My 10 Yr Daughter Just Got Diagnosed with ADD....I'm Crushed!!!!

Updated on April 26, 2013
C.B. asks from Albuquerque, NM
31 answers

Her Dr wants to put her on Ritalin but I don't really feel comfortable putting her on meds at such a young age. She just has problems focusing at school...shes not hyper at all.
Does anyone have any advice on what type of "Non-Meds" to use to help her?
Your help is greatly appreciated!!!!

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answers from Grand Forks on

I've known more than one mom who swear that caffeine works. Most ADD meds are stimulants, caffeine is just a milder stimulant.

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answers from Washington DC on

You're crushed!!?? Over what?

So your daughter has been diagnosed. Okay. You've known this or you wouldn't have gone through the testing, you just didn't want to hear it. Having ADD is similar but not ADHD. A diagnosis opens up many avenues in the school system and specialists.

Many kids in your area and school are dealing with this, so do not feel you are alone. Yes there are non-med options such as diet and such, but sometimes the meds are needed. It is almost the end of the school year, why not TRY the meds for 30 days and see if your daughter feels better, more in control. Don't dismiss them so quickly. Then, when school is over, if you decide as a family to take a break or take less of a dose over the summer, that is up to you.

If you had a sprained foot, would you not take pain medicine to 'take the edge off'?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Don't be crushed! Be happy you have found out that your daughter's brain works a little differently and you now are able to start exploring ways to help her be as successful as she can be! Did you know that people with ADHD are wayyyy more likely to be CEOs of major corporations than those without ADHD? Einstein, Sir Richard Branson, Wil Smith, the CEO of Jet Blue- yep all ADHD! Please understand that ADHD is a nuerological condition and diet alone can't "fix" it. My daughter is in third grade and has been on meds for a year and a half. She only takes them for school, not weekends or holidays or the summer. She has gone from a depressed, failing first grader to a happy honor student third grader. She is primarily inattentive-she can't concentrate to save her life! Her first grade teacher was big on worksheets-she couldn't ever complete ANY of them during the school day. Her first day on meds, she co.posted all of them that she was aaisgned. I stood in that school hallway and cried like a baby! Her inattentiveness was masking her true abilities and a low dose of meds has really allowed her to shine. You can ty other things, but if you decide to try meds and they don't work as you'd like, you can always just stop them!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

Please don't be crushed. Look at it as being proactive in the parenting of your child and finding what will help her through this diagnosis and then succeeding in school! She will be fine! My friend has an 11 year old with ADD, and he is on meds and makes straight A's in school. He's been on it for 2 years, and prior to that he was failing most subjects. Good luck and don't let it get you down.

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answers from Sacramento on

Please, get informed right away. Don't use general message boards like this for advice because you're just not going to get reliable information.

ADHD-inattentive type is a serious brain disorder, even without the hyperactivity. Don't try to treat this condition on your own with products not even reviewed by the FDA. So many are scams and just don't work with brain disorders. Diet and vitamins have been shown not to work time and time again in the scientific studies. Omega 3s have shown some early promise in helping with focus, but we didn't see any change with our son.

The reason the doctor is suggesting Ritalin is because medication has such an excellent track record in helping people with this condition. It completely turned around things for our son. He made honor roll twice this year, which would be impossible without his long-acting Ritalin called Concerta. Your doctor is playing it safe in recommending the plain old Ritalin to start off, since it's very short acting. Keep in mind, too, that if you hate stimulants on day one, just pull your child off of them. They're out of the system by the end of the day; even sooner with short-acting.

I urge you to join CHADD and subscribe to ADDitude magazine right away, so you can access reliable information on treatment options and managing everyday life with this condition.

Again, stay away from mainstream boards like this one when it comes to finding the right treatment. Your best bet for advice are ADHD-specific boards and more importantly, the medical experts who deal with this condition day in and day out.

ETA: ADD is the old terminology for ADHD-inattentive type. It hasn't been used for a while. If the doctor said ADD, I'd advise a second opinion because the person isn't that knowledgeable about the condition (and isn't a specialist, like a psychiatrist or neuropsychologist).

