Letter to the Principal

Plan

Far From Speechless

The Letter


Dear Principal,

When I met with you and the rest of the team last year, we talked about how hard the transition to middle school would be for my son.  He has always struggled with changes to his routine and it is well known that students with disabilities typically take at least six months to adjust to the changes from elementary school to middle school.  You were concerned about the amount of homework there would be and you worried that Zack would not be able to handle the 4 to 5 hours of homework per night that you expected there to be in the magnet program.  However, you assured me that as long as my son showed that he was trying, he would not be kicked out of the magnet program or the school.

We moved to this school district with the sole purpose of getting him into a school that seemed to have the student’s best interests at heart and would work to ensure he had the help he needed in order to succeed.  We came from a school that punished him every time he asked for help or didn’t do his work good enough.  The educational team here at your school seemed to care about Zack’s diagnoses and ensuring that his 504 Plan accommodated what his needs were.  The team was empathetic to the situation and listened as I worked with the medical team to figure out everything that was going on.  That said, it became evident in the last three years that, while the 504 team was on the same page for the most part, the teachers were not.  I have begged and pleaded with every teacher he has ever had to focus on positive reinforcement instead of constant criticisms about not doing good enough.  He is motivated by doing well and pleasing his authority figures.  But Zack has heard that he’s not good enough every single year in school, with the exception of 3rd grade.  He believes it now.

Last week, he was told by the Dean that he had 3 days to bring his grade point average up from 1.25 to 2.5.  You and I both know this was not a possible task.  He was spoken to before anything had been brought to my attention and he came home from school devastated that, yet again, his efforts just aren’t good enough.  He’s made great strides this year as far as maturity is concerned and has been trying hard to stay on top of everything.  I have seen this first hand.  But yes, he has missed a few assignments.  Five assignment according to Progress Book.  But some of those zeros were not his fault at all as he was paired with other group members that didn’t do their parts and caused the entire group to get zeros.  There are assignments he knows he turned in that he has zeros on.  But the main reason his GPA is so low, from what I can tell on Progress Book, is that he’s making low scores on his quizzes and tests, as his Neuropsychologist said he would.

I paid several grand to have a Neuropsychologist sit down and evaluate Zack’s diagnoses and abilities so that we could determine where his weaknesses were.  I brought that paperwork to the school, I requested an IEP.  The school Psychologist reviewed all of the reports and agreed that they were consistent with what we were seeing from Zack.  The struggles he has in school are a direct reflection of what his weaknesses are due to his disabilities.  Yet, he’s been consistently told that he’s just not trying or he’s just not good enough.  He’s been given mixed messages and he’s been told things that have been presented to me differently.  For example, the Dean told me in the email that she spoke with Zack about how to check Progress Book on his own so that he can make up the work hadn’t gotten done before.  So the very next day, he asked his teacher if he could turn one of those assignments in the following day and her response to him was, “Why would I take it now?”  How would you tell Zack to respond to that?  How would you respond to that as his parent?  I sent somewhat of a long email when the Dean notified me that the team was meeting to decide if Zack was going to be kicked out of school, I copied you on it.  The Dean forwarded the message on to his teachers because  had very specific questions in there.  I have yet to receive a response from you or the teachers.  Sure, I defend him a bit in my email by calling out the teachers on not communicating with me and the reasons behind the zeros.  I also recognized that Zack didn’t do everything he needed to get done.  I am the only advocate that he has.  If I don’t stand by him, who will?

You told me at the beginning of this school year, “We’re going to stand by Zack, I assure you.  We’ll work with him.”  I’ve yet to see that happen.  Threatening to kick him out of school if he doesn’t meet the impossible expectations put in front of him within 3 days is not standing by him.  It’s not working with him.  And it’s not doing anything at all in his best interest.  Not responding to the questions, not communicating with me on what he needs help with before it’s too late, and threatening to kick him out of school is not standing by him.  It’s not helping him in the slightest.  Year after year, the school has destroyed his confidence, broken his spirit, and consistently made him feel worthless.  I spend every summer, every weekend, and every week night building him back up and getting him excited again.  His first day of school this year, he was so excited to tell you about his summer trip to DC where he learned so much of our history, it was a purely educational trip.  He was so motivated to get started learning again, he could barely contain himself.  Now he’s just ready to give up because this year was no different than any other year.  No matter how hard he’s tried, it’s just not good enough.

In reviewing his progress this year, I found that during the second 9 weeks, he brought his Spanish grade up from an 88% (B) to a 94% (A).  His Science grade dropped 2% from an 82% (B) to an 80% (B).  His History grade improved 3% from a 73% (C) to a 76% (C).  ICT improved 9% from an 81% (B) to a 90% (A).  Team Sports dropped from a 100% (A) to a 99% (A).  Math dropped 2% from a 62% (D) to a 60% (D).  Finally, Language Arts dropped drastically from a 75% (C) to a 50% (F) indicating that something major happened here, however, his conduct for that class improved from a 2 to a 1.  His conduct was a 1 in all other classes.  His grades year-to-date are as follows:  Spanish – 91% (A), Team Sports – 99% (A), ICT – 86% (B), Science – 81% (B), History – 74% (C), Language Arts – 62% (D), and Math – 61% (D).  As the neuropsychologist predicted, his troubles are in Math and English.  Despite that fact, these grades do not paint a picture of a child that doesn’t care about school or doesn’t put forth the effort.  To threaten him with removal from school the first week back from the holiday break was completely unnecessary and uncalled for.  Had the school called me and talked to me, we could have called a teacher conference and figured out what the problem was.  I would have been more tolerant of the school’s position if they hadn’t focused on his failures and completely ignored the improvements he made during the second quarter and if they had spoken to me before talking to Zack.  The message that was given to Zack was, “Even though you clearly made improvements, you’re still a failure.”  That’s not acceptable for any child.

As teachers and professionals that have dedicated their lives to working with children, I would expect each of you to know that putting those kinds of expectations on any child is setting them up for failure.  It is not helping them.  Your jobs are to encourage them and do everything you can to help them succeed academically.  It is truly disheartening and sad to me that the kids that seem to need the most encouragement, the most positivity, and the most compassion from their teachers seem to get the least of it.  Sure, everybody loves the perfect kiddos that never cause any problems and always do everything right.  But there are plenty of truly unique, very compassionate, highly talented kids with super personalities that don’t fit that model and they seem to be the ones that get the worst treatment from the public school system.  My son is not a perfect student.  He struggles with a few things.  He doesn’t always get everything done on time, if at all.  But when he’s tried the absolute best that he possibly can, he’s told it’s not good enough.  Why would he keep trying?

