is SD really ADHD?

imamommyMay 20, 2010

So, we had SD tested for a learning disability earlier this year because she is consistently having problems getting work done, doing it right, turning it in, etc. They said she does not have a learning disability, she is above average (I take that to mean she is capable of understanding), and during the parent meeting, we were asked if she had ever been tested for ADHD?

So, I made an appointment to have her evaluated. She was diagnosed yesterday and to be honest, I think the process was too simplistic. We (DH & I) attended (BM was a no show) the parent seminar to discuss what ADD & ADHD are. We were given a packet that included evaluation forms for her teachers to complete... and one for us. Based on the answers we all gave, we all pretty much agree that:

1. She has a problem 'forgetting'. She forgets to turn in work she has done. She forgets what the teacher talked about in class. (because she gets out of her seat & is talking to other students, getting a drink, or busy doing something else) so she misses the instructions, she forgets pretty much whatever she doesn't want to do... but she remembers what she wants, like the lines in the play or words to songs; to wear certain clothes on fun days; etc. She has an excellent memory for events and where she left certain things... like a picture she stuffed in a drawer. But if you ask her where her math page (that is supposed to be in her folder) is, she says "I forgot"... and she might have taken it out and stuffed it in her desk drawer. I don't know much about ADHD, but to me it's selective forgetting... I don't want to do math, I will hide it and say I forgot. But, the therapist says that with ADHD... this is what ADHD kids do.

2. She rushes through some things.... she goes to take her shower & 5 minutes later, she is out & dressed. That doesn't even seem to be long enough to change clothes, let alone turn on the water. She devours her food & has terrible table manners ~ takes enormous mouthfuls, chews with her mouth open, braces herself and hovers over her plate like she is in a pie eating contest. and she writes so sloppy it looks like a 1st or 2nd grader wrote it.. bad spelling & terrible penmanship because she is hurrying. But, when she wants to write a note to her friend or draw a picture for fun, she takes her time & does it very neatly. Again, the therapist says that it's typical because she will take the time with activities she has FUN with, not the ones she considers WORK.

To me, if that is what ADHD is... I might have a problem being supportive because it sounds to me like an excuse. Of course lots of people don't like WORK... that's why it's called work & not play. But, if they can do what they are supposed to when it's for fun or things they WANT to do... how can that be a mental disorder? I don't get it so maybe some of you that have ADHD kids or experience can enlighten me. If a kid has involuntary impulses and does things they can't control, I understand that... what I don't get is how they can control it when they want to and call it a disorder because they don't want to sit in their chair or do their work. She has no problem sitting still to watch a movie or play a game... just listening to the teacher. (and it's a whole other issue, but I don't get how teachers can let kids roam around in class when they are 'teaching'. I was always told to sit in my desk, don't get up during class & that was the rule.... don't get it~ her 4th & 5th grade teachers have both complained that she is out of her seat during class... my thought? Why aren't you controlling your classroom? But that is another topic for another day)

Anyway, they are going to talk to her PCP to get her on medication to see if that helps. I want to be supportive but I thought there was more to diagnosing than filling out a couple of questionnaires....

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Hmmm. I do not know a ton about it.

I will say--it has been suggested that my SS might have a mild form of ADD. He has the forgetting issues, as well, and much like you describe them. If DH promises to take the kids to the toy store, SS has no problem remembering that. But his spelling words? forget it. His math worksheet? He forgets that, too.

I thought it strange, too, but what I've learned is that kiddos with ADD often DON'T have trouble remembering things that are important or fun/exciting. When something is boring or uninteresting to them, though, they tend to zone out and THAT is where the distracted/forgetful behavior can come into play. Kids with ADD often can focus 100% on a movie or a video game or a fun toy---but their brain kind of shuts down when it's something they don't like or aren't interested in.

Now, granted, we ALL experience this to a certain degree. I HATE math and I find myself kind of "glazing over" when anything mathematical is presented to me. However, since I am not ADD, I am able to force my brain to focus, even when it doesn't want to. My limited understanding is that kids/adults with ADD or ADHD are not able to do this.

