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Mixed Feelings about Meds

Posted by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM
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My 6 year old was diagnosed with ADHD about 3/4 of the way through kindergarten (this past school year).  He was put on Adderall XR and we have seen great improvement academically.  We have had trouble with his behavior since he was first able to walk and talk.  Over the years, I have learned ways to deal with him at home, one on one with him.  I would get that look when we were out to eat or in a store that says "lady control your child" but I said the hell with them, this is the way my kid is.  He's always been very creative and had an amazing memory - very very smart.  In preschool, they noticed he was very active and their learning style was more open than structured so they didn't think much of it. 

When he started Kindergarten, his first teacher didn't have much to say other than we need to work with him at home on expected behavior.  Well, lady we have been doing that since he was a toddler.  Not long after school started, his teacher transferred to another school and her replacement seemed to think Aiden was a troublemaker i guess.  His school works on a stoplight pattern for behavior (green = good, yellow = bad day, red = phone call).  He would come home every single day with yellow because he wouldn't sit in his seat, or be quiet in the halls or in the library, or he would try to play with other students at inappropriate times.  We were called in to conference with her a few times because he was really falling behind due to his lack of focus and impulse issues.  I have always been against medicating a child so young but after talking with his doctor and counselors, we agreed to try it out.  They prescribed Concerta at first but we couldn't get him to take a pill - shocker - so they switched him to Adderall.  I have seen great improvement in his school work and the only side effect we have seen is some trouble sleeping.  He no longer runs through a store grabbing everything, he doesn't just blurt out everything that comes to mind, his teacher said he actually sits in his seat for class now.  His fidgityness was so bad, they were letting him stand beside his desk in order to get some work done.  He has made a great improvement with the medication. 

With all that being said, I still wonder if it is the best thing for him.  I don't like the idea of him being on medication but in today's society, he is labeled a trouble maker, stupid, or poorly raised because he doesn't fit the mold of what a kid his age "should" be like.  As far as academics go, teachers are too busy now days to really work with children.  They have to stick with a plan in order to make their school look good and get more funding - stupid SOL system.  It's no longer about teaching children.  I won't go as far as home school because he does need to build those social skills and I am in college myself so it isn't an option anyway.  Anyone else struggle with this same dilemma? 

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM
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by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 8:03 PM
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Welcome to our group! Whatever you're dealing with, someone else here has gone through it. We understand. We may not agree, but that's ok because there are many ways to do things.

Of course you don't want to medicate. No good mom wants to medicate her child! However, look at it this way. You have difficulty getting your child to behave appropriately when he has your full attention. A teacher's job is to make sure that all the kids are learning and her attention is divided into 20 or even 25 pieces.  

Some things come much easier for your son than for other kids. Following society's rules of behavior is not one of those things. You want the teachers to see his gifts, not his problems. Appropriate medication helps him be his best self. It allows him to focus enough to learn.

by on Jun. 11, 2013 at 7:17 AM
I agree with the previous poster!! I don't think they are any normal parents that WANT to medicate their child(ren). I went through the same thing with my 9 year old. I knew from the time she was a toddler that there was something different. She went to pre-k too, she had teachers trying to assess her for all kinds of things because she didn't fit their idea of normal. Unfortunately my daughter failed kindergarten. We got her on medication halfway through her 2nd year, and it made a WORLD of difference!! She's still not exactly what you might call normal, and that's ok. She is able to sit in her seat, and gets some of her work done. She still has some issues, which may be another related issue.

If your child was diabetic you'd give them insulin right?

by on Jun. 11, 2013 at 4:30 PM

 I had the same experience with my son in kintergarten got the same looks from parents from the teacher we had the same color system andwhen we had a party etc she would leave the names in the colors up for all the parents to see that made me mad my son would also be set aside all alone or next to the teacher.  Also changes easily upset him.  I was in a program at a local college I took parenting classes he had behavioral plans etc they really didnt work so I finally decided meds it took a few to find the right one. But it made such a major difference in school behavior aroundhome etc.  I know the choice was right atleast for him.  He is a hockey goalie that takes great concentration. He is 13 now very hard age and its harder now but we are working on it!

by on Jun. 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM
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 We delayed giving our sons meds until they were in middle school. I honestly wish we hadn't. Their lives would have been so much easier if they had been on meds earlier. They would have had more friends, they would have had happier memories of elementary school instead of the memories of being punished all the time. They were falsely accused of doing things by other students and the teachers believed the other students because they were always in trouble, so they probably did it. ANY student could do something bad, tell the teacher it was our son, and get away with it. Kids are pretty smart that way.