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answers from Columbus on

Don't be crushed -- my daughter was "diagnosed" at age 10, too -- just mild inattentive add, no hyperactivity. We have had great success with fish oil and had her tested for food allergies and sensitivities -- she has a sensitivity to wheat and an allergy to milk and eggs. Find a doctor in your area that will take a holistic approach. Also, a lot of what doctors write off as add is actually learning style differences and highly associated with giftedness. There is a book called The Edison Trait (or something like that) that goes into a lot of detail about it. I did not agree to meds and I would if nothing else worked, but the fact is -- a lot of other things should be tried first. Search mamapedia for add/adhd and gluten free or natural and you'll find this topic has been discussed a ton here.

ETA: by the way, the holistic doctor we worked with told us that 80% of add/adhd cases are not truly add or adhd but rather related to diet, learning styles, behavior, etc.

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answers from Toledo on

Have you ever watched the show Parenthood? In the first season, one if the couples find out their son has Aspergers. Not sure how old he was at the time, 10 maybe? They struggle with coming to terms with what this means for him, for their family, etc. They try to talk to there older daughter about this, and she seems very surprised by their concern. She reminds them that he's always been this way and talks about how they could never light candles at birthday parties and gives a few other examples. Basically, she helps them to realize that their son has always been this way. They've always worked things around him. It's just that now there's a doctor giving them an official diagnosis.

My point is this. Your daughter has always had ADD. This is not really news to you, you're just able to give it a name. It doesn't really change anything expect give you more information. You have something to call it. You can seek out advise more easily. Not knowing, now that would be very difficult.

There have been many, many claims over the last 10 years (or so?) that ADD and ADHD are being over diagnosed and kids are being put on meds and oh that's so terrible. Well, incoorectly diagnosing is bad and giving kids meds that don't need meds is bad, but correct diagnosing is great (and in fact, very crucial to helping a child) and giving meds can be very, very helpful for a child if it's the right meds.

Right now, you are still processing the news. It feels like terrible news to you. Hopefully in a few days you will come to terms with it and realize that it's not really news at all. You've really suspected this for quite some time. At that point you might be ready to say, "Ok, where do we go from here." It's possible that you are correct that your daughter doesn't need the meds. But I would hesitate to rule it out entirely. Most kids who take Ritalin function much better and have much happier lives.

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answers from New York on

First - take a deep breath. ADD is not horrible. There are some hugely successful people - incredibly bright and awesome who have ADD or ADHD. Kids dont' have to be hype to struggle with attention problems. My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. He's very bright but has a tough time sitting still and learning in a classroom - especially in subject matter that doesn't interest him. it's like torture. He's now 13 and has grown out of the hyperactive element of it and has realized that the medicine helps him focus and get through things like standardized tests and English projects. My 16 yr old niece has never had the hyperactive part of it an dis generally this quiet kid. She's a genius when it comes to writing. She excels in English but struggles with Math.

Many captains of industry, corporate CEOs and famous people work around ADD or ADHD. When my son was diagnosed I cried. I susptected that the medicine wouldn't work so I didn't tell his teacher - I wanted to see fi tere would really be a difference. His teacher came to me about a week after he began, to tell me that he had been excelling in school and he was "getting" the new concepts and helping other kids, etc. That was when i told her he had begun taking medicine.

My son was on the lowest dose of Ritalin LA for a long time. We changed to Focalin after trying 2 others. My goal was to find a medicine ethat would get him through the school day but not affect his sleep. This lasts 7 hours and get him through his homework.

Don't think about medication as a bad thing. Consider that his brain doesn't make the proper amount of hormone to help him concentrate and the medicine does that. It's not different from people with thyroid imbalance taking thyroid replacement medicaiton.

There's a great booko called the gift of ADD (or ADHD?) and it really explains the condition, the negatives and the positives (they tend to be more creative thinkers, problem solvers, inventors, leaders, etc.) and how to help your child channel her "problem" into an advantage.