I don't know if your SD is ADHD or not. It seems hard to diagnose to me because she has so many other issues going on.

I guess if she is really struggling, giving meds a try wouldn't hurt. I am with you, though, it seems like something that should take awhile and a more thorough investigation to diagnose.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 11:36AM
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It's not all simple as all that, Ima.

The table manners and eating methods you state for your SD is in absolutely no way all ADD/ADHD kids eat and/or behave at a table. I've heard others here state terrible eating/manners ect as typical ADD/ADHD and I totally disagree...yeah, some might, but it's not something that is routine nor that be corrected.

An excuse? No, but I know it's sometimes hard to understand. I suggest would be to research and learn all you can about the subject and realize that even with ADD/ADHD there are different degrees.

Not uncommon for a child to excell at mastering a game or a project they really are interested in, yet forgot to put their homework in their bookbag. I myself can tune people out when they rattle a verbal instruction to me (example: teacher giving verbal instructions or rattling off a assignment six steps long).

It's not a difference between wanting to do one and to heck with the other. It's more in the order of having the ability to automatically focus and keep focus and in different settings and situations.

I always hated it when I was small and the teacher would read aloud a few chapters in a book to the class, or worse, the kids in their tiny little voices and shy mannerisms took turns reading a few pages each and then got tested on material. Hard as I tried, I usually ended up tuning it out after a few was not a deliberate thought or action.

My boys took different marital arts as kids and they played video games. It actually helped train thought focus and discipline.

I don't think it's really something in a few posts here any of us can help you through with enough idea and understanding. And I've always felt it really takes one with it to really know what it is all like, sure others can read about it and get a basic but they can't and never have actually experienced it.

Work with the drs. Research on your own, be open to what they are telling you. Also, if they medicate your SD be an active part in that. Not all meds are equal and beginning can be trial and error. There are also support groups filled with parents that can share their experiences with you that you might be interested in.

All I can tell you is to keep an open mind, if they are all wrong with the diagnose/eval, that too will come to a head and the root of what is actually going on will have to be sought out.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 11:53AM
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While I don't normally suggest Wikipedia for diagnosing your child, it lists the diagnostic criteria for ADHD (I'll paste them into the bottom of this post).
All kids (all grownups too!) fit the criteria to one degree or another... The thing is that it has to be consistent and severe enough that it is causing problems in at least two settings.

Whether or not the specific kid really has ADHD...
For some kids, an ADHD diagnosis can be great, in that it gives you something to WORK with. For others, it's a disaster because it's used as an excuse.

Although I have never met her, I would guess that your SD's problems are due largely to the so-called parenting she gets at her mom's. Her mom has no expectations of her, so why would she have expectations of herself? She knows she can get away with that crap at her mom's, so why not try it at school and at her dad's?
We saw the same thing with SS11. He truly does have ADHD, but when he was shuffled around all the time, and spent a lot of time with GM who had no expectations of him, he was not coping well with it. Now that he is mostly out of that situation, he's showing a lot of growth.

From Wikipedia

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. The symptoms of ADHD are especially difficult to define because it is hard to draw the line at where normal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and clinically significant levels requiring intervention begin.[15] To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must be observed in two different settings for six months or more and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.[32]

The symptom categories of ADHD in children yield three potential classifications of ADHDpredominantly inattentive type, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, or combined type if criteria for both subtypes are met:[15]:p.4

Predominantly inattentive type symptoms may include:[33]

* Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
* Have difficulty focusing on one thing
* Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
* Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
* Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
* Not seem to listen when spoken to
* Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
* Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
* Struggle to follow instructions.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms may include:[33]

* Fidget and squirm in their seats
* Talk nonstop
* Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
* Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
* Be constantly in motion
* Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

and also these manifestations primarily of impulsivity:[33]

* Be very impatient
* Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
* Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games

Most people exhibit some of these behaviors, but not to the degree where such behaviors significantly interfere with a person's work, relationships, or studies. The core impairments are consistent even in different cultural contexts.[34]

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 12:49PM
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one thing I noticed a few times, she hides her work & says she forgot it. I find this to be deliberate, like last week when I found the stack of work on her bed that appears she did not want me to see because it was work she was supposed to have turned in... she removed it from her binder before bringing me her binder. Then when I asked why she didn't turn it in (because it had been in her binder, at school with her) she said she forgot it at home... which is a lie because she said she just took it out of her binder.

