Any experience with ADD?

anele_gwFebruary 14, 2013

Have you or anyone in your family been diagnosed with ADD? If so, how was the dx made? What symptoms did you notice? How have you coped with it? I've heard varying reports-- some people see it as something to be corrected, whereas others see it as a gift.

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This is an interesting and insightful site.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Other Side of ADD/ADHD

This post was edited by snookums2 on Thu, Feb 14, 13 at 15:50

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:48PM
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My son has Adhd with executive function disorder and dyslexia. He can't tolerate any of the medications. None. So I have learned to change my way of thinking. His IQ is quite high and he is visual spatial.

I am not anti-medication. We have tried them all. They make him manic.

Here's a book I enjoyed.

I have several others I could recommend.

In our case we did extensive private testing. That's how my son was diagnosed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Book

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:21PM
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The possibilities are too huge to compare one child to another. Teachers and care givers are all asked to fill out an inventory of behavior that a doctor then uses to asses the issues. They will eliminate a cognitive deficit as well as see if school work is affected. Some kids are very active some distract easily but no one see them off task...
good luck

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:25PM
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My 20 year old DS has ADD and executive function issues too, plus anxiety but that may be a result of the other two issues. Oh and depression too. He has had a lot of issues his whole life, but wasn't diagnosed with ADD until he was in high school. Even on meds, he has a hard time getting things done. I could go on and on, but at the moment he's job hunting and I'm basically driving the effort 95% and it is very frustrating. And he IS on meds. When he isn't on meds, he can barely get out of bed and get his day started. He is much more successful when he has a routine, and unfortunately for about 6 months now he's had no routine. It's not good for any of us.

Anyway, the diagnosis was made because he just couldn't seem to finish homework, to hand everything in (he would sometimes do it, then forget to hand it in), or to be able to do any of it without constant reminders and/or threats by us. Partly because he's our oldest, we didn't know how unusual it was until he was relatively old (16).

When he is involved with some activity he loves, like film making or anything to do with music, he is 100% engaged and will work for endless hours until he's satisfied with the quality of his work. I guess that's the upside to ADD? The hardest part for us as parents is knowing how brilliant he is and wondering what great things he could be doing if his "wiring" wasn't the way it is.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:51PM
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In our case, it has definitely not been a gift. My 19 yo dd has the inattentive type ADHD. When she is overwhelmed or stressed, she tunes out, as opposed to getting hyper.

Meds have been helpful but she has developed a tolerance for them and they seem to have increased her anxiety level. Exercise, fish oil and a high protein diet have also helped, but to a lesser extent.

Currently she is using light therapy (see my thank you post to Moonshadow) and that seems to be helping quite a bit.

It has been a difficult road and she has been very demoralized at times because she knows what she is capable of but can't seem to get out of her own way to make it from point A to point B. I feel bad about all the times we lost patience with her because we didn't understand her behavior.

This post was edited by deee on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 7:40

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 7:12AM
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Dee..the meds made my son anxious as well. Even without them he has anxiety issues. i do worry about the future. Tics, agitation, scary behavior with the meds. I wish he could tolerate the meds because they definitely helped his focus.

Has your dr. checked her Ferritin level? My son sees a behavioral pediatrician and believes there is a link between low Ferritin and Add/ADHD. Sons was initially @ 10...he wants @ 40. So we are on iron, dha, and multivitamin. If she is tolerant to Stims, has she had any success on the non Stims?

Could you elaborate on the light therapy?

Demoralized...I know what you mean. I try to convince my son how smart he is. Its hard when the other kids know he goes to another room to take tests etc....

Don't be too hard on yourself Dee. We are moms but we are only human.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:22AM
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My son was always a good student. In 4th grade he moved to a new, more rigorous private school. There, it was suggested he may have mild ADD and "executive functioning" weaknesses ( I still can't think of that latter phrase without envisioning a rotund bald business man in a dark suit at a Board of Directors' Meeting, but I digress).

A few observations.

1. Take heart. You are not alone. This is a very common diagnosis, I dare say it is almost in fashion for boys from affluent households.
2. While you want to take this seriously, try to keep it in perspective. We all have difference and peccadilloes. Some mild, some not. When we name them and medicate them they become sinister.
3. This is a very very controversial subject. The diagnosis is very squishy! (basically it is based on a questionnaire given to parents and teachers). The sudden rise in occurrence causes skepticism. Many of the ADD traits sound like "typical boy" behavior. Not everyone believes in the diagnosis.
4. No one wants to be on medications, but they do help some people. We have not gone that route. But when I read about kids without ADD taking Adderall and such so that they can be better more focused students, I wonder if I am being too much of a purist.
5. Perhaps it is my own intellectual limitations, but I was unable to grasp how taking a pill would make a kid, say, keep better track of his homework. Instead, we gave him strategies, rules, and tools to do the same thing. As odd as this sounds, we chose to treat "the symptom" and not the "cause". Since treating the cause generally means drugs for ADD (although I know there are other therapies, drugs is #1), we chose to treat symptoms. Do concrete things that enable him to work around his weaknesses. Homework is done at an appointed hour in a designated quiet room, for example.
6. A gift? Yes and no. For whatever reason, my son has in depth knowledge on several subjects far beyond peers, was a very early reader, and he also has some unique skills. But schools are factories and they want to deal with widgets, ie kids who are all the same and fit their models. At least as a child, fitting the mold is the gift.
7. Whether here or elsewhere, make sure you network for support and ideas. ADD is very broad, I'd go so far as to say vague. and what you experience and what your child needs can be very different than another family.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:27AM
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People who tout ADD/ADHD is a gift are only hurting the research needed to help this serious disorder, IMO.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I have a 22 yo DD that is a college senior with ADD. "Sarah" had issues with reading in the early elementary years. I got frustrated and took at her pedi's suggestion to be tested. She came back as dyslexic and with moderate ADD. I believed the dyslexia but was blown away by the ADD diagnosis. We opted not to address the ADD diagnosis as no one had every mentioned or thought that was a problem. We did start tutoring at a Sylvan Center and with private tutors specializing in dyslexia. FYI_ I am sure my DH is dyslexic and probably had learning issues as a kid. Who know what kind of diagnosis he would have in the current school systems.

Fast forward to sixth grade. We get a midterm report card that is basically c's thru f's. She had always been an a to c student that worked hard for those grades. I was like what the heck? In math they were doing a lot of work with fractions and algebra equations. She could not see to reduce the fraction the final time. Example she would leave it at 2/4 A. The ironic thing was that we were in a high absence due to flu time of year and the teacher was having Sarah jelp the kids that were lagging from absences.