But to answer yoru real question - there's the fiengold diet - which essentially eliminates artificial color and flavoring and preservatives from your diet. I do think many kids benefit from removing this stuff from their diets. But - it doesn't effectively treat ADD to the point where it helps your kid all that much.

If you need encouragement or feel overwhelmed send me a private message and I'll give you a pep talk and help answer questions. Do not allow your pre-concieved ideas about ADD color your decision about the medication question. If your child was a diabetic would you question whether or not a sugar free diet and insulin was a good idea?

I am concvinced that my son's ADD comes through my family line and I cannot maintain a train of thought for anything and never could.

Goo dluck mama - this is not a disaster. This is figuring out how to help your child the best way possible.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

ADD is not that big of a deal, please don't be "crushed" nor let your daughter know that you are "crushed." I was diagnosed with ADD a few years ago. They tried to put me on some kind of medication, and it was terrible for me. I've also seen children within my family treated with meds and become completely different/stoic and zombie like. So, meds in our family are a no go. I've been able to treat my and my sons ADD by diet and with fish oil and Suntheanine.
Please feel free to message me if you have any questions or need support. I commend you for trying to take an alternate route of treatment, educating yourself rather then medicating your child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

You are crushed? Cheese and crackers!! Most people I know wish they were me and all of that is ADHD!

Yeah it makes me so sad that all my kids are really really smart! :(

Sorry it is one of those logic errors I will never understand.

Meds are the only thing that changes the chemical make up of your brain so that you can function like a "normal" person.

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answers from Chicago on

What kind of doctor diagnosed her? A general pediatrician or family practictioner? Or a specialist like a pediatric neurologist, psychiatrist, or neuropsychologist? If it was just a general practicioner, I would seek out the opinion of a specialist before starting on a treatment regime of any kind.

My 6 yr old was recently diagnosed with ADHD by 2 independent specialists. His 2 general practicioners also suspected it, as did I since he was about 3 yrs old. Believe me, it is NOT easy to handle having your child diagnosed with any ailment, especially one that is so controversial. Please don't feel crushed. It is not the end of the world.

My son did recently start medication, although my husband was adamantly opposed to it for many months when I was talking about taking my son for an evaluation. After seeing my son on the medication he is now totally on board with it. My son is finally able to focus at school and at home. On Sunday he did a 2 hour project with me at our kitchen table, and then went right to working on a 45 minute school project after that. 1 month ago (before meds) he would not have been able to sit for more than about 5 minutes before needing to switch tasks. The other kids in his class have noticed an improvement, and even parent volunteers who work with the kids on various projects have remarked at how well he is doing. (They have no idea he has a diagnosis of any kind, but notice he's much more productive at school.)

My son is on a stimulant patch called Daytrana, 10 mg (the lowest dosage). His only side effects so far are a slightly decreased appetite, and some facial itching.

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answers from Knoxville on

She wouldnt be labled ADD if she were hyper. It would be ADHD. I just had a conversation with my DDs pre k teacher yesterday. She suspects that my DD is showing signs of ADHD. I know that it has you upset, but really it isn't so bad.
I would look into alternate treatments such as diets and eliminating some things completely. ADD is not a death sentence. People with ADD and ADHD are above average intelligence.
My suspicitions are that I am ADD, but never diagnosed as such. I am definately NOT ADHD. I am too sedentary and prone to day dreaming. I have a hard time paying attention for any length of time and it causes problems with my job. (I am a teacher!)
I would MUCH rather have a diagnosis for my DD than to just say,"Oh, she is just full of energy". I know that kids with ADD/ADHD have trouble with focusing and saying focused among other things. I will be getting my kiddo help so that she doesn't feel like she is always in trouble because she cant control her energy level/constant movement. I would have loved to know why I always got in trouble for daydreaming in school instead of doing my work. I tried. I really did. The only thing that got me through was my brains. I passed the tests with great scores. It sure saved me from failing because I never did anything else. I will work for my DD to be successful no matter what the final diagnosis is.