I fully recognize that teachers and school staff have hard jobs.  I know that the standards that the schools have to meet are hard and that it has jeopardized the quality of education our kids can receive.  I recognize that there are bigger classes and less time to teach, less time to give students individual attention and that all of my son’s needs cannot be met by any one teacher.  I’ve always recognized this.  I’ve asked for very few accommodations.  Extended time on tests and assignments was the main one and that was due to the issues with his processing speed.  I have no way to verify that this was actually given to him so I give his teachers the benefit of the doubt.  I’ve asked that he be allowed to go to the office and speak to the guidance counselor when he’s overly stressed or having a bad day.  But it’s evident that unless he asks to go, nobody cares enough to make the suggestion to him.  I say this because it was just last year we found out he had been bullied for three straight years and it took Zack to lash out twice in order to figure it out.  He’s never felt like he had any help at school because he’s always been criticized and put down.  So why would he ask to speak to anybody when they’re just going to tell him how he failed?  When he finally did tell us what was going on, the bullies were removed from his class temporarily before being put right back in his classroom.  But he had to threaten to kill somebody before he was able to get even that temporary help.

Instead of communicating with me when he’s failing at something, he’s been allowed to continue failing until it’s too late to make much of a difference and then it’s left up to the Dean to handle.  The Dean then sits him down and tells him he’s fully capable of doing what he needs to do, which is simply untrue as proven by the neuropsychologist, and that if he doesn’t fix it in three days then he’ll be kicked out of school.  So he goes to fix it and the teachers refuse to work with him…again.  To my son, this translates to, the world is going to crumble and fall apart in three days.  Have you ever watched a child sob for three days straight because they’re not good enough?  It is absolutely, by far, the most humbling, frightening, helpless, and earth shattering feeling I have ever felt as a parent.  In those moments, it occurred to me that my son is on the path to becoming another suicidal statistic, he’s been at his lowest low this week because of all of this.  Now I am quite sure that wasn’t the intentions of the school, the teachers or the Dean.  But I’ve begged and I’ve pleaded for too many years for this type of stuff to stop and it’s clearly not going to.  I will not allow the school system to continue tearing my son down.  It was nice of the guidance counselor to call him in this week after all of that, and after my original email, to talk to him and let him know that he’ll probably be allowed to stay for the 3rd quarter.  But it was too little, too late.  The damage had already been done and at that point, the school is just jerking him around.

Since you took a moment out of your day at the beginning of the year to tell me that your school will stand by Zack, I wanted to take a moment out of mine to tell you that you were wrong.  And to give you an explanation as to why I withdrew him from your school today.  You see, I’m not going to allow “the team” to make the decision to give him another chance.  He was never given a chance in the first place.  Therefore, I will be homeschooling him as I can do so while building him back up and not destroying his spirit.  I really do appreciate your words of encouragement at the beginning of the year.  I appreciate that you seemed to want to help.  Unfortunately, it just wasn’t good enough.

Sincerely,

Empowered Parent

**Names were removed from this post to protect the identities of the parties involved.**


ADHD Medications for Children – Hindsight is 20:20

To Medicate or Not To Medicate


Medicine

The Be All, End All?

Many parents struggle so hard with this decision when they get the diagnosis of ADHD for their child.  The question is a rather controversial one.  Are ADHD medications good for children?  It’s a big debate.  Here’s the thing, all medications have side effects.  That’s only one factor to consider.  The other factor that really needs to be seriously thought about is that it often takes years to find out exactly what’s wrong with someone based on some symptoms.  This applies to both adults and children but, with kids, you don’t necessarily know all of the symptoms right away.  And you could find yourself in a position where the ADHD meds could make things a whole lot worse.

 

Is It Really ADHD?


Do the doctors and pediatrician’s know for sure that your child suffers from ADHD and that all of their symptoms are solely caused by the ADHD?  No.  I promise you they can’t possibly know that.  They go off of a “safe to assume” type of decision based on parental complaints, surveys, teacher questionnaires, and the list of symptoms presented to them…usually.  We have been managing my son’s ADHD for 5 years now.  Some people tell me, “He couldn’t possibly be ADHD, he’s so well behaved!”  Okay, first, he IS not ADHD.  He has a disorder, but he is my son.  He is who I named him.  Secondly, he’s well behaved because he has a good mom.

Hyper

Teach Control

We started medicating my son at 3 years old.  We did so because he was violent, destructive, and impulsive which is a very dangerous combination.  He could not function in a school setting and was looking at getting expelled from pre-school.  But…hindsight is 20/20.  If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it.  Although, had I not done it, I’m not sure we would have figured everything out.  Everything happens for a reason.  My son has epilepsy.  The ADHD is secondary to the epilepsy…meaning the symptoms are caused by the epilepsy.  It just so happens that ADHD medications trigger seizures in people with seizure disorders.

My son quickly went from having ADHD to having ADHD, sensory integration or sensory processing disorder, narcolepsy, to epilepsy.  It got pretty darn scary there for awhile.  He started sleep walking and making funky noises in his sleep which just creeped me out!  I would wake up in the morning and find him asleep on the cold tile floor in the kitchen.  Or I’d find him in the middle of the night sitting on the couch making sound effects while sound asleep sitting straight up.  Scary times.

 

Medication vs. Behavior Therapy


I mentioned my son is well behaved.  This is a touchy subject with me because my son has been mistreated by a few different teacher’s now because his symptoms have been mistaken for behavior issues.  My son has a neurological disorder which causes him to struggle with staying on task and keeping focused.  His inability to do so does not indicate a badly behaved child.  Now…that being said, if he was throwing things, yelling, screaming, hitting, kicking, throwing fits, talking back, being disrespectful, etc., etc. … I would say yeah…my son has behavior problems.  But he doesn’t.  He knows better.  Okay, that was my rant for the day, back on track here…

Symptoms of ADHDIt is important for parents to understand the difference between a symptom and a behavior.  I think that’s where a lot of things get confused.  Bad behaviors should not be tolerated by parents and excused based on the fact that the child has ADHD.  Bad behaviors should be corrected no matter what.  Think about it, as an adult, society does not excuse bad behavior based on an ADHD diagnosis.  If I throw a temper tantrum and punch a cop, I’m going to jail… if I survive.  Children need to be taught to conform to the laws and rules no matter what their disability is.

