3 1/2 Year Old Grandson with ADHD and ODD

Updated on June 25, 2009
D.H. asks from Trinity, TX
17 answers

My 3 1/2 year old grandson has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. I am needing resources to learn more about these conditions. He has been put on Daytrana 10mg patch, then increased to 15mg and this dose appears to be working very well, so far. I am his grandmother and he lives with me full time and I am in the middle of a CPS adoption process which is a nightmare in itself. I currently have him in play therapy. Is there anything else I can do at this time for him? This medication has made a world of difference in his behavior. I am amazed. Others now get to see the sweet same child that I was able to see in glimpses between the disruptive behavior and impulsiveness. Any advise is very welcome.

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So What Happened?

Thanks guys for all the much appreciated info. I will be going on book searches for sure. A little more about the situation. He is also a drug baby born with 5 different drugs in his system when born, I was called by CPS when he was
12 hours old and mom and dad and I stayed in the same house with my mother until he was 2 months old and then mom and dad were still not settling into reality or going for much needed assistance, so I took him home with me and it has been just me and him since he was 2 months old. So he has been in stable home most of his life, he is in daycare so is learning socialization skills there, but behavior was becoming so disruptive and unmanagable that it was either risk having no daycare or do something. I am a single parent and daycare is a must for me. Started with psych eval, then play therapist and they both recommended rx. I did the food diary. Positive reinforcement. I was soooo against medication, it was the last thing I wanted to do, and I will still learn and try all other alternatives, but the meds have made such a huge difference at school for him. I get up at 4 AM and put the patch on him so it will be in his system by the time he arrives so he will have a good day. They don't have to wait 2 1/2 hours for it to start working. Thanks again for the info.

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answers from Austin on

As a teacher who worked with kids with ADHD and other, I had all sorts of tricks. I let one child use earplugs to drown out other distracting noises, I let one child use a rocking chair to soothe himself instead of sitting in a regular chair, I had a desk with "blinders" around-just standing a folder on the desk,too-seemed to help with focusing issues. I had the advantage of having a fish aquarium outside my classroom and this also helped some of the kids calm and quiet down. Lots of love and practice helps, too! good luck!

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answers from Austin on

I can't speak from personal experience, but I am a former educator. Personally, I've learned a lot about organization etc, from the Flylady (if you haven't heard of her, check it out at Flylady.net).

Her system is all about establishing routines (it's not anything you pay or buy,btw) and parents of children with ADHD often post about how it's helped their child. That really meshes with what I remember from my years as a teacher. All children thrive on routines and that's especially true with children who are special needs.

Anyway, here's a link to the flylady site where she talks about preschoolers.

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answers from College Station on

PLEASE go to www.Feingold.org and read what they have to say. It is pretty reactionary, but if you weed through the propaganda, there is GREAT information about diet and chemical sensitivities that you guys should try in addition or in place of the medication. They believe in an all natural diet free of artificial anything. It is not as hard to follow as most people think.

I use this with my 3 boys (2 of which have been officially diagnosed with ADHD) and our lives are completely different. It had made SUCH a difference! I also use flax seed oil for my middle one (who has it the worst) and he is the best behaved out of all my boys and the one who follows all the Feingold guidelines to a T (without me having to remind him). We also eliminated grapes (a salicilate as mentioned in one of the other posts. It was something he was VERY sensitive to) and watch his intake of tomatoes, strawberries and apples....he cannot have too many of these at one time. So no pizza with a side of apples for him! It sounds insane, but it REALLY works.

My parents kept my boys for a week when we first started the program and I gave them the guidelines (which they did not follow) and I got a call from them telling me my middle boy was having some behavior issues and I said to them- you are not following the guidelines are you? They said no. I said- follow the guidelines...they have been believers ever since.

BTW- 3 is INCREDIBLY young to be diagnosed with ADHD.....I would seek a 2nd opinion. Some experts believe a reliable diagnosis of ADHD cannot be made until the child is at least 5!
3year olds are defiant by nature so I wouldn't put much stock into that diagnosis either. I do not mean to offend, just my informed opinion.

Good Luck!