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answers from Tampa on

Well it could be son is diagnosed as bipolar,ADHD, OCD and anxiety...I have done a cocktail of vitamins with my son, had no luck but if your against medicating a medical issue might as well try it. It's zinc, b complex, ginkgo, fish oils, and ginsing. Good luck

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answers from Washington DC on

Here's my take - yes, many kids are on ritalin who do not need to be (I read an article where the family had 2 kids on it so they gave it to the 3rd just because). However, I have also seen where a kid really needed the medication and his father's refusal to even try made a mess out of the kid. I didn't think the kid would make it out of middle school, let alone graduate. And in my own family, one of my nephews resisted the label of ADHD. And self medicated with drugs and alcohol. And finally as an adult got it all straightened out, but not til he'd dropped out of HS and had to backtrack his education.

So take a bit of time to go over the evaluation. Make sure that it's not just her pediatrician who is suggesting the medication and that she has all the resources she needs to be successful. And if she truly does need it, or something else, please reconsider your stance.

FWIW, ADD is layman's shorthand for "ADHD, inattentive type".

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answers from Detroit on

since we are so close to the end of the schoolyear... I might try behavior modification.. diet changes... positive reinforcement... see if you can get an appointment with a psychologist and maybe they have some suggestions..

if none of those things work.. and she still cant focus in school and her learning and grades are suffering..

I think you should TRY medication. it is only a trial. Try if for a reasonalble amount of time.. perhaps a month.. folks think that if you put her on drugs she will take them forever.. but that is not necessarily the case. as she grows and matures.. she might grow out of ADD. What if you put her on the Ritalin she was happier and enjoyed school and did better work. ??

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answers from Boston on

Make sure you agree with the diagnosis. Have a second opinion. My daughter has dyslexia and the school thought she had ADD since she stared out the window a lot. Turns out she was bored to death since some parts were too easy for her and there other things (writing/spelling/getting details out of texts) she simply could not do at all. When her teacher suggested ADD we did not agree and had not only the pediatrician but a neuropsych test her for learning style and got our suspician of dyslexia confirmed.
However, if she truly does have ADD you now have a path to follow that can lead to help for her. There are newer and better drugs ofr ADD that are longer acting and therefor do not have the fast come-down that Ritalin has, and only have to be taken once a day. Ritalin is the oldest and best known, but only works a few hours.
But I understand what you mean feeling crushed - I was very sad when we found out our daughter had dyslexia although now 4 years (and a LOT of resistance from the school district) later, she is in a much better place for learning, knows her own strengths and weaknesses, and can self advocate and speak up about her issues.
So give yourself time to confirm the diagnosis, time to accept it if correct, and forge a plan of action that works for you child, with or without meds.

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answers from Fresno on

there is nothing wrong with that! Don't be crushed. Just work with her everyday, and find things that she likes to help her with hw, and ect. My sisters son is on Ritalin, but he has a high case of ADD, and it does help him a lot. But if you feel your child does not need meds, don't put her on any. When I would help him with homework, for math, I would use gum balls, and he thought it was so cool, to learn with candy, and he got an A on his test that week.

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answers from Victoria on

Why dont you try getting a second opnion. I am very against Ritalin mostly due to my outgoing cousin being put on it in elementary school and its like someone pulled a plug on him. He is in college now but so idk sad? robotic?

Try a few things like change in diet, eating very healthy foods. Eating well not any junk even juice can be a cause for learning disablities. Read into it. I have learning disablities and have discovered over the years that perhaps if I had not eaten so much processed foods my brain could function better.

Also try putting her to bed sooner getting more sleep can also help focus. I will be the first to say medication is the last resort that I use. I find when I take meds I am worse off. Search all natural medications for ADD see what you can find.

These small changes in diet and extra sleep might help her termendously. I am not suggesting your not taking care of her or making her eat potatoe chips and keeping her up till midnight. Just trying to suggest if she goes to bed at 9 try 8 or 8:30 it might mean the difference in her learning or focus

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answers from San Francisco on


Do some on line research on your own and consider getting a second and third opinion before putting your child on medication. There is a lot of work you and dad can do one on one with your child.