Symptoms should be worked with but not considered bad behaviors.  Symptoms are things that a child cannot help.  People with Tourette’s Syndrome have tics.  The tics are a symptom, they cannot be helped.  Throwing a temper tantrum is a behavior…a decision is made to do it and it can be stopped and started at will.  This is some of the stuff that behavior therapy works on.  You teach a child ways to behave.  You teach them coping mechanisms for the behaviors that may be influenced by their disabilities as opposed to shoving pills down their throats as an automatic fix.

My son has been off of ADHD meds for a little over a year now and other than being off task, trouble focusing, and sometimes a bit hyper, he’s doing fantastic.  His mom started teaching him when he was young how to cope with symptoms and how to control his behavior.  Now, at 10 years old, he’s able to tell himself to take a deep breath and relax when he starts feeling a little out of control.  And he does so without having to be prompted.  Pills didn’t do that.  Mom’s behavior therapy did.  Mom couldn’t afford all of the therapists and specialists over the years so he never received official behavior therapy.  I’m sure if he did, maybe he’d be a little more organized today or a little better at staying on task.  But it’s alright because he’s off of the drugs and he’s doing wonderful.  Good parenting goes a long way.

 

What Do Studies Show?


Pills

Stop pushing meds!

I read an article today that talks about the old study that was done two decades ago on ADHD medications for children.  As I read it I just sat here shaking my head.  They figured out that you can pop a pill and focus all of a sudden so they started pushing drugs out to all these kids.  Sure, they thought about the consequences such as stunted growth and sleeping problems, but the benefits of the drugs were more important.  Now they’re finding out that behavior therapy is more effective as ADHD drugs.  At the end of the article, you find out why, skill building is taught with behavior therapy and is a whole lot more useful than symptom reduction which is what drugs are for.  It makes perfect sense now.

The reason I’m shaking my head: until I read this article, I didn’t know there was behavior therapy for ADHD children.  Why did I not know this?  He was diagnosed with ADHD 7 years ago.  Never once was behavior therapy mentioned to me. The pediatrician said “stimulants”, the occupational therapist said “meds”, the sleep specialist said “Adderall”.  For 5 years I was led to believe that medications were my only option.  All the while they were exacerbating my son’s epilepsy.  It took a neurologist to tell me stop with the meds.

 

Why Do I Care?


Help

No Funds = No Aid

Because.  Here’s the thing, and the article mentions it, the unintended consequences from that study that pushed meds are that the schools didn’t get the funding to give these kids the proper assistance that they need in a classroom setting.  I was gritting my teeth as I typed that.  My son needs help in the classroom and that’s the one place I can’t be to help him.  But the school’s can’t do it either now.  Just one month ago I asked the school principal if we could get my son a math tutor.  “Our school doesn’t have tutors.”  Really?  My son could use an aid in the classroom to keep him on task and make sure he’s really learning the lessons because we don’t know if he’s listening to the teacher or having an absence seizure while she’s teaching.  All we know is that when it comes time for him to do the work, he gets in trouble because he doesn’t know how to do it.

The result is, a frustrated teacher that has given up and said, “I just can’t teach this kid,” a child that has given up because no matter how hard he tries he just can’t seem to stay on task…or in his words, “I just can’t do anything right this year,” and a highly frustrated parent that has no idea what to do now.  Somehow, some way, we have to find a way to get something changed in the system so that our school can effectively teach our children.

Bottom line: stop pushing the meds and start teaching the kids how to cope with the systems and work around their disabilities.  I have ADHD.  I have never been managed by medication.  My physician prescribed it to me one time and I quit it after 3 weeks because I didn’t want to lose my job.  It made me a zombie.  I have learned to work on important tasks when I’m hyper…because I hyper focus and get it done.  I’ve learned to tweak my behaviors so that they are most beneficial to me.  I talked about this a little bit in my article on ADHD symptoms in adults.  Stop pushing the meds.  Do your research and find what will be most beneficial to you and your children.  Remember that medication is not a substitute for good parenting.

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ADHD Diagnosis – The Difficult Child

The Difficult Child


As recommended, I took my son to the Pediatrician and followed my best friend’s advice to the tee. “Doctor, I’m sooo tired. This kid hardly sleeps at night and, and, and….” I vented all of my frustrations to him and he sat there nodding and smiling and just listened. When I finished, the doctor told me that it sounds like my son may be a little ADHD. He gave me a couple of assessment forms to fill out before our next appointment. One was for the teacher at the preschool to fill out and the other was for me to fill out. He also wrote me a prescription for a book. The book is called The Difficult Child by Stanley Turecki, M.D.  He scheduled an appointment for us to come back the following month and sent us on our way.

ADHD Diagnosis


The next month, I brought back the completed assessments. The doctor reviewed them and now my child gets the ADHD diagnosis. He gave me the Understanding ADHD – Information for Parents About Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder pamphlet. I had already read the book that he had prescribed the month before. It was a good book and it answered some questions for me. It put everything in terms I could understand and relate to. And it gave some advice on how to handle certain situations. It mostly confirmed that I was already doing a good job.

Stimulant Medications


Pills

Medications must be used appropriate…if at all!

So upon being diagnosed with ADHD, my son was prescribed Vyvanse. This is a stimulant medication prescribed for ADHD to help with impulsivity and focus. We were looking at putting my son into Kindergarten the following year so we wanted to get him prepared for school and under control. I went home with the prescription and called my mom as I often do to discuss issues with my son. She was adamantly against putting him on ADHD medications. “I know people who put their kids on that Aderall stuff and it severely stunted their growth. Doctor’s are prescribing ADHD so easily these days and just stuffing drugs down the child’s throat when all they need is better parenting.” Whoa…hold up…ouch Mom! Oh she wasn’t referring to me as a bad parent…just the others she’s known that gave their children Aderall. Okay, whatever.

The bottom line is, my son is about to start school and he is out of control. He’s been expelled from various daycares and I really don’t know what else to do. He’s not going to succeed in school as is and it’s my job to give him the best possible chance for success. So…as much as I don’t like the idea either, we’ll try the meds. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree here. My kid is violent, destructive, and out of control. And I’m exhausted and becoming desperate.

So we start Vyvanse. He calmed down….a lot. It was like day and night. I was kind of worried about him he was so calm. Once I got used to the difference in behavior, it was really nice. He wasn’t bouncing off the walls all the time. Let me throw in a little disclaimer here. Anytime someone starts a new med, it takes time to build up in their system and become fully effective. So every time my son tried a new med, it was for several months at a time so that we could really see the full picture of how he was adjusting to it.