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answers from Corpus Christi on

Thank the Good Lord for grandmothers like you. 1st off, way to go having him in play therapy. You might want to look into & consider music therapy as well - there are lots of success stories there. The other suggestion I have is to research diet & how it effects ADHD/ODD. From what I understand a child's diet can totally turn conditions like this completely around.
Good luck Donna, & God bless you.
H. B



answers from San Antonio on

Your local library should have a lot of books on ADHD. Hallowell did "Driven to Distraction", and "Delivered from Distraction", and they might interest you. For discipline, the Love and Logic books work very well for children with ADHD. Also, if he has outbursts, you may want to read The "Explosive Child" by Greene. "Dreamers, Discovers, and Dynamos: How to help the Child...." by Palladino was the first I read dealing with my son and I went, "Oh, that's why he thinks that way."

I would also look into Omega 3 fish oil supplements. Maybe your doc can give you a good idea of the right amount for him. The Omega 3s seem to help children with ADHD function better. There is also research that the red and yellow food dyes also cause increased hyper activity in children with adhd, so I try to keep away from as many dyes as I can.

When he is older, you may look into Cognitive Behavior Therapy. That worked well for my son. Also, many children with ADHD have problems with social skills, so a social skills group is useful.

Understand that adhd is not all bad, and that sometimes amazing abilities go along with it. Many children who are gifted exhibit very similiar "symptoms" as children with ADHD, and some people believe there is a link between creativity and adhd. It is all in finding what learning and disciplining style works best for your child.



answers from Houston on

Sounds like with your situation and your grandson having ADHD and ODD and being 3 1/2 you could get him into a pre-K program in public school.....they should be able to get you information and training about his ADHD and ODD.



answers from Houston on

My sister had severe ADHD growing up. At that time the only prescription (or so it seemed) was ritalin so I can't help you with advice on medication. What did work for us for a long time was eliminating all artificial colors, flavors and salicilates. (Salicilates are a natural chemical found in fruits such as grapes and apples.) It was tough at times to stick to this type of diet but it really worked. Red food coloring seemed to be the worst for my sisters behavior. We could tell if she had just one red M&M! ADHD medications are so trial and error because they are not widely tested on children there may be a lot of starts and stops. Hang in there! The good news is my sister is all grown up and a productive member of society. She has her issues like everyone, but she is a great mom, has a job and has no problem functioning in society!

Here are some sites that may help you:





answers from El Paso on

I once heard at a conference that some ADHD kids are able to concentrate better while chewing gum. He's still young for that, but something to try in the future... Yay for you Grandma! Sometimes ADHD kids have trouble making friends because of the impulsivity, so you may want to get him into a playgroup or team-type activity to start working on those skills. He's lucky to have you...



answers from Killeen on

Hello Donna,

First of all, I commend you for taking the responsibility of your grandchild. I am a professional organizer. I specialize in clients with ADD, ADHD, Clinically depressed, and chronic fatigue syndrome. I work with children and adults. I work with my clients by teaching them how to create order by working with their diagnosis. I want them to understand their habits. I create a system for them to follow when they recognize certain triggers/situations that gets them distracted. These techniques may be a little advanced for a 3 1/2 year old. You can help him by giving him structure in his everyday life. It takes a great amount of patience to work with a client with ADHD. You must breakdown the process of learning into very tiny steps. Otherwise, they will be overwhelmed.

I have started research on adopting through CPS. You may be able to give me feedback on the process. Will you get reimbursement from the state and health insurance for your grandchild?

Have a great day,
Busy Solutions, LLC
Organize your Existence



answers from Odessa on

No advice in this area just a bless your heart and my prayers for God's guidance and wisdom as you deal with the special needs of this child. Everybody should have a champion in their lives who is willing to take on the giants they face on their behalf. I think you are a gift to your grandson as well.



answers from Houston on

Here is a great resource for you identifying the symptoms of different psychiatric issues in children


Play therapy and a stable home environment will also do wonders. If the medication is helpful, keep using it. As your home situation becomes his norm, you may try periods off of the medication to see if it is still needed.

By all means, look into the diet issues as well. However, stability, peace, & routine are going to do a world of good. God bless you for stepping in and helping him.