I called the Pedi about this sudden downturn in grades and we decided to start her on medication. OMG-It was like a new kid. Immediately her work at school changed. She could see that final step to take in math, her grades improved in her other classes as well.

I wish we had started meds earlier for her though. She has low self-esteem which I attribute to struggles with school. She also was socially awkward I felt due to the self esteem issue and never really had close friends.

She found her niche and calling in high school and is currently student teaching and will be graduating from college in 4 years!! yah for her!! We have talked about her being an advocate for kids that struggle although she will be teaching in secondary education.

In college there were times that she took meds but I think that was more of a mental crutch for her although she believes she does feel more attentive when taking the meds. She tried to schedule more difficult classes in the am when she is more attentive.

She has a younger sister who was the picture of ADHD. she couldn't make it out the door for school with her head attached, couldn't sit still for the life of her, had to be prodded to complete a project etc. We had her tested and she did NOT have ADD or ADHD. We were floored since she was such the opposite of her sister who had the diagnosis. WE did try a trial of meds and she came home complaining of rapid pulse, sweats, etc. So okay, she was not ADD, she was just a extremely bright full of life child.

I am in the medical field as you can see. I had no problem with medicating my daughter, especially when I saw the change in her. I am not one to jump on drugs immediately but for us it truly changed my daughter.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Hi Red lover - I am on my way out so I'm just going to post some links about light therapy:

Recent study:

Original post:

Follow up:

Light at Amazon:

Feel free to ask questions and I will answer them when I get back.

Thanks for the info about the iron. She has gone through periods of low iron but she hasn't been checked lately.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:58AM
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Darn-- I had a whole response typed out and somehow it got deleted. Will be back when the kids are busy without me!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:06AM
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It looks like there a wide range of experiences here.

My 10 y/o son was flagged in 1st grade with some reading issues (phonemic awareness is one that comes to mind). He was seeing the reading specialist at school but at that point, it wasn't a big issue. In 2nd grade, his teacher mentioned that he seemed to lack focus in the classroom, kind of a daydreamer who had to be brought back to focus the task on point. By 3rd grade, his teacher was dancing around getting him tested for ADD, something that once came up briefly in a meeting with his 2nd grade teacher. Halfway through 3rd grade, our son started seeing a reading tutor outside of school. To make a long story short, after a horrible meeting with his 3rd grade teacher, the reading specialist and the tutor (who was our main advocate), the ADD thing came up again. We had discussed it with our pediatrician who felt that he was just immature for his age, and said that everyone has a bit of ADD and that we should wait a bit longer to see how things played out (would he mature and grow out of it, etc).

His 3rd grade teacher ended up being a horrible fit for him for a variety of reasons (incredibly strict, only saw things in black and white - I won't bore you with details). HIs self esteem was in the toilet, along with several other boys in the class, so I knew it wasn't just my kid. Anyway, after doing a bit of research into ADD and looking at the many symptoms, I found something that said that often times kids with learning disabilities are misdiagnosed as having ADD. After researching several learning disabilities, I realized that many of his symptoms were that of someone with a learning disability, and that his main problem, lack of focus, was really the one thing that was symptomatic of ADD. I talked with his reading tutor and she suggested taking him to a child psychologist for a battery of testing.

BINGO! He has a language processing disorder. After doing a slew of testing with him, he gave me a very detailed report which showed his areas of deficiency and said that his lack of focus was a result of these problems, NOT ADD. He referred us to a speech/language pathologist who did another battery of testing where she could pinpoint exactly what he needs to be treated for and he has been working with her ever since.

This is not to say that one shouldn't go through with getting tested for ADD but without knowing the individual issue you are facing, Anele, I just wanted to point out what happened with my son. He is doing a very specialized computer program daily as one of his therapies that his therapist feels will show marked improvement for him within the next 6-9 months. If only we had known this three years ago, he would be so much further along in "fixing" his processing delay, he wouldn't have had such a miserable 3rd grade, and his self-esteem wouldn't have gone in the toilet last year. Thankfully, his 4th grade teacher has been wonderful. Not only is he doing much better in the classroom, but she has done wonders for his self-esteem. He actually likes going to school now.

I just wanted to add to the discussion for anyone who might question whether ADD is necessarily the "problem" that possible learning disorders may instead or also be the problem. I've found that teachers often thrown this label out so easily when they really shouldn't. If only a teacher had thought that maybe it was a learning disorder with my son and not a "behavioral" problem we could have gotten him on track sooner (and I certainly don't blame the teachers for us not getting him the right treatment sooner, but it's a shame that while ADD was mentioned, there was no mention of a possible learning delay/disorder).

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Olliesmom, how are people who buck the trend to look at things in a different way hurting research? Can you give some facts on that?

Research should be far-reaching and wide or it isn't research. Medication is not the answer for every person or family. People can't be scrunched into molds successfully or without alternatives. I think ADD/ADHD is fairly accepted as a loose, catch all diagnosis that is being recognized as over-used at this point.

I can't see putting everyone in the same category or treatment method as a positive move. If research funds are being allocated to alternative thinking, then they must find it a valid path to pursue. There are a lot of very smart people in the medical field thinking outside the box!

Great post mntredux!

P.S. I also think that if some have turned their "handicap" into acceptance and a gift, power to them! It's a more positive approach and attitude. Share and spread the word!

This post was edited by snookums2 on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 13:52

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:35PM
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Anele, we just this past summer got diagnosed with ADHD-PI - by we I mean my daughter *and* me! It explains so much about our troubles over the years, and shows me that I've come up with coping mechanisms rather well, since I have been living with it my whole life (I suspect my mother and grandmother had it too, actually) and there was no name for it back in our time.

I can also see how entire career choices can relate to proclivities of the condition, and can actually be enhanced by them. Not saying I'm glad I've had to deal with it, or that I've passed it on to my DD, but that there are ways to turn lemons into lemonade without ignoring the fact that they're lemons in the first place, iykwim. One has to make the best of the cards one is dealt. The lemons one is dealt. The cards one is asked to make a beverage from. etc...(I think I've thoroughly commingled my metaphors now : ))

Dee's post and rnmomof2's post relate most closely to our experience w/DD, 15. Dee, our DD got diagnosed because she came down with an *extreme* vitamin D deficiency, which can also be attributed to not being outside in the light enough. I wonder how the two factors link.

The only real sticking point for us is that DD is being resistant to treatment, and rather uses the dx as an excuse for failure than as a situation to be dealt with to achieve what she really wants. That's hair-pullingly infuriating.

Anele, are you dealing with this with a boy or a girl?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:31PM
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Both my boys were diagnosed with ADD. One with ADHD. I treated the symptoms and did not medicate. I thought all boys had ADD or ADHD. They seemed to outgrow it and have both gone on to great heights. Consistent messages and choosing battles carefully was my strategy. I didn't try to save them from themselves.

