27 answers

ADHD With Inattentiveness

Hi, I have an almost 11 year old daughter who has a generalized anxiety disorder and is being ruled out for ADHD with inattentive. She is having trouble in school paying attention, especially on tests - bringing home D's and C's, although she does bring home an occasional A and B. She is a well-adjusted, social kid with lots of friends. She is not socially withdrawn in any way. As a matter of fact she is too social, which contributes to some of the inattentive problems. She flies under the radar screen with her teachers and counselors because she seems so "normal". We have had meetings with her teachers several times this year and basically they feel she is a bright child that just doesn't apply herself therefore not in need of any special help. My husband and I both feel that because of the anxiety, tests are especially hard for her and that's where the low grades are coming from. She brought home a 54 on a science test yesterday, for instance. She has been in counseling for the last year with a good therapist, but I'm just not sure we are doing enough. Her physician wants to medicate her and now the therapist does too. They both suggest Concerta. I'm having a real problem trying it and would much rather see if there is something else we can do with behavior modification and/or diet. She has trouble staying focused, especially when we are studying with her etc. Constantly yawning, looking away - just not paying attention. Therefore the study sessions are frustrating for us and her and she ends up not prepared. We have tried a tutor and she does the same thing. It is so frustrating because we know she is capable. Any help, advice on medication, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi Everybody, First off, thank you all so much for the responses to my post. I have read every one of them and have gotten such great advice and support from all of you. Nice to know we're not alone! I met with my daughter's principal on Friday and just laid it all out on the table - frustration with teachers not listening, mastery test results, ADHD with inattentive diagnosis and she immediately put her on a 504 plan for 6th grade (next year). She has hand picked the team of professionals that we will be working with and has been wonderfully supportive. I'm feeling really good about the outcome of the meeting and am looking forward to my daughter's 6th grade experience without dread. All I can say to all of you out there dealing with similar experiences, if your heart is telling you something is wrong, don't let the teachers or other educational professionals push you off. Dig your heals in and demand to be heard. Thank you again so much.

Featured Answers

Hi M.,
I would not do anything until you have evaluated her diet completely.
Artificial sweeteners, additives and processed foods can completely alter personality and emotions.
What does she eat? She should be off of all soda, processed foods, candy, fast foods, and sugar. Maybe even dairy products.
I would suggest a strict diet of organic foods only until you can determine which foods affect her most negatively.
You will not believe the difference.
Good luck.

It sounds like her brain is over stimulated and can't withstand getting her work done while other things are going on. My son was like this and we took him to Dr. William Weiss in Middletown, CT and my son has made great strides without med.'s.

Good luck and I hope this was helpful!

Hi M.,

My 10 year old son also has symptoms of inattentive ADHD (wihtout anxiety) and we have chosen not to medicate. Some of the things that we have done (based on my own extensive research) are The Listening Program, a self administered music listening program designed to improve one's auditory processing skills, I have modified his diet focusing on high protein, low carbs and avoiding processed foods. I also have him on a number of vitamin supplements, including Omega-3, L-carnitine and a few others. Take a look at Dr. Daniel Amen's website for some very interesting information on the subject. I hope that helps.

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I had a similar problem in college. Tests made me freak out and I'd know the material but do poorly. Wanna know what worked. A Worry Stone. It's a small rock you can hold in your hand and rub while she's taking a test. You can get them at any "Earthy crunchy" store or rock shop. It helps to release the anxiety and she can focus. She just holds it in her hand and rubs the groove while taking a test. It worked wonders for me.

2 moms found this helpful

This is a response I sent to another member, but I thought some of it may apply or help in your situation. Her condition doesn't have to be ADD for a 504 to be implemented especially with regard to test taking. It is my understanding that any diagnosed and documented medical condition that affects their education would apply. Also I tried the diet modifications and numerous other things. It's not to say they are not effective and may work well for you, unfortunately we did not have much success in that regard. You will see if you read through that my older son is doing better and this summer (when it won't affect his schooling) I intend to try some antioxidents and b vitamins that I already take, but that come highly recommended to help w/ADD and ADHD symptoms. They are all natural and I am excited to try this. Will be happy to share this info w/you as well.

I have two boys 16 and 10 they have both been diagnosed w/ADD. I understand your frustration. I wanted to point out a few things that may be helpful when dealing w/the school. First my oldest was on Adderall, he didn't like the way it made him feel and he wasn's sleeping well. We have since (maybe 3 yrs ago) switched to Metadate CD(my spellings may be off). We looked at the recommended dosage for them and then divided the dosage in two (even though they are already time released). They take one in the a.m. at home before school and one at lunch in school. This helps greatly with getting them through the afternoon and homework time. Understand I really hedged with medicating my children, felt ADD was a huge dumping ground diagnosis, etc. I have done a lot of personal research and not only loved their pediatrician(they now see a general practitioner), but even took my oldest to an ADD specialist and discussed medications. My oldest son has ADD w/o any learning disabilities. I am happy to say he is reaching an age where maturity has enabled us to reduce his meds. I believe statistically it is like 1 or 2 out of 3 children will outgrow this. With him I put him on a 504 plan at the school. This plan is monitored through the Special Board of Education. Because he was diagnosed by a doctor a 504 applies in that he has a medical condition that requires special accomodations for his learning plan. This is a plan his teachers MUST follow. Remember he sees like 6 different teachers a day, but this plan enables me to call them on it if it isn't being followed. This can follow him onto college as well. Specifically for him in highschool he must sit in the first row on an end seat (less distractions). He does not go to study halls, instead to the learning center where there is an adult supervising and his homework actually gets done, or they help if he needs it. He goes to the testing room for tests, too much going on in the classroom for distractions. His teachers must sign his assignment pad every day - this helps to keep him organized and on task. ETC. But these are some of the things that you can do. Most schools do not have any school employee whom oversees the 504 kids. It really is up to the parent and child to see that it is implemented. I am fortunate and I have a liason at the school who is awesome in working with my son and I to keep things where they need to be. Honestly I didn't take no for an answer and I held each and every teacher accountable as we all did my son. In the end the person who oversees the IEP's either was asked to or elected to oversee that my son's 504 was being followed. Some teachers are great and really want to see children succeed and some are of the opinion that it's not really their "job to babysit at this stage".

