Adhd - Saint Maries, ID

Updated on May 28, 2007
M.M. asks from Saint Maries, ID
23 answers

My 12 yr old son was just diagnosed w/ADHD. I'm not sure how to handle this. The doctors haven't started him on any medicine yet. My husband and I are very unsure of this. For so long we didn't believe in ADHD, but more and more watching my son we have come to terms w/ it. My son actually came to me and ask me for help because he wants to be able ton concentrate more in school. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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A.A.

answers from Seattle on

My oldest son (14) was diagnosed when he was 12. We did not medicate him until he was 13. It has made a huge difference! Not only has his grades improved, but he is also no longer an angry child, but back to his sweet self. Granted he still has his days, but I chalk that up to being a teenager!

I knew that my son had ADD/ADHD since he was 3. But I could not get a doctor to diagnose him. Both my brothers have ADHD so I knew what the signs were. Doctors kept telling me I was just trying to medicate him for no reason, that he was just being a boy. His grades suffered tremendously because of it. He became angry and distant. I still sometimes feel like I did not fight hard enough to get him the help he needed when he was younger. I wish I could change that. But he is doing a lot better now.

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

hello My name is M. my 13 yr. old son has also been diagonosed w/ A.D.H.D we have not got him on medication yet anyuways until we do I try to concentrate on giving him 2 tasks to do at 1 time and when it comes to homework I try to have an after school snack ready so he can start on his homework right away or he loses his ambition to do it. It is very challenging but you can do it if you keep the same routine GOOD-LUCK M.

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L.R.

answers from Seattle on

It is a tough decision for medication. Your son is very in tune with himself to come to you like that. I ignored all my son's actions thinking that it was just my bad first time parenting. In 1st grade the teacher actually came to me and said that he highly recommended me getting him tested...so I did. I didn't want any more Bad times at school...and he was getting old enough for the "control" to kick in and it wasn't...we did a blind test for 3 weeks and the results were tracked by each of us and the teacher. It was undeniable. It has been a hard road of the amounts and the kinds of medications...adderal worked but caused headaches, conserta worked for the last 5 years with upping the dosage as he grew, but now that puberty is hitting we have switched to Focilyn, he came to me after 3 days and told me how much easier sitting still and listening were for him.
You will always have people with there pros and cons, but it is a case by case, and he is asking for help which shows that even he is noticing something that he can't "control". At this age where focusing in school and life choices are so important, it is so important to give them the help they need.

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K.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hi M.,

I am sure you will get lots of different opinions on this one. I hope that you have a great doctor that will do a good job of explaining the condition and options for helping your son.

My son was diagnosed earlier this school year and we have opted to use medication (Adderall XR in lowest dose). It has worked wonders for him academically and socially.

My understanding is that areas of the brain related to conentration and impulse control have slightly reduced blood flow/actiity and stimulant drugs help activate those areas. I do see it like any medical condition where the body needs a little added help in regulating systems.

So, ultimately, I would recommend trying medication and weighing results with side effets. My son's side effects have been pretty minimal but each child will be different. If your son doesn't respond beneficially, you can always stop or try something else.

Good luck and feel free to contact me personally if you would like. - K.

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L.L.

answers from Seattle on

Speaking as someone who personally has ADHD, the best thing to do is work with your son to figure out what works best for him. Medication may help, it may not. Finding a way for him to be able to move (fidget) such as twitching his feet or twiddling his thumbs may help him pay attention to lectures. Taking notes may be even better. I tend to learn things a lot better if I am writing them down...helps me if I can move at the same time as I'm hearing things. What i find is that if I am not allowed to fidget, that pretty soon, the only thing I can think about is not being allowed to move. It is a real conscious effort, but if I can fidget or take notes or something, it satisfies my need to move and allows me to pay attention. Try different things and see what works. It isn't instant, it does take time to figure out what works. I used to take medication, but stopped because I didnt' want to rely on it my entire life. The entire thinking process is different from people without ADHD. Your son may not know what works for him at first. Watch him and look for things he does (especially subtle little things) when he is able to retain lots of information. That may give you a clue as to where to start. If he has trouble with noises, there may be ways for him to learn to tune out the extra ones..that part is very hard. Instead of hearing "white" noise like most people do, I hear 5 individual conversations at once, along with the TV, the Radio, cars driving by, etc. every movement catches my eye, every flash of light....or I am so enthralled in what I am doing that you litterally have to touch me to get my attention. It is one or the other...for people with ADHD there really is no inbetween. You have to learn to tune things out when they are bothering you...and it takes a lot of time and patience. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or need any help. I do understand that for someone without ADHD, it is a completely different game. I know they way most "normal" people think and do things because that is how they teach school, but most "normal" people don't know how people with ADHD think and process things (at least in my experience). Good luck to you. I know it isn't easy.