Negative Side Effects


Child running

Fight or Flight Response

As the weeks went by, my son became more and more scared of things. He would start crying and trembling when he heard a strong gust of wind outside. One day, we were at my parents house visiting. Grandpa was watering the garden and often sprayed my son with the water hose. My son would laugh and they’d get in a water fight. It was fun…and funny to watch. But after being on the Vyvanse for awhile, Grandpa sprayed my son with the water hose one day and my son went ballistic!

He started screaming bloody murder and bolted toward the front of the house. Grandpa and my son were in the back yard and my mom and I were sitting on the back porch watching. Grandpa didn’t understand what happened, well, really none of us did. As soon as my son bolted toward the front of the house, I jumped up and chased him. He was running toward the street and if you’ve ever had experience with an ADHD kid, you know they don’t think to look before running out in the road.

My son was four years old. I took off after him, called out to him and he ran faster. He did a full lap around the house and kept on running, screaming all the while. My disabled mom who can barely walk jumps up and runs the other way around the house. Grandpa is running after us now. You would think 3 adults could easily catch a four year old boy. Let me tell you…this kid had invisible jet packs attached to his little feet that day, he was flying! I finally catch him and scoop him up and hold him tight. He’s trembling from head to toe and crying. He was absolutely terrified. Grandpa was close to tears himself and felt horrible because none of us understood what had just happened. Grandma and I were dumbfounded, this was so out of character for my son. It took several hours to recover from that and get my little boy back. Grandma and I looked at each other and said “The Vyvanse isn’t going to work.”

In hindsight, we now understand exactly what happened. The stimulant heightened his senses and the cold water hitting him from the water hose sent him into a sensory overload. His brain said “DANGER DANGER!” and he panicked. But we know this now, after 5 years of doctors, meds, specialists, tests, and research. Once my son was put on medication, he had to have lab work done every 6 months and he saw the Pediatrician every 3 months. I informed the Pediatrician of the recent behaviors and they agreed that the Vyvanse was not a good fit for him. So he was taken off Vyvanse and prescribed Strattera and Concerta. Strattera was to help with the hyperactivity and focus problems. Concerta was to help with the irrational fears and impulsiveness.

Starting School


Televisions

Don’t miss a thing!

It was 2009, my son was five years old, and he started Kindergarten. I explained the issues to his teacher and she fully understood. I told her I was still struggling to understand a lot of it. She told me, “I live with my boyfriend who also has ADHD. Imagine your standing in front of 27 televisions and they’re all on different stations and you’re watching them all and trying not to miss a single thing. That’s how my boyfriend describes ADHD.” I had never heard an analogy like this. It was brilliant! I knew she was the perfect teacher for him to start his journey through grade school. And he totally adored her. He even wanted to marry her…until he met the Pharmacist at Walgreens. Anyway, Kindergarten went well, there were only a few significant events.

There was one day when they were working on arts and crafts and the teacher put a pair of scissors on his table next to him for him to use. He didn’t want them so he picked them up and launched them across the room hitting another student in the leg. Okay…now these are the safest of scissors with the rounded tips and the kid didn’t get cut. But yeah…that was kind of a big deal. He was given a referral to the principals office who warned him and threatened suspension. I had a talk with him when he got home and reasoned with him. How would you have felt if someone did that to you? How would you have felt if you threw those scissors at your friend and they cut him? He understood. It never happened again. The only other incident I remember from Kindergarten was the referral to the principal’s office for starting a food fight in the cafeteria at lunch. I’m not going to talk about that further because I happen to think that’s kind of funny. He started young. My mom didn’t do that until like high school. LOL At any rate, I told him, “That’s against the rules. You have to follow the rules.” He understood. It never happened again.

The Strattera and the Concerta combination seemed to be working really well. He did fantastic in Kindergarten and his behavior was much better. It was this year that I realized I was doing a real good job as a mom and I had a very well mannered, well behaved little boy. He’s a very compassionate kid. He can’t stand to see anybody hurting. Very sweet. It looks like the medical is calming down again….maybe. Ha.

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Strange Behavior…Something Just Isn’t Right

It All Started When He Was 1


Florida

A New Chapter Begins

My son was about a year old when I started noticing the strange behavior.  He had been a sick baby but I hadn’t noticed any truly strange behaviors that weren’t directly related to his illness or medications.  He had obstructive apnea but it took a full year for doctor’s to pinpoint what was causing him to be sick.  So there were various changes of meds with each misdiagnoses.

But at a year old, I noticed he started becoming fearful of things like airplanes flying by overhead and motorcycles driving by.  Fearful is maybe a bit of an understatement, he acted terrified.  By two years old, he wouldn’t sleep at night, he developed some irrational fears, he became destructive and impulsive, the temper tantrums started.  At this point, I started thinking what’s wrong with this child?

Trouble Sleeping


At two years old, he was a bit…hyper.  I quickly started becoming overwhelmed.  Most of the problem during this time was that I could not get my two year old to sleep at night.  I would put him down in bed at 8pm and we’d do the whole temper tantrum thing until about midnight when he’d finally fall asleep.  I would go bed exhausted and finally fall asleep by 1 am.  He would wake up between 3am and 5am ready to start his day.

At first, he would come and wake me up.  But he quickly learned that waking me up meant that I would take him right back to bed and we’d start the bedtime routine all over again, except this time it would last until it was time to leave for work and he’d win anyway.  Once he figured out that I wasn’t just going to let him stay up, he stopped waking me up and just started climbing into my bed at night.  He would play with my hair or turn on the TV muted and entertain himself until I woke up, then he’s pretend to be asleep next to me.  Okay, so now a decade later, it was kind of cute.  But oh so frustrating.

We all know how society feels about kids sleeping in bed with their parents.  Let me just throw in this disclaimer, my son slept in his own bed by himself for the first 2 years of his life with no problems whatsoever.  I didn’t bring this on myself.  Once he stopped waking me up, I had lost the battle.  I refuse to lock my son in his room at night where he can’t get out if he needs to.  That’s not safe.  And I refuse to lock my door so my son can’t get to me if he needs to, especially after the apnea issues.  So I had lost the battle.  There was no fighting it.  The silver lining was that I was getting more than 2 or 3 hours of sleep.

 

A New Chapter


FamilyNaturally we go to our parents and our family for support when we’re going through stuff.  My parents are typical parents, they know best.  I needed to make my son stop coming to my bed.  Put him to bed earlier.  Put him to bed later.  Don’t let him nap.  There just had to be something that I was doing wrong, right?