Fly, Aimee has Seasonal Activated Disorder. ( That is what they called it back when. ) I used to tell her she had to make herself do things, no matter how hard it was. Light therapy and antidepressants in the winter did the trick. This was hard to deal with in her teens. Used to beg for spring and summer. Living in the PNW can't be helping. Crap.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:49PM
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For diagnosis, I sent our son to a neuropsychologist who interviewed him, reviewed his family & school history, and administered a battery of tests over two days. The most telling test was the Test of Variables of Attention

To cope with his Primarily Inattentive type of ADD (no hyperactivity), he takes a minimal amount of Ritalin when he has to get through a class, or when he has dense reading or a lot of writing to do, or if he feels a work situation requires it. He's learned an organizational system and study habits that work for him. He knows his limits.

We sent him to a community college and let him take a reduced course load until he found a subject that he wanted to apply himself towards. We didn't pressure him to graduate on the same schedule as his peers. Maturity does sink in eventually and helps loads. He finished his B.A. in December with flying colors at age 25 (finally making the grades he should have made all along). He's now sofa surfing, living with friends, looking for work.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Thank you so much, everyone!

Snookums, I appreciate the link! I read an article on that site that I stumbled upon earlier, but it didn't dawn on me to explore the whole site.

Red, thank you! I will get the book. Did you get testing done by someone who specialized in gifted children?

Arcy, yes-- I agree. Such a vast range but it helps to hear others' experiences.

Sue, but that's "the rub," isn't it? Would your son be able to do all of his amazing work without his brain being this way? Have you noticed changes along with getting older? Is it worse/better or are there cycles?

Dee, very interesting about the deficiencies. My sister has been telling me that fish oil made a huge difference for her DD (anxiety).

Mtn, I appreciate your points. My mom agrees-- she says we all have something that we can be labeled with.

Olliesmom, I would guess (based on my very limited experience) that it depends on the severity. For example, someone with autism who functions like Temple Grandin vs a person w/autism who is an adult and has temper tantrums & throws a poo diaper, well, they are very different. (The 2nd example comes from an article I read by a dad with such a child.)

Fly, it is interesting that you were dx as an adult. Did you notice things within yourself and then get your DD tested, or was it the other way around? And yes, I can easily see how it can turn into an "excuse." I had a student whose mom told me he had ADD (and so did she) so that is why x, y, and z. Frankly, I saw the child as very bright and involved and didn't really care that his desk was messy or had missing homework at times, because I would never expect everyone to be exactly the same . . .and I certainly don't see all adults as organized. Surely the messy among us can't ALL have ADD.

RNMom, I am so glad something worked for your daughter. Interesting that your 2nd DD seemed to fit the characteristics but was not dx with it.

Fourkids, yes-- thank goodness your son was finally properly assessed. It seems there are SO many factors and it's easy for "symptoms" to overlap and people jump to incorrect conclusions.

Gold, I totally think I have SAD. TOTALLY! I am not depressed (though I am exhausted in every which way!) but I notice a remarkable difference when the sun comes out. I immediately feel better. I have been researching the best, cheap light box to get some daily sun. I am planning on my kids using it, too.

AWM, it sounds like with both you and GoldD, time helped a lot. That is promising!

So, my background-- this is concerning my oldest DD, who just turned 11. One of her teachers mentioned she was showing signs of ADD, and that when she met her, thought she was a student who struggled. The teacher said she was very surprised to find out that DD was in the gifted program. This is sort of annoying to me, because I would guess that ANY teacher knows children can be "twice exceptional."

This is a new school for our family (we moved this fall). I have been nothing but displeased with it. I pulled my 2 other children out in Nov. I don't know if you remember when I posted about my DD with headaches, but within a few weeks after pulling her out, they completely resolved.

Anyway-- so, oldest DD's teacher is somewhat of a bully. NOt just with my DD, but all of the students. She uses punitive measures regularly. Lacks content-area knowledge. (For example, told my DD she was wrong when DD said that Australia was not only a continent, but a country-- and this is not an isolated example.) Laaaazy. Spends infinitely more time on her hair than classroom prep. I asked for DD's writing to be graded w/ feedback and the ONE comment she wrote was focused on DD's handwriting!

Her teacher called this week to tell me my DD was struggling with the work, and that it was going to be harder next yr. in middle school. My DD is desperate for "harder." She is very bored. Told me that she has given up in school. Has only been going because she made some nice friends, but now, has had enough.

So, we are going to go back to homeschooling the next few months, and then she'll go to middle school in the fall. However, I do not want to dismiss anything. I am still taking the ADD possibility seriously. It is not a new idea to me. But, I will use my time with her for observation. I know she has an amazing ability to stick to things when they interest her, but we'll see when I require her to do what she does not enjoy.

For example, one of the characteristics I read was that children with ADD tend to be slow in the a.m. SHE IS. This morning, she was getting ready for school and was walking as though in molasses. I pressed a fake button on her and said she needed to move as quickly as possible. No change. I asked her if this was, indeed, her high speed. She said no. I asked if it was because she was going to school (today was her last day), and she said yes.

She told me she knows she does not pay attention in math. Do people w/ADD have this awareness? She says the teacher calls on her to make her pay attention, but DD says she gets the answer right anyway.

So, I do not know what this is. DD has definitely been defiant but not the way one of my other DDs is. More of a, "Prove to me that this is worth my time" kind of thing. For example, when her teacher wanted her to write a persuasive essay (not that there would ever be feedback on it!) DD resisted, but when her gifted teacher said they had to do a persuasive presentation (open-ended), DD was enthused and could not wait to get started. I've seen DD's writing for class-- DD tells me she does not care and I see she does the absolute minimum. Recently, I stumbled upon some of her writing she worked on herself, and it was great (to my eyes, but I'm her mom, haha).

She does well on standardized tests, but in the classroom, no. For example, I asked her why her timed test score was so low, and she said because her pencil broke. I don't think she cared. Last yr, she adored her teacher. She still had a VERY messy desk but she remembered her homework and responsibilities most of the time. And, while I still did not see her give her "all," she always did very well on tests within the classroom, too.

Well, this is more of a novel than any of you probably cared to read, but thank you for helping. It is so amazing to get this wide range of experiences and insights!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 2:17AM
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My experience is with a grown man with ADD. My husband has it, and it took me a long time to realize that he's not being a jerk or being lazy. I used to call him Halfway-because he'd get part way thru a project and then walk away from it, just 5 more minutes and it'd be done-but he would never finish anything. Can't watch a movie in it's entirety either.

He loses things-it is a daily struggle for him to try to find things because he will put them in obscure places as he walks past and never knows where to look for them.

