Good news...sort of

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2003
Good news...sort of
11
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 3:24pm

My 19 y.o. DD has been struggling mentally, physically, socially and academically for the past 1-1/2 years since entering the university.  There were some signs of academic weakness in high school, but she always had explanations for them.  Her reading tutor after her junior year said she might have dyslexia, but I pooh-poohed that because I thought I knew what dyslexia was, and of course she didn't have that!  Since she graduated HS with a B+ average, I didn't give too much thought to it, but I did warn her that her weak study habits would come roaring back at her in college.  "Yeah, mom, I know, blah, blah."  You all know that response and what it really means, LOL!

Well to make a long story short, we recently had her tested and the results yesterday showed she has mild depression, ADHD and dyslexia.  We knew about the depression and she was already being seen for that.   We are so relieved to know that there is something definite that could help explain her slide, which when looking back, I see was manifesting itself towards the end of middle school, at least.  She is so pumped up and sounds like a totally different person since she has been given hope that there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  When she was telling me about the 17-page report and its reccommendations, she sounded almost giddy.  She will be making appointments with a reading specialist and a mental health professional to explore med possiblities for the ADHD and depression, if necessary.  DD is even motivated and researching on her own, the drug interactions for those conditions with her respiratory meds and birth control.  Right this moment, she is registering with the Office of Student with Disabilities at her school to be assigned a counselor there.  She will continue with individual as well as group therapy at school, too.  Her case manager was ecstatic about the report too, and shared her personal experiences.  And she said how proud she was of her for following up on all of this.  In addition, she had seen a medical doctor before Christmas break (I forget what for) and is finally motivated to get her lab work done today, so that she and her team of support are fully armed to attack her problems.

I just have one thing to add.  If you have any children who are still in elementary, middle or high school and you have a hint of something, get them tested now, while it's free--at least in Florida public schools it's free. Our insurance doesn't cover educational evaluations and it ain't cheap!

Thank you ladies for letting me go on and on.

 

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Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 01-23-2014 - 6:43pm

Game, don't beat yourself up.  You were finally ready to hear the answers.  Had you had her tested before, you might not have believed what you were told.

My girls were diagnosed when they were 12 & 14, but we knew something was up for years.  We just weren't ready to hear it.  Even tho they got decent grades, and were placed in honors classes, they struggled with "life".  And it WAS a blow when our older dd started meds and said, "It's like I've been in a dark room all my life, and somebody finally turned on a light" and "If you even SUSPECTED there was something that might help me, why did you make me suffer so long??"

So I'm sure your daughter is elated.  I HIGHLY recommend the book "You Mean I'm NOT, Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?!" by Kate Kelly and Peg Ramundo for your daughter, AND for you.

BTW, what kind of dyslexia was your dd diagnosed with?  My younger dd has a Visual Processing Disorder, and a Focusing Disorder.  We also "knew" she was much better at learning by listening, just didn't realize the extent, or reason.  Vison therapy and tutoring in coping mechanisms helped her a lot.    http://www.ldonline.org/ldbasics/whatisld    is an excellect resource.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Fri, 01-24-2014 - 12:32am

I'm glad that she got some answers. It sounds like she is on the way to getting her confidence back. She must be so excited to learn new techniques and strategies to help her function better!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Fri, 01-24-2014 - 8:39am

Glad she has some answers and has a good support team in place. I have a friend whose dd was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 19. My friend, too, suspected something when she was younger and even had her tested twice - once in 3rd grade and once in 6th grade but it wasn't until she was tested while in college that she was diagnosed. Best of luck to your dd going forward!

Pam
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2003
Sat, 01-25-2014 - 4:59pm

I am looking forward to her getting a new outlook and getting better.  We are currently searchng for a mental health professional who accepts our insurance.  She mad and appointment with one for next week, but after checking his reviews on several sites, most of them were negative.  So she'll check with the other two.  I wish $$ and insurance wasn't a factor in all of this. 

Sabr, I'm still sorting through the 17-page report which I read through quickly, but now must go back and read for understanding, so  I don't know what kind of dyslexia she has yet.  I have read a lot on the ldonline website, and I will get a hold of that book you mentioned.  LOL, it wasn't one of the ten I had already gotten from the library.

