it was an asset as I was able to do many things at once. As I've gotten older, it's gotten harder though. I am currently doing the DORE program and am feeling back in control of my assets!

here is their website - www.cerebellumcenter.com
They do a complete assessment and Sara Martwig, the Center's Director is awesome with kids.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.!

The test for ADHD consists of about 8-16 questions that are asked and if more than a few of them apply to your child in more than one situation then they can be diagnosed as ADHD and meds are usually prescribed.

Meds are no the only answer!

There are so many other issues that meds do not have any effect of whatsoever. Often, these children have more difficulty learning and it's not just because they have a hard time paying attention in class. These kids are often very sensitive and get their feeling hurt easily and have some trouble making or keeping friends. These kids are often hypersensitive to things like tags in their shirts, certain textures of clothing, loud noises.

Sometimes they have trouble learning to read and mix up words and skip words when they read aloud.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of what these kids struggle with. I own The Cerebellum Center and have been working with the DORE program for many years. The results I have seen time and time again for kids are astounding and truly dramatic!

I encourage you to look at my website and search YouTube for the DORE program - for more information and stories about the symptoms we treat and the people we have impacted.

I wish you all the best!

S. M.
The Cerebellum Center
###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.!
I have a 13 year old that was diagnosed with ADD when he was 10. Our counselor diagnosed him. He has struggled in school since Kindergarted but it got bad in 2nd grade. He was put on Stratera - which is pretty mellow - but we waited 2 years and tried different things like taking out sugar, red food coloring, making a strict routine, extra time with me (I'm a single mom)-basically anything that would make him feel like he was getting plenty of attention and didn't need to act up for it. It didn't work.

We put him on Stratera after 2 years of trying other things. We did see some changes, but they were very slight. Then.... this is the GOOD part and something for you to consider... this past January he was diagnosed with Hypothyroid (which my 15 yr old also has).... the Endocrinologist also ordered a CELIAC panel...it came out POSITIVE. Celiac Disease affects 1 in 133 people but symptoms are not always obvious. It can cause behavior problems that appear to be ADD or ADHD. Since we've changed his diet (the ONLY cure - NO GLUTEN-found in wheat, rye, barley, oat, malt) I took him off the Stratera and his behavior is getting sooo much better and he's feeling better too.

I'm not saying your child has Celiac, but it's definitely something to have checked before you choose medication. My 15 year old was also tested and she also has it, wasn't showing any symptoms. My other 2 - 17 and 4 - have tested negative.

I hope this helps in some way!

:) K.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

I would look into the BLOCK CENTER in Bedford before medication. They specialize in treating add and adhd diagnosed (and misdiagnosed) kids. Dr. Block has an amazing story. Check it out www.blockcenter.com

1 mom found this helpful

There is a listening therapy called REI - Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention. It is very easy to do, not toos expensive (when compared to a lifetime of meds) and has worked well on many children I know. The website is REIinstitute.com. I truly believe in this program.

hI A.,

I see your concern for your son in that you are looking for other options besides just medication and I think that is awesome! First thing that comes to mind is his diet..you want to wean him off sodas, chips, and other processed foods and try to control or offer him healthier options as much as possible...I know that might be hard these days, but it can be done. Also, as a pre-adolescent, his hormone levels are changing, so plenty of exercise is also important for helping him to get rid of any excess energy he may have....Just a couple of quick points that I hope help. Good Luck A....

Hi A.,

I recommend giving Dr. Jonathon Walker a try. You can view his website at http://www.neurotherapydallas.com. He can provide a long term solution that is med free by study the brain activity of your child and then working up a therapy program to target certain areas of the brain to function more effectively.

I can not stress enough that you should give this a chance.

A.,
Hi, my name is M. Shipman, and I own a company in Weatherford called, Unlock the Box Innovative Learning. I am writing you because I believe I can help your child. I myself have ADHD, and believe me when I say I have ADHD, I mean I have it!!!

Anyway, one of the many services I provide include something called Brain Training. Don't let the name scare you, it's nothing more than strategies that I teach my students that will help them manage their daily lives, including school, with and without meds.

I have been a teacher for 14 years, and just last year I left the classroom to open this company so that I could help students of all ages, in many different ways. I would love to talk with you about how I can help.

We are having an open house this next Saturday and a Fall Festival on Oct. 24th. Feel free to stop by my center on either one of those days, or you can of course give me a call at ###-###-####.

I look forward to hearing from you and good luck!

M.