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answers from Dallas on

There are several things you can try. With my son for a while we used fish oil. That helped but you use larger doses than the bottle calls for. You can also use caffine. We do that now. We give him either Mountain Dew or Coffee. Ritalin is a stimulant. Cafine is one too it's just not as bad for your system. What ever you decide to do I am sure everything will work out just fine.

Does she do any activities? My son had major focus issues till he started gymnastics and he started at two days a week now it's three and it has tought him to focus so much. It's helped his grades and behavior.

Good Luck!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Try for an iep both my children have ADD. It's not that big of a deal tons of kids have it. It's ok to put your child on medication my daughters been on medication silence the third grade for OCD but there are side effects. Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

Talk to your doctor about easing into treatment. There may be other options or low does options. Try and find an ADD support resource in your community. Good luck!

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answers from Boston on

First of all, Why are you crushed???
Why don't you embrace her positives and differences and help her learn to compensate for the things that are difficult for her.
People with ADD and ADHD are often very creative and think outside the box. If you don't want to put her on medication then get a 504 plan at school so that they can accommodate her needs, develope strategies at home that will help her become successful and don 't forget ADD or ADHD is not an excuse not to do well, it just means that she has to learn in a different way - keep it interesting - they have trouble focusing because when bored their mind wanders and they think of a million things at a speed faster than people without ADD or ADHD.

Kids with ADD and ADHD do best with positive reinforcement and a feeling of success, they do poorly with negativity and punishment.

Learn everything about ADD and ADHD and celebrate your daughter, look at all the successful people who have it! That is the best thing that you can do.

If in the future you feel that medication is worth a try, then go ahead and try it, you can always stop.

Don't make your daughter feel less than because she has ADD. She is not and in my opinion in many ways she is much more to offer than someone who always thinks inside the box!



answers from Phoenix on

I'd try visiting a naturopathic pediatrician. S/he might be able to recommend a less invasive course of treatment in the beginning.


answers from Hartford on

Crushed? Isn't that a little melodramatic? Try to think of this as having discovered why your daughter has inattention and focus problems, and I suspect disorganization and forgetfulness issues as well. You now have a name to put to the group of problems that you and her teachers have with her in school and at home, and that means that you can find ways to help her.

One of my daughters has ADD paired with her Autism, ODD, LD, and other related issues. One of my other daughters has ADHD and ODD. Both have Sensory Processing Disorder.

I was very, very hesitant about putting either of them on medication. I was adamantly against it, in fact. Ever since my autistic daughter was a toddler we've used the Feingold Diet to help modify behavior by removing harmful additives/ingredients in processed foods and cooking more real food... fresh food... no HFCS or artificial food dyes or palm oil or ingredients that can't be pronounced. The fewer ingredients in something store bought, the better. The more homemade, the better. The less foods they're sensitive and allergic to, the better.

We're very strict and routine oriented. We do allow natural consequences, but when it makes sense and is appropriate we do follow through with discipline and punishments. Our goal is to help our children make the best choices possible, and lead by example.

However, after they get their therapies and interventions and services at school and home and with their specialists, we still have what's left with the ADHD, ODD, ADD, Autism, and the rest of the alphabet soup. And when what's left is disruptive to others at school and in all areas of their lives... when what's left is making the girls themselves miserable, and making their social lives painful and difficult to manage... when what's left is making life harder than it should be and not a childhood... that's when I had to consider medication.

My girls are on the lowest doses for their age, weight, and height. Their doses are effective. My eldest daughter has the ADHD and ODD, and it's such a positive change when she's on the medication (Concerta) that I almost regret not putting her on it sooner than I did. She's HAPPIER on it. She thanked me for putting her on it. She does better in school. She's happier in school and at home. She feels better about herself. She's the same child, she's just more confident and receptive and focused. She feels more stabilized.

My autistic daughter is actually able to sit and focus on her school work. Her Intuniv helps her focus in conjunction with her seizure meds, which help her keep from getting migraines and also help with some of her mood swings. It's been very stabilizing for her too.