So, I'm sure there is more going on that just ADHD... but I am getting the feeling everyone (DH, Dr. & teachers) are jumping to an easy solution.. medicate the kid. I know I am very frustrated... just not sure that it's the right thing to do. Of course, I am just SM... not my decision & DH thinks it's great they have an answer (which I think he is acting like they found a magic cure.. give her a pill & she will be different. I don't think he realizes how much work might be involved.) and her mother has had zero involvement in the process....

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:23PM
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Can you get a second opinion?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:32PM
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--"which I think he is acting like they found a magic cure.. give her a pill & she will be different. I don't think he realizes how much work might be involved"--

Oh my. He really is in for a reality check on that thought.

Anyway...the homework hiding you describe does sound very deliberate, lie so not get in trouble type thing. But why did she not do the homework to begin with? My little one has a homework assignment book. Even if the teacher gives an oral assignment run down, DD takes out her notebook and jots down instructions/notes on what and how teacher wants done. She's come up with a form of shorthand so she can keep up with what's being rattled.

When DD gets home, it's homework time. It has became much more relaxed than a few years ago. I no longer have to check her work to assignments nor do I any longer have to double check she has it all packed back up for the next day. She's improved well and even the assignment notebook is no longer even necessary.

She gets Adderall at 7:15 each morning and by end of school day it is wearing off and she's 'free' mode. She's on her own at homework time, but I do have to make sure she is doing it. She has a homework station set up and of course if I did not monitor a bit she'd prefer watching tv or whatnot.

ADD/ADHD can be used too often as labels where it is just a quick but not always accurate diagnoses. Also, many parents fear the term 'medicated', leaves imagines of a drugged out zombie kid in their heads. Research the med dr is considering, read forums where parents are discussing different treatments/meds, know the possible side effects. You're an intelligent woman, arm yourself (since DH and BM likely wont) with the knowledge and information you'll need to make a decision.

A child should never be allowed to use ADD/ADHD as an excuse and never as a crutch. And even while on Adderall at school, DD can override the meds, it helps her stop and think before acting and helps her focus, but it does not take over control of her. No one, unless told would even know she's taking Adderall during school hours...yet her med is not always the med for yet another child.

You've said before your SD has admitted to not doing this or that for attention or getting bad grades on purpose...that does need to be put on your information sheet your filling out. Talk to the dr. Tell him what and how things occur and when you notice the items most.

Also, read and continue to learn about ADD/ADHD and observe the SD with what you've read to what you're seeing. And talk to your dr. some more. Neither of my sons are medicated now. One was from 2nd to early teens, the other one never was, both have ADD. The DD has ADHD.

You and DH live with child, the teacher works with child on a daily basis. It's going to be these three observations that see the child the most that will be able to know the child in all situations (home, learning, with other children ect) and as to how child handles each and/or when her problems occur. The people who see child for a 1/2 hour or in one controlled situation/environment only have written guidelines/recommendations to follow.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 2:11PM
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Ok, from my experience, my husband has ADD. He was diagnosed with it when he was in second grade. He does take medication for it occassionally. My SS was diagnosed with ADHD at the end of kindergarten and is also on medication. SS takes it Monday-Friday during the school year only. The psychologist who gave the diagnosis told my husband that SS has a very mild case. With my husband I really see the ADD. He is very spastic, has a hard time focusing on anything (except video and computer games), is easily distracted, can't organize, doesn't seem to listen or pay attention, loses track of things that need to be done, and I can just keep going on and on.

With my SS, we don't see the symptoms of ADHD at our house at all. We strongly feel that BM is treating him with medicine because she doesn't have to deal with him then (his personality when he gets to our house Friday afternoon to Saturday morning is completely different). The psychologist report reads that BM stated that he doesn't pay attention in school, is very inappropriate behaviorally, won't stay in his seat, doesn't pay attention or listen, won't stay on task. BM told psychologist that at home he doesn't listen, won't sit still, doesn't pay attention, and is "wild." At our house, we have issues with listening but thats it.