When he was young he was labled a 'troublemaker'-and was sent to reform school because he acted out so much, but today they'd diagnose him as ADHD and medicate. He's got very little impulse control, and while he knows that's wrong, he can't help himself sometimes. He's said it's like there is someone else guiding his hand. There was a commercial on tv a few years ago about what it was like for an adult with ADD-and he said that is what it's like for him-constant noise in his head.

He takes anti-depressants, which help a lot, actually, and he treats with light therapy-you can see a great change in his mood and actions on sunny, bright days as opposed to cloudy days that we suffer from in the fall/winter.

I have mild OCD, so coupled with is ADD, it's a daily challenge learning to live with one another's issues. I tend to be skeptical about the diagnosis in children. When my brother was young he was a brat-always getting in trouble at school, what might be considered ADHD today-but he outgrew it-i suspect it was just a lot of kid energy. Todays kids just don't get to burn it off like the kids from earlier generations. My son was also on the track to be pigeonholed, he was also an imp thru high school, but he's actually OCD...and highly creative and a gifted artisan..

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 2:55AM
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awm, that's exactly what Anna has.

Did you try any supplements like N-acetyl tyrosine? I find it helps me, and even makes me able to take less fibromyalgia medicine, of all things. DH and I can tell the difference in DD on the days she agrees to take the tyrosine, but she won't track it and will always come up with some other's so frustrating because the improvement is so obvious! It's like an anti-placebo, because she's completely invested in it *not* working.

Golddust, not saving them from themselves is so hard...I can only hope that DD reaches similar heights. I have to think she will--she's got it in her but I'm trying to focus only on positively reinforcing *effort*, not inherent talent at this point. Effort is what is going to make the difference for her.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 4:09AM
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It is helpful to read how varied ADD can be. Our story is yet another take that illustrates the wide ranging symptoms and capabilities of individuals diagnosed with ADD.

DS was diagnosed in law school - not only was it a shock to all of us but DH and I felt tremendously guilty for not recognizing it sooner. But our son didn't exhibit the usual signs. He had great grades in a highly academic school system, was a gifted athlete, got along with his peers and out of my 3 children was the one who grasped complex issues quickly and also had a great deal of common sense. His teachers commented on his outgoing personality, intelligence and willingness to help other students.

At home he was more difficult. He was moody, teased his siblings and often challenged our rules to establish exactly how far he could go. He argued frequently and remembered everything we'd ever said and would use it to win his arguments. We used to joke that he'd make a great attorney. Yet he was loving, generous and thoughtful too. His senior year of HS was difficult. He didn't know if he wanted to attend college and took a part time job in a restaurant. He hung out with a tougher group of kids and got into minor trouble. After graduation he worked full time in restaurants and became a cook. and caterer. He considered attending the Culinary Institute of America.

After a year he applied to 1 college, was accepted and graduated in 4 years. Yet he'd frequently call from school complaining how hard the work was and how long it took him to read. We encouraged him to talk with his adviser but each semester his grades improved from a 2. 9 to a final semester of 3.9. He was so successful during his student teaching at the local H.S. that the principal hired him to take over 2 classes when his mentor needed surgery.

Yet after graduation he went back to restaurant work for another year until he decided to apply to law school. He was admitted but after a month he knew he was in danger of flunking out because he could not keep up with the amount of reading that was required. However he absolutely loved law and readily grasped the material that he was able to cover.

His adviser sent him to the school psychologist for testing. We were also given an extensive questionnaire. The test results showed he had severe auditory and visual deficiencies. The psychologist commented that he was surprised that DS managed to graduate high school let alone college and that he was obviously extremely bright and had developed a highly effective coping mechanism to process school work.

The psychiatrist prescribed meds and DS reported an immediate improvement. It took a few months of different meds in different dosages to get just the right ones for him.

What a difference. He graduated on time and has been practicing law for 3 years and is considered a rising star in his firm. He's still a slob, he still loses his keys and phone on a regular basis and he's still a tease but we are so thankful that he has found his passion in life and is happy.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:27AM
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I just wrote a long post and lost it, so this will be shorter-a lucky break for you all.

My son and I have ADD. Neither of us take medication, although we did try one with my son back in the day when there really was only one, but he developed a side effect and had to stop. Made high school and college very difficult. Impulsivity is one of the worst parts of ADD.

Also, I am a special educator and have students diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. Some research indicates that it is the reticular system that is malfunctioning, hence the success with stimulants. The reticular system is our filtering system which allows us to focus our attention. When it is not working properly, every stimulus hits with equal intensity (someone talking in the hall or an airplane flying over may have as much impact as the task at hand or the teacher's voice giving directions).

I would hesitate to look at medication as sinister (the more we learn about the brain, the more we see what works and doesn't work and naming it is often a very good thing) or at schools as factories and students as widgets. That is certainly not the case where I work (very poor Title 1 elementary school with more than 1000 students in one of the wealthiest school districts in the country). Certainly, there are poor teachers and certainly you may live in a district that does not perform well, but please consider that in the US we educate EVERY child no matter what abilities or disabilities they might present. A private school (and disclaimer here, both I and my son attended private schools) has the luxury of smaller classes and the ability to accept certain students or throw out those who do not conform to expectations of behavior and academic progress. I work with students with Learning Disabilities, Emotional Disabilties, Autism, ADHD, and Intellectual Disabilities in inclusion classrooms. I had a student with Down Syndrome, new to the country last year who was required to take the 4th grade Standards of Learning Mathematics Assessment. Thank you, politicians. Please do not judge us solely on test scores.

Medication is not always the answer, but when it works, it can make an amazing difference in a child's or adult's life. Strategies such as setting a timer for a set time when doing homework and allowing breaks is also good. I had a parent once who said her 4th grade son was spending hours on his math homework. I told her he should do what he could in ten minutes and that was enough. Set a timer for ten minutes and stop it every time he gets up for a drink, a snack, etc., but also, let him take a breaks. Just make sure he spends 10 minutes. He was not spending hours, but he would start, get up to do something, get a snack, whatever, come wasn't really hours on homework. By the end of the year, he was able to complete everything-small steps. :)

Also, about reinforcing effort. Many of us are trained in our district in Responsive Classroom. If your district or school isn't, you may want to encourage them to look into it. It is an amazing program and I can see a difference in the classes of teachers that use it and classes that don't. We are involved/trained in programs at my school that come out of the newest brain research and Jensen's studies show that praising effort, perseverence, attention to task are much more powerful in changing the brain than telling a student he or she is smart. Flyleft is absolutely correct in that. Saying," I noticed how hard you worked on that paper/project/etc." or, "Wow, you really stuck with that!" will provide many more benefits than saying, "Wow you got it right. You are so smart."