That would chap my hide. There is no test for ADD- no blood test, brain scan, etc. Get a second opinion. It could be a vision issue. Food intolerance or chemical sensitivity. It could be childhood bipolar disorder, etc. Heck, maybe school is really boring. Talk to your son about what happens before he gets in trouble. Try observing him at school if he can't explain it. Maybe it's only certain subjects. We wouldn't like sitting around so much of the day, it's really hard for a kid to it. (by the way, if I sound harsh, it's not directed at you.). A doctor isn't even qualified to diagnose ADD and the schools make you go to them rather than a pediatric psychiatrist/psychologist (can't remember which one has medical degree). Two minutes and he wants to put your son on mind-altering medication? ! That's insane!

I feel your pain!!! My daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability in 2nd grade!!! Even though the testing process was so complete and encompassed so many areas of testing, I always suspected that they missed something. This was because with everything that we were doing, she still struggled. And she was not diagnosed with ADD at the time! The psychologist was phenomenal...she taught me so many ways to help her...things that she still practices to date and she is 26 and just finished her master's degree! What the psychol. also told me that was so helpful was what to expect immediately from the school and her teachers, how my daughter would feel and act...hurt, sad, hopeless, etc., and how to get her through the new diagnosis. She taught me that teaching our LD children coping skills was most important for their success. She then told me what to expect for the next school yr., the rest of elementary school, middle school, and high school. She taught me ways to boost my DD's self esteem and how to keep her focused and organized. I'm not going to lie, it was a source of anguish and still is. In her 2nd yr. of college, she started losing it and the university wanted to test her again. So for a fee(!) she was tested and they came up with ADD. So she tried a bunch of different meds as she had a hard time trying to find one that worked for her. Eventually, her solution was to take adderall extended release only on the days that she felt like she needed it. She just didn't like the way the meds made her feel otherwise. And they spun her up causing insomnia, which leads to a bunch of other symptoms and conditions. I think that you will know best...but I think that the meds help our kiddos to some extent. I would try it and re-educate him on homework time and organization. I have too much to say!! email me if you would like more ideas! Good luck A.! And hugs to your little guy!

I am almost finished with a book you should check out called The Minds of Boys by Michael Gurian. It is about how our sons learn and how their brains work differently than girls' brains. There is a section of the book about ADHD and ADD. The book suggests that many times boys are labeled problems because the classroom atmosphere isn't conducive to how boys learn best which can result in behavioral problems in these boys. The book goes on further to say that in oreder to truly dignose ADHD or brain disorders, brain scans should be taken. I would read the book while awaiting an appointment for a second opinion. I would not subject my child to drugs unless I could see for myself that this disorder truly existed in my child. Good luck!

I second the Block Center!

get a third opinion! and make this one take time with the child, not just go down the checklist in 2 minutes. as for treatment options, there are other options, but yes i choose to medicate in addition to behavior modication techniques. so yes, do some more testing, then do research, then medicate if you feel comfortable with it.

awhile back I saw a doctor on Dr. Phil or Oprah that is in the Dallas area, and he specializes in kids with ADD and ADHD. I would look him up and get a second opinion from him.

Any pediatrician who tries to diagnose ADD without any testing is BAD NEWS. You should definitely check with your insurance provider to find a child psychologist who can test your child. A good child psychologist will not test for ONLY ADD, they will also test for a battery of other things as well, AFTER they have interviewed you and also met with your child (separately). It will probably take some time to get an appointment, wait for the testing, wait for the results, etc. But it is so worth it. Don't let a doctor push you out of his/her office with a quick diagnosis. This is very important! Good Luck with everything!

Vemma nutrition makes no claims, but it has helped so many with ADD, ADHD, and autism. One that I know of had ADHD so badly that they were going to put her in a special school. In the meanwhile, Vemma was introduced in her diet, and she is making staight A's in regular public school. They have just come out with a children's formula for ages 2 to 12 with the things needed for brain development and growth at this age. Great for picky eaters like our 4 year old granddaughter, for there is a blend of fruits and vegetables in the great tasting formula. It does taste very good! You can read about Vemma NEXT on http://annnoble.vemma.com My number is there if you have questions. I am a retired teacher and this beats seeing the students on those medicines they put them on. This is a great time to get on an immune booster with the flu season coming around.