I will say that we took him for a second opinion and the psychologist felt that SS actaully has a learning disorder. He stated there is a cognitive processing disorder that is commonly misdiagnosed as ADHD. The psychologist showed us the issue by asking SS to repeat a simple 4-word sentence. After 3 tries, he was still missing a word. I would recommend going for a second opinion just to make sure there is nothing else going on.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 2:21PM
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"but I am getting the feeling everyone (DH, Dr. & teachers) are jumping to an easy solution.. medicate the kid"

Bahahahahahaha! Oh my.
Medication does NOT solve behavioral/neurological disorders. It simply helps manage the symptoms so that you start constructively solving the problems.

And the homework hiding thing doesn't sound like an ADHD version of "I didn't get my homework done."
The ADHD version is this:
Know you have homework to do, but run around chasing the cat until someone makes you sit down to do it.
While you are sitting there, you are nattering about your shoelaces are fraying at their ends and how the water in your glass has 27 bubbles but one popped so now it has 26 but if one more pops it will be 25 and that if your head were made of gold you would sell it for lots of money but then you wouldn't have a head anyways and when can you go on the computer?
Then, when told to focus on your work, you say it's too hard. When you are asked if you'd like some help, you may or may not cry. Upon being calmed down and convinced that you are capable, you do some of your work very sloppily and some of it very neatly. You also do a number of the questions incorrectly because you didn't read the instructions. You also may doodle all over part of your work when you stop to think about how to spell a difficult word or do some mental multiplication.
When you think the homework is complete, and it is checked by your caregiver, you kick up a fuss that they point out you have missed a section.
Then, FINALLY, now that your homework is actually done, your caregiver instructs you to put it back in your binder. You can't recall where you put your binder, because you put it on a chair at the back of the table when you started your homework (did I mention that your caregiver had to remind you three times that homework is done ON the table and not UNDER it?). So, you crumple your work into a ball and stuff it into your backpack, under the indoor gym shoes that you wore outside and have been sent home to be cleaned before you are allowed to wear them again (although you have neglected to tell your caregiver this pertinent piece of information).
When a note comes home tomorrow, asking where your binder is and requesting that your homework not be muddy in the future, you are thoroughly puzzled and do not understand the problem.

LOL, that's homework with ADHD!!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 3:05PM
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how very accurate

I can not tell you the number of times ss doing history homework will bust out with did you know that there are (for example) twenty two tiles on the wall ..

so funny

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 3:20PM
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You mean all kids don't draw kitty cats and tulips with ladybugs on the sidelines of their math paper?

What you describe with the careless presentation of work and handing it in, is no longer our problem. This years teacher won't accept it if she can't read it or if it is not neat (she does allow drawings though LOL) ...I love this teacher. Took the 4th grade teacher who has been teaching 30 plus years to get daughter to understand readable work is a requirement not optional. My little one has went from all but unreadable to almost perfectionately wonderful...okay, okay, I did hear a few times at the beginning of this school year that DD's teacher was the 'neat freak', but the 'neat freak' teacher has helped tons insisting DD's actual homework is as perfect as her artwork.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 3:22PM
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I am a big believer that a lot of kids are 'over' diagnosed today. Excuses are made for otherwise poor behavior. It makes it easier for everyone involved. BUT, I also believe that ADD and ADHD are very real. I know it sounds like I am talking from both sides of my mouth! I just think many parents and kids use this as an excuse at times, when maybe the kid really needs something else to get the desired behavior...discipline, structure, etc.

I see the same characteristics in my SD20...she has been on medication for a number of years for ADD. So, if the meds are suppose to help, why is she still having these issues when she is 20 and medicated? For someone of her age, I believe it is a lazy/unmotivated/don't feel like doing it thing as oppossed to not being able to focus. Even the eating behavior you described I have seen in the SD. But she has no trouble spending hours on the computer, playing video games, etc.