Well, not much shorter. I did edit my thoughts-really!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:40AM
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My son was diagnosed with ADD when he was in 4th grade. I suspected it for many years but was told by teachers and others in his life that they didn't think he had problems outside of the normal level of activity with rambunctious boys. However, his 4th grade teacher was adamant. His pediatrician agreed and we started him on a course of different medications. The side effects were heartbreaking and at the end of the day, he didn't WANT to take medications and we thought 'what are we doing. We should be teaching him to cope in his body with his brain, not medicating him his whole long life'. After 2 years of different medications and dosages with lowered his dose bit by bit and took him off. We really didn't notice a big difference when he took them anyway. What we're left with now is a very bright 19 year old with ADD still learning to cope. He attends a community college and does well in classes he likes. He does poorly in classes he does not like. That is more of a maturity issue than ADD in my opinion. We have tried his whole life to help him with organizational issues. His surroundings are ALWAYS a mess, room, truck, ect. He is forever losing important things, not turning in homework, ect. all of the typical ADD issues. But my son has much trouble identifying how he feels and articulating those feelings appropriately. He is well liked by others, but can be impulsive and overreact in situations. He experiences rejection from peers and is sometimes depressed. I can tell because I am his mother, not from anything that he says. He also has some sensory problems, probably associated with the ADD. Noises will drive him crazy. He has a low tolerance level for people that annoy him. And he does not really like to be touched, outside of hugs. However, he has a heart of gold. He is the one child that cannot stand me being upset with him. He loves with his whole heart and is a good friend to others. He is just exhausting to live with.
His whole life he has had much difficulty falling asleep at night. It's like is biological rhythm functions at a different pace than everyone elses. His Dr. at age 9 wanted to prescribe sleeping pills for him and I refused. It's another thing we just try to cope with. Currently he is up until 1:00 and 3:00 every night. He tries and cannot fall asleep. He has learned to avoid early classes. However, he will have to figure something else out when he is out of college.
These are things that no one medicine can address effectively, I don't think. Exploring options would involve many tests and Dr. visits that my son is unwilling to go through because he is denial that he has a problem. I have similar sensory issues. I can quickly overstimulated by sound, and I have focusing issues. My point is that for sure there is not a one size fits all answer with ADD. It can become blended with others issues making it difficult to identify and treat, particularly is the person suffering is non-compliant. I just try really hard to be an encouragement to him and love him for who he is. He does a lot of things right and I'm proud of him for going to school, holding down a job, and being just who he is.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:03PM
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My daughter is ADD and on medication. She is a twice gifted child. Without medication, she can not focus long enough to allow her brain to absorb the information she needs to learn. She can not learn new material, or learns a lot less than her brain can absorb. She began medication in 3rd grade, we tried several different dosages and every two years or so we up the dosage until we then change medication. She resonds very well to the medication and it allows her to use the brain she has. She is currently an AP student and is waiting to hear from colleges, some in the Ivy range. Her room is still a disaster and she still has difficulty keeping everything organized, so she focuses on the things that are important; her backpack, notebooks and car. She still has her scattered moments but over all she is reaching her own potential. She would not do well in school or actually be an edcuated individual without the medication. She is happy, so we are happy. It took her many years to recover from the low self esteme she developed in 1st and second grade. Her self esteme plummeted when she knew she was just as smart as her friends, but she couldn't complete work on time, she couldn't focus long enough to obtain reading fluency and she couldn't understand the nuances of relationships. Medication changed all that for her and we are grateful.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Joanie, does well in classes he likes. He does poorly in classes he does not like. That is more of a maturity issue than ADD in my opinion Actually, this is quite typical of a child or an adult with ADD. The difference is that, as adults we tend to be able to choose to do what we enjoy. That is often not true in classes when we are required to study specific subjects. Also, many of the traits you mention are more typical of children with Asperger's (very intelligent, but often have difficulties in social situations). A lot of times our kids think that something is "wrong" with them. That isn't the case. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Dealing with our weaknesses can be so frustrating, but once he finds his niche, life will be easier. If he loves computers and is good at that sort of thing, there are many companies that allow employees to work from home and jobs that can be done from home as well. I have a friend who is a medical writer and she does just that. she often works from 5-11 or midnight instead of regular hours.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:54PM
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"I just wrote a long post and lost it..."

cyn, I'm laughing because that sounds so ADHD :) And thank you for your supportive words regarding medication. Ritalin enabled my son to have some successes, which made a world of difference in his self-confidence. The frequent failures were eating at him terribly. He acted like he didn't care or that it was all a miscommunication with the teacher, but I still remember the time I caught him sobbing in his room, admitting "Mom, I'm so embarrassed..." Broke my heart. (He's justifiably proud now of his recent successes, thank God.)

flyleft, I'm sorry your daughter has this diagnosis. I'm sure she'll cope admirably & you'll do a fine job of support too, but still, it's something that she (and you) will always have to worry about. As if we don't have enough worries!

I chose not to do the supplement route, as I view supplements and vitamins as a kind of nebulous voodoo anyway. We concentrated on using Ritalin sparingly, educating our son about his strengths & weaknesses, & using his time at home to build life skills. Parental cheerleading, strategizing, & his pride in getting back on his feet after failure were actually good, effective approaches to getting through early adulthood. Early adulthood was FAR more difficult than adolescence for my two neuro-atypicals.

All this talk is reminding me how much I miss my son! I need to call him to see how things are going.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Haha, awm...yes, I am constantly dealing with stuff like that...sometimes not very successfully! You should see my desk at school. I tell my kids that I can teach them to be organized so they won't end up like me! They are always offering to help me clean my desk. Color me mortified. I have learned to keep the house organized, though. Can't stand clutter- probably because I would have a terrible time controlling it once it started.

Ritalin was the one we tried when DS was in fifth grade. He developed a tic, so the doctor took him off it. No alternatives until several years later and by then, he didn't want to try. Big mistake on my part, but he is doing wonderfully now. Phew.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 6:42PM
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To clarify my "sinister" point.

Before ADHD had a name, in SOME cases, the same child might have been called "absent minded" and that would be that. He would develop "coping strategies", but no one would have labelled them as such.

By contrast, being told your child has some acronym, and, often, being told lifelong medication is in order, can be the source of a lot of angst.

So my purpose was not to malign the use of pharmacology. I didn't know what the OP's situation was, but I was hoping to provide some balance to what otherwise can seem very upsetting.

I make no judgment about people who choose (or feel that have no choice) to use pharmacology, and allow that I may be silly not to.

