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My daughter has ADHD.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Well, I feel like a rank newbie all over again. I learn things. I'm a digger, a researcher, a doer; but this is new for me. Oh, I have some peripheral knowledge about the disorder. I have dear friends who have it, and I have two nieces who also received a diagnosis when they were young (they're teens now). But it's different when it becomes your problem.

My daughter was pretty much born hyperactive. She would never take naps (Even as an infant) and refused to sleep in the car. She has always been a mover, continuously active. A complete live wire.

I didn't realize how pronounced this was until I had my second child.

When she entered first grade, though, this fall, it really started affecting her ability to function in school and at home, so I bit the bullet, and we started the process in November to get a diagnosis and some treatment.

Today, I got the news. She "absolutely has ADHD", to use the words of her psychologist. Pretty definitive. Not that we had any doubts; when filling out the questionnaire, pretty much every question was answered "very" or "yes."

She also has two other issues we weren't aware of. She's also got ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and anxiety disorder. Those were a surprise, but only the names. In hindsight, I completely see it, and I do not disagree with it.

I'm standing on a precipice, and I'm not sure which way to go; I know there are tons of resources out there, I just have to find them. I have the vocabulary in my head... now it's just time to figure out what all those words *mean*.

First step: Figure out how to respond to all those "ADHD is overdiagnosed" assholes that have to use their armchair psychiatry degrees to tell me what my kid's just fine.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You probably know this, but ADHD was a new designation for ADD when they changed the diagnostic book a while back. They're doing it again soon to lump all types of autism together, with modifiers for how severe it is. No more Aspergers or PDD-NOS. I am glad you were able to come out about this right away. I kept it in for months. Perhaps if I'd been more invested in the Spark community when it happened that might have been different.
    1957 days ago
    If anyone pulls the "overdiagnosed" line, just nod and say, "It's overdiagnosed in boys. It's UNDERdiagnosed in girls. We're grateful that the people who care about our daughter understand and are helping us deal with the situation." You decide how much vocal emphasis to put on the word "care."

    That lets them be right about something, but not about your daughter. It shuts people up pretty well.
    1963 days ago
  • _MOBII_
    I agree that just having a name for what is going on will come as a relief! I don't know much about add/adhd so I will keep y'all in my prayers!
    1964 days ago
    I have ADD (no H) and was not diagnosed until I was 30. I was in gifted and talented as a child, so my disorganization, inability to focus, issues with having no filter, and all the rest were just sort of chalked up to me being lazy or "difficult". No matter how hard I tried to explain that I was trying, and that I really just didn't remember, or lost something, or didn't notice that I had forgotten to do whatever it was I was supposed to do, people assumed that I could do it if I just tried harder. It's very tiring on a kid.

    Your daughter is lucky that you have a diagnosis so early, because you have plenty of time to help her develop coping skills so that she can function in regular situations. I had no study skills, or organizational tools, so once school began to get hard, I floundered. I took meds for a few years, but really didn't like the way they made me feel, however, there are all sorts of new drugs on the market, and a good doctor can help you navigate them.

    To be honest, now that I have developed the skills I need, I like being ADD. I am faster than most people, have a quicker wit, can always find the creative, original solution to a problem and generally think that a whole lot of who I am is a function of the ADD.

    As a teacher, I also have to agree with the people who have already told you to work with the school to help your daughter find the best educational environment. If her teachers do not know that she is ADHD, they will not be able to help her, and she is going to need some help to function at her best. It might be as simple as making sure she sits in the front of the room so she is least likely to get distracted, or maybe having two sets of textbooks, one for home and one for school so she does not forget things.

    As for the people who get in your business, tell them to get out. :-)
    1964 days ago
    My ex-stepson was diagnosed with a combination of ADHD, ODD, and high-functioning autism. It took a lot of time to convince my ex-husband to have him at least tested, but after he was kicked out of 2 preschools for acting out, my ex finally listened. We tried therapy when he was five, but it wasn't really effective (I don't think he was old enough to really benefit from it - I hope my ex tries again when he's older). After two different doctors diagnosed him (one was at a prominent local hospital) and his pediatrician concurred with the results, we worked on a multi-level plan. He started kindergarten a year late. We did go with some medication, but tried different ones until we found one that worked. Once he started elementary school, the school staff was great in setting up an individualized education program that kept him in a regular classroom almost the whole day, with only some resource help for his focus, socialization, and communication issues.

    I would definitely recommend working with the school. Some people fear it "labels" a kid to do that, but if it's a good school, they will not let that happen. The resource people, therapists, psychologists are there to help children succeed and that's exactly what they are there for. Don't be afraid to fight to make sure your child is getting the services and attention she needs. Some schools may drag their feet a little, but you have rights to certain educational services.

    Whatever else you decide, whether it be medication or therapy or a combination thereof, don't be afraid to keep trying things until you find something that works. There are a lot of books out there about parenting children with ODD, ADHD, etc., which will probably help too.

