14 year old daughter, ADD inattentive

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-1999
14 year old daughter, ADD inattentive
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 3:45pm

We are just beginning the process of having our 14 year old daughter tested, and are pretty sure after discussions with our doctor and psychologist that she is inattentive ADD. She has a very high IQ and has managed to get through school with flying colors until beginning a greatly accelerated academic program her freshman year. It has been extremely difficult, and I would really appreciate talking here with anyone who has been through something similar.


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 5:26pm

We're going through the same thing with our 12yo.  He's finishing up an 8-hour psychoeducational evaluation this week with a private psychologist which covers learning disabilities, ADD, and any other emotional/cognitive barriers to learning.  He managed to get through elementary school with no trouble other than immaturity, but things started falling apart in 6th grade.  Now that he's in 7th grade, he's having a hard time of it, though his teachers all say, "He's such a bright kid."  Hoping to get some answers SOON. 

I'm pretty sure his oldest sibling (now 20yo) had the same issue but he was so brilliant that he managed to slide through it all until he matured enough to start actually caring and learning to compensate.  12yo DS is not as smart and it's become obvious sooner.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-1999
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 5:55pm

Our daughter's evaluation is scheduled for March 4. Her IQ tests at 150, and she had straight A's until geometry last year, when the daily assignments and constant new material started challenging her focus. She was accepted into our state's Governor's School program (all Honors and AP courses) and her combination of social anxiety (in dealing with teachers), lack of focus, and organization had her almost flunking out. I dropped the ball in not realizing the severity of the issues -- she managed to get through the first quarter before I realized what we were dealing with. She really wants to remain in the program. But it is stressful. Wish we had discovered this sooner, more time to get the good habits in place, might have helped. Good luck with your journey, and thanks for replying.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 9:26pm

Dear Geve,

Welcome to our corner in the village.

Sabertooth, one of the ladies who posts here, will have lots of good information for you as she went through this struggle with her DDs.
I would recommend that you check at your local public library for these two books: “A Mind At A Time” by Mel Levine is about children with learning differences by a medical doctor who specializes in the subject. There is an abridged audio version on CD. The other is “Push Has Come to Shove: Getting our Kids the Education They Deserve—Even If It Means Picking A Fight” by Dr. Steve Perry who operates a superior school in an economically disadvantaged area. If the library doesn’t have them stop by a local book store and thumb through them and see what you think about them before you buy. The school library or the counselors office may have a copy or two—especially A Mind At A Time. The testing folks may have them.

Kids are like snowflakes in that they are all different and have different needs. What works with one may or may not work with another.

Our DDs and SILs are 21 and nearing 20 and went through the grist mill of the teen years. The older couple are somewhere in the upper quarter of IQ, youngest DD is somewhere in the upper 2%, with her hubby somewhere up in that top 1%.

The SILs met when the eleven year old moved into the neighborhood of the 10 year old and they became best pals. This was the first real friend that the younger boy had had because of his Asperger’s Syndrome issues. Oldest had severe learning issues and the younger one became his tutor for life—and a darn good one. This was the beginning of a friendship that has profoundly blessed our family. Hubby and I first met the boys when they came to the door at 12 and 13 to pick up their dates for a school dance.

Younger couple was in the Talented and Gifted program until they skipped out and into HS with the older two.

The reason that I include Dr. Steve Perry’s book is that on page 207 there is a chapter titled “Cracking the AP Myth.” Dr. Perry makes the argument that time taking AP classes could be better spent taking actual college classes. This book came out after youngest SIL had guided both couples away from AP classes and into college classes with duel credit for HS and College. The book came out after they had already graduated from HS with over 75 semester units of college work. This may or may not be something that would be of value to your kid.

I remember back when I was in HS the math teacher said something about, “those who find algebra difficult often find geometry to be a breeze, and visa versa. I found that to be true for me—loved geometry. Academically, 7th grade was the tough one for me. Hubby says they all were for tough for him. LOL

Geve, these are some of the most golden years you will have, but often they also coincide with the years when the teens are driving you nuts. LOL Seriously, hubby and I loved the teen years with all four of the kids and hope that the twenties are just as rewarding.

Come back from time to time and tell us how thing are going.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 10:02pm

Two other books you may find interesting are “Outliers: The story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell and “The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.” by Daniel Coyle. Both are interesting and I’m betting that both are available at the public library and for those who like to listen, both are on CD. All of Gladwell’s books are interesting.