Moreover ... in the context of the question "Is ADD a gift", I said no, because schools are easier for kids who "fit the mold". US Public schools have made great strides in addressing the needs of their varied populations, a positive legacy of NCLB, even with its many flaws. But I still do not think one can call ADD a "gift" for a school age child. It is in that context that i mention the analogy of schools to factories, which struck me as somewhat apt when I saw the Sir Ken Robinson speech (link below).

Here is a link that might be useful: thought-provoking

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:52PM
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All of this is so helpful and I'm not even anele. And anele, I can't believe I missed your reply post a ways back. Wondered from your first post if it was your oldest DD. My DD (and it sounds like some others' too) is also gifted/ADHD-PI -- they fit together quite well, because of that hyper-focus aspect that can yield amazing results when someone is really *into* something. Homeschooling allows that to happen on a regular basis. Another reason why out-of-institution learning is so wonderful.

DD's standardized test scores are all 99th percentile, no studying or prep classes, but her grades give me the shivers. As to a D in Health, of all things -- she's got to develop the discipline to do stuff she finds boring, condescending and useless (I'm speaking of the assignments in Health, unfortunately)'s so difficult and I feel for her but she needs decent grades in everything in order to get into the schools she wants to get into. We've got that set as a project for next term. Our school district is falling apart this year, though, which makes it doubly hard for kids to pay attention when they've got up to 60 kids in a high school class with one teacher, no discussion sections like you'd have in's a rolling disaster. WAY more failing grades in the district this year than before.

We've decided, therefore, that next year she's going to the Early College High School program at the local community college - it seems like the perfect blend of homeschooling and institutional schooling. 25 kids in a class, only 4 hours of class a day, tutoring center onsite and free...We're hoping she'll return to her pre-institutional-school more accomplished-feeling self and get ready for the transition to college-kind of work. We've heard it has worked great for other girls with her dx.

awm, I think I may show your post to DD, to maybe validate her feelings and let her know it's not her -- so please know that your son's story will be doing some good out in the world.

Young Miss Geogirl, good luck on your college applications!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:24AM
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So much good info here I don't even know if I can respond to all of you in one post before grandson wakes up (I'm!).

Anele--my thoughts for you are that you need to get testing done. Our school psychologist did our testing and frankly I wasn't satisfied with the testing and paid to do private testing. Two days of extensive testing with a Phd that was so helpful and well worth the time spent. Then you know exactly what the strengths and weaknesses are.

Rnmomof2--the dyslexia..yes. We also have done lots of tutoring with a reading specialists. Son can't learn spelling words with phonics but can memorize them and once done spell them backwards. Phonics is worthless for him. A Sylvan just opened here. I will check them out for summer. Sounds like you are pleased. Glad your kids are doing well.

Dee--thanks for the links.

More later. Great thread.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:31AM
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I know I am a bit like a dog with a bone on this, but before LD, ADHD, Bipolar, Aspeger's etc. had names, those children were labeled lazy, weird, stupid, disorganized, not living up to potential, and many other things. Absent-minded would be one of the nicer epithets. Some were never expected to finish high school. The advances in brain research provide us with understanding and solutions (both chemical and behavioral) for students who in the past would go home and express feelings like those of awm's DS. That breaks the heart of every parent who hears something similar. I know of no responsible educator who would ever tell a parent that a child would need to take meds for the rest of his/her life. In fact, we are not allowed to suggest medication to a parent EVER.The most we can do is suggest the parent speak to the pediatrician about concerns.Once a diagnosis is made, it is the parent's choice as to how to proceed. I have many ADHD kiddoes who do not take meds.

I do regret that I did not pursue medication for my DS once new meds were introduced. He got As in subjects he liked, with teachers he liked, in a quarter when the subject covered a topic he liked, and he got Ds or Fs in those he did not like. No middle ground. Made life very hard in high school for a kiddo who kew he was quite bright and whose scores were in the superior range, but just couldn't "meet his potential" while in school.

One last note, it was the IDEA legislation that led to individualized plans and more varied approaches to learning, not NCLB.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Thank you flyleft! We are waiting, and waiting and waiting......

I am happy that posters are sharing their individual stories. ADHD (non-hyperactive), also termed ADD in the "old" language, can be experienced quite differently for every child. I think just hearing everyone's stories allows parents to consider the possibilities available for their own children. I will say that the most important thing any parent can do is to find the EXPERTS in their area. Often I see children languishing because their parents are taking them to their pediatrician who has no idea what to do and just starts throwing meds at them. Or children going to talk therapy, when that is the last thing they need. Find the child neurologist, child psycologist, child whatever in your area that specializes in childhood ADHD, who is familar with the school district your child in attending, who knows who the players are in the area. Having a professional team behind you as you try and guide your child through life with ADHD is the best gift you can give yourself or your child. Good luck everyone!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Cyn--personally, I don't feel that very many family docs/physicians should even be handling meds for Add/ADHD. Pediatricians, yes...if they are very experienced. We tried them all. Ritalin (in many dosages) concerta, straterra, Tenex. The side effects are nothing to mess with. Try not to have regrets. Easy for me to say. I was bound and determined to try every category of drug to make sure we ruled out any drug that might help my son reach his potential. I hate that I put my son through so much to try to find the right drug.

I realize you are a professional. Thanks for participating. My son has an ISP since he goes to Catholic school. But, it is probably as detailed as most IEPs. Our school has been terrific. I hate for the other kids to see him with accommodations but my dd (who is also an educator) says that the IEP will be helpful in college. He definitely needs extra time on most everything.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Thanks, red_lover. Back in the day, we had to go to a psychiatrist for the diagnosis and prescription.

Yes, the ISP will be helpful in college. I helped write one once, but never did hear how it went. In our school, none of the kids is really bothered by accommodations. I work with gen ed kids as well as sped kids and it is so funny to hear kids who don.'t need me in the least begging to come with my groups! Congrats for sticking with it and getting your son what he needs. I love working with parents like you-dedicated, persevering, informed.

I am actually considering leaving public education and working in a parochial or prep school. Good to know they are so positive when working with ISPs.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Cyn -- there are only 2 in his class that go to the resource room to take their tests. He and another student out of a class of 20. So, it could be that it is more noticeable to the other kids. I know there are other kids on ADHD meds because I know many of the moms, but they don't have IEPs. We have a meeting in 3 weeks to review the iep. The special Ed teacher, school psychologist, principal, 2 teachers he has now, and next yrs teachers. In general I suppose public schools probably do a better job because they are required to by law. But, our smallish Catholic school goes above and beyond to meet the needs of all of the kids. They must in order to keep up their enrollment.

I'm sure that our experience does not represent all parochial schools and certainly you will take a cut in pay :-) We have little turnover among our teachers despite the lower pay.

