Feeling like We've Hit a Wall in Our ADHD World

Updated on November 24, 2009
L.P. asks from Jacksonville, FL
26 answers

My son just turned 9 and was diagnosed with ADHD 3 years ago. Our wonderful pediatrician has been closely monitoring him and we have adjusted his meds accordingly. She has been helpful in giving other ideas in addition to the medication to help him focus and stay on task and organized.
His ADHD "behaviors" include little to no ability to retain information on the spot, extremely impulsive, unable to follow multi-step tasks, and hyper emotional.
With 3rd grade being the "FCAT" year...I am a little nervous. I started meeting with his teacher at the beginning of the year and here we are half way into the second nine weeks and I feel like I've gotten no where and my child's grades are suffering.
He wants to draw all day or play outside...trying to get him to do 7 vocabulary words with a dictionary takes an hour and his brain seems overwhelmed with all of the words.
I asked his pedi last month about changing the medicine because I felt like he was at a plateau and she wanted to try 5 more mg for a month and see if that helps. Well, he's actually gotten worse.
He knows what he's supposed to do but being in the right environment changes the outcome.
We're due to follow up in a week or so and I wanted to hear from others who have gone through so I can think through the suggestions and take them to her.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

It's been a couple weeks since my request. I've met with the teacher and spoken with the counselor again as well as had a visit with the pediatrician.
I'm looking into a gluten-less (not free) diet as well as seeking a referral to a local center that deals with all types of behavorial issues to have him evaluated for behavior accomodations/modifications. We lowered his meds a little and are also coming up with new charts to kick off the New Year.

I really really appreciate everyone's responses because it definitely got me thinking & opened up some other avenues!

Featured Answers

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J.J.

answers from Orlando on

Well, you hit the nail on the head about the meds They probably do need to be changed, but I would look into having him evaluated by a psychiatrist. My son has to go to the psychiatrist because his pediatrician wasn't compfortable with monitoring his meds. I don't know where you live, but Dr. Tebold in Sanford specializes in these kids. You also need to speak to the school about getting him into a 504 plan. this allows him unlimited time on the FCAT, invaluable for my son. He also has a IEP, individual eduaction plan, that allows for him to have extra time on assignments, makes special allowances depending on his tough areas. Make the school work with you,. Cal them everyday following up. The school will elt him fall through the cracs unless you push it.

1 mom found this helpful
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B.R.

answers from Tampa on

If Tampa is not too far for you, there is an ADHD specialist affiliated with St. Joe's - Dr. Eric Tridas. He may also have a part time office in St. Pete.

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E.P.

answers from Boca Raton on

I'm studying holistic and alternative ways to treat children. I'm planning on going to a seminar next week about ADD & ADHD. You are welcome to join me. This is the link that tells about it. http://www.meetup.com/The-Soma-Center-in-Lake-Worth-FL/ca...

Have you had him muscle tested for allergies? This is the leading cause of the symptoms of ADD & ADHD. I have tons of information and I work closely with a woman who has helped children before with this with simply finding what they are lacking in there diet. my email is [email protected]____.com. contact me.

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L.A.

answers from Reno on

I wanted to write a long post in response, but instead I offer my email
[email protected]____.com
I have 9 years experience as a special ed teacher working primarily with ADHD kids and I also have ADD myself. I would happily work up a plan for you to take to your sons teacher with some practical tips for the teacher as well as possible accomodations andother things you can do to minimize difficulties.
Hang in there. It isn't the easiest thing to deal with a child with ADHD, but I can tell you it'll get better and there's plenty of hope that your child will be successful and have a great academic career.

2 moms found this helpful
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M.F.

answers from Sarasota on

Request that your son be considered for a 504 plan. You will need a diagnosis from a doctor. If his ADHD is affecting his academic performance there shouldn't be a problem, but this will be decided as a team (with you as part of the team). Some accomodations are extended time, frequent breaks, verbal encouragement, and small group setting - depending on individual need. You do need to start this process now by making a formal request so that it is complete before the FCAT. This will allow accomodations both in class and on the state test. Should he need more support the school would need to do interventions and discuss his needs as a team again before doing any testing. Ask his teacher if she is already doing interventions.
As an aside, my nephew and another child I knew both had amazing success on the medication Vyvanse. While each child is different, it might be one worth asking your pediatrician about.
One more idea - visit www.ldonline.com (web site on both learning disabilities and ADHD) This site has great information for parents and teachers.
Best of luck helping your child to find success.
M.