A subject I found interesting was how smart is smart enough to win a Nobel Prize? I think the answer was like 120.

My IQ is like 72. LOL

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Wed, 02-27-2013 - 9:00am
Mahopac, My now 16 year old son was finally diagnosed with inattentive when he was in 7th grade, also. We knew something was wrong, he had to work to hard and I helped him quite a lot up until then. His 2nd grade teacher alluded to ADHD but I would have nothing to do with it...how foolish of me. I had him taken to test for dyslexia as he was a poor reader all thru elementary school with reading comprehension issues. No dyslexia and she suggested i have him professionally tested. Like you...hours of testing, teacher responses, parents questionnaires....$2000. Hands down ADHD-inattentive. We started him on medication, I cried the night before he started, and he never liked nor still does to talk about it. He's not "brilliant" by any means, but thankfully has a lot of motivation. His grades jumped up drastically...in just a week and his homework time was cut by half. Up until then, he was spending about 3 times as long as the other students. He is a sophomore in H.S. now and has a 3.3 GPA. He is not smart enough for the honors classes, he would probably struggle too much to get a C, but he is taking one AP course right now and got a "B" last semester. He is going for the Core 50 with academic honors diploma and I think he'll get it. Is his GPA stellar...no...but he has only 1 C on his entire report card and he won't have problems getting into some state school. My point in all of this is that if they are motivated to achieve..the medicines can work beautifully. I often tell him...they aren't a smart pill...they just let you be as smart as you already are (like glasses for someone who sees fuzzy). good luck. P.S. However, if you are like my other son with no motivation....no pill will help that. That is another issue altogether.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Wed, 02-27-2013 - 9:58am

Hi and welcome. You've already gotten some great advice here. I think the most important thing is that you're getting her tested and they will be able to help you get her the tools she needs to succeed. She sounds motivated in that she wants to stay in the program. I wish we would have had our now 22 year old tested years ago. Looking back the signs were all there - great grades til probably 7th or 8th grade or so and after that each year they slipped just a little more. Having very little homework - claiming he got it all done at school, etc. We thought he was just lazy and un-motivated. And maybe he was but I wish we would have had him tested.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Wed, 02-27-2013 - 10:31pm

Conmama stated it very well when she compared the “medicine” to tools like glasses. Often, it is only for a short time until the kid matures or grows out of the need for it. Unlike the need for glasses, these type things do tend to improve with age.

Also, there is nothing wrong with local state universities. Lots of very successful folks graduate from them.

A trick of being successful in school, and much of life, is to find the coping skills and other ways to compensate for weaknesses. And we all have weaknesses.

As I stated yesterday kids are all different, like snowflakes. So as a parent, you have to find what works for your individual child. Sometimes you have to try different things until something works. Each of us parents only sees a very small section of the learning spectrum as we only go through it a few times with our kids, each kid with their unique issues. If it goes well for our kid, we tend to think what we did was the trick, but we don’t really know for sure.

Baby chicks have to struggle with getting out of the eggshell on their own. Their mama knows not to help as that chick’s effort will build strength for what’s ahead. She knows that without that struggle the chick may not survive. Many struggling high school students are developing skills that will serve them well in college and beyond, but it sure is painful to watch.

In his book, A MIND AT A TIME, Mel Levine makes the observation that sometimes kids are born with skills that serve them very well in the early years, but not so well in the out years of life; while others are born with skills that don’t serve them well as children, but will in the out years. Either way the kid has to develop coping skills.

High IQ is a blessing, but can be a curse in some ways. Those with it have serious issues with such things as boredom, perfectionism, and fitting in with the mere mortals around them. They often incur the wrath of those less “cursed” and they lack the social skills to navigate such. This was a reason why our younger couple skipped out of 8th grade to get away from youngest SILs childhood tormentors and be with the other two. That and boredom was why he led the four into a program of duel enrollment at the college level.

Hi IQ kids are just as fragile as the rest of us, maybe more so.

One social skill the youngest SIL excels in is reading people’s abilities and capacity. He is also adroit enough to adjust schedules and accommodate the needs and wishes of the four of them (‘the team” as they term it). The goal never changes, but the means and time line of getting there does change as necessary. Flexibility is a virtue they understand and use to their advantage.