I am middle aged and I think back about some of the kids I went to grammer school with. It seemed like it was always the same kids getting into trouble or acting out at school. I'm guessing that those kids did indeed have a diagnosable problem. There were only a handful of them. But, I have no clue what those kid's home life's were like. Today it seems we are so quick to find a reason for some of the negative behavior. It seems like so many kids have this problem or that problem.

I don't care for math, but that doesn't mean I didn't do my homework, whether I could focus well or not. I just got through it because there were expectations. Heck, I don't like to do laundry and find many other things to do to distract me, but it still has to be done!

I think a second opinion would be a great idea.

I have also read that kids with ADD/ADHD lie about something to cover up what they legitimately cannot do. Then it becomes a habit to lie. I see this with my SD20. But, at the age of 20 you would think she would go to her dad or a teacher to help her in a class, instead of dropping said class, without telling her father first, as he is paying the bill. That is where I draw the line...I feel that at the age of 20, if there was a sincere desire to succeed at whatever, she would seek help, knowing she has focus problems. She admitted to my bio daughter that she flunked out of first year of college because she was too busy partying! So, I think she may use this as a crutch.

On the other hand, SO's son who is 22 has just landed a fantastic job and is a genious with computers. He was diagnosed with ADHD many years ago, I think around the age of 4. Based on the description of his actions at the time (from SO) the son definetly sounded like he had a problem. Well today he is off all meds (and has been for about 2 years) and doing quite well.

I hope all goes well for you, certainly not an easy thing to deal with right now. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 3:25PM
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I think the same jetmom, I think it's real but also over-diagnosed.

I believe SD has problems. I think she enjoys whatever attention she can get from mom or dad, doesn't seem to interested in having MY attention... and of course, dad is working but tries, mom is busy with her own life. SD really wants mom's attention bad. and for over a year (when SD was 6) BM tried very hard to get SD diagnosed & on medication for ADHD, even though she didn't have any symptoms that we saw (when she was at our house) and she (BM) was told repeatedly that she did not have ADHD and would not prescribe medication, which upset BM.

So much crap with BM that I don't know if SD would try to have ADHD to get mom to pay attention, or if BM would encourage her to fake it (BM gets attention by having 'injuries' like broken bones/sprains that seem to heal in days instead of weeks), or if she really has it. I am trying to keep an open mind, but so many other things going on that I would hesitate to label her ADHD, medicate & move on... she just keeps falling through the cracks. There is very little I can do to help, besides encourage DH to do things because if it's MY idea, BM has a fit and SD ignores it. DH just wants a quick & easy solution because we are all very frustrated with her.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 5:01PM
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"I think the same jetmom, I think it's real but also over-diagnosed."


    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 5:18PM
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First of all ADD and ADHD is not the same thing. ADHD would include hyperactivity, but children with ADD could sit still and appear to be listening yet their mind wonders. They could be very well mannered and well behaved and not hyper at all, just cannot concentrate.

Also normally truly ADD people cannot focus on anything, no matter if it is work or their favorite movie, they cannot concentrate. But keep in mind even if a child appears to be focused and looking at you, it does not mean they have no attention issues.

I have experience in the area but I don't think we can really help without knowing a child. I would go see a good doctor and then let them diagnose her. Although it is overly diagnosed I would not rule it out.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 6:09PM
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ima, So much crap with BM that I don't know if SD would try to have ADHD to get mom to pay attention, or if BM would encourage her to fake it... Unfortunately I have met women who do encourage/exaggerate symptoms of ADD/ADHD because their children can receive SSI money if they are diagnosed with it. We know someone right now who is trying to get her four year old diagnosed as being bipolar! It just disgusts me for so many reasons, not the least being that it is so unfair to people who really do have these conditions. I'm not saying BM would do such a thing but it could be something to consider if it seems like that might be a possibility.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 8:07PM
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Well, we never told SD that we were taking her to be evaluated. We attended the seminar without her & scheduled the follow up without telling her about it. When the therapist made the appointment, he said he was calling BM to invite her to be there. The next day, BM left DH a message "Oh, DD has insurance now? Where's my card?" but did not say if she would be at the appointment, nor discussed it with him. Then SD went with her for the weekend, so she did have the opportunity to talk to her about it.

