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.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 12:07am

Dear Geve,

Me again.

Hubby’s brother had a son on Ritalin back in his childhood and early teens, so I called up my SIL and asked what she knows, etcetera. She recommended I call one of hubby’s cousins who had a boy and a girl with some of these problems that require medicine. Her story is much like Sabrtooth’s. The cousin’s daughter is 29 and still on the medicines, son is 27 and has been off for seven plus years. She said that she thinks females may have it rougher because of hormonal issues that come with the female physiology in general. That is just one parent’s observation of her two kids, NOT a medical judgment.

Much like Sabrtooth, this cousin said you have to do lots of testing of the various avenues until you find the one that is the right fit for your situation, which is a bit of a pain as we all want the fix now. She says that what works for one does not always work with another. So you tinker with it until something clicks. And you may have to get second, third and fourth opinions.

Take heart, the cousin says, “There is life after the struggle subsides.” LOL

Your daughter may need some special accommodations from the school district and those are required by certain federal statutes and regulations. As I indicated earlier, in order to get those accommodations, you may have to be the squeaky wheel that needs greasing.

A few days ago Turtletime said this in her post on the “Gender Confusion” thread that I think is correct, “. . . it’s a good idea to start hunting for social environments where your child is most likely to be accepted and feel comfortable.” I think that is also applicable to the broader population of teens in general and even us old folks. Life is much too short to spend it being made unhappy by those around us and being caught in a stressful situation.

I think that is part of what Sabrtooth was saying when she made the suggestion to “Back off the academic pressure. She doesn’t need 20 AP classes. She is not ‘wasting herself’ is she doesn’t get into Harvard . . . .” These teen years should be happy years as well as productive years.

(Thinking about our youngest SIL and the path that he led to him and youngest daughter skipping out of 8th grade in an effort to get away from some of those tormentors in Jr. High, I think he had the right idea of getting away from them as life is much too short to spend it being tormented. Kids in general, especially Jr. High kids, can be extremely cruel. As the bumper sticker says MEAN PEOPLE SUCK.)

I agree with Sabrtooth, “IQ has NOTHING to do with happiness in life.” It may even be that there is an inverse relationship to IQ and happiness. Some of the happiest folks you will ever be around are those with downs syndrome. I think that part of that is that they don’t compare themselves to others and have fewer wants than the rest of us. They are content with what they are and have.

Hey Sabrtooth that sweet little grandbaby has not even reached the terrible twos yet. You ain’t seen nothing yet. LOL Ain't grand kids great???????????????

Also Sabrtooth, this afternoon I went over to a friend’s home and watched the Katie show you mentioned on your post on the other thread about Gender Confusion. She DVRs that show and a few others and then watches them later. It was interesting.

Geve, it will take several days for them to process all the testing data, but please do come back from time to time and share with us what’s happening.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 03-01-2013 - 8:55pm

My daughters are now ADDults.  Since emotional and mental issues do not just "run" in our families, they GALLOP, I knew from the start that they weren't the average bears.  I was doing home made behavior charts when they were 6, because they literally could NOT remember instructions, or consequenses, for more than 5 minutes.  They could lose their gym suit, left shoe, lunch, homework, clarinet, schoolbooks, coat and glasses between the front door and the driveway.  If I put a bag of garbage in one hand, and their lunchbag in the other, guess what ended up in the fridge, and the trashcan. Grammar and middle schools had me on speed dial. 

However, their intelligence, and personality, pulled them thru school--just as it does with a LOT of ADDers.  Untill the combo of hormones, extra curriculars, increased complexity, and increased personal responsibility pushed them to the point where they could not put ONE more drop in the bucket, without something falling out the other side. 

My older dd went into 9th grade with honors classes.  By the end of the 1st semester, she was failing EVERYTHING, EXCEPT A's in Band and Gym.  I could see the handwriting on the wall with the younger dd, who was in 6th grade, and whose papers came home unreadable and unintelligible, but with all A's!!!  Her teachers said, "She TELLS us all the answers, she's VERY articulate and intelligent, we think the rest will catch up..."  So I had both kids evaluated by a pediatrician who had a speciality in ADD, they were diagnosed ADD, and we began Ritalin and counseling. My older dd, who was 15, responded immediatly, and told us "If you KNEW there was something out there, that MIGHT have helped me, why did you make me suffer for so long???"

Over the next couple years, we went thru several providers, because ADD never flies alone, and as things cropped up, we found we NEEDED a specialist.  We needed a specialist for diagnosis, and we needed a specialist for treatment.   I mean honestly, if your child had a heart condition, would you want a pediatrician managing her, or a cardiac specialist?  We went with a psychaitrist, and finally found one we ALL could relate to, because family counseling is essential to the success of the children.  Also, a psychiatrist is the best choice for managing psychoactive drugs. Our diagnoses were ADD/Executive Dysfunction/Oppositional Defiant Disorder/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  PMS complicated things for younger, and depression crept in for older.

Three YEARS into the process, we found that our younger dd had a visual processing disorder.   We'd taken her to Huntington Learning for an evaluation, because altho she (also) had gone into 9th grade in Honors classes, she was flunking at midterm, and STILL could not spell, do math, or write an intelligible paper--consistantly.  (Altho it is a joke among ADDers, that they do something RIGHT, and you hold it against them for the rest of their lives.)  LD's hadn't even crossed out minds, since we thought we had the ADD thing all handled.  So be sure to sk for a complete LD evaluation, as well.

Do NOT be afraid of medication.  If your child was diabetic, would you avoid insulin and try to make her manage her condition with diet?  My older dd is going to be 32, and has been on methylphenidate since she was 15.  She's used Concerta since it was invented.  She is a successfull HS teacher, and the Head of the Fine Arts Dept.

My younger dd went on meds when she was 12, and then on and off from 18 till she went off for good at 22.  She was always more ODD than ADD, never liked the way the meds made her feel, and did better with counseling.  She's 29, and has her ups & downs.  We suspect she's actually BiPolar, but her counseling has made her more amenable to suggestion, and she manages.  She's an executive admin asst/legal secretary, divorced, self supporting, owns her own home, and has a year old daughter.  Whose BOTH parents are probably BiPolar, and believe me, the Anti-Christ is alive and well in her.  At least we are prepared. 

I firmly believe there is no such thing as "...they SHOULD be able to do XYZ by THEMSELVES...".  If they demonstrably CANNOT, why would I sit there and "allow them to suffer", as long we don't get used, or used up?  Back off the academic pressure.  She doesn't NEED to be in 20 AP classes.  She is not "wasting" herself if she doesn't get into Harvard.  I PURPOSELY never mention my kids', or my, IQ, even tho they are higher than the average bear.  IQ has NOTHING to do with happiness in life.  As long as she is able to learn a career, and be self supporting, even if she asks you EVERY MONTH to pick up her prescriptions, or remind her to change her oil, she'll do fine. 

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 03-01-2013 - 12:34pm

The eyeglasses are a great analogy!  DS already takes medication every day for hemiplegic migraines, so if it turns out he needs it, this will just be another pill, no big deal. 

He finished his assessment this week, and DH & I are going to debrief with the doctor next week.

One thing I want to caution the OP about:  our neurologist was loath to prescribe anything without a full evaluation.  We did a Connors assessment - that was feedback from DS, DH & me, and his teaching team - but the neurologist didn't want to start prescribing ADD meds without exploring whether there might be learning disabilities or something else that might look like ADD but not be ADD.  It cost an arm and a leg (fortunately, we had a couple limbs to spare ;)) but I am happy we have gone through with the whole evaluation.

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.
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.

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: 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.

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: 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: 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