They could have easily departed high school after 10th grade, which would have sped things up even further, but the girls wanted the cheerleading experience, which meant continuing to orbit in the duel credit mode. That really turned out to be best for reasons that they did not foresee or understand at the time.

School districts are one big bureaucracy that operates according to a ton of federal, state, and local district laws and regulations. Like life on earth, districts operate in a very narrow band of about two miles above sea level and a mile or so below sea level. They operate in the space about as thin as an onion skin. There is only so much they can do for any one kid. Your kid can get lost in the machinery of the school business and you may have to be the squeaky wheel that needs to be greased.

Always keep in mind that it is best to have the good feelings of school officials, rather than to have them ticked off. ALWAYS BE VERY POLITE AND RESPECTFUL OF THEM!!!! Most really do want the best for your child and will try to accommodate reasonable requests from parents. However, they are constrained by budget issues and other concerns.

When you step out of the norm of things, they are less accommodative. That was the situation with the accelerated plans of our four. One problem that was never expressed was the loss of revenue to the school district as the state is not funding the students at both the high school and the college classes. Only one gets the money, not both.

With his pimples and Asperger’s Syndrome issues, the school folks did not take Butch’s plans serious. All three sets of parents tried to get a response. After it became apparent that the district was playing the old “who shot Willy game” of stalling, intending to do nothing, a letter on the law office stationery of Butch’s dad went to the district requesting a meeting of all three sets of parents with the appropriate district staff. At the meeting we all listen as Butch’s dad made the case for the plan and the district expressed their reservations. At the end of the meeting, Butch’s dad handed over a lengthy brief that he had had prepared that included grounds for the district to approve the plan.

After we left the meeting, the other dad asked what effect that would have after they read it. Butch’s dad chuckled and said, “They’ll never read it. District council will tell the appropriate Rear Admiral of the district, ‘Don’t get into a hissing contest with a crazy parent with bar membership who can make life excruciatingly painful and drain massive funds from the district in legal fees that could and should be better spent on other students. Accommodate their request with reasonable conditions; conditions like satisfactory academic progress for continuance of the accommodation. And spend your time and the districts resources on more pressing and important problems than trying to win a hissing contest with idiots, who may actually be correct about what is best for their child. Let’s hope that they are corect.’” And that’s what happened.

This is an absolute last resort, but sometimes you have to go to the mat for your kid.

I hope this ramble helps in some way.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 02-28-2013 - 10:34am

I may be totally off base but she sounds similar to ds20 (143) and issues he had in HS.  He also did well in math til geometry.  He took the WISC back in 2nd grade and pegged the visual/spatial (block design) section (and a few others but this is the important one here).  In grade and middle school they catered to multiple learning styles. In HS they did not; they went pretty much straight auditory/sequential, which geometry is a great example of.  He'd see the answer and not want to show steps, got 0 credit and Ds in math where he used to have As.  His 2nd grade teacher thought he was ADHD-inattentive but ends up he just had a learning style that did not fit with some of the teachers' styles and it made it very difficult in those classes that didn't offer multiple styles.  So we learned how to provide him some tools to work in those environments - he still doesn't do well in purely a/s classes now in college but give him a v/s class and he does great (thus majoring in art is great for him).  Best of luck in finding the root cause and solutions that help.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-1999
Thu, 02-28-2013 - 7:34pm

Do you mind if I ask what medications he has used, and if he is still taking medication for ADD inattentive? We, too, are hesitant and it would be helpful to hear what other parents think. Assuming the tests say our daughter has ADD inattentive, we would of course return to her pediatrician and get other opinions as well. Did you find any behavioral therapy that worked? Thanks for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Fri, 03-01-2013 - 11:37am
HI Geve, I don't know if your question is directed to me or not, but I'll respond as to what my son is taking. He is very sensitive to medication, started on Vyvanse and it made him feel like a zombie. He is a happy and cheerful teen. He stopped smiling and said it made him feel flat, he hated it and we hated him on it. (this was prescribed by the psychiatrist where we had him tested). I took him to his pediatriation and he had him start on Focalin XR 20 mg. He said Focalin is was the easiest of them and he had good luck with it. DS took to it very well, it did not change his personality at all. It lasts for about 10 hours. The doc gave him a 4 hour Ritalin booster in case he ever wants to take it after school if he feels he really needs it for studying. He's only taken it twice this year. Hope that helps.