Epilepsy Symptoms in Children

Epilepsy Symptoms in Children

Epilepsy Symptoms in Children
Copyright: radiantskies / 123RF Stock Photo

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is commonly known as a condition where a person has unprovoked seizures more than 24 hours apart.  However, a task force of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) redefined epilepsy in 2005 as “a disease characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures and by the neurobiological, cognitive, psychological, and social consequences of this condition.”  The emphasis here is that a seizure, by itself, is an event whereas epilepsy is a disease involving recurrent unprovoked seizures.

Epilepsy is diagnosed when they have multiple seizures that were not caused by some known and reversible medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.  While typically the cause is completely unknown, epileptic seizures may come from a brain injury or a family history of epilepsy.

People with epilepsy may have one or many different types of seizures and may demonstrate other neurological problems.  Many of the epilepsy symptoms in children mimic that of ADHD, Autism, Tourette Syndrome, and many other neurological disorders.  With epilepsy, though, one’s safety can be significantly impacted so it is vital that an accurate diagnosis be obtained so that the most effective treatment can be implemented.

Types of Seizures

Different Types of Seizures Copyright: rob3000 / 123RF Stock Photo

The Epilepsy Foundation reports that the human brain is the source of all epilepsy.  While the condition may impact several different parts of the body, the electrical events causing the seizure occur in the brain.

A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain caused by complex chemical changes occurring in the nerve cells.  Usually there’s a balance of brain cells that either excite or stop other brain cells from sending messages.  Seizures cause an imbalance between the exciting and stopping activities which causes an imbalance and triggers electrical activity.  How a person’s seizure presents itself is dependent upon which messages were impacted by the seizure activity.


Epilepsy Symptoms in Children

Like most other medical conditions, seizures affect different people in different ways.  Not all seizures are noticeable or stereotypic, meaning they don’t all do what people expect them to do based on historical cases.  Different things can happen during the different phases of a seizure, but again, symptoms vary from person to person.

Also, epilepsy symptoms in children come in a wide variety that closely mimic ADHD and other neurological conditions.  The ADHD type symptoms that parents see may be side effects of other conditions, such as epilepsy.  For example, my son would not sleep through the night for many years and would often come to my bed at night and then would fall asleep in class each day.  A sleep specialist determined he was having hallucinations at night causing fears.  A sleep study found that he was having seizure activity and not reaching REM sleep at all.


Some people can feel a seizure is coming.  They may feel it days or hours before it happens which gives them some opportunity to prepare for it.  Not all epilepsy patients can feel it coming though.  Prodome is considered the beginning of a seizure but it isn’t actually part of the seizure.  This is where a person may experience feelings, sensations, or changes in behavior that may indicate a seizure is coming in the days or hours ahead.  It gives the person an opportunity to find safety, take their medication, or use a rescue treatment to try and prevent the seizure.  An aura is considered the very beginning of the seizure as it is actually part of the seizure.  Not everybody gets auras.  Like prodome, an aura is a feeling, sensation, or change in behavior that is similar each time a seizure occurs.  Auras can often occur without a seizure following and are considered to be a partial seizure.

Common Auras:
  • Headache

    Epilepsy Symptoms

    Epilepsy Symptoms
    Copyright: ralwel / 123RF Stock Photo

  • Smells
  • Sounds
  • Tastes
  • Nausea
  • Dizzy or Lightheaded
  • Fear/Panic
  • Racing Thoughts
  • Strange or Pleasant Feelings/Sensations
  • Numbness or Tingling
  • Visual Loss or Blurring
  • Loss of Ability to Speak
  • Deja Vu (a feeling of being there before)
  • Jamais Vu (a feeling that something is very familiar)


The ictal phase, or middle of the seizure, correlates with the electrical activity in the brain.  It begins with the first symptom experienced, including the aura, and lasts until the end of the seizure activity.  The visible symptoms of the seizure may actually last longer than the seizure itself.  These may be aftereffects of the seizure or may be unrelated entirely.

Common Seizure Symptoms:
  • Any symptoms listed for Auras
  • Confusion
  • Memory Lapses or Forgetfulness
  • Daydreaming/Zoning
  • Blackouts/Loss of Awareness
  • Pass outs/Loss of Consciousness
  • Distorted Sounds/Loss of Hearing
  • Unusual Smells (i.e. Burning Rubber)
  • Unusual Tastes
  • Loss of Vision/Blurriness
  • Flashing Lights
  • Visual Hallucinations
  • Feeling Detached/Out of Body Sensations
Common Physical Symptoms:
  • Automatisms
    • Repeated Non-Purposeful Movements
      • Chewing
      • Dressing
      • Lip Smacking
      • Running
      • Undressing
      • Walking
      • Waving
  • Convulsions
    • Loss of Consciousness
    • Body Becomes Rigid/Tense
    • Fast Jerking Movements
  • Loss of Movement or Muscle Tone
    Epilepsy Symptoms in Children