1 mom found this helpful
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E.W.

answers from Tampa on

Try the 504 plan first. Talk with your Guidance Counselor about accommadations for your son. Make sure you bring a doctor diagnosis.....YOU know your child, think about what HE needs and try to make it as specific to him as you can. I am a Special Education teacher and I highly recommend the 504 action first. An IEP comes with a label. BUT if your child is struggling with academics he may qualify for the IEP. The IEP will give him extra help with a Special Education teacher. I hope this helps. Remember he is still just a child, he just needs A LOT of patient people around him. :) GOOD LUCK.

1 mom found this helpful
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R.L.

answers from Tampa on

Good morning!
Well I am not in the same boat as you, but I do know when my now 16 year old daughter was at the ripe old age of 5 her kindergarten teacher told me that she had ADHD now a teacher as I am sure you know can not diagnose so I did some research and could not confirm that she was even partially ADHD. Anyways I found alot of the medication that the doctors prescribe can have negative long term effects. I did alot of praying and helped her the only way I knew how through school. At the age of 13 we had her tested for some other reasons by a psycologist who told us that doing more then 1 thing at a time does and will confuse her. Meaning that if she is doing her homework she will have a hard time retaining the information if the Tv is also on. If there a conversation going on in the background. You know what I am saying. At any rate God guides our lives as a family and what is in his will is what happens Amen! I started home schooling both of my kids 2 years ago and they learn at a faster rate now then I ever thought possible. I also changed all the toxic products in my home as ALL of the cleaners that are out there have toxic products in them and cause Very negative effects. Anyhow if your interested in finding out what I did about the products in our home, I am happy to help! Please know that I am not a sales person just trying to show people there is a different healthier way to live. You will be in our prayers for many blessing! My contact email is [email protected]____.com

1 mom found this helpful
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S.S.

answers from Miami on

Your child's brain and body are disconnected. Read a great book by Dr. Robert Melillo called Disconnected Kids. He probably has one hemisphere of the brain that is much higher than the other and the messages can't go reom each side efficiently. That is what ADHD IS. Not sure where you live but if it's Dade or Broward I have home programs that I can set up for him.

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B.K.

answers from Tallahassee on

Here are some ideas your doc may be unfamiliar with:
1. Try changing his diet. There's a lot of information out there about the effect that refined sugar, wheat, dairy, preservatives, food dyes have on kids with that spectrum of disorders. Do not discount the effect of diet on a person, especially a growing person.
2. There is a very light form of massage therapy called Cranio-sacral Therapy. It works, with gentle touch, on causing the body's connective tissue to loosen up in places it may be constricting. There is a lot of focus on constrictions affecting the central nervous system. It can help with ADHD. I'd call around and ask massage therapists and massage schools who the best Cranio-sacral Therapist in your area is. Explain why you need them, and these folks would direct you to their local expert. for instance, I'm in Tallahassee and could give you a few names here.
3. Look for a homeopathic doctor. There are a lot of homeopathic remedies that could help your son. Homeopathy has no side effects. Look in your phone book to see if you have a practitioner in your area. Also ask health food store employees, massage therapists, acupuncturists if they know a homeopathic doctor.
I don't have a child with ADHD but because of my involvement with natural health care I do know of these alternatives you can try. Good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Miami on

L P,

I found a wonderful child psychologist that specializes in kids with ADD/ADHD. Last year he was test and it was determined that he was ADHD, well last week they re-evaluated him and discovered that the ADHD due to the treatment of NeuroFeedBack has corrected itself or may not have been there. Now I am not saying that this works for every child. However, this may be something that you might want to look into for your son. See if you can't take him to someone who specializes in this and not just to the pediatrician. Sometimes medications can make the child worse.

What I can tell you about the treatment with my son so far is that he is no longer having as much trouble concentrating at school work. He is still a bit impulsive but alot of that is behavioral. The doctor that I am seeing is working with me on how to manage all of this.

I wish you the best of luck.

S.
36 y/o SAHM of 3 boys
15, 7 and 4

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H.J.

answers from Tampa on

Our situations are seemingly parallel! My children are also 9 and 2 both boys and my son also has ADHD symptoms. My question is have you ever have him dx with a pediatric developmental specialist? It made a world of difference for us and for how our kiddo was treated. for instance they found that his anxiety was off the charts so they are treating him for that first. That dramatically reduces symptoms and so does a really good OT. If your son doesnt qualify for school based OT I strongly suggest you get a scrip from your ped for it. I can't even explain to you how much it has helped my child. If you want to email me offline I would be happy to share more.

