Life with Coco and Gigi... and Jack-Jack too!

Life as a Mom, A Homesteader, A Blogger and A Wife.

ADHD

This week Grace was officially diagnosed with ADHD. We knew it was probable but we have never had her formally diagnosed. Her school required an assessment by a psychiatrist for the diagnosis so she can remain in the same special education program she is currently in.

We met with the doctor on Tuesday evening and after only an hour and a half he was very confident that the diagnosis was appropriate. We talked a little about all of the mis-diagnosis of ADHD and how a child who truly has ADHD struggles. Many people don't realize how much more there is to the diagnosis than being wild or having trouble sitting still.

Grace struggles in many areas. She has the typical inattentiveness, hyperactivity and extremely high energy level that are commonly understood. But she also struggles socially because she has trouble reigning in her urge to control others. She has daily (often more than once daily) meltdowns over very small things that can last up to an hour. During those meltdowns she will scream things like "I cannot calm down, please help me calm down". It is heartbreaking. She will have meltdowns over simple transitions between tasks. And the list goes on and on. Life with ADHD is not easy.

Thankfully for now the doc was comfortable with not discussing medications or psychotherapy. While I strongly believe there is a place for medications amongst kids with ADHD (they are a necessity for many kids), I do not think we are there. Instead we will continue to maintain her with a strict diet (minimal amounts of food coloring or preservatives as well as primarily organic foods), exercise (she is now able to run about half a mile straight through) and a behavioral approach. This could change in the future but for now it will be our plan.

The good news is that this diagnosis will likely help keep her in the amazing academic program she is currently in at school. What they have been able to accomplish these past two years has been outstanding. The thought that she will stay in this program brings a smile to my face!

2 comments:

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

good for you for looking beyond medication. Many children "outgrow" ADHD in the sense that they learn to live within its constraints(and the constraints lessen) and mature enough to allow their cognitive self to override their "Id". However, once medication starts it is very difficult for that process to begin, progress, and complete.

Hopefully between her positive and proactive home environment and the correct school environment, she can become well adjusted without medication. I would go so far as to say that I, personally as a mother, would go to great lengths, debt, etc., before medicating my child for ADHD, ADD, OCD, asbergers, or any other similar impairment, including paying for a private school that caters to such children and intensive behavioral therapy.

I know that sometimes medication is the difference between life and death (or close to it) for some kids, but for the rest it can serve as an inhibitor to natural progression past the worst effects of the disorder (who's designation changes regularly and is not a "traditional" diagnoses in the affirmative sense but often just a collection of similar attributes that change over time).

Best of luck!

sara 7:51 AM  

How timely this is for me as we JUST had an appointment yesterday to test our son to see if he is on the autism spectrum and the initial thinking (I say initial because we won't know for sure until June when we go to his feedback appointment) is that he has ADHD and impulse control disorder. He exhibits many of the same symptoms as Grace (and they're about the same age... my twins were born at the beginning of June 2007), but we add biting and hitting and kicking to his meltdowns. Our psychologist said that medication is an option, but it's really only a bandaid that suppresses the symptoms and that the best thing we can do will be working on modifying his behavior. We're hoping she can give us some more specific recommendations after she makes the official diagnosis.

I wish you the best of luck with everything. You seem to be doing an outstanding job so far!

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Over 8 years we have struggled through 3 IUI's, 6 rounds of IVF, several RE's, hundreds of appointments and the loss of three little angels. Now we find ourselves the proud parents of two perfect little girls and a wonderful little boy!!

Both of our girls struggle with some disabilities but that won't keep us down. Each day has it's own brand of insanity but we love it. Most days I am more monkey wrangler than mother but I do the best I can. Todays goal - getting to tomorrow.

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