She went out with a friend last night and found out he has ADHD too.  He was able to give her some insight, much to her relief.  I was just wondering, is there an increased incidence of this, are we overdiagnosing this or maybe just an increased awareness?  It seems almost everybody has ADHD or some learning disorder.  I'm beginning to think I do too.  Hmmmm.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999
Sat, 01-25-2014 - 11:32pm

My dd's story is a little like yours.  She had trouble with certain things in high school - mainly math and finishing tests in time.  But she had a 3.6 GPA so no one would consider giving a second thought to why, even though I told her math teacher and the Dean that she had a tutor for math since middle school and that she worked really hard to get those grades.  We had her tested and the results were a minor mental speed processing disorder, but she didn't qualify for any assistance because of that GPA.  She went to a college which was on the quarter system and she just had a lot of trouble.  Had her tested again, and she was diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type.  I had known for years that she had trouble focusing, but she was part of a long-term study at UC Berkeley for ADHD girls, which she participated in, in exchange for a 6-week summer day care program (free daycare in the 5th grade?  Why not!).  She was in the control group.  All those high school years when she was losing things, disorganized with her notebooks, starting and stopping projects all the time - I just attributed it to normal teenage behavior, because when I thought possible ADD I always went back to "no, couldn't be because she was thoroughly tested and landed in the control group".  What I found out years later was that the studied focused on the hyperactive type of ADD, not inattentive.  Anyhow - once she got diagnosed in college she did get on meds for awhile and it really helped.  I could visably see a difference in her behavior and her focus.  She didn't like the meds much though, as she got headaches and some appetite disturbance.  So when she felt like she could manage without, like on weekends when she didn't have a major test to study for, she didn't take them.  She also went to a counselor who specialized in helping adults with ADD and learned ways to manage her life so that she  could be more successful.

After the first quarter of her junior year, she left University of Oregon and eventually transferred to a CA state university, which was on semesters rather than quarters.  Between her mental processing speed disorder and her ADD (which I think is fairly  mild), semesters made a world of difference.  She made Deans List all 4 semesters she was there.  When she started her first professional job and had to juggle many responsiblities she did use her medication sporadically and it did help, but again she didn't like the side effects so once she felt more confident in her job, she stopped taking it.  Over the course of her work life (she graduated in 2010), she has really learned to be incredibly organized, and that has been a great help for her.  She always has lists to keep her focused and she is highly valued for her organizational skills.  Her home, now, is a whole different story, LOL!  I don't think those organizational tools carry over all the time at home.  She tries....but I think she will always have trouble keeping the house clean and following through with good intentions related to other things in her life.

One challenge that we had was getting insurance to approve the ADD meds.  Since technically it is a diagnosis that is supposedly childhood onset, and she wasn't diagnosed  until age 19, they challenged us every time she was put on a new medication.  It took a few tries to find the right medication and dosage, and each time the doctor had to write another special note in support of why she needed it.  That was especially challenging when she was in Oregon and her doctor was in California.  The one she ended up on was long-acting Ritalin, which had the least amount of "come down" effect for her.

Good luck with all this.  I hope the medications help her as much as they helped my daughter when she needed them.  I do think counseling was very helpful as well, to help provide her with the behavioral tools.

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999
Sat, 01-25-2014 - 11:38pm
Oh, one more thing. l got that book as well (I think Sabr probably recommended it to me too, since we go back a long way!). I found it very helpful and enlightening. I couldn't get my dd to read it, though. At that time, she was pretty defensive with us, because we were also holding the purse strings for the out of state university which we basically told her we couldn't continue to pay for with all her withdrawals and a couple of failed classes. Like I said, her case of ADD is pretty mild, and she is very successful in her work, so obviously she's found a way to deal with it and wouldn't be motivated to read it. Interestingly - don't know if this is related or not (probably is) - she does not read books anymore. She uses Audible and listens to books.

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Sun, 01-26-2014 - 7:17am

I can fully understand the relief your daughter is feeling. And yours too. I agree with the others that there's no need to beat yourself up now over not having discovered this before. Besides, the diagnosis could have been different. My 21yo DS was diagnosed as bipolar in high school which he disagreed with and refused to take medication for. During his second year of college he found a therapist who felt that he wasn't bipolar but did suffer from severe anxiety disorders in addition to having aspergers and being transgender. During is third year he also saw a psychiatrist who prescribed Zoloft on a daily basis and Xanax for stressful situations, and he is now in great mental health. However it has taken three years and several mental health professionals to get to this place. 