But, there are a lot of advantages too. Among them---discipline, zero tolerance for lots of things like weapons, bullying, etc. We actually have a lot of non Catholic kids in our school.

One more note on the Iep...When my son complains about leaving the classroom to take his tests...i sometimes question if i did the right thing pushing for an IEP. The IEP may pigeonhole him a little but it has allowed him to get the extra time and help he needs. One good example: he is a terrible speller because of his dyslexia. On his IEP, the only time spelling is counted off is on spelling tests.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Note: this post has to do with ADD, ADHD, etc. I firmly believe depression needs to be treated aggressively.

I plucked two boys out of the drugs of society and declared them my sons. Derek had an unspeakable start in life. Incubated in a Methanphetamine bath, severely abused and neglected. At 20 months, he was a street kid surviving his 6th foster Mom. I was going to be his seventh and final parent.

His first words to me were '"Dummy Mama. You lilar!" Then he grabbed his mini hotwheels in his hand and scaled the cyclone fence and started flying down the street. Yes, he was physically gifted from the start.

After I confessed to his first school about his background, I noticed he started coming home with oops notes. He couldn't stand in line, he ran instead of walked to the pencil sharpener. Really dumb things. I volunteered at school where I watched him be the last to be excused from circle because he could not sit perfectly still long enough to please the teacher ( while I could see how hard he was trying. In fact, he WAS very still but teacher never seemed to notice.)

Finally, a teacher choked Derek with his sweatshirt hood in front of his cousin. There were marks and testimony. Derek could not articulate what happened to him. It was clear to me that he was the bad child. I believed the teacher was helping create that model.

Eventually we transferred to private school where I hid his past and allowed the competence of his family to speak for him. I didn't tell them he was adopted. I didn't tell them of his struggles. And an amazing thing happened. He was treated like a normal child. Looked up to and treated like just another student with individual needs.

I spent his entire life avoiding labels and I have no regrets. I love to see how confidant he is. Nope. He will never be a Rhodes Schlar. That was not his destiny. But I am so glad we were able to work through the million challenges and come through the other end with Derek knowing who he is and Navagating life as his authentic self.

I'm not suggesting anyone is parenting wrong or bad. i believe all children need love, disciple, support and guidance. They need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. I'm just concerned about the message tons of testing, pills, etc send to the child. " there is something wrong with me." Not all children will walk in societies standardized path. How boring if everyone were an A student.

Remember that gal from TED? "Humans are hard wired for struggle." Best they learn to fall on their face while their family is there to support them through their failures and teach them how to fail verses protecting them until they are grown then expecting these kids to just be instantly independent. Derek struggles but he has faith and the courage to keep trying. He has made plenty of mistakes, don't get me wrong. But I admire his spirit and his heart. He is my hero.

I pick developing solid character over other successes. I just believe the struggling child should always feel successful somewhere at all times.

(Typed from my iPhone with a numb arm. I know I am
not a perfect and your milage may vary...)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:36AM
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I have not had time to respond more in writing but I am reading everything.

Gold, your post made me cry. So much wisdom and I agree with you 100%. I see my DD this way-- is she perfect? No. Who is? But, those imperfections also bring us her gifts.

As you said, depression is another matter and must be addressed, though even depression has opened up pathways to great expression. Strange how life works.

Will be back tonight.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:45AM
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My mom has been reading a book by a Canadian doctor, Gabor Mate, and is very impressed by his theories on ADD. I'm looking forward to reading it on spring break, but haven't had time to look at it yet.

The title is: Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:38AM
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daisychain, I am going to order the book! I have linked an excerpt that is very interesting and although it doesn't all apply to everyone, everyone with ADD has some connection to the truth of what he is saying. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Gabor Maté

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:38PM
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I didn't mean to make you cry. I had the benefit of loving a man who could not read. My Uncle lived with my family at the bottom of our property in a trailer. He taught me how to drive. He was the head custodian at our large high school. Before that job, he was the lead mill worker at a lumber mill. Yet, at six, I was writing his checks for him. He could sign his name. He had lots of common sense and empathy. He never knew what quit meant. He was, in my mind, the true measure of success.

It was his character that stood out from the others. It was his ability to forge ahead and succeed beyond his potential that left its mark on me. He taught me that the kind of human being one becomes is far more important than anything else. He was the first to help strangers.

I knew if I could impart any of my Uncle's character traits onto my children, they would be fine no matter whatI have been blessed to have raised two children in gifted classes. But it is Derek I most admire because I know how much extra effort he had to produce just to do fine.

We have not coddled Derek. He has lost jobs because of stupidity. But he gets right back out there and falls in love with the next job. At 28, he works harder than many people I know. He is loving and grateful. He is invincible. Goal met.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Golddust. Thank you for posting. I agree with you 100%. It's the character traits that my kids develop that are soooo important. I, too worried about the labels and medications, and hid my kids problems from others to protect them. You articulated so well my thoughts exactly.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:03PM
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In my current job, I diagnose ADHD/ADD and spend a lot of time talking with parents about how they want to handle the diagnosis --medicate or not, etc. My professional opinion is that every child's situation is different and there are no one-size-fits all answers.

I have appreciated all of the responses here, and respect all of the thoughtful and challenging decisions so many have had to make as parents.

If I was in school today I would be diagnosed with ADHD--with hyperactivity. To answer your question, Anele, yes, I did have the awareness as of 4th grade or so that I was not paying attention in classes.

One of my children would be diagnosed ADD in an instant if I asked for an assessment. She is a high school junior, but was homeschooled until 9th grade so there was never any pressure to get a diagnosis or for her to be other than how she is.

In high school, she is the classic ADD student. Tests in the highest percentiles on standardized tests, has grades ranging from A to F.

As for what we did about her ADD, as I think Gold Dust said: We haven't saved her from herself. We haven't asked the school for special help, we haven't medicated her, we haven't protected her from teachers who choose dull books or who really mean it when they set a deadline. I feel like the best thing she can do is build a life for herself that she can sustain as herself.

That is not to criticize anyone else's choices. Without medication, my dd is functional, can get good-enough grades when she tries and can keep a job. If she could not do those things, or if she had been in school before grade 9, we might have chosen otherwise.

Perhaps because of my own experience with ADHD in my own life, I do see my daughter's ADD as a gift. She sees things her own way, she processes things slowly and deeply, she is marginalized from a lot of what is going on around her and from those margins can see things more clearly than she could from the center of the action.

It is true that her wildly varying grades would keep her out of many fine colleges, but I don't think they will keep her out of anything that has deep meaning in life. She is loving, loyal, has excellent critical thinking skills and she accepts responsibility for what she does and does not do. I don't think a parent could ask for more than that.