I started thinking my son my have ADHD.  Of course that’s when the family turned away from me doing something wrong to doctors being so quick to diagnose ADHD and the medical industry being a big scam to just get money.  Whatever.  Live 1 day in my shoes, I beg you!  I could use the break.  This is not normal behavior, there’s something wrong with my child and something has to give.

Sensory Defensiveness


We lived in a newly built apartment for 3 years. We were the first residents of that apartment as it was just newly built. It was during this time that I went from “this must be the terrible two’s” to “my kid is a monster and I need help!” I learned that he was pretty finicky with food. I couldn’t figure out what it was but foods that were a certain consistency or a certain color, he wouldn’t touch. I learned that changing our routine was devastating to him. For example, he was about three years old and I was driving home from daycare after work. We took a different route that day because traffic was bad and I was in a hurry. All of a sudden he starts screaming in the back seat. I pull over to the side of the highway quickly and park. I turn to see if something’s biting him or what. He’s screaming and crying. I tell him to stop. I tell him to take a breath. It works! He stopped screaming and took a deep breath. I asked him what was wrong. He said, at three years old, “We’re lost! This isn’t the way home!” I explained to him that we weren’t lost and I knew exactly where we were. He said okay but he was skeptical the rest of the way home.

Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World

 

Not Listening, Routines and Throwing Fits


I had learned that when I was trying to talk to him sometimes, he would be standing in front of me but not listening. One day I really needed him to hear me because it was a safety issue so I told him to open his ears. He put his cute little hands up to his ears and pulled them forward a little

child tantrums

Destructiveness

and tuned in to every word I said. I found a trick! It worked, it made him actually listen to me. I used it from that point on.

Another trick I found was when he was throwing his temper tantrums. He would get to crying and pitching such a fit that I couldn’t get him out of it. Finally one day I was teetering on the edge of insanity and exasperated and he was throwing a fit, I just said to him “Stop.” And he did. I said “Take a breath.” And he did! The fit was over! I later learned from my best friend that this is called the STAR technique. Stop, take a deep breath, and relax. It really works. The fits came primarily when his routine was upset, not when he didn’t get his way.

We had a bedtime routine where I put him to bed ad a specific time after he did specific things like brush his teeth.  As I’m walking out of his room he says “I love you.” I say “I love you too.” He says “Sweet dreams.” I say “Sweet dreams.” He says “Goodnight.” I say “Goodnight.” Then we repeat that series twice more. But we have to say it three times or it messes it up and we have to start all over.  If we don’t start all over and do it right…complete meltdown.  Obsessive much?

 

Pre-School Battles and More Strange Behavior


Every single day was a battle. I would drop him off at daycare/preschool and go to work. I would be lucky to get through the day without a call from the preschool. There are two particular instances that stand out in my memory. I’ll preface them with this – when I enrolled him into that preschool, I told them two key things: that he doesn’t seem to adjust well to change and that to calm down his temper tantrums, just tell him to stop. I told them that he handles change better when he’s prepared for it. Talk to him about it a day a head of time if possible but give him warning that his daily routine is going to change and he’ll handle it better.

One day they call me, “Mom, we need you to come get him. He threw a temper tantrum and now he’s hyperventilating.” I said, “What triggered the fit?” She said, “We told him to go sit at the blue table and he wanted to stay at the green table. We have him breathing into a paper bag now but you need to come up here.” I said, “No. I told you guys to warn him about changes before they happen. This is why. I’m not coming to get him. Put the phone down, walk over to him, get down to his level, look him in the eyes and tell him stop! I’ll wait.” So I listened as she put the phone down and did exactly what I told her to do. He stopped. Immediately.

Impulsiveness


Claw

Impulsiveness

A few weeks after that I showed up to the preschool to pick him up at the end of the day, they met me at the door and pulled me into a little room with a file in their hands. “We need to talk about your son,” she says. Ooookay. Sure. “Today the kids gathered on the rug for circle time. The teacher was reading a story to them and all of a sudden he turns to the kid beside him and claws his face scratching him. It was very concerning because he immediately started crying and apologizing for it. It seemed like he didn’t mean to do it and that it shocked him that he did.” He was four at the time this happened. I said ummm okay.

That’s not something that has ever happened before, he knows I don’t tolerate violence and he’s never really been violent with other kids. She warned me that the daycare doesn’t tolerate children with behavior issues and that this may not be a good fit for him. *Sigh* I asked her to give me time to get him into a doctor to talk about the issues we’ve seen because something just isn’t right and I don’t think these are necessarily behavior issues. She agreed to give me time to figure things out.

Irrational Fears, Night Terrors and Leg Cramps


I also discovered at the apartment that my son was afraid of wind. Really. Looking back, it all makes sense now and I’ll talk more about that later. But a lot of really weird fears started creeping up during this time and the sound of wind blowing was the most prevalent one at this time. We lived in a third floor apartment a few blocks from the airport. It was windy…regularly. Night terrors were bad at this time and I couldn’t figure out where they came from but they seemed to be triggered by the weird fears he had.

Fear

Night Terrors

Another night time issue was leg cramps. He got leg cramps pretty regularly while sleeping at night. I couldn’t figure out what was causing them. I would wake up to him screaming and crying and I’d go in his room and he’d be holding his leg. I’d start massaging his leg and I could feel his calf muscle spasm. I would just massage his leg until he went back to sleep and then I’d drag my own zombie self back to bed. As time went by, it got to the point where I wouldn’t wake up right away when he cried or when he woke up. I was so tired that I would sleep through the noise.

This made for some interesting times. I woke up one morning and there was a mural of handprints on my wall made with peanut butter. Then there was the morning I woke up to find my son in his bed watching TV with a box of cereal and the pitcher of Kool Aid….and the morning that there was a steady stream of pancake syrup, strawberry syrup, and chocolate syrup all the way from my bedroom door down the hallway, in laps around the living room, and dining room. Oh there was also the morning that I woke up and found that his pet shark fish had gotten thirsty during the night so he dumped a gallon of milk into the tank. Unfortunately I was unable to rescue the sharks in time. The few that survived the day died within a week or two. Between punching walls, slamming doors, climbing on blinds, and feeding the carpet…my three to four year old had done $1200 worth of damage to that brand new apartment.

Advice Please


Medical

HELP!!!