My 13yo DS had extensive psychological and educational testing last year, and we spent $10,000 on tests, therapy, neurology appointments etc. He has a collection of minor learning disabilities including dysgraphia and a couple of indicators of ADD-in attentive type, but ultimately they don't add up to anything requiring services that th public school can provide,  We started sending him to a small private school where many of the kids also have mild LDs and he's been doing great. Some of the characteristics of ADD are things he's already maturing out of, too. So again, time changes what these disabilities look like for him as well as his older sibling.

While my 19yo DD can succeed anywhere and in any circumstances, my sons can't.  It just means that we have to help them more to figure out the settings in which they'll flourish. 21yo DS has that figured out at this point but we will have to guide 13yo DS for a long time to come. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 01-26-2014 - 12:01pm

"...I was just wondering, is there an increased incidence of this, are we overdiagnosing this or maybe just an increased awareness?  It seems almost everybody has ADHD or some learning disorder.  I'm beginning to think I do too.  Hmmmm...."

It's a complicated story, that I have (actually) enjoyed studying over the years, so forgive me if this gets into the "more than I wanted to know" territory. 

We know that the various permutations of ADHD are caused by a reduction in the amount of a neurotransmitter.  40 years ago, when I graduated college, I landed in Group Health Insurance administration-paying claims. Back then, the condition was called "minimal brain dysfunction", and pdocs were ALREADY prescribing Ritalin--the BRAND.  It was first introduced in 1956, as a NON-habit forming alternative to dextroamphetamine, which itself had been in use for years, to replace the missing neurotransmitter.  So, the condition, and the treatments, have been around for a very long time.

The genesis for the "condition" we call ADHD was probably a survival trait built into mankind.  As one of my gf's, with a ADHD cop dad, ADHD firefighter husband, and ADHD impulsive, unstoppable sons put it, "I guess God knew we needed people who were willing to run INTO danger, when everyone else was running AWAY."  They are also, unfortunatly, highly represented in jail populations.  Not because they are evil, or criminal masterminds, but because they have poor impulse control, as well as poor common sense.  

So ADDers have always been around.  They have been the square pegs of the world. The results of studies using DSM criteria suggest that the prevalence of AD/HD is AT LEAST as high in many non-US children as in US children.  We also know that heredity is far and away the most common "cause", with studies showing that when 1 parent has ADD, the chances for a child having it are 1:4.  When both parents have it, the risk increases to 3:4.  Therefore, improvements over the years in the health, survival, and migration of ADDers has led to a reproductive increase.  Improvements in communications, and diagnosis, have led to greater visibility. 

And my personal belief is, as vast populations of the world are moving out of the fields and forests into classrooms and cubicles, we are making ADDers more apparent, and harder than ever for those square pegs to fit in.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 01-26-2014 - 1:01pm

One final thought.  People in general need to understand what scientists have realized for years-- that many things considered scourges today, were/are survival traits in their original habitats.

The ability to gain weight easily, and lose it with difficulty, was a prime survival trait in early man.  Easily digestible foods were few and far between, and the energy need to obtain them was great.  And carrying a layer of insulation, especially in a cold environment, was often the difference between survival long enough to reproduce, and death of the species.  Of course, early man did not have HoHos in a cabinet in their heated house, where the longest trek being made is from the fridge to the couch.

Another example is sickle cell trait.  Sickle cell trait provides a survival advantage over people with normal hemoglobin in regions where malaria is endemic, because the malaria parasite cannot easily penetrate the deformed cell. The trait is known to cause significantly fewer deaths due to malaria. This is a prime example of natural selection, made evident by the fact that the geographical distribution of the gene for sickle cell,  and the distribution of malaria-- in Africa --virtually overlap.  Because of the unique survival advantage, people with the trait increase in number as more people infected with malaria, and having the normal hemoglobin, tend to die.  Of course, sickle cell trait has little advantage on the east side of Chicago.

Our brains may have evolved, but our biochemistry has yet to catch up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2003
Sun, 01-26-2014 - 10:23pm

I can't begin to tell you all how fascinating and relieved your stories are making me feel.  DD has acknowledged that she keeps forgetting to do so many things and needs daily reminders of her to-do list.  She was open to the suggestion of putting the alerts in her phone.  Now if she can just remember to do that!  I'll take the victories where she can get them. 

And Sabr, the anthropology is great!!

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