    Epilepsy Symptoms
    Copyright: AlienCat / 123RF Stock Photo

    • Head may fall forward
    • Body may slump or fall
  • Rapid Blinking or Staring
    • Eyes may roll, look sideways, or look upward
  • Speech Difficulties
    • Garbled Speech
    • Nonsense Talk
    • Abrupt Stop to Talking
  • Tremors
    • Twitching or Jerking Movements
      • Arms
      • Legs
      • One/Both Sides of Face
      • Whole Body
      • May start in one place and spread
      • May stay in one place
  • Rigid Muscles
    • May fall suddenly
  • Drooling/Unable to Swallow
  • Sudden Loss of Urine/Stool
  • Sweating
  • Loss of Skin Tone
    • Looks Pale or Flushed
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Clenched Teeth
  • Biting Tongue
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Breathing Difficulty


The postictal phase, or end of the seizure, consists of the recovery period.  How long this period lasts and what symptoms occur depend on the type of seizure and which part of the brain it impacted.  This varies from person to person.

Common Post-Seizure Symptoms:
  • Anxiousness
  • Confusion
  • Delayed Response
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion

  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Headache
  • Injury from Falling
  • Lightheadedness
  • Memory Lapses
  • Nausea
  • Sadness
  • Shame
  • Sleepiness
  • Thirst
  • Weakness

Epilepsy Treatment

Often, the first step to treating epilepsy is through medication.  This is the most common method of treatment to control or prevent seizures.  Many different anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs) help control seizures and you and the doctor will discuss types of seizures and other factors in order to pick the most beneficial for you and your circumstances.  Be sure to always talk to your doctor before starting a stopping a medicine as this can cause very severe seizures that can lead to death.

You will also want to learn about seizure first aid.  Basic seizure first aid will help you determine what actions to take when you or someone you know is having a seizure in order to be safe and comfortable.  Knowing these steps could save a life.

Epilepsy Diagnosis

Epilepsy Diagnosis
Copyright: designer491 / 123RF Stock Photo

When medication does not effectively control seizures, and more than one medication has been tried, doctors may consider surgery as the next treatment option.  Like AEDs, there is no guarantee that the surgery will control the seizures so the doctors will work with you to weigh the benefits against the risks of doing surgery.

Dietary Therapy may also be considered to try to help control seizures.  Specifically, a Ketogenic diet or the modified Atkins diet have been shown to be effective.

There are new devices being developed to help control and prevent seizures, such as Responsive Neurostimulation and Vagus Nerve Stimulation.  There are also seizure alerting devices to help detect seizures for those that don’t have the more obvious symptoms during seizures.

Herbal Therapy and Medical Marijuana are currently being investigated for treatment of epilepsy.

Cause of Epilepsy

In many cases, a cause for epilepsy cannot be found.  There are two primary types of seizures: generalized seizures and partial seizures.

Generalized Seizures: These types of seizures affect both sides of the brain at the same time.  Doctors believe hereditary factors play a role in these types of seizures.

Partial Seizures:  These types of seizures affect only a limited area of the brain.  For example, my son’s seizures affect only his left frontal lobe.  There are many causes for partial seizures, though may not always be identified.  Genetic factors may play a role in these types of seizures.

Epilepsy Conclusion

Epilepsy Conclusion
Copyright: tashatuvango / 123RF Stock Photo

Common Causes:
  • Brain Infection
  • Brain Injury
  • Cortical Displasias
  • Stroke
  • Tumor



It is so easy to get ADHD diagnosed, that children are often receiving the incorrect diagnosis and being ineffectively treated and/or medicated without further evaluation.

Epilepsy is one of a very long list of medical conditions that has symptoms which mimic ADHD.  The big problem with this is that children with ADHD are treated with medications that tend to make seizure disorders worse.  Stimulant medications are a definite no-no with Epilepsy as they tend to cause seizures.

With an accurate diagnosis and effective seizure control, many epileptic people grow up to be very successful individuals.  There have been many:

  • Agatha Christie (Writer)
  • Alexander the Great (Ancient Greek King)
  • Alfred the Great (Anglo-Saxon King)
  • Alfred Nobel (Swedish Chemist, Engineer, Innovator, Manufacturer, and Inventor)
  • Aristotle (Greek Philosopher)
  • Bud Abbott (Producer, Comedian, Actor)
  • Chanda Gunn (Ice Hockey Player)
  • Charles Dickens (Novelist)
  • Charles V of Spain (Ruler of Holy Roman Empire)
  • Danny Glover (Actor)
  • DJ Hapa (Executive Director)
  • Edgar Allen Poe (Author and Literary Critic)
  • Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (Russian Writer and Essayist)
  • George Frederick Handel (Composer)
  • Hannibal (Military Commander and Tactician)
  • Hector Berliouz (French Romantic Composer)
  • Hugo Weaving (Film, Stage, and Voice actor)
  • Isaac Newton (Scientist)
  • James Madison (POTUS)
  • Julius Caesar
  • Leonardo Da Vinci (Architect, Botanist, Musician, Scientist, Mathematician, Engineer, Inventor, Painter, Writer, etc.)
  • Lewis Carrol (English Author, Photographer, Mathematician, Anglican Clergyman, Logician)
  • Lord Byron
  • Louis XIII of France (King)
  • Margaux Hemmingway (Model and Film Actress)
  • Martin Luther (German Monk, Theologian, and Church Reformer)
  • Michelangelo (Sculptor)
  • Napoleon Bonaparte (French Military and Political Leader)
  • Neil Young (Musician)
  • Nicolo Paganini (Italian Violinist, Violist, Guitarist, and Composer)
  • Paul I of Russia (Emperor)
  • Peter Tchaikovsky (Russian Composer)
  • Peter the Great
  • Pythagoras (Greek Philosopher)
  • Richard Burton (Actor)
  • Robert Schumann (German Composer)
  • Sir Walter Scott (Scottish Historical Novelist and Poet)
  • Socrates (Greek Philosopher)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (Soldier, Historian, Explorer, Naturalist, Author, Governor, POTUS)
  • Truman Capote (Writer)
  • Vincent van Gogh (Artist)

Clearly, with accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, epileptic individuals can bring an abundance of creativity, compassion, and brilliance to society.  While it’s easy to get caught up in blaming parents, vaccines, or poor decisions for their child’s disabilities, criticizing labels and other methods of raising awareness, and theorizing about healthcare conspiracies, these people are part of our everyday lives and we owe them understanding at the very least.  They give us the same in the best ways they know how.

Epilepsy Awareness

Epilepsy Awareness
Copyright: tzeyrek / 123RF Stock Photo

Yes, there is an epidemic of misdiagnoses that causes annoyance and frustration surrounding children with ADHD, Epilepsy, and many other conditions and disabilities.  The problem is that the very labels that society criticizes us for using are the ones that lead to our children getting the help that they desperately need.  Ignorance is bliss.  It’s easy to judge when it’s not your problem.  How about we educate ourselves and raise some awareness instead?  Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Talk soon,


3 Weeks to an Organized Homeschool – Product Review

homeschooling, children, organized

Organized Homeschool?

How to Get Organized While Homeschooling Children

While surfing for tips on how to get my son’s homeschooling stuff organized, I found a book called, 3 Weeks to an Organized Homeschool: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing Your Schoolroom, Curriculum, and Record Keeping by Katherine Leigh.  It was exactly what I was looking for, according to the title.  I’m totally new to homeschooling and I’m starting mid year and need to get him caught back up, so I’m scrambling to learn everything I can and get everything set up effectively as quickly as possible.

Pros & Cons


  • Quick Read
  • Free Resources
  • Schedule of Tasks
  • Action List Provided
  • Great Explanation
  • Homeschooling in Your Car


  • Religion


In this book, Katherine not only lays out what you should do to prepare for homeschooling your children each year, but she even gives you a schedule to follow!  Granted, it’s just a suggested schedule for how to get everything done most effectively in 3 weeks from her own experience.  It took me about 2 hours to read the entire book.  You could also read little bits at a time if you read along while actually carrying out her action lists.

The author provides a free bonus for buying her book.  She allows you to download free templates for lesson plan sheets, grading sheets, student schedules, and more!  She tells you how to set up your binder and gives great details of why she’s suggesting each item.  She even wrote an appendix for those that travel a lot and find themselves homeschooling from their car.

I honestly couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about this book.  She clearly lives a spiritual life and teaches her children religion along with her curriculum.  I don’t have a problem with this.  The only reason I list it as a Con is because some people may not like that about the book.  In my opinion, it wasn’t overly used and to each their own.

Target Audience

This book was written for parents who are preparing a new year of homeschooling.  It serves as a great step-by-step guide to getting ready for a new year of schooling at home.


You can download it to your Kindle for $3.99.  However, I was able to download this book for free as I am a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited.

Final Opinion

5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating!

I definitely recommend this book to other parents preparing to homeschool.  The price is right  for the great advice.





ADHD Medications for Children – Hindsight is 20:20

To Medicate or Not To Medicate


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.


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?


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?


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.



Got your own story to tell?  Did I push a button?  Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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


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


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.





Remembering a similar story?  Please share it with us below!

Punishing Children with ADHD – What is Effective?

To Spank or Not to Spank…


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 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.



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.



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.




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.




If you have similar experiences to share, or have any questions, please share with us below by clicking on the response link next to my name.  I welcome feedback and will be sure to respond to each and every post.

Success for Strattera in Children – Product Review


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.


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

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

 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



$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.






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.

Review of ADHD Drugs – Children on Concerta



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.


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.

 Improves academic issues
 Increased ability to focus
 Price

 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


$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.





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.