AD/HD - Desperate for Help with School Time

Updated on August 30, 2012
L.F. asks from Virginia Beach, VA
12 answers

Long story short, my son is going into 1st grade and he's been on Metadate CD, but we took him off of it because we just didn't like his personality while taking it. I have no idea how to help him with school time since he's having trouble sitting still and listening. He does great at home, but when with lots of kids, he has a hard time. Can you teachers or moms please give me some ideas? I really don't want to have to put him back on meds!

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answers from Chicago on

Yes, he needs to be evaluated by the school and have an IEP or 504 plan. Contact the teacher and special ed department to begin the process.

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answers from Milwaukee on

We have never done foods with dyes, artificial flavors, preservatives etc. I sell Wildtree and use their products and cook most meals from scratch. I read a lot of labels at the store. Yet my son still has terrible depression and possible AD/HD. Healthy foods are a huge part of a healthy life but they don't cure brain chemical imbalances. I would try a different med. There are a lot out there for AD/HD.

I also take supplements to help with my health. If they cured diseases the drug companies would take them, patent them, and sell them for insane amounts of money.

I am all for whole body health but sometimes we get sick and need meds to help.

The one non drug thing that truly shows a difference in my sons behavior, is sleep. He needs enough sleep each night or he does not function well at all.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

You need to talk to his doctor about alternative treatments - behavioral therapy, other medicines, changing his diet, etc. And talk to the school. If they're aware of the problem they may be able to help him out - have him sit at the front of the class, allow him to wear headphones to block the noise when he's supposed to concentrate, etc. There are all sorts of things you can do for a kid with ADHD. Use your resources and you'll find them!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

First try a different med. I believe there are four different families and different formulas within each family. Each one has a different reaction. Three of my four kids and I do great on Adderall, my third becomes enraged, well even more, on Adderall. He is on Stratera.

I was an unmedicated child, I can assure you it is hell. I survived, I learned but most of my learning was outside of school. Thankfully I loved to read. When I went back to college I got Adderall, I was amazed how much more I could do without the distractions. Yes, even at 38 I still couldn't block things out without medication.

Please! find the medication that works. Even on meds they are a challenge because you just can't keep them medicated 24/7.

Ahh so for laughs I googled Metadate, it is the same as Ritalin. My two oldest were on Ritalin as children, they hated it, they said it took their personality away, made them flat, as my daughter said I wasn't funny when I was medicated. They both take Adderall now as adults and say it is very different. I am on Adderall, it doesn't change my personality at all, just makes the background distractions go away. Maybe try that. :)

Edit: oh god, not the diet people!! Diets do not work for a child who is actually ADHD!! If it works your child was hyper! What I eat, and I actually eat very healthy, does not effect my ADHD, only medication does! If you are wondering why I hate when people chime in with the diet is it is one more way to say it is the child's fault, the child can control it. There is a reason kids with ADHD have such low self esteem, everyone tells them they are failures because they don't try hard enough....well and that whole chemical imbalance that actually causes it. :(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I was able to hold off on medicating my son until the second half of 2nd grade. The school managed by having a full-time aide to keep him on task. They used a picture schedule, reward system, and gave him a choice of sitting at group tables or at a study desk away from the rest of the class. The aide could take him out of the classroom if he was being disruptive, and they set up a desk in a closet to make a quiet space. They tried sensory solutions such as a body sock, sitting on a rocking cushion, a bean bag chair, or having him hold a sticky ball of tape. They would send him out of the classroom to take a break and help deliver heavy packages. He takes tests away from the rest of the class, and a teacher helps him get organized at the beginning of the day away from the rest of the class.

We tried a gluten free diet, but it didn't seem to help. We give him fish oil vitamins even though they don't seem to make a difference. One thing that did help was making sure he took his allergy medicine every day (he was on Rhinocort but our insurance stopped covering it).

Finally, when my son was spending more time in the office than the classroom we decided to try ADHD meds. We don't use it on weekends or vacation. The only problem now is that the teachers have gotten used to the "medicated version" of him. If he forgets to take his medicine, the school can't deal with it and will send him home!

If you do decide to try meds again, talk to the doctor about trying different types or doses, and keep a journal of the results and side effects. The ritalin drug family does seem to help my son, it was just a matter of figuring out the best balance of dosage and length while decreasing the side effects. It took 4 tries of different meds, but now Focalin seems to be working.

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answers from Sacramento on

Don't give up on medication after just one attempt. It takes a bit of trial and error to find the right one, but it can be completely transforming when you get it right. Our son's personality is exactly the same on Concerta as it is off of Concerta, only his behavior is normal. He is doing great academically and socially at school.

Kids with ADHD can't just learn to sit still. Their brains are wired differently. It's kind of like telling me to just squint harder and my vision problems will be solved. Same is true with dietary changes. They're just not proven to help with ADHD. It would be super if that were the case because it sure would make things easy.

Definitely get him evaluated by the district psychologist for an IEP or 504 plan. They're required to do the evaluation if you request it.