According to Dr. Frank Lawlis, Ph.,D. and many others, there is actulally a way to difinitively diagnose someone with ADD or ADHD. It is a brain scan. Please take your son to a neurologist to get a proven diagnosis, not a guesstimate. You can go from there in order to decide the best course of treatment. There are more options out there, in the way of treatment than you may realize. You might also read The Add/Adhd Answer book by Frank Lawlis. Good luck momma!

There are other options but for our son the lowest dosage of Vyvanse was the only thing that helped.

Hi A.,
I know many people with children with ADD that have successfully NOT given them the typical drugs to help them, because of the side effects that may occur. Instead they have used some safe, nutritional supplementation with great success. If a natural route is something you would like to consider, please give me a call and I will be happy to share with you what they did. Evenings are good for me. G. ###-###-####

EVERY drug is toxic. This can be controlled by diet and elimination of food poisons through processed foods. Go read this woman's website and download her book, Dying to Get Well.

My son who is 16 was diagnosed with ADD when he was 8. I was in denial and couldn't believe it but his 3rd grade teacher was the one who opened my eyes. I thank her every day for it. I have struggled with the medication issue but have come to some conclusions....My son is SO much better when he takes his medication and over the years he has shown significant improvement in his attention while on his meds. Although there can be side effects (like any medication), they are nothing like the side effects of NOT being on meds. His self-esteem is higher, his grades are MUCH better and he functions normally. If your son had a different condition like kidney problems, you would put him on medication for that, right? What's the difference? Just monitor his medication and make sure the dosage is correct. This is a process, not a quick fix. Keep in touch with his doctor so his progress can be monitored and know that if he does not do well with his meds that they can be changed and modified (his doc should tell you that). Good luck. There IS HEALTHY LIFE WITH ADD. The fact that you are a full time working mother means you have to either take the time to research alternitives or trust your pediatrician. You didn't say why you had your son to the doc in the first place, but Doc's are very aware of ADD and what the signs/symptoms are.

No, A., that is not your only answer.
I also recommend Dr. Walker. My husband was diagnosed ADD and did the neurofeedback treatments, which definitely helped him.
It was great to go to a doctor that didn't just "throw meds at him", like you said.
Call & make an appointment amd good luck!

A lot of people find great success with altering their diets, finding hidden allergens and/or negative reactions to food. Common offending foods are food dyes (Red #40 in particular is linked to ADD and is actually illegal to use in most countries outside the US), wheat and/or gluten, dairy, corn, yeast, soy, sugar, etc. Also, many studies have shown that taking high quality fish oil supplements are just as effective ad ADD/ADHD medications. Equally important is to make certain they are gettinga good balance of nutrition with protiens, complex carbohydrates and in partitular, B vitamins.

Some children show reduced abilities to behave properly or control behavior including attention when exposed to toxic chemicals and household cleaners such as bleach. Green Works by clorox is a line of inexpensive cleaners that use natural ingredients that will reduce the number of toxins in your home.

Some children with ADD can function and perform quite well after learning individualized coping skills. For instance, once child I know of has to always do two things at once, like drawing and listening, or watching a movie while doing homework. Others need complete isolation to focus on the task at hand with no disturbing noises to distract them.

Also, pure essential oils such as lemon, rosemary, lavender and several others have shown in many studies to increase the ability to remember, focus, and pay attention.

However, some people find that even after trying a lot of alternative therapies and diet plans, that medication is the only thing that will help their child. It does have some unpleasant side affects and it truly alters how their brain works and can stunt growth as well as creativity. But it can allow them to do what they need to do in order to focus and fit in.

I would suggest talking to the doctor who perscribed your child the meds and let them know that prior to using a medicated option, you want to explore alternatives first. Try to work with your doctor and let them know how things are progressing as you try differnet things.

I am surprised that no one has said something sooner. I got my daughter on meds as soon as she was diagnosed, and I took as step back and realized that it was wrong for a 7 year old to spend 3-4 hours on homework each night. Conserta changed her life, and she is keeping up with her peers. I accidentally took her meds and discovered that it helped me. Now I am on Stratera, and my house is clean, I can complete tasks, I don't get anxious in traffic situations. I also do not react badly when my children are throwing tantrums. I now know what the medicine does, it does not dull children, it helps them to think clearly.

Diet can play a major role in controlling ADD. Google -- "Alternative Treatments for ADD" to read about other options besides meds. I hear that meds can have long-term negative effects on children..... when they stop taking them, the ADD behavior returns, while teaching them to eat properly eventually becomes normal. Good luck!