Yesterday, when the therapist asked SD if we talked to her about coming to be evaluated, she said yes. Then she went on to tell him that she thought she has ADHD and what ADHD is. It struck me as odd because we never talked to or prepared her, nor told her what ADHD is. We figured she has a hard enough time, concentrating that if she knew she was going to this appointment, she would be thinking about it and worrying. I guess she may have heard about what ADHD is elsewhere, like at school.. but it just seemed odd that she would say we told her.... and we were sitting right there & she knew we didn't talk to her about it. I found that to be strange.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 1:46AM
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possibly mom talked to her or maybe she overheard you guys talk, kids have big ears LOL

In any case she struggles at school, has no other disabilities, if she was tested for LD she clearly had ability test, is her IQ within average norm?

Something prevents her from succeeding. I know you said she does it on purpose, but I cannot begin to tell you, ima, how many children say that. It is so much easier to say: I don't care, I do it to aggravate mom, teachers, dad, I do it to get attention etc than say: I don't know why but I have hard time with school work.

I agree that many children are over diagnosed and overmedicated. But I also saw miracles when a true ADD child (I keep saying child when i really mean high school age) finally is on medication. They cannot believe what they could do! pass every high school class with A and B, graduate on time and get to college when for years they could not stay focused for 5 minutes. And parents refused medication because they believe ADD was overly diagnozed. And now they say their kids are poster kids for proper ADD medication.

I hope whatever it is, SD will do better. If she is above average she is capable of making something out of herself, go to college, become a professional and if it i means try medication now, then I think it is worth it.

On the other hand, DD did not care about school in a middle school, and did a bare minimum yet she did really well in high school because it mattered. Plenty of kids don't do well at some point because they are lazy or don't care enough.

So it is a tough decision for you guys. i would just hate for SD to waste her school years. Tell us what you decide.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 6:20AM
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To partly go on what Finedreams last posted...I mentioned earlier today my experience of outloud classroom reading. When I would have the book in my hands and read it myself, I absorbed every ounce of the book and sailed through any reports/tests on the material and in proper time length and usually much quicker than the other readers in classroom (yeah, while tapping toe or clicking fingernails on desk which never failed to drive teacher nuts).

It was the listening to teacher/others read it to me and pay attention to what they were saying that I would tune out. Monotone prolonged rattling on was hard for me to follow with full focus. My attention would turn to the fly landing on the kid in front of me, the birds out the window building their nest, the janitor I could see out the hallway hanging a shelf...

With the oldest son, one teacher in HS just knew my kid was a evil kid out to deliberately annoy her and disobey her when spoken to. Teacher was floored when I showed up at principal's office and was able to tell her exactly what had taken place and she she had reacted to it without me even have to listen to her tell us (principal and I) the stroy and details.

'Stop that'...'Stop what?' ... 'I said STOP IT'...'What'd I do'...'Go to the office'...'I didn't do anything'...

Kid was tapping his foot (or pencil or any other such offense) and was not aware he was doing it. So when teacher sqeals 'stop it' kid is oblivious to what teacher is objecting to. So back to quietly minding his own business and studying his lesson, oh, and tapping his toe.

After the meeting teacher began saying 'Little JMT please stop tapping your toe', or simply 'Little JMT' and then quietly pointing to his tapping foot. End of problem between teacher and my son.

But back to Ima's SD. It's the end of the school year and trying meds this late in is really not going to change the effects of her grades for this term. I think I'd take the summer to observe, make notes and then review come the first of August as to what you saw, when you saw it and revisit the idea of whether it is ADD/ADHD and if meds would be helpful. It's a shame BM told SD what was going on with the eval, but on the other hand, if SD is faking it I think over time and with observation you'll be able to see if there is a consistant problem or one merely for the attention it gets her.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:48AM
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"I think I'd take the summer to observe, make notes and then review come the first of August as to what you saw, when you saw it and revisit the idea of whether it is ADD/ADHD and if meds would be helpful. It's a shame BM told SD what was going on with the eval, but on the other hand, if SD is faking it I think over time and with observation you'll be able to see if there is a consistant problem or one merely for the attention it gets her."

