6 y/o Grandson just dx'd--Introduction

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Registered: 04-02-2003
6 y/o Grandson just dx'd--Introduction
4
Wed, 01-23-2013 - 1:51pm

Absolutely no surprise, as there is a BIG family history on both sides (probably w/lots more, never dx'd).  Used to be fairly well read on the subject, although my focus tended toward adult ADHD.  Now it's time to bring myself up to date & change my focus so I can help him (& my 11 y/o nephew who was dx'd about a year ago).  My daughter is working on her Masters in Education (elementary emphasis) & has a BS in Sociology/Family Studies, but has some emotional biases around mental health issues because of that family history.  She & GS live with me (always have) and his father has never really been in the picture, so I play a big role in his day to day care.

Bry is already dealing with BIG self-esteem issues from fallout over school discipline of his ADHD "misbehaviors", thinking he's a "BAD kid"  along with depression to the point of saying he "should just kill myself, I'm so BAD"!  That's when I pushed the issue with DD, which led to his ultimate dx--thinks she knew it was ADHD sometime before, but finally forced herself to admit it.    His pediatrician thinks waiting on meds is best for him now & to rely on play therapy/behavior modification and has given us referalls for some therapists, who are not gung-ho on meds as the immediate answer.  My DD questions taking any medications (for anything) and more so for children, so she's pleased.  From my past reading, I have no doubt lots of kids have been medicated/over-medicated, some without even a proper dx and have seen first hand the problems they can cause with my nephew (who is on a SOUP, including meds for the side effects, on top of side effects).  At the same time, I also know the benefits of psych meds first hand & don't want to see him suffer further if a med would make a difference for him.

On the plus side, GS doesn't appear to have any learning disabilities and is extremely bright; although that has it's down-side because he gets bored easily if not mentally challenged, which leads to "acting out" and the dance begins.  Thankfully, his teacher (a GOOD one) appreciates that aspect and had already been working with him & us regarding discipline procedures, once she learned how deeply GS was being affected.  Now that he has his "official" dx-she's even more so and actively working with DD to start formulating his 504 plan.  LOL-now if we can just convince him to quit correcting her in front of the class (especially when he's right!)!   But she's even putting that to work (although trying to get him to wait & talk to her privately, so her feelings won't get hurt) by having him research a question and then coming back to the whole class with the correct info--sometimes even allowing him to "teach" about what they found.

Sorry this is such a book--I really look forward to all I know these boards can offer, as we start this new journey.

Marci

Avatar for Cmmelissa
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Registered: 11-13-2008
Thu, 01-24-2013 - 1:03pm

Hi Marci, it's nice to "meet" you!  My oldest is 14 and also ADHD.   I'm so glad that you pushed for a diagnosis, just getting him therapy can do wonders.  I agree with you about the meds, sometimes they are just a necessary evil.  My husband and I were just having a conversation about this subject, my son is struggling again.  While we hate that he needs meds, sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to allow them to succeed.  

It sounds like he has a fabulous teacher, that is so important.  My son's fourth grade teacher made a huge difference in his life.  She helped us start on the road with getting the 504 set up and working on a diagnosis. Does your grandson understand what ADHD is and how it can affect his behavior?  It might help his self esteem to know more about it so that he can see that he's not a bad child by any means.  You sound like a very supportive grandma, looking forward to chatting with your further :)

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Registered: 04-02-2003
Thu, 01-24-2013 - 2:00pm
We haven't discussed dx with GS yet--were actually just talking about that last night. DD doesn't think so, I think we should--because of the self-esteem issues. I think a kid who can understand what being transgender means (he saw part of the recent Barbara Walters special unintentionally) will get it, as long as we're careful to explain that's not an excuse for his behavior. That's a bit tougher (even for lots of adults), but I think he's perceptive enough to make that distinction. We agreed to wait until we talk to a therapist, before going further. Can you recommend any good books written for children about ADHD? GS is a book-lover (we all are!) and I'm sure that's part of the approach we'll want to use eventually. Thanks, Marci
Avatar for Cmmelissa
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Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 2:31pm

I can understand being cautious about how you explain it to him.  My son was in 5th grade when we got he diagnosis, and was more than ready to handle it.  He's pretty open about it with his peers as well, he had a problem with facial tics that has gotten better.  I think that it's so common that he's not stigmatized by it.  

I found an article that had some tips about talking to your child about it, along with some book suggestions.  

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/04/11/8-tips-to-tell-your-child-they-have-adhd/

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Registered: 06-03-2011
Sat, 01-26-2013 - 1:27am

Wow. Sounds like you have a good handle on what's going on with your GS. That's so wonderful! I'm the mother of an 18-year old who has ADHD. I finally feel like "we made it." LOL But I sure can remember what it was like when he was very young. I was very, very against putting him on meds. I was a special education teacher and had seen my active little students become zombies on medication. I worked with William all the time with behavior modification. In the first grade, his teacher did some really great things to accomodate him. He was extremely bright but when he didn't have a purpose, or finished his work early, the problems began. His teacher allowed him to move around his desk while he worked, as long as he was working. She gave him five bathroom passes a day (more than other kids). And they had a secret system where she would give him a pass when she thought he was getting squirrely, and his job was then to walk out of the classroom and down the hall as fast as he could, and back - getting energy out. Also, she had a special basket of extra work to do if he finished early. There are so many things a teacher can do. And I soon learned that there are so many things that can be done at home as well, but they're often not the same things. That surprised me.

I'm an author and recently started a blog called, Running in Circles. I post about raising my son. I'm writing a book by the same title and also plan to publish a series of booklets on raising kids with ADHD. I will be asking for input from parents, grandparents, and the child himself, to help me write about what concerns parents most. If you're at all interested, you can find it here; http://onadhd.blogspot.com/ . I'd be happy to keep a conversation going with you.

My own mother was so instrumental in William making it through all the challenges. It's so important to have a family that not just understands, but that also will implement what you're trying at home. So, thank you for being there for your little guy! You are and will continue to...make a huge difference in the outcome of his life! ~Karen