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!