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D.T.

answers from Portland on

Hi. I have two sons also. One is 13 with add and one is 7 with adhd. I medicate the youngest and not the oldest. The best thing for you is to educate yourself about adhd. You can find places on the internet. I go to a message board at adhdnews.com it is other parents helping other parents and there is alot of support and info from them. You might consider asking for a special education evaluation in writing(it has to be done in writing) to see if your school can offer anything to help your son get services that can help him in school. Good luck, remember you are not the only parent with this.

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C.M.

answers from Seattle on

Just take one day at a time. Relax, and just breathe. This is going to be a long slow process, but just know that your son is going to need you to stay strong and positive! he is just as confused as you are.
Please email me @ [email protected]____.com. I have some great information to share with you in regards to ADHD.

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V.L.

answers from Medford on

Boy can I feel for you, my son just turned 9 yesterday and it seems he is always struggling evan though he is very smart. Does your son struggle with short term memory trouble. I know my son has adhd but to put him on medication that could make him more of a zombie, scarey..... good luck I will be watching this one.

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R.G.

answers from Eugene on

I just went through the diagnosing process with my 7 year old. (his outcome was stress-induced ADHD, but not diagnosable, if that makes sense).

Anyway, I was always against medication, but in going through the process and hearing my son say that he wanted help was very life changing.

My husband says "how fair is it to the child to prevent them from getting the medication that could change their life for the better just because we have a stigma against it?" My point is, your son shows a desire for help and he has been diagnosed. This is part of being the best parent you can be...putting your child's needs first. And if that means medication, then go for it. My brother had it and only took his medication on school days and it helped a ton. There are many options, good luck to you and keep us posted on your progress.

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K.K.

answers from Portland on

My 8 year old has been on meds for ADD since he was 6. He's not hyperactive, but he can sit in a chair all day long with a pen and paper in front of him and not get anything done! I had to make the decision completely by myself as my husband (hs step dad) didn't believe in any of it and his dad isn't around him all day, every day, or deals with school, chores, homework, etc. When I got the report that my son didn't even play with kids on the playground because he coudn't focus on one game long enough... he just watched other kids play, every day... and he came home from school saying "My day was bad because I didn't get my work done... I'm not as smart as the other kids.", I bawled... then called the doctor! The medication has been a life saver when it comes to his school work. His confidence has improved beyond measure... he's better in sports... more outgoing... gets about 50% more work done in class... and his homework only takes him a few minutes rather than an hour, or two.
However... there have been a few times that he has used the pills for an excuse... "I didn't do good today... because I didn't have my pill this morning." When this happens, I take the pills away for a day or two to show him that he can't rely on them as a crutch... he's expected to do his best even without them. That is the most important thing to me... I dont' want him to ever think that he has to have these pills to be a good kid, or just function.
At your son's age, you could try the pills just during school and not when he's out of school... if you can handle him ok when he's at home, it shouldn't be a problem.

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T.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi M.,

I can not say that I personally have an ADHD child so I do not know what it is like to have to deal with it. Regardless I am empathetic towards some of the difficulties I've read and heard about. I personally believe in the natural approach to things although it can take a bit more effort and time. So that would be my advice to you to try first as I do not believe our children need to take drugs.