Unfortunately, she will be spending the summer with her mother and since her mother is not on board, there is no way to observe her or get input. Besides, her mother lies & has her own agenda so anything she might tell us will probably not be very helpful for SD. What was decided is that they will try medication when she resumes the next school year. At my suggestion, it will be in combination with therapy to deal with the other issues.

To be honest, my biggest concern at the moment is that DH is not fully aware of how much work might be involved and it will fall on me. Her mom doesn't care to get involved to help & she would take custody to get out of paying her child support, but then SD would be there doing what older sister is doing... anything she damn well pleases, wearing make up, & staying up all night. She already does that on weekends & during summer. This summer may be another eye opener for SD as well, now there is a baby there. Will BM send her off to stay with other people again? or will she want her there to help take care of the baby? and how will that make SD feel? Last summer, SD had grandiose ideas of all the great stuff mom was going to do with her during summer & she ended up staying with grandma in another town & seeing mom one or two days a week ~ grandma (who lived by us) would drive SD to BM's the day before we got her... thus making us drive an extra two hours to go get her. By the end of summer, SD was thinking she was going to start school over at BM's because grandma & her sister moved to the town where BM lives... then she was shocked & upset when we came to get her at the end of summer to get ready to start school here. That is the kind of mental anguish BM does to her... she doesn't seem to care how much her daughter is struggling or how miserable these things make her, she doesn't really want her daughter living there with her, but she does want the child support off her back. So, what happens this summer & how it impacts SD will probably affect how she feels at the end of summer. SD's counselor told us to keep telling SD the truth, but doing that makes BM angry... she even called the counselor & told him off. Actually, both of her counselors have had to suggest that, that we tell SD the truth about living here because BM continues to tell her lies about going to live over there.

She also continues to lie about getting married to BF. SD just told DH that they are getting married next month. BM is still married to older sister's daddy, she can't marry BF... but all of the kids are supposedly all excited about it, including BF's kids. But that is one lie we don't tell SD the truth about... how do you tell a kid that her mom is still married to DD14's BD, but now living with & claiming to be getting married to BF? But, she fills those kids' heads with her fantasy & make believe they are the 'Brady Bunch'.

So, I hope the medication helps. SD leaves in two weeks for summer. One of her teachers has raised SD's grades from D & F to a B- & C+. Unfortunately, we believe it is because DH has mentioned retaining SD in 5th grade because all her grades were D's & F's. (plus her handwriting looks like 2nd grade, she can't spell, and consistently, her teachers write "not grade level work" on her papers. We discussed retention because if SD isn't able to do 5th grade level work, how will she do 6th grade level with many teachers?) While I understand why the teachers & counselor oppose holding her back (I see that as a last resort also), it is a great disservice to SD if they are fluffing her grades to help her look better to us so DH won't hold her back. On the other hand, maybe SD will get some sort of pride out of seeing a report card with a B on it & maybe it will inspire her to work harder next year to get B's.. or at least better grades. All I know is that she has not improved from doing D level work to B level work in two weeks... and her other teacher has noted a few times how SD has given herself an A on papers that she got 5 out of 10 right.... which is 50%~ an F.

At this point, all we can do is wait to see what happens when she goes to her mothers.. and when she comes back, see what her attitude about it is. Then when she starts school again, we will try the medication & she will go back to therapy.

Thanks everyone for all the input. I am going to research it more. I know my nephew was ADD, but still don't know much about these disorders/conditions. I will also need to educate DH.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:53AM
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I only read your initial post and did not read everyones comments.

In working at a school and having 2 kids diagnosed with adhd I know a bit about it. My sd was diagnosed with adhd in kindergarten. My ds was diagnosed this year, though I always knew he had it but had no reason for a diagnosis until he started struggling in school.

SD was on meds when I met her in 1st grade. She was still struggling in school but was sort of like a zombie. Not happy but not sad, just kind of there. So that summer I started working a lot with her on school work and figured out that she did not know how to read or know any math facts. I told dh that she may have adhd, but she also did not know the basics so of course school was hard and she was tuning out! I asked him to try, just for the summer, to take her off meds and let me work with her. After a little while off meds we saw this cheerful and vibrant girl come out of her shell. DH never put her back on meds again. She is still behind grade level in school, but she is making progress and gets special ed help and has made honor roll the last few years. She also does have a learning disability on top of the adhd.