MORE IMPORTANTLY IN YOUR SITUATION.....I am assuming that you also live in NY, as I don't know if and how the 504 or special education laws are in other states. I know you children are younger, but I wanted you to know the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP which my younger son has. An IEP falls under the special education laws. I feel this give me as a parent more leverage with the school district because they are legally required to follow it. There are numerous organizations available to help you advocate for your child. The Learning Disabilities Association of Western New York is awesome. With their help I have not only educated myself, but one of their advocates is available to go with me (if I want) to meet with the school!!! This organizations services are free of charge. They run through a grant through I believe the United Way. There is also another youth advocate that I was put in touch with, again that is free of charge. Our school district was not offering to do anything beyond testing him for his reading level. Through this organization I learned of some other avenues I could take and rule out. I was very fortunate our doctore worked with us and our insurance covered the testign we had done. Granted it was some leg work on my part and travel, but in my opinion it was well worth it. Besides you are entitled to have independent testing done and in some instances can request the school district cover the costs. For my son and his issues we first had CAPS - central auditory processing - testing done. We then had his speech and language assessed. He was good on all accounts except his language where it contains reading and the phoentic breakdown ( I know my spelling is off on these things). Then he went for a full neurological work up. Again each of these tests gave me information about where his breakdowns were occuring, but also what his strengths were. Also I received a detailed written report and was able to sit with the specialist and go over that report. It turns out my son is dyslexic. Well this explains a lot!!! But there is a lot I didn't know about this. There are many different forms of dyslexia and we are currently working to immplement recommendations from the specialists. BUT with these reports I went back the Special Board of Education (requested a meeting in writing because they have 30 days by law to respond) and now he has a consultant teacher in the classroom each day for 40 minutes, he has individual reading services 2 times per 6 day cycle, speech 1 time per 6 day cycle. He meets with a peer group. Also there was a program I found at one of our state colleges that master's students were conducting in reading and literacy. It was costly and even though I provided all the transportation, I still got the school district to pay for this program for him. Based mostly on the fact that he was (the numeric values they assign based on testing) so behind.

If you have any questions, or want any contact information, please let me know. I would be happy to pass along anything I have that could be helpful. We have seen a great improvement in my son's reading ability this year and it is so awesome to see his confidence rising!

Hi M., I see you've gotten a lot of advice already, but I thought I'd give you my 2 cents! My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD- inattentive 3 years ago. We struggled through school... what you are going through sounds very familiar. For years the schools couldn't do anything to help us. The doctors recommended Concerta. We tried EVERYTHING including behavior modification, diet etc.... but we finally gave Concerta a try. I can't begin to tell you what a difference it made. She went from C's and D's to HONOR ROLL! She just needed a low dose of Concerta and she was able to stay focused. She always tried her best she just couldn't stay focused. I know what a big desicion this is, read everything you can about it and ultimately I'm sure you will do what's best for her.

M., I think that if you were to choose a medication for her I would pick Concerta. My 12yr old son has been on it for the past year or so. We tried the Adderal and Straterra and some other I can't remember. But since he has been on Concerta he grades have improved from C's and D's to A's and B's. The only concern I have with it(well I'm not sure its the meds) is that he still has trouble with anger issues. But then again what pre-teen bot doesn't!! Some counciling is still needed but I can deal with that. Well I hope this helps a little. Stef F

Hi M.,

My 10 year old son also has symptoms of inattentive ADHD (wihtout anxiety) and we have chosen not to medicate. Some of the things that we have done (based on my own extensive research) are The Listening Program, a self administered music listening program designed to improve one's auditory processing skills, I have modified his diet focusing on high protein, low carbs and avoiding processed foods. I also have him on a number of vitamin supplements, including Omega-3, L-carnitine and a few others. Take a look at Dr. Daniel Amen's website for some very interesting information on the subject. I hope that helps.

My son will be seven in two months. Since he was four he was referred for testing for ADHD. He was diagnosed after a second opinion in kindergarten. I still refused medication. I began therapy for him, a type of behavioral therapy. Then he was threatened with getting left back and discharged from the smart and gifted program for lack of work and behavior. I gave in and tried daytrana. It's a patch and it works wonderfully. He lost some weight due to lack of appetite. I am monitoring that. He began to digest the medication too quickly, so I recently switched to concerta. I am going to start Monday the 19th. If you want to know how it goes, send me a message and I'll keep you posted. Bottom line; no one wants their child to be on medication, let alone have to deal with something like ADD/ADHD. Give it a shot. You never know. I have been amazed at the changes my son has shown me. He's much calmer, more behaved, more compliant, more focused and just a better thinker. I hope I helped. All the best to you and your family. Be well!!

Eliminate sugar, gluten, dairy, and eat organic.

I have a blog with information regarding diet and behavioral interventions that help kids with primarily inattentive adhd. The URL is http://primarilyinattentiveadd.blogspot.com

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