 Starting meds was the BEST THING we ever could have done! In fact, when given the choice to go off of the meds for the summer, the boys begged me not to make them stop because they felt so much better on them. Without the meds, they felt scattered and felt out of control. I would never want to feel that way and I felt horrible knowing that is how they had been feeling for so many years while I was reluctant of giving them meds.

 Our younger son has an IEP and the teachers are REQUIRED to follow his plan. The testing for ADHD also found some learning disabilities, but ADHD alone is enough for the school to order an IEP. If it has never been mentioned by your school district, you have the right to ask for one. This allows a quiet place for testing, sitting toward the front of the class so that focus is not lost and anything else he requires to succeed in his education.

 Our boys are now 20 and 17. Our 20yo has a full time position, loading trucks at Fedex. He tried college, it wasn't for him. He needed to be more active. He enjoys his job, has great benefits, and lives with his gf, about an hour from home. They pay all their own bills and are blissfully independent and successful. This is very rare in our area for a 20yo.

 Our 17yo is going to be a senior in the fall. For the past 2 years he has been attending a vo-tech for diesel mechanics. He is succeeding in his studies, because he is able to focus. He is looking forward to a bright future.

 Please don't feel bad about medicating. We all want what is best for our children. Some children respond to diet changes, therapy, organized activities etc. We tried ALL of those things and meds were our only successful endeavor


by on Jun. 11, 2013 at 8:52 PM
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I have definitely seen this. There is a "troublemaker" kid and whenever something goes wrong, that's who everyone blames. It's really awful because that kid has to try HARDER to get any decent results. I had a boss with a kid who has Down Syndrome and when I started mentioning the problems in kindergarten, he said "don't let your kid be labeled as a bad kid." You want him to hear positive things, not just get told he is doing something wrong all the time.  

Quoting 1squishysmom:

They were falsely accused of doing things by other students and the teachers believed the other students because they were always in trouble, so they probably did it. ANY student could do something bad, tell the teacher it was our son, and get away with it.


by on Jun. 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM

My 8 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD in first grade and experienced similar behaviors in school as your child.. After the diagnosis he received a medication evaluation and it was recommended by a psychiatrist, occupational therapist, and his therapist that medication was not needed at the time due to his behavioral therapy decreased his disruptive behavior at school. As recommended by his therapist I transferred my child to a private school with a smaller class size. He has always performed well academically before and after diagnosis. There is not a set treatment for ADHD so you have to do what's best for your child. I will not medicate my child until all interventions are exhausted.

by Head Admin Catherine on Jun. 14, 2013 at 8:19 AM

i have two amazing kids who are ADHD and ADD respectively.     My DD (ADHD) is and always was creative  bouncy and active.    meds did not take that out of her.   but it did put her in control.    My son is also creative just less bouncy..   lol  but  he too was and is amazingly creative.  

he is more mechanical and made things out of what he had..   She is more artsy.     Meds did not kill their sprit or their creativity..   but it did allow them to function in class and lean.   It also allowed them to  learn to function in society and not be out cast amoung their friends and teachers.

I did not come to meds easily..   I fought hard not to..    but once I saw what meds did for them... I do not regret the time they were on meds.     Meds only slows their brains enough to learn  and to think and gives you time and a chance to teach.   

I struggled with the idea of those who say my child can because they are ADHD.    because my thought my concern was when they are adults they do have to function in the real world with a real job.. and they need to learn how early so they can.

meds gave me the chance to start that lesson..    and meds doesn't mean it will be easy..  or they are zombies..   the right med .. the right dose and you still have a bright bouncy creative child that you know and love.    but with more control over his or her actions.

There is no MD after my name..  
 I am just a mom with years of experience raising ADHD kids.... LOL

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