For my ds I said no meds, though the pediatrician was not happy about that. I just finished the evaluation process at his school for special ed services and now he has an IEP. He qualified under OHI (other health impairments) because his ADHD is adversly affecting his education. During all the IQ and other testing he was above average. They all said that he is very smart, which I already knew. It was part of why I was so frustrated with his low grades and struggles in school this year. My dh is a very bright boy with an extensive vocabulary. But his adhd is distracting him. He comes home and when its homework time he acts as if he is seeing the material for the first time. I have to literally sit and do his homework with him and re-teach concepts. I could tell that he was not faking not being able to do his homework, he was trying. He would sit and do it first and do much of it wrong. When I went over it with him and retaught the material he did better. I felt that with the right accommodations at school he will thrive again. The teacher was just teaching concepts and handing out work. If he failed assignments or tests/quizzes there was an F in the gradebook and she moved on, no reteaching or extra help. With his IEP he is going to get that extra help he needs.

At home he does some of the same things you describe with sd (forgetting, rushing, losing things, messy handwriting), but with reminders and patience it gets better. I have found checklists helpful with him because then he can monitor himself and take responsibility for his actions.

So my advice is that sd does sound like she has ADHD. Help her to get evaluated at school for special education services. With a little extra help she may thrive!

With sd I have seen so much improvement since she has been getting special ed services at school. She comes home and does her homework correctly almost by herself. She has organizational systems that work for her. And most importantly she is happy and loves school. That is what I want for ds too.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 10:29AM
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I read this article several months ago, and immediately thought of it after reading your post, Ima.
And as fate would have it, I tripped over it again today --

The subject is the "Overdiagnosis and Over-Medication" of ADHD and other psych. ailments in today's kids, and the author's conclusions are guaranteed to surprise. It's well worth the time to read.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 6:44PM
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"Also normally truly ADD people cannot focus on anything, no matter if it is work or their favorite movie, they cannot concentrate. "

That hasn't been my experience, OR what I've read. DS could always immerse himself in TV or Legos -- though he usually also had other things going on (music) in the background.

"But I also saw miracles when a true ADD child (I keep saying child when i really mean high school age) finally is on medication. They cannot believe what they could do! pass every high school class with A and B, graduate on time and get to college when for years they could not stay focused for 5 minutes. And parents refused medication because they believe ADD was overly diagnosed. And now they say their kids are poster kids for proper ADD medication. "

That HAS been my experience with my older son. He was diagnosed ADHD at age 7 and started medication then. His schoolwork improved significantly very quickly. But then his father disputed the diagnosis and threatened the Dr. with a lawsuit if he continued to prescribe Ritalin -- so off the meds went DS. His schoolwork started to suffer (but not right away) and Dad blamed it all on lack of effort -- which was reasonable, because DS couldn't sit still and focus, and he kept missing assignments. Anyway, DS struggled through, but finally went BACK on ADHD meds (his own idea) shortly after he turned 18 and right before he started college. He's now making straight A's and looking at med. school. For the first time in his life, he's feeling positively triumphant at school and is motivated to go beyond his assignments to learn more than just the class material.

I asked him point blank yesterday how much of his academic success he attributes to his ADHD meds. At first, he said about 30%, and that most of it was due to studying. But then he said that his study efforts were SOOOO much more productive than they ever had been, and that he could never have studied that much and that enjoyably without meds -- so 'virtually all of it' was in some way related to his medication. He said if he forgets his meds, he ends up having a terrible day.

"What was decided is that they will try medication when she resumes the next school year. At my suggestion, it will be in combination with therapy to deal with the other issues."

That's really an excellent plan. I know you don't think she has it, and don't want to medicate her unnecessarily -- but most ADHD medications have a long and very safe track record in kids, and you should be able to see very quickly if it's helping or not.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:28PM
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