Around that same time, I was on the phone with my best friend late one night. She had heard me put my son to bed kind of late that night. But 10pm was the standard time for that. I know that’s late for a four year old, but as I explained to her, if he goes to bed any earlier than he wakes up for the day right around the time that I’m going to bed for the night. This kid sleeps like 4 hours and then he’s ready for the day. I had asked the preschool to cut his naps in half previously but that didn’t seem to help him sleep at night. Almost every day he was going to bed at 10pm and waking up somewhere between 2am and 4am ready to start his day. She told me that’s not normal.

It was normal for me. I didn’t know what to do. I told her I didn’t know what to do. I vented aaaallll of the issues on her and she said, “Okay…here’s what you do…” She told me to take him to the Pediatrician and tell them I’m tired. Explain all the issues to them and see what they say. But above everything, just show how tired you are and ask them for help. Tell them you need a nap. So, I called and scheduled an appointment. And this is where the medical issues begin…again.

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If you’ve experienced similar issues and would like to share, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below.  I welcome all participation!


Sleep Apnea in Babies – YES, it is possible

It All Started When…

Right around my birthday in 2003, I found out I was pregnant.  Happy Birthday!  This was a huge day for me as a few years prior to that I had issues with Ovarian cysts and was told 27 different times that I was pregnant…while my husband and I were really trying to be.  Needless to say, I wasn’t…all 27 times.  Skip a few years to 2003 and I was feeling weak and shaky and sick for a few days, took a home pregnancy test that I had stored away in a closet and…okay…kind of a funny story…I had the test but not the box.  I had the test but not the instructions.  So I took the test and got the result…and wasn’t sure if it was positive or negative.  Did a Google search and read that it was positive but…didn’t believe it because…27 times.  Ya know?

Picture

It’s a Boy!

So anyway, I was on 7 different medications at the time for migraine headaches.  I called the VA and got an appointment for the following day.  Pregnancy was confirmed, migraine medications were stopped.  I was pregnant.  My pregnancy was fairly eventless other than the anemia and gestational diabetes that we could never get control of.  Labor was induced a little early because the diabetes was getting too far out of control.  Labor went okay, no significant issues.  They had to attach a heart monitor to his head before labor because they couldn’t keep his heart rate on the monitors and my blood pressure was…a bit high.  But other than that it went okay.

Now this was my first pregnancy and I had seen births on TV and stuff so I had an expectation that the baby comes out and gets handed to mom, Dad cuts the cord, there’s oohs and ahs for a minute and then baby gets cleaned up.  Maybe my expectations were wrong.  I had my mom on the phone while I was giving birth…which…was kind of weird but she couldn’t be there in person.  Anyway, baby came out and disappeared across the room before I even saw him.  Don’t know what that was about.  Maybe they were just cleaning him or whatever but they completely blocked my view of him and wouldn’t let Dad near him for a few minutes.  Finally he’s handed to me.  Other than that, birth was good.

Baby comes home two days later and mom and dad are ecstatic!  But somewhere between the hospital and the apartment, the baby decided he didn’t like moms milk anymore.  He wouldn’t eat.  So formula was bought and he started eating.  But…he wouldn’t keep it down.  Projectile vomiting became a part of everyday life and let me tell you…it was a whole lot more disgusting than it sounds.  So yeah…we’ll leave that at that.  Take the baby to his six week check up, he’s in good health.  All is good.

I go back to work when my maternity leave is over and not two days later I’m quitting my job because when the baby is home with his daddy, all he does is scream and daddy can’t take it.  So I quit and stayed home with the baby.  Then there was the 103 fever, the pneumonia, and of course the nasty eating problem.  Take him to his 3 month checkup though and I’m telling the Pediatrician,  “Something is wrong with him.  When he’s sleeping I’m hearing him gasp for  air.”  She says, “Well babies don’t get sleep apnea and the insurance  company won’t approve sleep studies for a baby anyway.  You don’t need to worry  about it.”  Mmkay.  Thank you for your time.  I’ll find a new Pediatrician, thank you very much.  This is one of those moments where if I knew then what I know now, I would have pushed and pushed until I got a sleep study done.  Even if I would have had to pay out of pocket.  I would have found a way.  I’ll explain why in another post.

 Picture

I eventually go back to work and put the baby in daycare because we couldn’t make it on my husband’s income alone.  But the daycare was calling me every week to come pick up the baby because he has a cold and daycare’s don’t keep sick kids.  I’m on the verge of losing my job, my kid is constantly sick and I don’t know why he seems to get every germ, cold, and virus under the sun…weekly.  Then the daycare calls me and says “Don’t panic Mom, but we need you to come up here.”  Me – “Okay…why?”   Them – “Well, everything’s okay, don’t worry…but the baby’s turning blue.”  Me – “WHAT?!  Is the ambulance meeting me there?”  I went and got him, his lips were bluish and under his fingernails were blue.  I took him to the doctor, he’s diagnosed with Asthma, he’s put on steroids.

Three weeks later I’m calling the ask a nurse line and saying, “Hi, my 6 month old has been laying in his bed for 9 hours wide awake and staring at the ceiling.  He’s breathing but he’s not moving.  Something’s wrong with him.”  He was lethargic and taken off the steroids immediately.  Regular breathing treatments were started several times a day for the asthma diagnosis.  Yeah that was fun.

Even with the breathing treatments, the blueness kept happening and he was still  constantly sick.  On top of that we found out that the rashes on his face were caused by fruits.  He’s apparently allergic to citrus fruits.  Because of the blueness, the Pediatrician sent us to the Cardiologist.  They  did an ECG and found nothing at all wrong with his heart.  She referred us  to the Pulmonologist.  He found that the baby had obstructive apnea.   At a year and a half old, he had surgery to get his tonsils and adnoids  removed.  And he didn’t have asthma.  From that point on…no more blueness and no more colds!   WoooHoooo!  I now have a healthy toddler.  Maybe?  A few months later, mom and baby move to Florida where the saga really begins.  Stay tuned…

 

 

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BabySafe Babysense 5S Infant Movement Monitor with Night Light


Punishing Children with ADHD – What is Effective?

To Spank or Not to Spank…

Rules

Effective discipline goes a long way.

This is a hot topic. Punishing children with ADHD can be very tricky and also very stressful. I won’t get into the debates over whether to spank or not to spank. The experts don’t even agree on this one. I will, however, state my position on the matter. I believe that physical punishment should only be used when the child is doing something unsafe and only if it can be done with parental emotions under control. It should never, ever be done out of anger. Physical punishment done out of anger is more harmful and not effective and tends to precipitate abuse. That’s my position. That being said, I’ve spanked my son three times in his life. He is nine years old now, his last spanking was when he was three years old.

