14 year old daughter, ADD inattentive

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Registered: 09-24-1999
14 year old daughter, ADD inattentive
13
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.

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Avatar for mahopac
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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.

Avatar for sabrtooth
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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. 

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.

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