That said... talk to your daughter. Allow her to weigh in on the decision and choice. My daughters take part in their appointments as much as they're capable at 10 (and autistic) and 12 (and feeling like an adult) as possible.



answers from Chicago on

Gosh, I do not have time today, but if you do, search my responses, I written tons on ADHD, ADD, my son has it.
No reason to be crushed, she is special, that is all, think of her as extra talented and misunderstood. She does not focus because she has no interest in the activity. That is the main challenge to learn to focus on what they do not like for now, hopefully, when they grow they can focus on what they like to do :) Relax, take a deep breath, no one died, no one is injured, everything is just like the day before, only you learned a new thing, use it to help you not to hinder your progress. Good luck.



answers from Las Vegas on

Check out DrDavidStein.Com << I just saw him on t.v. last night discussing how medicating is NOT the answer...he has some books out as well (for which I haven't read) but thought I would share the info with you since you are asking about a non-med approach, which seems to be Dr. Stein's approach as well..

good luck



answers from New York on

I am just curious. How has she gotten along in school all these years. Has she been failing? I would consider another opinion.


answers from Rockford on

OK, hyper or not hyper does not mean ADD...ADD is attention deficit...the "hyper" is something different that some kids w/ ADD have...which can sometimes be classified as ADHD. (and sometimes they are all lumped into the same category.)

That being said, if you are truly wanting to try alternative methods of treatment, talk to a will learn SO much! And yes, caffeine is said to help. Ours told us when our son seemed to need a lil "extra help" that a caffeinated pop might help.

We do medicate our son...he was failing and felt this was his only option...he went on to be on honor roll!

Now, 5 yrs later, he has grown tremendously and also outgrown the meds he was taking, so this year has been rough, as we had to try different meds and different doses.

I won't lie, I'm not fond of having to medicate my child. He does have some of the side effects (trouble falling asleep, loss of appetite) but I think we finally found the right one, so he seems to be doing ok. He even knows when he doesn't take his meds and has trouble staying focused (he does not have the "hyper" just the trouble focusing!)

Good luck and don't feel are helping your child! She'll be ok!



answers from Chicago on

I didn't read the other answers so I'm sorry if I repeat what others have said. Don't be crushed- you have a diagnosis so now you can access to additional supports for your daughter. My daughter fits the criteria for ADD as well but we're in limbo while we're waiting for the appointment to have her evaluated by professionals (I'm studying psych so while I'm not a professional I've had a lot of education on ADD). In the meantime she is falling behind in school and we can't get any help from the school until they have a diagnosis and can do an IEP. It's really frustrating because the school and her teacher are viewing it as her being lazy (her teacher has actually said to me and my kid that she's being lazy and just needs to work harder which is not the case).
I would get another opinion and actually I would probably be a little leery of a doctor who's first solution is medication. There are other things you can try first such as behavior modification and diet changes before drugs. There are also holistic treatments that have been known to work. My younger brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a pre teen and was on medication for a while. He became a vegetarian when he was about 16 and a vegan a few years later. The change was amazing. He no longer needed meds and has managed it for years with a vegan diet. So other things do work.
Good luck and please don't let your daughter know you are upset about her diagnosis. It will just make her upset and embarrassed.
I hope you find a solution that works for her. Hugs.



answers from Phoenix on

I agree, don't be crushed. We all want the best for our kids. ADD isn't a big deal. Like you, it took my husband and I some time to get used to my son's diagnosis of ADHD (at age 9). He was also diagnosed with dyslexia so it was a double whammy. We got past the initial range of emotions and took action to help my son be the best he could be. At first we didn't want to do medication but after researching, we decided it was the best for our family. He started with adderal xr and currently vyvanse. Both worked great, one is just cheaper for us. After the meds we saw a positive change right away and it's been a year and a half and he's thriving. I have a hard time focusing at work sometimes and it's exhausting. I couldn't imagine my son having to go through that every day all day at school. Just research your options and do what's best for your family. Go with your gut.

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