Finally, get back in with the specialist who made the diagnosis. You really want to talk with the medical experts when dealing with a medical condition. They're in the best position to know of good treatment options and can refer you to other specialists, such as behavioral therapists, who can help.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, L F:

Check the web

I think they have a chapter in VB
Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My 9 yo son is ADHD and my daughter, 12, is Aspie and ADD. It took a full YEAR of trying different meds/doses for my son until we found something that works for him. It wears off around 3:00, which is good timing since that is when he comes home from school and we can deal with it. My daughter is not on meds, we work with her behaviors. So I would check with the doctor to see if you can try something else. It has made a HUGE difference for my son. It was so stressful for everyone before he was on meds and I was so ANTI-med. Now I wish I would have done it earlier. Anyway, also look for this book: All About Attention Deficit Disorder by Thomas W. Phelan Its an older book but has chapers about meds, school, behavior, etc. Its really helped us. Good luck!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have a friend who is a kindergarten teacher (she was also my son's teacher) and her son has ADD. She did not want to medicate him either. She found a nutritional solution and has helped a lot of other moms with their ADD and ADHD kids. Would you consider a nutritional approach - all food and no drugs?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

I am with you in this boat, except that we homeschool. We moved last year in November and that is when we began our homeschoiling journey. I am certain that I am much less patient with my child than his classroom teachers were-bless them! LOL! BTW, I am not advocating HS over traditional schooling, it's just what is working for us right now, but I realize that it is not for everyone. I am also a former K teacher (which does NOT make me perfect for homeschooling despite the fact that I hoped it would!)
I also do not want to medicate my child, and for medical reasons I can't, so the decision was made for me. I have searched lots of different alternative "things" in hopes of finding help. It is important to remember that each child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Also, it is my opinion that ADHD can be caused by many different things, and is likely different for every child with those symptoms. Here are some things that I have researched:
Diet-you can google alternative diets for ADHD. Don't be surprised to find the information in websites that also cater to autism spectrum disorders-they share many common bonds. Dr. Feingold has long connected ADHD to food additives, and the companies are pretty sneaky about labeling so as to disguise the offending ingredients (like "natural flavors"). There are lots of different opinions on what works best, Gluten free (often along with casein free) is very popular.
Herbal meds-One that we have tried with some success is Synaptol. there are others as well.
Vitamin supplements-things like fish oils, probiotics (in the very high cfu counts-like in the billions), DHA, L-theanine, etc. There are soooo many!
I recently ordered a program called "Retrain the Brain". It is a program that uses music and handwriting exercises together. I have not used it yet, so I cannot tell you if it really works, but I am excited to give it a try. You can check out the website for lots more info.
Another thing that I have read about that could be linked to ADHD and many other problems are chemicals in our home-laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, soap, shampoo, carpet cleaner, etc. We have switched to all natural everything and found that it has helped with skin problems and allergy issues. One thing that I hated to give up was good smelling laundry detergent, but I use the unscented (seventh generation, ecos, whatever is least expensive) and add my own essential oils to the soap-about 10 drops per load (I use Aura Cacia, but there are others-health food stores usually sell them). You can make a lot of your own cleaning products too-tons of recipies on the internet!
Definitely talk to someone who is familiar with alternative supplements and therapies. I have taken my children to doctors of integrative medicine (does both traditional and alternative treatments) and also to a natropath who specialized in kinesiology. I doubt that a traditional (alopathic) doctor such as most pediatricians would have enough experience with alternative treatments to give much advice. My guess is you would be told that they don't work, here-give him this drug as that is how they were trained. I do love and highly respect our pediatrician, but I wouldn't go to the plumber if I needed a new roof - if you catch my drift:).
Good luck, I feel your pain, and I hope you find something that helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

All ADHS meds are stimulants, so if you have a teacher who is willing to work with you, buy some of the smaller cans of Pepsi, Mt. Dew, or Coke, and send them in to school for him. Then, when he is getting a bit hyper or needs to focus, the teacher can have him go to a designated area in the class and drink about half of the little can of soda, (I think they are a 6 oz can. The really short mini ones), and within about 10 minutes he will be able to sit still and focus just fine. It works like a charm and will really make a difference. The caffeene and sugar are both stimulants just like the active ingredients in his old meds were, so the soda does NOT cause him to be hyper but has the opposite effect, it calms him and allows him to focus. We used this method with our son when he was unable to go on meds due to an adverse reaction. The doctors reccommended it, and I can promise you it really and truly does work! I even was allowed to send in a toothbrush for my son so that he could brush his teeth after lunch, since I was a little worried about the soda and his teeth. (he NEVER drank soda at home prior to this) His teacher had NO issues with this method, and actually has used it for other students since then as long as she gets the parents approval. Good luck! I hope that your son does great in school this year!



answers from Washington DC on

My youngest son was on Metadate and I too agree that the behaviorism associated with this medication was unwelcome. He did really well on Concerta XR.

As far a behavior in school, I used to be a TSS/Wrap-around in Pennsylvania before I moved back to VA last year. I worked with AD/HD, ADD, OCD, and/or Aspergers kids from age 6-15 while they were in school (and home). I accompanied them to every class and helped modify their behavior in order to promote "acceptable" behavior and keep them on track with their studies.

I suggest checking into local behavioral health organizations in your area to see if they offer these types of services. I would love to get back into that field again in addition to my current position. Also check into getting an IEP/504 from the school. That should lessen his anxiety and hyperactivity if given the chance to have more time to work on assignments and removed from the chaos to focus.

SIDE NOTE: I agree with Jen to a point. My son's doctor recommended a cup of cappuccino before bedtime to calm my son down. It worked great and he still drinks it when he's anxious or can't sleep. He had always been a Dr. Pepper/Pepsi fan, but it hyped him up too much. All I can suggest is trial and error.

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