C.Z. asks from Chicago, IL on August 28, 2008
Advice on ADHD
I have a 10 year old daughter who has had trouble with attention issues at home and atschool sometimes. She has been in tutoring since December for math and reading. Although she is a smart girl I wonder if maybe she has an issue with attention. I talked with her tutor about this and she suggested her seeing her Ped Dr. for an Evalutation. I talked with her about it and she got very upset and cried thinking I think she is dumb. Does anyone with any experience with this situation give me some pointers on how I can see if she has any issues with this. I feel horrible as a mother thinking she has a problem, but I want to help her if she does. I know I might feel as she does if my parents thought the same thing. Anyone with any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Thanks.
So What Happened?™
I just wanted to say Thank you!! to all of you who responded with your advice. I really appreciate it. I did finally talk to my daughter again about the issue. Although she is still adamant about "not taking any medication", I think she will try to understand the probelm and that is not her. I did get some info on ADD and got the evalutaion for myself to do. After reading some of the questions I can see that there may be some qualities that she may have. Once I turn it in I will get a definite answer and we will move on from there.There are also other issues that she sees at home between her father and I and that we don't have a good relationship. He's verya abusive and angry (he's a recoverying alcoholic and a police officer). He's is very difficult to live with. She is very sensitive to this and it's hurts me to know that is what is in our environment. I will keep you posted with the results. Thanks again for your support and sorry for the long story!
J.F. answers from Chicago on August 29, 2008
I would definately suggest getting her screened, but in the meantime I'd take a close look at her diet. I've read that add, adha, autism and autistic spectrum been linked to gut health.
I felt like my son was showing signs for the spectrum so I had him tested. The psychologist said that he showed mild signs, but it was nothing to be worried about. I'm having him screened again in a few months by another ped. psychologist to be sure, but in the meantime I took a long hard look at his diet and found that he had been eating mostly carbs (in the form of breads, pastas and crackers), and sugar (in the form of fruits). The I looked back on my pregnancy and recalled that for about the first 4-6 months of Ben's life he was covered with cradle cap which is one of the signs of having an overgrowth of yeast in the body.
When this occurs, the mother doesn't have the healthy bacteria to pass along to baby so their guts don't form properly and they get many different ailments; allergies, asthma, add, adhd, autism, etc.
We've been following the body ecology diet to heal Ben's gut for the last month. So far I've seen great results. It hasn't been easy that's for sure- but I know that in the long run he'll be healthier. Maybe check it out for yourself. www.bodyecology.com Feel free to email me off the site for any q's you might have. :)
____@____.com dot com
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C.K. answers from Chicago on August 29, 2008
I am a pediatric neuropsychologist see a lot of cases like this. I always explain to kids that feel like your daughter that of course no one thinks they are "dumb." I explain to kids that ADHD and LD have nothing to do with how smart you are and that, in fact, many kids with either of these disorders are actually very intelligent. I also explain that diagnosing what is going on will make life easier because they will then have tools to deal with it and play to their strengths. It's like setting a broken bone. You have to get everything in order to heal it or it will only get worse, but treat it and it will work just fine. Hope this helps. Good luck!
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M. answers from Chicago on August 29, 2008
I teach 4th grade and I am an advocate for getting children tested. the testing is easy, it is a questionairre filled out by the teacher, the doctor and by you. If your daughter is diagnosed as ADHD, medication is NOT the only treatment, there are many ideas out there now. I had a boy last year who was SMART. like off the charts and if he was able to focus, he would have blown everyone away, but his mother refused to acknowledge the fact that he clearly had ADHD and so he was trapped in this hyper body and it took a toll on him, he had a bad self esteem becasue he could see he was different but he could not control it. My dad said it to me best, if a child can see, provide them with glasses, if a child cant hear, provide a hearing aid, if a child cant focus, provide them with tools to help them, those tools can be medication, special diets, counseling etc, but dont deny them the opportunity to learn better because of a label. I know it is hard, I am a parent too and have gone through this in my family, but in the end, you are giving your daughter a better chance to succeed!
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S.G. answers from Springfield on August 29, 2008
Make sure you take her to a specialist in this area to have her screened properly and if she is diagnosed, make sure you do ALOT of research on the medications for ADD/ADHD and side effects. Extra tutoring and cognitive therapy may be the way to go for her.
L.P. answers from Chicago on August 29, 2008
Forgive but talking to your 10 year old about having an evaluation about something they couldn't possibly understand to the fullest extent may not have been such a good idea. I would only speak to your ped. now and ask for a referral to someone who specializes in this type of need. May I suggest a service called Smart Love Family Services? They have a few offices and the directors have put out many books and were the advice columnist in Chicago Parent Magazine for a very long time.
Just a little about me: Mom of two. My daughter has learning disabilities and childhood depression she's 9. She has been seeing the Smart Love people since she was 6 1/2. I am also a teacher for children with special needs.
K.L. answers from Springfield on August 29, 2008
You daughter needs an enviornment where she can make her attention issues work for her. Let her excell and get her evaluated with a person who specializes in educational testing. That is what I did. Get counselign yourself to learrn to be posative.
J. answers from Chicago on August 29, 2008
It is a shock to find out that you might be different from other people, so it's not surprising she had a reaction to hearing the idea. Obviously you need a diagnosis before you can get into details about it with her, though. If she does have ADD, there are books for kids and teenagers about it.
Also, tell her that Michael Phelps has ADHD! I read somewhere once that ADD is more like "differently focused" than "lack of focus" because my son can definitely show hyper-attention when he is engaged, and hyper-attention can be a very good thing when it's directed - like to winning gold medals!
As far as the evaluation process is concerned, you can try talking to her about how every person learns differently, and the evaluation is to help figure out what will be the best way for her to learn.
You have the option to request an evaluation through your school. I don't know much about how that works, but someone at the school district office should be able to direct you, or find out who at your school leads the Resource Team, and that person should be able to help.
If your insurance will cover it, we had our son evaluated by a behavioral neuropsychologist. It was about a half-day of tests and without insurance it would have cost over $1000, but we had several different areas of concern and the psychologist and counselor who had seen my son weren't exactly sure what the diagnosis was, so we felt we needed the full workup. I believe if it's a classic case with straightforward symptoms, a pediatrician can diagnose ADHD.
C.T. answers from Chicago on August 29, 2008
Get a professional to give an IQ test. They usually do the Wexler. It is also done by the schools if requested, however, the psychologist does a much better in depth IQ test. Most insurances should cover it. He will also be able to tell by this test if there are any attention problems. She won't feel like you are labeling her "Dumb". Not all kids with high IQ's have attention problems. The problem can be because she is not being challenged enough - that allows their minds to wander as well. They get bored.
You mention she has trouble SOMETIMES. ADHD children would have trouble all the time in both school and home.
The tutor suggested to get her tested? Being a parent going through the special ed with a child and clearly knowing all the child's rights, I do know teachers (and I am sure it would include the tutor) are not allowed to make such suggestions in that direction.