ADD… How poorly understood.

15May09

So I’m having the same issues with my son in school: he’s not staying in his seat, talks to much, jokes too much, won’t stay focused on his work, etc… but yet he scored in the 99.5th percentile on the academically and intellectually gifted tests across a variety of subjects. I really thought it was just his impulsivity that kept him from doing well but now I see it’s only a small piece of the puzzle.

Since I last posted about him, I’ve had umpteen million notes, phone calls, emails, and even a conference with some board which consisted of the vice principal, the teacher, the counselor, and the school psychologist. Try walking into that unprepared! No one ever told me I was going on trial… They said I need to get him assessed despite the fact that he is currently seeing a counselor on a weekly basis. They want an MD to properly diagnose him but I suspect it’s because they’re pushing for me to medicate him. I took him to a pediatrician and she just looked at some assessment given to me by the school and said she can prescribe him something. No questions asked.  Geez…  Honestly, this week I broke down and really questioned whether I was making the right choice by keeping him off medication. I am lucky to have support from a few great friends who are encouraging me not to give in. One in particular is very holistic in his approach to health. He advised that I look into diet changes and vitamin supplements specifically for ADD. This led me on an internet quest….

After some research, I ended up finding some really well-reviewed books on Amazon. One is about nutrition for ADD, another about discipline for ADD, and lastly, one for my son about ADD (geared towards children readers) because he often feels alienated because of his behavior. He really isn’t a bad kid. Anywhere besides school, he’s rather well behaved. As a matter of fact, my kids get complimented frequently regarding how quietly they sit during presentations, meetings, symphonies, etc… His problems at home really are normal, everyday kid issues. His problems at school are crushing our family, though. I’m only one parent and his school issues take up virtually all my time and energy.

Anyway, I find an excellent site regarding ADD (or what people presume to be ADD) and the different approaches to understanding and dealing with it. Those of you that are interested can read about it here. What I like most is that it admits that ADD is a general term and is a label given to those with or without neurological issues or giftedness. It’s a catch-all. I can’t wait to get the books I ordered and start the diet (which shouldn’t be too hard because we eat pretty healthy anyway). It’s an 18 day initial commitment. A small price to pay for peace of mind for all of us.

The other thing that I am convinced about now is that public school isn’t the right setting for his type. His first two years at a Montessori school were far better. Reading more about how their mind works and how they need to be stimulated, it totally makes sense. They aren’t required to sit at a desk all day, they do their school work on their own terms (they have a check list of tasks to complete and they determine when and what order as long as it’s before the end of the day), there is much more hands-on activity. Unfortunately, I cannot afford Montessori school right now but as soon as I can, it will be the first investment I make before he ends up hating school. I also see now that his defiance lately against his teacher is because he feels she has already labeled him a “brat”. I think she has. I feel for her because I realize it’s hard to deal with him sometimes but at the same time he needs all that much more effort so he doesn’t give up.

As you can see, I’ve had a lot preoccupying me lately. I’ll have to keep you posted on how the diet goes. I’m broke as hell but I’m going to see if I can get him into karate or something. We’ll see….

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5 Responses to “ADD… How poorly understood.”

  1. If you ever need a good reason why not to put him on medication, watch the talk of Sir Ken Robinson on Ted: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

    Wait, till he comes to the part, where he speaks of a little girl named Gillian. That should be watched by every single teacher and therapist, who want to put children on medication, because then, they are easier to handle.

    • 2 extrovertscientist

      Wow! That was an outstanding clip! I loved it! Normally, I would not be very interested in watching a 20 minute clip but he was really funny from the beginning. I laughed the whole time and I really enjoyed his message. Thanks for sharing!

    • 3 InkRose

      I remember watching that last summer. Brilliant little talk.

      That TED’s another site I lost from my bookmarks when my OS fell apart some weeks ago, thanks for the reminder. 😛

      And to extrovert, I’ve been a bit scarce ’round the blogosphere myself (just reading and occasionally commenting as before), thanks to the above-mentioned computer trouble. Just slowly remembering all the blogs I lost, along with about 85% of all my bookmarks. But I will be lurking around your neck of the woods as well, now.

      I have a colleague whose daughter was diagnosed ADHD, and is on meds, and for all concerned it seems to be working incredibly well. And she’s still like the Duracell bunny. Once, about a year ago or so, her teacher (a new lady, apparently, fresh out of university or sth) told my friend off for medicating the girl at such a young age (I think she was 8), so they sent her to school unmedicated one Monday, and she was all over the place. The new teacher did get the point, namely that sometimes it’s the only reasonable solution. 😉 For myself, though, I can’t honestly say that I know what I’d do if my child were hyperactive, but I like to think I’d be strong enough to manage without medicating. I can only applaud your determination. My own will be put to the test in a few years’ time, barring any tragedies. Though if all goes well business-wise, I’ll at least have the luxury of working from home.

      Oh, and did you do anything about the lab atmosphere thing?

      All the best to you, extrovert, and your family.

      And apologies for yet another rambling reply.

  2. Myself and my three younger siblings were all homeschooled. One of my brothers is ADD, and the homeschooling was such a better environment for him than public school. He got to run around outside, do his schoolwork at the pace best suited for him, and my parents got to teach him how to deal with his own brain and focus when he needs to.

    Not the right solution for all cases, of course, and I’m not suggesting you start homeschooling, I’m just saying it sounds a lot like the Montessori school.

    Best of luck! Sounds like you really care about your son, he must be an amazing kid.

  3. Sweet blog. I never know what I am going to come across next. I think you should do more posting as you have some pretty intelligent stuff to say.

    I’ll be watching you . 🙂


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