P.C. asks from Sachse, TX on June 03, 2011
17 Year Old with ADD? Need to Find a Doctor...
My almost 17 year old son is extremely smart, has been in Gifted/Talented and PreAP classes the entire time he has been in school, but the past two years have been such a struggle with him to 1. go to school, period. and 2. complete class work while in class (don't even ask about completing homework!!) even though he is just taking "normal" classes. If I don't come up with the money for him to go to summer school, he will be repeating his junior year next year. He has told me he just doesn't understand the work (which I find VERY hard to believe) so he gets frustrated and just doesn't do it, and then he doesn't know what's going on and can't keep up. Based on some other "symptoms" he has had, I would like to get him checked to see if he may possibly have ADD. The problem with that is we do not have insurance and I need to find a doctor in my area that I can afford at a "cash" price. If possible, a pcp would be preferable to a pyschiatrist (because of difference in what they charge)...can someone recommend a doctor in the Wylie/Garland/Sachse area that you have had experience with for this type of thing? He could very well just trying to adjust to teen life and the pressures, or just "being lazy", but I feel like I need to have a dr. evaluate him. Help please!! Thank you in advance!
K.B. answers from Dallas on June 04, 2011
My son has been on medication for ADHD since he was 7, but now is in high school and having some of the same issues as your son. A friend of mine has recommended a place called Brainworks in Carrolton. The owner is named Carla Crutsinger. It is very expensive, but she offers a free evaluation. She is very experienced with gifted kids that are also ADD. I am taking my son next week to meet with her. My friend took her son last summer and she gave her lots of good advice. She did sign him up for the camp and said it was very beneficial. I don't know that I will go the camp route, because it costs about $5000! But after the free evaluation, she did a career assessment for around $175 and she says that was very helpful. I am thinking this might help my son, since he doesn't have any idea what he wants to do. I am hoping that if he had some direction, he might be more motivated.
T.T. answers from Dallas on June 03, 2011
Check with your school district first! See if they can get you an evaluation. My sister went through the same thing (she wouldn't go to school, etc) and got her daughter tested at 17 through the school district. They got a lot of help for her and have been very accomidating in doing what needs to be done to keep her in school. She doesn't have any money, so it has been a blessing to them.
Ask for a complete evaluation or even a autism spectrum workup. I know that sounds scary, but it is the most thorough workup you can get and that way they don't miss anything.
C.C. answers from Dallas on June 04, 2011
I have gone through the very same experience with my 16 year old daughter, and reached the same conclusion as you. She is so smart but you'd never know it by looking at her grades. She has always been quirky and "different" than her peers but she did well all through elementary school so I didn't dwell on it. She started having issues in middle school with her school work (not completing assignments, especially homework, and lying about it) but we could usually get her back on track. But it all spiraled downward in high school, and she just finished her sophomore year and failed her GT World History class and didn't do very well (although she managed to pass for the year) in her other classes. Part of her problem is that she doesn't see how some of the things she's being forced to learn have anything to do with her chosen career path (arts related) -- her thinking is that since she's not going to be a scientist, so why does she need to take 4 years of math and science? And she does not relate to her peers at all and has maybe 2 friends. She absolutely HATES the whole high school experience -- too many kids, too much teenage drama, etc.
So we made the decision to put her in a small private school because we feel the more intimate, hands-on environment is better suited to her needs. Financially this is going to cause quite a strain, but we knew that keeping her in her current environment was not going to work. She is going to summer school at her new school to make up lost ground. She just started, so we'll see how it goes, but I'm cautiously optimistic.
Regarding the testing, his school is required to do testing if you want it, but they will drag their feet. I have been working with our school district's special services for months and have gotten no where. I asked for the "full evaluation" and was told they don't do that. The woman met with my daughter for a short time and says she isn't ADD . . . really? You can tell that from just one meeting? I don't think so. She was also supposed to arrange an in-classroom evaluation of my daughter which never occurred before the end of the school year even though I repeatedly reached out to her. So of course now we're withdrawing my daughter from the school so that's the end of that, and we can't afford to do it on our own. But you know what? I'm OK with that. What does it get me, anyway, to have validated what I already know? I'm not going to put her on meds, that's for sure. We'll work on it through behavioral adjustments.
Sorry I don't have any real answers for you . . . I just wanted you to know I understand your situation and how you feel . . . and it's an ongoing struggle!
L.K. answers from Dallas on June 04, 2011
Please check out this website - there are many resources for GT kids and the myriad of issues that surround this 'gift'. http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/
There is also a good book called Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma & Allergies...the Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders. And I second the suggestion to get all the testing done through the school. This is a critical year for your son. Best wishes.