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K.M.

answers from Tampa on

Food food food- go to Fiengold diet, and then to WestonPrice.com- You are so right- the drugs don't help, and what- to be on them the rest of his life??
Food, really- we have seen this make a huge difference.
best, k

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L.H.

answers from Miami on

Get adhd documented by medical doctor and have medical doctor write a full report stating how his adhd hinders his learning and what he needs in the school setting to aid him w/ his adhd- be SPECIFIC- unlimited time on tests, taking tests in small group, taking tests w/ frequent breaks, etc etc

he can get an IEP or 504 plan from MEDICAL REASONS.
get this done NOW and bring full medical report to the Assistant Principal and TELL that your son needs an IEP and/or 504 plan

good luck!

M.F.

answers from Tallahassee on

LP - I think we are twins. My son is now 10 and has severe ADHD. I have been battling with this since he was in Pre-K. Nobody would diagnose a child so young but his behavior has been the same ALL through school. He actually failed 3rd grade during the CRTC. He went to summer school and re-tested and scored above average! I know my son has a good brain buried in all the fog. The comment Elizabeth made is VERY important. I tried to implement it for my son last year and the school were dragging their feet and he missed the chance before CRTC. They get help with the CRTC, usually an adult will read the questions to them, then they mark the correct answer. Less people to distract them, longer time to complete it. I know my son will do better this year now he is covered by the 504. He has had an IEP for speech (forever) anyway. In my son's experience the fish oil did NOTHING for him. He is on a restricted sugar diet when I can control it - that is a big issue because at school he gobbles down as much sugar junk as he can - he also steals food at home (sugary anything) even powdered juice packets!!! It is crazy. He just won't stop.

He is on Concerta for now, NOTHING has worked long term for him so far, he has tried it ALL. We have changed dr's to see if some one else has the key. Still searching for an answer here too.

I know it is tiring, but you need to find out what method of learning style works for him. My son has periferal hearing. His short term memory is that of a gnat. Routine, Routine, Routine and lists is what we use. Keep reminding him every day, ask him to repeat the "rule" etc back to you.
Please feel free to e-mail me, I am in the same situation and I am a good listener to sound off of.

Regards
M. F

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V.A.

answers from Tallahassee on

Hi LP
"ADHD" runs in my family, and most of the people who have it are on medication for it. I don't believe in it. As I started having children, I was also studying about "God's Health Plan", which is all the foods found naturally in nature, trying to eat them as much as possible in their natural state. Elimating Fried fruits, Refined foods, ESPECIALLY sugar, listed as High Fructose Corn Syrup, eliminating as much meat as possible or all together, and eating substitutes. You can make a "meatloaf" out of walnuts and sunflower seeds that is super yummy! Eating whole foods, grains, bean, rice, lentils. These are packed with protein and don't leave you hungry. Drinking lots of water or 100% juice only, no sodas, sport drinks, or koolaid.
We didn't practice any of this at the time and neither did any of my family that has ADHD, and low and behold when my 2nd child was born, when she was old enough to start telling me what she wanted and walking around, she was already starting to show signs of "ADHD" and I refused to give her medicine. She couldn't sit still for 2 seconds, she couldn't look you in the eye, she couldn't follow simple instructions, and forget storytime, and coloring, she just couldn't do it, and it just got worse as she got older. By the time my 4th child was born and my second child was 3, we started eliminating all refined sugars, and I started seeing a little difference in her just by that little change. Then little by little, we eliminated red meat and eventually meat altogether, then dairy and eggs and WOW what a difference in her! She's almost 6 now and she loves to sit and listen to a story,and she comprehends ALL of it and answers the questions relating to the story and then adds more. She loves to sit and color and it's just amazing the change in her. Everyone that has known her since a baby says that she's a completely different child. She eats lots of whole foods and no processed foods and we try to make fruits and vegetables part of the main diet. And they eat a lot of rice and beans. I make my own bread, and they love macaroni and cheese made out of cashew cheese, which is basically raw cashews and water with a little salt, onion, garlic, sweet red pepper, and nutritional yeast flakes and all blended in the the blender. Super healthy and they still get to keep their favorite food. I have lots of recipes that you can use to keep their favorite foods like pizza, and hamburgers, in a more healthy, (vegan)way.
You don't have to go this far to see results. I promise though if you start changing the way he eats(if you haven't already) and eliminate the sugar first, you will see a difference.
I just wish the rest of my family would listen and try it and they would see a difference too.
If you want any recipes or want to ask me any questions or talk, please feel free to ask me!!
Take care and hope you can get your son OFF the medicine as soon as possible!
But don't just take our (the mom's and your doctor's advice), pray about it. Ask God to show you which direction you should go. He WILL show you the way.
:)
V.