Here are some interesting websites for you:

http://www.thomhartmann.com/home-add.shtml

http://www.mercola.com/2004/sep/18/adhd_nature.htm

http://www.mercola.com/2006/jul/4/fish_oil_treats_adhd_be...

http://www.mercola.com/2005/jan/8/strattera_liver.htm

http://drbenkim.com/articles-adhd.html

I have also heard that ADHD children do their homework more easily when you remove the surrounding noise and activity so that they can concentrate. That may help some.

Good Luck.
T.

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J.K.

answers from Portland on

both of my nephews suffer from this, and i am thinking of getting my son tested. but my sister had them put on adderrol (i think thats how its spelled) and it made a HUGE difference. they went from wild animals to civilized children. i know that ritalin zombifies children, but adderrol was different. if you do need to put him on meds, i would talk to your doctor about it. and i know there are ways of dealing with a child with adhd. my sister is now taking her kids to a therapist (thru the state mental health facility) and she says its made a world of difference on how she can relate to them and help them and how they react to things. good luck!

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E.R.

answers from Medford on

Maybe it is something in his diet. A lot of foods or additives (such as aspartame and all the variations) can cause symptoms that are very close to adhd.

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R.H.

answers from Seattle on

I understand your concerns about meds for ADHD. I have two boys who have this disorder and at first I was reluctant to do meds for them but since they have started on the meds they both done better in school and are eaiser to get along with at home. There are many kinds of new meds available today to meet your son's needs without mant of the side effects of the past.
Good luck to your and your son and be sure to communicate with the Dr and your son's teachers on how the meds work and the side effects. R.

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C.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hello, I too have a daughter that has ADHD and has been diagnosed since the 2nd grade, she is on meds and only takes it during the school yr and for special days, I have had to struggle very hard with the school system to get the help and assistance she deserves and needs! My husband and I have even gone as far as the superintendent of the county school system, she has an IEP (individual education plan) now, and it seems to help, and at home we don't yell as much since we have learned how the ADHD child perceives things, for example, if you go to clean a room, you know what needs to get done and start cleaning, when an adhd child get told to do it the child will go into the room and see a blur of things to be done, become overwhelmed and not start at all, or gets distracted very easily with various things along the way to the room and forgets what is needing to be done. Sooo, we at home give her a list of things for her to do in the bedroom, like this
strip your bed
put clean sheets on the bed
pick up your dirty clothes
arrange your shoes in the closet by pairs
hang up your jackets on hangers
put jackets in closet
etc, etc, etc,
you get the picture, I know that it seems silly but, it works and like I said, the arguing and yelling has almost stopped, not completely cause she is teenager after all, but, for the most part, getting her to do her chores and homework has become easier when we break down to just the simple steps.
hope that this helps!!!contact me anytime if you have any further questions, [email protected]____.com , good luck! C.

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M.T.

answers from Portland on

I'm not sure how I feel about ADHD and the true medical term but Michael Savage has a book called healing children naturally and I believe he touches on the subject. I would be extremely leery of medications because there is no long term knowledge of what it actually does to kids into adulthood.

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

Most of my family has this as well as my husband. I would seriously suggest medication but knowing that it can take several tries to find one that works well. My brothers didnt get medication and struggled through school, 3 not graduating. My dad has been on and off and will tell you that he finds it easier to work and follow others instructions/info with medication.
ALSO, ADHD is a learning disability and entitles you to get help from the school. You need to sit down with a counseler and the principle and do an IEP (Individual Education Plan). They get funding from the government just for learning disabilities and even though you may have to fight for your rights they HAVE to work with your son in getting him through school. While this may seem like a difficult thing to deal with, your child will have unique abilities most people dont have. My husband remembers almost everthing he reads, most of my family with ADHD has amazing computer skills (especially in programming) and higher I.Q.s. Good luck, Jen

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A.P.

answers from Portland on

Part of this question I would think depends on what you plan to do in regards to medicating or not. If you decide you want to try more natural alternatives there are a few I have heard of: The first is to supplement the child's diet with Omega 3 capsules (Fish Oil is what I have heard being used the most). The other I have heard is to provide them with something to do with one of their hands when they are doing homework (not sure about when they are listening to someone speak). Usually these items would be like a slinky, stress balls, or other squishy balls or items that can be held in their hands. It seems that diet is a good part of helping them do better, but of course is not the only contributor. I'm sure there is even more information on this on the Web, I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have known people that have chosen to medicate, and others that have not. If I were in your shoes, I would try the alternatives before medicating - they usually have less side effects. Good luck with your son, I hope you find what works best for your family :)