One other thing I think is worth mentioning. From my perspective (ADHD mind) the world and other people often seem to move very slowly, as if they are wading through tar. The downside to this is that I am often impatient with how long it takes others to get things done, or how long it takes them to learn something. The upside is that I seem to get more done/more enjoyment out of things than others sometimes do, and things that others see as horrible drudgery aren't too bothersome to me because they don't take up much time in my mind.

From my daughter's ADD perspective, the world moves very fast. So fast she can't always keep up. During the time that she is "spaced out" or still processing what is happening around her, everyone else has moved on. The down sides to this are different, but the up sides are present and real. I have asked her many times if she would prefer to be "typical" and she always says no, that even though her kind of brain has its challenges, she feels the payoff is too good to part with.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Anele--feel free to email me privately if you feel like I can help.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:00PM
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I have a child who is profoundly gifted who I suspect has ADHD traits. One book I really liked was Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare. There are a number of worksheets that is helpful for understanding the person. I suggest taking it for the child as well as other members of the family, parents and siblings. It is very illuminating. I was diagnosed with ADHD a couple of years ago and I tried concerta for 4 months. It was a new world.. I don't believe I was ever as productive and focussed as I was at that time ever in my life. It was like noise just shut down and a light appeared focussed on the task at hand. I was a new person. Mind you that I have a masters and have completed a highly competitive MBA program and have a successful career as an executive. I have used my own giftedness through my life to cope but the diagnosis and how the medication changed me was very very eye opening. I however decided to stop the medication as I am very averse to pills. I have been taking vitamin D, fish oil and practicing meditation to coach myself.

When it comes to kids, I will say that not all careers are a good fit for a child with ADHD. Not everyone can be a good farmer.. some people are just better hunters. You have to play to your strengths and it is enormously helpful to channel kids where their executive functioning, time management and multi-tasking skills are not taxed. ADHD kids become ADHD adults and are more likely to be amazing hunters and achieve success in jobs where their ability to hyper focus on specific projects and subjects that interests them is what is required for success. Sales, detective work, investigative journalism, research is more likely a better fit. Another woman I know is probably the best shopper I know. She is a professional buyer for a leading retailer and is indefatigable when hunting for new products and finding new suppliers. She is very senior and is smart enough to have hired a great 'farmer' to delegate to and manage other tasks where her skills weak like filing expense reports on time.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:43PM
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I keep thinking about my inability to write and express myself regarding my Uncle.

He empowered everyone around him, especially the kids. He took pure joy in our efforts and never once questioned our ability to do anything Being attempted. He was always present, in the moment. He ignored weaknesses, brushing failure off with a shrug. No one can be great at everything. He told me that the Amish people were expert quilt makers but they always made a mistake in their quilts, even if it were on purpose. Humans were not meant to be perfect.

If he would see a car, etc. he liked, he would say, "I wish I had his car and he had one better." If he knew there was a new rut in the [public] road that he could repair, he would stop on the spot, fixing it with his ever ready tools and implements he carried in the back of his truck.

A young single Mom, Uncle was the person who would show up at my house with a portable dishwasher or a washer and dryer. How he loved surprising me. He used to take Aimee grocery shopping when she was three,
saying they were going after ice cream... Knowing i would be too proud to say what we needed, he would let 3 year old Aimee pick the groceries for our house. Oh my Lord. They would come back with bags of groceries. Most were practical but invariably there was the 'Peanut Butter Cereal', colorful Bandaides and Bactine. He just knew that we needed it if Aimee said we did.
Keep in mind, these gifts were few and far between as he made very little money. But they were heartfelt and so appreciated. Heck, I didn't even know I needed a portable dishwasher. Lol I'd come home from work to find him roto tilling my garden... "It's time."

Later I brought him home to live with me when Alzheimer's moved in. My children benefitted from that time.

There is nothing more powerful to a human soul than nourishment, empowerment and emotional connection. How I miss that man. I named a son after him. The man who couldn't read was the most brilliant man I have ever known.

I could go on and on and on. I believe if we could pass his spirit and energy on to all children, this world would be a better place.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:01PM
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What a beautiful and heartfelt sentiment that you have expressed about Uncle. I just loved it and was very moved by it. He's the kind of grandma I want to be someday. What a gift that you and your family had him in your life and how much he clearly loved you. :)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:31AM
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A clarification --- I haven't come across a teacher who recommended medication, let alone for life.

But, frankly, this is how many parents I know view it. They worry that a decision to medicate their child is a decision for life. That is, if not sinister, certainly sobering.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:17AM
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There are lots of medical conditions where one has to take medication, even for life. What's so sinister or sobering about that? Why should ADHD be any different? If the medication helps one's faulty neurochemistry, then use it. Being medicated is better than being depressed & ashamed from constantly messing up in life.

My son has moderate ADD. His med recommendation is for 15 mgs of Ritalin. He finds he gets acceptable results with just 5 mgs taken as needed. He feels much more comfortable at that dosage. Sleeps fine at night. He doesn't take meds every day, only if he needs to get through a demanding task of some duration. He doesn't use Ritalin for the easier classes, though he has to be extra vigilant to double check due dates and about doing home work. A month's supply of Ritalin lasts him a whole semester. He certainly doesn't need Ritalin to hang out with friends, or to watch football, or to work out at the gym, or to go dancing or to sing a capella with the club.

So he's probably going to need medication for life, but it doesn't mean life needs to be medicated 24/7.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Awm, it sounds like it has worked well for your son, and that is great.

But, yes, I think anytime we need medication to help our kids it makes it more serious and causes trepidation. The intent of my original post was to try to downplay the anxiety that might come with ADD, since in my experience with friends and family, the medication issue is most distressing. That was all ...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:49PM
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But I think a lot of the fear of medication , IMO, is due to a kind of peer pressure. There is a stigma about ADHD meds that doesn't exist for other disease meds. In fact, I rarely talk about my son's ADHD in real life because of the barrage of suggestions about changing his diet, his behaviors, or trying various therapies & supplements -- everything but targeting the one area of his brain that misfires with a 70-year-old known entity with a known track record called methylphenidate.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:14PM
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I would like to recommend a few more books if you are interested in some really helpful reading.

Upside Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner

Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World: Unlocking the Potential of your ADD Child. (This one is probably my favorite).

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Mtn, "By contrast, being told your child has some acronym, and, often, being told lifelong medication is in order, can be the source of a lot of angst." And then, "A clarification---I haven't come across a teacher who recommended medication, let alone for life." I guess I misinterpreted that first comment of yours. It sounded as if you had or thought that sort of thing does happen on a regular basis. Glad you didn't mean that.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Yes, i was using Ritalin for ADD

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 4:15AM
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Goldie - you are such a wise and loving mother (and woman!). Thank you for sharing with us.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 10:06AM
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