Good luck.


answers from Houston on

Hi Donna. My son wasn't diagnosed until 3rd grade so it is awesome that he was diagnosed so early. My son also has Bi-Polar disorder. Patience and a good doctor are the best things you can do. We also had our son put in Special Education at school because he was having a difficult time in general population without the extra help. He has co-teach classes where there is an extra teacher in the classroom walking around in case he needs help. He is also taken to a small group for testing. My son is in the Tomball School District and they have a program called PASS. It is designed to help students who have a hard time because they feel "different" or have trouble taking instruction from teachers etc. Counseling is always a good thing. Your grandson is lucky to have you. Patience and Prayer!! You'll do fine!



answers from San Antonio on

Hi there! Two years ago my husband and I adopted two children from CPS. Our daughter was 3 1/2 y/o at the time and had a litany of diagnoses, inlcluing ADHD and ODD. I am a former fam practice doctor and a teacher so I knew you cannot make a definitive diagnosis of ADD and ODD in children who are not in a stable, settled home situation (which kids in the process of being adopted seldom are just because it is a major change in their lives even in the best of circumstances). My daughter had been on nine different psychotropic meds over a 9 month period and was on three at the time we welcomed her and her brother into our home. We weaned her off the meds and worked very hard establishing a solid routine and after two years she has gone from the child head start wouldn't accept because she was too unmanageable to a well adjusted girl who just finished pre-k at a catholic school. She no longer has any of the diagnoses she was said to have. I am not saying your grandson doesn't need meds or doesn't actually have ADHD or ODD because I don't know all the particulars of his situation, but I am saying that with a consistent stable home environment, love, and a solid routine he can count on, he may show marked improvement once things have calmed down for both of you. I will be praying for you both. The process isn't easy, but very much worth it in the end.


answers from San Antonio on

Web MD is a good resource. Their website is: www.webmd.com

Good Luck, hope this helps.



answers from Houston on

Just an idea from way out here in Left field. My son was having major issues, now 3 1/2. Disconnection, seizures, no concentration.. and after all the testing etc, my husband and I not wanting to start down the road to medication researched alternative therapy. We use Maximized living, chiropractic. It has CHANGED my son 100%! He is seizure free, has an amazing attention span, and best of all, PEACE. And Not one medication. We did take Dairy out of his diet also and that helped too! Anyway.. just some new things to give you to do a little research. I am happy for you to message me if you have any questions.
Good Luck with that precious little one.



answers from Austin on

HI Donna, First of all ,I want to tell you that you are doing a great job so far. You are following all avenues that you are aware of to help your child. You can do one more thing for him. Call AISD, or the school district that you are in and have him evaluated for the PPCD program. This is a program for 3-5 year olds with disabilities. PPCD stands for Pre-school Program for Children With Disabilities. I taught PPCD in Del-Valle for ten years. Now, I teach an inclusion pre-k, so I am aware of many services available for children with delays. You can also see if he can get occupational therapy for his ODD from an agency such as the Austin Child Guidance Center. You need to work with him on sensory integration. He probably needs activities with finger paint and play dough. He may not like them at first, but do try to introduce him to this. Good luck and let me know how things go. J. K.



answers from Odessa on

My son went through the same thing with the same initial diagnosis. He did great on the medication in the beginning and then it seemed to quit working and we would up the dosage. Things would get better then they would start getting worse then they were before. Eventually we got him to a doctor that was able to correctly diagnose him as bi-polar. ADHD medication increased the frequency and severity of the manic phase. In him he raged (would become so angry it was like a Dr. Jecle and Mr. Hyde thing as we wouldn't remember anything that happened during that time). Apparently it is a very common misdiagnosis especially in small children as the symptoms are the same.
A bit of hope though - once we got a mood stabilizer in him with the other ADHD medication he did great. We had a difficult month once a year and they have been less and less difficult each year. This last October we finally took him off of his last medication and have had vey few problems. He goes to see a therapist once a month and she has worked wonders with him.
I recommend that you always be upfront with your child about what is going on.We have always put things into the simplest terms about what was going on with him and have been upfront with our son. I thin k it is because of this that he is so open with us when things are starting to get bad for him. He knows that the weird thoughts and impulses he has are not always a bad thing but are a part of his make-up. He talks to us so we can address the issues long before they are really bad issues.
It sounds like you have a huge heart and are on the right track. Just remember that the mothering instinct is stronger than the doctor and if you feel that you are not getting the best care from your doctor or therapist, do not be afraid to change them (we changed my sons therapist after 3 years and his new therapist did more in six months with him than the other did in 3 years). Sometimes it may be nothing more than a personality conflict and nothing wrong with the therapists. They understand these things so don't be worried about hurting the feelings of someone who has invested so much time in the child.
Don't give up hope. There are tons of books on all forms of childhood mental issues as well as support groups everywhere! Make use of them it will help to make you feel that you are not doing this all on your own or the only one out there facing these problems!
Good luck to you!

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