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J.G.

answers from Orlando on

I have a child on Strattera. He is almost 10. He is also on the Autism spectrum. I have struggled with the medication issue, and my solution was to ease him into each dosage and keep it as low as possible. I also started giving him methyl B-12 sublingual (under tongue) tablets (WonderLabs.com) and and Omega supplement (GNC 90 day supply of Coromega). These help with calmness and focus for him. The most important thing is to see if you can arrange for your son to take his FCAT a different way. See what accomodations you can get for him, like a seperate room and a longer period of time, etc.
Good luck!

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R.S.

answers from Tampa on

Unfortunately, I don't know anything about ADHD. That being said, I have learned a great deal about food and how it reacts with your body. What you eat and how your body reacts to it. I would recommend research the internet on different foods and reactions to ADHD, and remember that each child is different. What your child reacts to may not be the same as any other. Keep a log of what he eats and when he has harder times that others. I know it is hard when they are young to monitor what they eat, but it is possible as my 9 year old son is on a gluten free low carb diet because he is diabetic. He desires to keep his blood sugars low because of what happens and it challenges him to try more foods and eat healthier foods because it is better for him. Trust in God to guide you to a more natural way of helping him. There are ways out there, but there is a lot of trial and error. I hope this helps.

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M.H.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi LP,

My youngest daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and her diagnosis has been completely removed. To be brief, I had a very difficult time just like you. We did decide not to medicate so my life was exhausting. I had a family member discuss detoxing my home and also her body to see if I was exacerbating her condition. I reluctantly tried it. At the age of seven, my daugther was not reading and was very distracted. Within 8 weeks after I removed all the chemicals from my house she was on grade level and quite calm. Now that she's fourteen she can articulate exactly how she felt then and has thanked me often for helping her.

LP, your problem may not be this simple but if you are using any chemicals purchased at Walmart or stores like that I can almost guarantee it is exacerbating the issue. Even shampoos, soaps and laundry detergent can be absorbed into the bloodstream and go straight to the brain. If you're interested, let me know and I can explain exactly what I did. It's not expensive. It has actually saved me money. I would love to help.

God bless,

M.

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M.B.

answers from Tampa on

I did not read the other posts so sorry if it is a repeat...but as far as trying to relieve some stress about FCAT- I wanted to make sure if you have not already done so w/ the schools to see a guidance counselor and get him a behavior modification plan (I forgot the exact name of the form- but they will know) and it will allow him based on his diagnosis, extra time to unlimited time to take the FCAT as well as some other possible modifications based on what he needs. It is a good thing to have on hand every year b/c it creates awareness w/ the counselors and teachers of his needs and it is evaluated and updated frequently.
Hope this helps
-Melissa...former 7th grade teacher, now stay at home mom :)

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L.C.

answers from Orlando on

Does he have an IEP? He should be allowed more time on the FCAT, frequent breaks, etc.... but he will get NONE of that without an IEP

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C.P.

answers from Miami on

Have you tried any natural approaches like changing his diet or giving him fish oil? Eliminating dairy and gluten does amazing for many children which could allow him to get off meds entirely. People generally don't understand how food affects the brain and body. If you want more information I can explain it.

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S.S.

answers from Port St. Lucie on

I remember feeling anxious when my son would go into rages, couldn't focus or read any where near the level of the other kids. I was very blessed to be in a business where I worked with people who had done lots of research on ADHD and had their own experiences as well. It was suggested I read the book "Is this your child?", bBy Dr. Doris Rapp
I put my son on a food supplement program, it was suggested I use a specific brand, and removed ALL toxic cleaners, food dyes and started cutting out the sugar in his diet. 1 month, 1 MONTH he was different child.

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C.M.

answers from Boca Raton on

Have you tried working with a good natural doctor who could help alter your son's diet? I don't have a child with ADHD, but my husband is a physician and has helped several kids with ADD and ADHD by making diet changes. Just a suggestion...

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B.C.

answers from Ocala on

has he been checked for torhetts or bipolar. maybe his diagnosis is wrong. but definitely the meds are not right for him.

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J.S.

answers from Miami on

Western medicine is pretty ignorant about dealing with ADD/ADHD traits and symptoms. I'd focus on relieving stress and balancing the energy system, working with nutrition and diet to help with biochemistry, finding an educational setting that supports the child's learning style, and other positive interventions. Using medications to force concentration is not a healthy long-term approach, it does nothing about the source of the issues and can be dependency-forming.

www.phinsights.com/adhd.html

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R.K.

answers from Orlando on

I have no practical experience, but have heard that omega-3 supplements can work wonders.
Best to you,
R.

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