Rules and Consequences

To apply effective punishment, we need to understand why we are punishing. It isn’t because they did something we don’t like. Our job, as parents, is to teach our children to follow the rules. They must conform to society’s laws. They must learn that, whether they agree or not, breaking the rules is not acceptable. This is the reason we punish. This must be considered each time.

We shouldn’t be punishing children for breaking rules that aren’t clear. The rules should be established first and they should be very clear. Do not do this and do not do that. We should be teaching them that for every action there is an equal and appropriate consequence. In other words, the punishment should fit the crime. So spanking them for not cleaning up their toys doesn’t fit.

Consequences

Consequences should fit the crime.

Examples of Appropriate Consequences

Rule                                    Consequence

  1. Pick up your toys before bed.          Toys are taken away for a week.
  2. No hitting your brother.                   No playing together for the rest of the day.
  3. TV off by 8pm.                                    No TV tomorrow.
  4. No throwing food.                             Eat in the kitchen alone.

The consequence should naturally fit with the rule that was broken. You may have to be creative with it but it should always be a natural fit. My son kept slamming his bedroom door in an angry fit, so he lost his door for a week. That was at four years old. It hasn’t happened again. Notice also, we are punishing behaviors. We’re giving consequences for actions. We are not telling them they are bad. We are not destroying their sense of self-worth by putting them down or losing our temper and yelling at them. I know it’s easier said than done, they can really push our buttons. I’ve done my fair share of yelling and I can tell you from experience, it’s not effective. All it does is scare him and it doesn’t make him remember what he’s supposed to do.

Warning

Warning

One simple warning is enough.

When my son breaks a newly established rule, he gets one warning. Honey, you’re late. Remember your curfew is 7pm. If you’re late again without calling, you won’t be allowed to play the next day. “Okay Mom. I forgot, I’m sorry.” Beyond that, he gets the appropriate consequence. Repeated warnings send the message that you don’t mean what you say. You don’t want them to get that message. Things need to stay clear and simple for children. One warning and then take action.

We also don’t want to over explain. Remember, children with ADHD have short attention spans. We want them to know why they shouldn’t do something. So explain that when the rule is set. But when the rule is broken we should be firm and brief. You did this, it’s against the rule, here’s the consequence. No negotiating, no explanations, no giving in. Remember that if you give up your authority to your child, it will be a nightmare trying to get it back. This is the rule, you follow it, or this is the consequence. Period.

Attitude

Attitude

Pick your battles.

This can be one of the most frustrating things. We’re trying to teach them and they get this bad attitude with us. I don’t necessarily have this as a rule in my house. Children have emotions too but the big difference is that they haven’t learned how to properly cope with them. When my son was three, I explained to him, you can get mad at me, that’s perfectly okay. But you cannot hit me. You can tell me you’re mad, but you need to do so respectfully.

Respect is a rule in my house. He’s allowed to pretty much say whatever he wants to as long as he does so respectfully. That means no name calling, no yelling, and no putting down. Respect is very clearly defined. He’s allowed to roll his eyes or roll his neck all he wants, I ignore that. It doesn’t happen often anymore. Rolling his eyes at me really doesn’t hurt anything so I’ve chosen not to fight that battle because there are so many other battles to fight that are much more important. Pick your battles.

A Creative Approach

When my son gets an attitude with me, I give him a warning. I say, “Attitudy.” It stops immediately. I’ve never had an issue with him pushing it beyond that. I’m sure that will change when he becomes a teenager. But for now, the warning works. I taught my son to respect me when he was three years old. It was the hardest lesson ever to teach him. The consequence for being disrespectful was time alone. This was his currency, and still is, because he can’t stand being alone. However, I couldn’t just send him to his room for a time out. He wouldn’t stay in there so things would escalate out of control.

Instead, I would go to my room for an hour…and lock my door. It wasn’t punishing me because I had a TV, stereo, books, and a computer in my room. I could do whatever I wanted, and he couldn’t stop me! The first two or three times, he stood at the door throwing an absolute fit. Screaming, crying, and beating on the door. I ignored him the entire hour and let him throw his fit. Then suddenly the disrespect stopped and hasn’t reappeared since. He figured out I meant it. Now a simple, one word, warning does the trick. Every time.

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Do you have similar methods?  Different methods that work?  Please don’t hesitate to share your own experiences below by clicking on the response link next to my name.  I welcome all feedback.


Children with ADHD – How Routines Lead to Success

Setting Routines Leads to Success

One of the first things I learned about having a child with ADHD was that they need structure. My son was highly destructive when he was a toddler and getting him to stop playing in order to eat dinner or brush his teeth or take a bath was like pulling teeth with a spoon. Switching from one task to another was very hard and would cause a total meltdown.  I had never thought of setting routines for children with ADHD. I was just trying to survive one moment to the next.

After reading The Difficult Child, by Stanley Turecki, M.D., I came up with a system that actually worked. And by following the same guidelines, I am still able to get my son functioning in a somewhat routine manner now at 9 years old. The foundation of this system, though, is that you focus on positive reinforcement.

Yes, spankings and groundings worked for most of us adults when we were little. However, having a child with ADHD has taught me that sometimes what worked in the past may not be so effective with every child. When I spanked my child, he laughed at me. When I spanked him harder, he put a hole in my wall. This was not going to be an effective form of punishment. As Stanley Turecki put it:

“Negative attention reinforces negative behavior-which in turn increases negative attention.”

The book suggests using the Star System. This system teaches the child to follow an established routine. It does take consistent effort for the parents as well. As parents, we need to make the rules and routine clear to the child so that they completely understand what is expected of them.

The star system works like this:

  1. Decide on a routine you want to follow.
  2. Establish the order for the routine, let the child help you do this. (Never stray from the sequence)
  3. Allow the child to help you make a chart of the activities within the routine.
  4. Set the expectation that each time the child completes the full routine, they get a star or sticker.
  5. Decide how many stars or stickers need to be earned for a reward.
  6. Be sure the expectations are clear and make it fun.
  7. No punishment for not following the routine aside from not earning the star or sticker.

Keep in mind that a routine is a sequence of events that happens in the same order, every day. Decide what you want the routine to be. It could be something like: pick up your toys, eat dinner, take your dishes to the sink, brush your teeth, take a bath, put your pajamas on, play quietly for an hour, go to bed. Whatever you decide on, help your child pick which order the steps are performed in and then stick to it. Switching up the sequence messes up the routine and you’re trying to teach them to follow a routine.