    People just need to keep their nose out of your business when it comes to what you ultimately decide. It is one of the hardest things in the world to have a child diagnosed with something like that when everyone wants to judge you on whether it's a "real" diagnosis or question your treatment choices. It was extremely hard the years I went through it with my ex-stepson, and even though I miss him, I do not miss that.
    1964 days ago
    Sometimes having a name for it is a huge relief, it allows you to identify the problem in a concrete way and move forward.

    My husband and I were resistant to the diagnosis at first, because our daughter is also gifted and was not struggling in school. We kept writing things off as "she's just bored, she's not being challenged"

    It took some time to come to face facts and I am glad that we did. We are now trying to figure out the best way for us to handle this new challenge. We know that the key is structure (although we are still floundering through that one!)

    1965 days ago
  • BILL60
    We have a son with ADHD. He was diagnosed while in the first grade. In our area, only public schools had programs to deal with the disorder. After reading and listening, we adjusted the way we managed our son's behaviors and kept tabs on the school's input. He's now a freshman in college and doing just fine. He's brilliant in some areas, and weak in others. Luckily, his strong suits are science and math, subjects that most of us have a tough time with. He's looking at Electrical Engineering as a profession. Bottom line, he's overcome the stigma and is making us and himself mighty proud. I wish you the very best with your daughter.
    1965 days ago
  • GINNJEN1974
    You will be able to find what works for you by trial and error. I know that it may not even be an easy road. I too have a daughter with ADHD. It can be trying but you just keep on going. Find the best way to address it and use it as much as possible. What works for one kid may not be what your daughter needs.
    1965 days ago
    emoticon Sending you good thoughts, my friend. It sounds like you are doing the right thing. emoticon
    1965 days ago
    All I have to say is that I'm glad she has a mother who is willing to put in the needed time and effort to make her life as great as possible instead of saying 'NOT MY CHILD' and hiding in the sand. Then I want to add that I've heard it mentioned that food coloring additives (like red 40) can worsen things like ADHD, but I know nothing beyond that. So it might be worthwhile to look into that research and see if you think avoiding those might help.

    Best wishes on your research and figuring out what to do to help your daughter make the most of the wonderful gifts she has.
    1965 days ago
    My son has ADHD and it can be a challenge. But you already know that! It is not a "big deal" really - just a part of who he is. We tried a few natural and diet approaches when he was younger, I felt he was too little for medication. It worked very, very well, until it didn't.

    Medication was a real turn-around for him. Focusing in school, making friends, clear speech, all these were achieved. He is a completely different, better, kid when on his medication. He even expresses that he likes himself better. That's pretty powerful.

    So, do the research. Do what is right for your baby. Know that others are here to support you through it.
    1965 days ago
    I have taught kids with ADD, ADHD, and ODD (one child was both ADHD and ODD) so if I can be any help at all, even the smallest bit, please let me know. I don't pretend to know everything, but ya never know what little bit could help.

    Good on you, BTW, for realising there is a problem and starting the process of getting help. There are a few children at my school who have ADD or ADHD and their parents are in complete denial and won't take them to a doctor to be diagnosed. Once they are diagnosed they can get help and funding, but the parents think they are fine (they are not fine when 10 different teachers are telling you something is wrong!)
    1965 days ago
    there are several spark teams here dealing with adhd or as we say over here adhs for people suffering from it and for families of people suffering from it.i think you get a better incite from people in the situation or dealing with it than you actually will from drs.check on computer if there are self help groups in your area you can get information on where to go from here.have the drs prescribed medicine for her?also check with the school what their policy is on children with adhs,do they make extra allowances etc.this can very from school to school and state and lands.how is your daughter feeling about the diaognosis.?try and make her see it as a good thing ,that can be helped rather than a disability as such.there is a fine line.hope this helps if you need to talk know i am here. emoticon
    1965 days ago
    I remember my oldest was like that. I used to ask people "Aren't babies supposed to sleep 16 hours a day?" He never did. Educate yourself as much as possible and just ignore the people who preach to you. Any comeback you have doesn't work with them. It CAN work out. My son is now 23 and extremely intelligent, highly educated and a contributing member of society. Good luck!
    1965 days ago
    In my University there are ADHD seminars for the students. You realized this issue at a young age and since there are already relatives and friends who have it maybe you can ask their advice. And it would be cool to ask directly your nieces of how they cope with it and what their parents did right or wrong during the process.
    emoticon And a cool link:

    1965 days ago
    If you ever get the chance, check your local PBS listings for a documentary called ADD & Loving it. It's a program (funny too) where some extremely successful people discuss how they live, function and thrive with ADD.

    I don't know a whole lot about ADD, just what I read online or in the news. So, that documentary was a real eye opener. You might be able to catch snipets of it on YOUTUBE. very well done.

    Here's one quote about ADD that you may find interesting/helpful

    "If you've seen one kid with ADD, you've seen one kid with ADD"

    The point they were making was that the symptoms of ADD were so extremely diverse that no two people who had ADD were exactly the same. In some ways, ADD has been misused as well as misunderstood. At least you have some idea of what's going on.

    1965 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/7/2013 3:34:09 PM
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