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D.K.

answers from Portland on

Hello I am a mom of a son who also has adhd but he does not have the hyper disruptive side. I have him taking two things that really help him that are both all nateral. Try a product called "Attend" you can search by this product name on the internet and order it from several places, it is for help with focusing!!! My son is 7 and this really helps him and the longer he is on this product the better he is doing we have been on this for 5 months, also just recently I read an article about Cod liver oil and adhd and read that alot of children with this problem have a diffency with this mineral, my son has been taking this for a month so not sure the result yet. here are some helpful links that someone from this website sent me that were very helpfull.Hi D.,
I'm a bit of a health nut as I don't believe in most of the western medicine/pharmaceutical practices after lots of research on these issues. So this will explain my response here.

Here's a link that discusses the importance of Omega 3 in our diets, if you don't already know about this: http://www.mercola.com/2001/sep/8/omega_3.htm

And another solution that you can try yourself at home from the same website: http://www.mercola.com/2006/feb/25/dealing_with_dyslexia_...

Both are worth a shot in my view.

Here's some more tips for you from other sources:

http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/learning_pr...

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dyslexia/DS00224

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S.H.

answers from Seattle on

M.,
I think if you think of this as his brain misfiring, causing chaos in his head, and the medication as a solution, a calming effect, it might be easier. I understand your misgivings but maybe if you just try, see how it effects him. You could always see another doc or stop the meds. His wellbeing, and balance should be top priority.

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D.D.

answers from Seattle on

This is a very complex problem that is often caused by the Mind/body connection not being completely completed for some reason. The Hogar Raphael Orphage in Guatemala did a lot of work with this with an agency in Florida that had kids bouncing on balls and at the same time reciting their alphabet or poems. Just doing mind-body connection exercises but unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the agency they worked with in Florida. If you are interested, shoot me a note, and I will attempt to get the information. The BAD thing about medications is frequently as the children become older they get used to medication influences upon the brain, and become drug addicts (Teens and 20s). This is very well explained in how addiction works in the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, of all places. Also, check out diet. In the 70s they PROVED that color additives, and sugar really revved up the kids. But now with big business supressing a lot of dietary information, including that breakfast cereals that stay crunchy are kept that way with carcinogens (that caused riots in Europe) and never even made the news here. This type knowledge is somehow mysteriously "forgotten" by everyone including MDs. Sometimes dietary allergies can do that as well. It's my personal experience that MDs NEVER test for food allergies. You could by DYING from food allergies and they'll never test you. It's not a difficult thing to do. Go to a Naturopath (which I would do first, anyway) and have a test done. It's worth it to attempt to find the non-medical solution first before trying medication. My son had ADD but we did a lot of physical activity which helped mitigate it, and I was always careful about diet. Try about 4 days no white bread, white flour, or sugar and see what happens. That probably means NO school lunches. They are FULL of high fat, white flour and sugar. If there's no change, then drop milk for 4 days and see what happens.

Good luck. I know this is a serious problem for a lot of kids.

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L.B.

answers from Seattle on

get your son assessed! make appt with primary dr and get that dr to refer you a psych dr who does adhd asssesments. I did for my 10 year old, after listening to who teachers and reading teacher, i felt i had nothing to lose and every thing to gain turns out that he indeed has a learning disorder and he is labeled non-attentive, he's not the child who is bouncing off walls and disrupting the class room, he's the quiet one who just looks around and every in the class, his mind wonders. Today jonathan is on Focalin twice a day, he feels better about himself at school it doesnt seem to be as hard to finish homework, which makes a better relationship with my kid and me!

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L.A.

answers from Eugene on

Before you give your child any drugs for this please watch this video from Dom Deluise. He has a wonderful alternative that is NOT drugs.
http://www.brainretrain.org/

Hope this helps!

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