Work with the child to develop a chart for the routine. It should list each step separately and have something like a checkbox for each day of the week. It should be attractive to look at and draw their attention in. Allowing them to help you make it gives them a small sense of ownership in making sure it is followed and filled out each day. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment. Having a chart up where they have access to it will help prevent them from forgetting a step. This is very important, you want them to succeed.

Clown Fish

By choosing the fish, he had his very own pets as a reward.

Talk to your child and decide how many stars or stickers they need to earn for the week in order to earn a reward. Rewards can be anything you want: a small toy from the grocery store, a book, a coloring book, a movie. For my son, it was a new fish for the aquarium. He really enjoyed going to the pet store and picking out a new fish each week. Most importantly, don’t expect perfection. Reward for 5 out of 7 or something like that. Everybody has a bad day or off day sometimes, give them an actual chance to earn a reward.

Lastly, understand that this is not another reason to punish your child. If they mess up the routine, they don’t earn the sticker for the day. The only consequence should be that they don’t earn the sticker and they shouldn’t get reprimanded. I would say something to the effect of, “No star today Honey, try again tomorrow.” This really is enough. If you’ve found a reward system that they are actually interested in, they will try hard to earn it. Don’t be overly hard on them when they mess up, they already do that to themselves. Just encourage them to try again.

Instead of punishing our kids for doing bad, we want to put more focus on rewarding them for doing good. This will naturally make them want to do it more. By changing my mindset when he was a toddler, I now have a child that aims to please and very rarely gets into trouble. The caveat here is that I started when he was 3 years old. I started young. And there was quite a bit of resistance at first. But I’m persistent and it paid off. This system still works very well with my son. This is not to say it will work perfectly for everybody, but it is a proven system that has worked well for many.

 

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Success for Strattera in Children – Product Review

Strattera

My son was prescribed Strattera when he was 5 – 8 years old. This was the third ADHD drug that we tried. This is not a recommendation to put children on Strattera. I am not an advocate of medicating children unless it is absolutely necessary. My family and I did a ton of research and had some real hard conversations before accepting any prescriptions for ADHD medication. Based on his behavior at school, we determined that it was necessary to medicate him in order for him to succeed. Without medications, he was at high risk from being expelled from school in Kindergarten. He was a danger to himself and others.

My big issue with Strattera is that it can have some real serious side effects. None of these affected my son when he was on it. But the risk was there and that was bothersome. While on this medication, my son’s grades became consistent and he, for the most part, made A’s and B’s. He was able to focus in class with minimal redirection or by moving himself to a quieter area of the classroom. He was better able to control his hyperactivity and calm himself down when overstimulated. This was, by far, the best medicine he had experience with for ADHD.

Purpose

Strattera is a non-stimulant medication that is prescribed to gradually improve symptoms of ADHD.

Pros:
 Improves academic issues
 Increased ability to focus
 Decrease in impulsiveness
 Decrease in hyperactivity
 Price

Cons:
 Increases the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions
 May cause liver damage
 Can cause heart problems or sudden death in those with heart problems
 Long term use can stunt growth

 

Price

$48.71 after insurance. This was a high price in comparison to other ADHD meds. Prices start at $238.84 without insurance.

 

Overall Rating

5 on a scale of 1-5.

 

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Intuitive ADHD Medication – Review on Intuniv

Intuniv

My son was prescribed Intuniv when he was 6 – 8 years old. This was the fourth ADHD drug that we tried. This is not a recommendation to put children on Intuniv. It was prescribed to replace Concerta which made him overly tired and emotional. He took Intuniv in addition to Strattera. We stayed with the Intuniv for about two years. He didn’t seem to have any adverse reactions to it other than it making him drowsy. We adjusted his med schedule for him to take it at night so that it would help him sleep as he’s always had sleep problems. He was immediately taken off of this medication upon his sleep specialist and neurologist finding seizure activity on his sleep studies.

The Intuniv seemed to work real well with the Strattera in helping him to focus at school and stay on task. He was also less impulsive and hyper. His teachers noticed an immediate difference in his behavior and academic performance upon stopping these meds and his grades are now all over the board with no consistency.

Purpose

Intuniv is a non-stimulant medication that is prescribed to treat children ages 6 – 17 with ADHD. It can be effective by itself or with an ADHD stimulant.

Pros:
 Improves academic issues
 Increased ability to focus
 Decrease in impulsiveness
 Decrease in hyperactivity

Cons:
 May cause serious side effects such as low blood pressure, low heart rate, fainting, and drowsiness
 May cause trouble sleeping
 Suddenly stopping can cause issues with blood pressure
 Long term use has not been systematically tested
 Price

 

Price

$70.85 after insurance. This was a high price in comparison to other ADHD meds. Prices start at $715.52 without insurance.

 

Overall Rating

4 on a scale of 1-5.

 

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Review of ADHD Drugs – Children on Concerta

Concerta

Pills

Each person responds differently to medication.

My son was prescribed Concerta when he was 5 years old. Concerta was the second ADHD drug that we tried. This is not a recommendation to put children on Concerta. It was prescribed to replace Vyvanse which made him overly fearful and heightened his senses. He also began taking Strattera with it. We stayed with the Concerta for almost a year before I told the pediatrician it was definitely not going to work. On the Concerta, he was a whole lot more emotional than normal, he was very anxious and irritable, and he was very tired.

Purpose

Concerta is a stimulant medication. In essence, it stimulates the brain and nervous system for the purpose of improving hyperactivity and impulse control in people with ADHD. It can help people pay attention, stay focused, and control behavior. It can also improve listening skills and increase organization skills.

Pros:
 Improves academic issues
 Increased ability to focus
 Price

Cons:
 Caused major fatigue/insomnia is a listed side effect
 He became very emotional/depression is a listed side effect and can lead to suicidal thoughts
 He became very anxious/nervousness is a listed side effect
 Concerta is addictive and withdrawals can occur upon stopping the medication
 Long-term use can slow the growth of a child

Price

$34.85 after insurance. This was a good price in comparison to other ADHD meds. Prices start at $183 without insurance.

 

Overall Rating

3 on a scale of 1-5.

 

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If you have any questions or would like to share your personal experience, please be sure to leave a comment below by clicking on the response link next to my name.  I welcome all feedback and will respond to each comment.