A.,

In one of my MANY, MANY teacher workshops on ADD and ADHD we had a Doctor who was the presenter. He told us that in medical school they are in a classroom for ONE hour to learn all there is to know about diagnosing and treating these two challenges. Yet, the teachers who spend entire days, sometimes two or three each year learning to identify and help these struggling students are not allowed by law to suggest to you that your child might be in this population because it's considered a "medical diagnosis".

What we can do is help you with strategies and encourage your child to meet his potential. Even though we "just want SOMETHING done to help keep the classroom from turning into chaos", most would encourage you to do what's best for your child. I firmly believe that if you can treat with diet and/or herbal supplements GO FOR IT!! If, after trying that, you see it's not working, then consider the medication. In the mean while... Tell your son's Teacher what's going on and he or she will probably gladly help you monitor what's working and what's not.

Why don't you get a third opinion if you have doubts? It really doesn't hurt. I do know that testing for ADD has improved over the years and there is more understanding around this; so diagnosis has become a bit easier for physicians than years past. So it does make sense that he was diagnosed quickly and recommended medicating. Did you ask your physicician if this was the only option? I can understand your concern around providing medication on an everyday basis and making sure this is the best option for your child. However, you kind of have to weigh the risks with the benefit and determine how to proceed. Good luck!!

I agree with previous posts about exploring allergens. Include in that quest the possibility of gluten intolerance. I was treated for years for depression only to find I was "drugged" by gluten. The test for it is very expensive and usually not covered by insurance, so you may have to do it by eliminating wheat, rye, and barley products for a time to see if he is better. I could tell in a matter of 2 weeks. More and more people--children included--are finding gluten to be the culprit. I think one of the respondents mentioned Celiac disease. That's what I am talking about, but I didn't have full-blown Celiac. I was experiencing "brain fog." Google gluten intolerace and read the symptoms and see if your son is showing some of these. Good luck. It's a tough quest.

Kenneth Bock's book Healing the New Childhood Epidenmics: Autism, Aathma, ADHD and Allergies is worth the read. Also consider the Feingold diet. many have good results with it. About the bran scan I have several friends who have had them for their autistic children and they are very helpful in determining where within the brain the problem lies. For one friend whose son is very hyper, ADD drugs would have been a disaster. For another friend whose son isn't hyper but is autistic. ADD meds would be helpful based on brain scan results. They did the brain scan in Melbourne, Florida at Lifebridge.

Hi A.,

I would definitely research further before placing my son on a lifetime of medication. If he needs it, fine, but I think doctors prescribe the meds far too fast and frequently these days. ADD can be controlled through nutritional intervention. Contact me and I'll give you a bunch of resources.

Blessings,

M.

A., I have a friend diagnosed with ADD and on medication, she has been on a nutritional supplements for children and off all her midcation and doing very well. I will be happy to give you details and connect you with my friend if you would like. The medication has so many side effects, you want to cover all your options.

You can call me at ###-###-#### if you would like more information.

A.

Contact the Brain Lab at the University of North Texas. They have had astounding results with detoxing (one kid was allergic to Raid and the school had been using it) and with Biofeedback Therapy. The beauty of the Biofeedback Therapy is that your child learns how to control his brain waves so that his brain functions more normally. That way perhaps he won't need medication for the long-term.

My husband is a pediatric chiropractor and actually specializes in Autism/ADD/ADHD, using natural approaches to detoxes to help children... He's in Mansfield, let me know if you would be interested... He is running a special right now, first visit is free, I can get you that coupon if you'd like, it expires on the 30th...

Might you consider seeing if a diet change could be helpful before trying meds? I've heard alot of positive outcomes from this. It seems that ADD can sometimes actually be an allergice reaction to food dyes, preservatives, gluten, etc. I'm sure you could find a good book by googling.

Ritalin saved my son. I, too, was reluctant but became desperate. My pediatrician requested information from my son's school and us, via a lengthy questionnaire. He was "so" ADD according to the feedback as interpreted by the doctor. He went on very low dose Ritalin (some tweaking needed) and he almost immediately responded extremely well. I have since overcome my guilt in denying him this opportunity sooner and waiting until desperation ensued to do it. I do wish I had done it sooner. He went from a struggling, nearly failing student in 4th grade to straight A's throughout 5th and we're off to a very good start in 6th.
My doctor allayed my concerns by equating it with coffee - my husband can't function with out his morning joe and I would never deny him that. However, Ritalin is quickly in and out of the system once correct dosage is determined and it's not addictive - neither of which can be said for caffeine.
Good luck!!!

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