Anyone's child not on meds with ADHD?

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Anyone's child not on meds with ADHD?
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 12:49pm
Since I haven't had my DS evaluated yet, and it's going to be another month or so, I wanted to know how I can help him listen in the classroom. I'm getting notes home and he's getting marks for "not listening" or not being able to complete his work. If he does have ADD/ADHD, is there any ways to help him with this in the classroom WITHOUT meds? I mean, if I have him evaluated and decide not to put him on meds, how will he be helped in the classroom for his difficulty with "focusing" and not paying attention? Is meds the only answer? We do reward charts at home for things but it's harder when he's at school because I'm not there. So I was just wondering how you were helping your child in the classroom if they aren't on meds?



Amy -

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Registered: 07-03-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 2:33pm
Good question and probably one of the biggest those of us with ADHD kids have struggled with. For us, of all the things we've done (counseling, parenting classes, ready LOTS of stuff about LOTS of different options), medicine has been the MOST successful intervention. No question about it.

We were very reluctant to try it - and tried many things before - but then we saw how much our son (7) was suffering - getting in trouble all the time, feeling bad about his behaviors - really being confused as to why he did some of the things he was doing. Out of desparation, we tried Concerta - the lowest dose - 18mg - and found to our great relief - that our son is very much helped by it. He is still our very bright, curious, sweet, high-energy boy - the medicine just takes that impulsiveness away. HE will even tell us that he is much happier on the meds.

Is it for everyone - I don't know - that's up to you, your therapist, and your doctor. My best advice is to get as much information as possible - there is so much out there - from quackery to top-notch research from places like the National Institue of Health.

For us, I wish we'd put him on meds at least one year ealier - we could have saved him so much sadness and anxiety.

And, truthfully, I think some of my reluctance was my own grief about accepting his diagnosis, hoping that he was just "all boy" and stuff like that. Actually, he is "all boy" and he does have ADHD.

Hope this helps.

- Mary

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 8:00pm
I agree with Mary ... sometimes medication is the best answer, and often parents hesitate because it means accepting that our child has a 'problem.' For us, Kevin really didn't have problems (much) at school. He was diagnosed with ODD first, at age 5. For the most part, he does o.k. in school. He's in gifted classes, and I know that the combination of ADHD (his is the impulsivity type and not hyperactivity) and his auditory processing issues makes things harder for him, and I don't believe he's reaching is full academic potential because of his problems. On the other hand, he has self-taught himself some coping strategies that have helped him.

You may, however, try to get the teacher to follow a similar plan in school that you're doing successfully at home. If you use poker chips or stickers at home, perhaps the teacher can use the same (give her a supply) and give him rewards like mid-day and at the end of the day for things like 'completing work,' 'paying attention,' etc. By incorporating what is working at home into the classroom setting, you may actually reinforce what he's doing at home. It would also help HIM see that the teacher is on the same page, so he can really just adapt to one 'system.'

Somes kids do really well with dietary changes ... check out the Feingold diet. I've read about this but have not tried it personally, but it makes sense. Certainly wouldn't hurt anything, and it may help, without resorting to meds.

At this time, DS is off meds, and has been for about 12 weeks now. He's doing well, although most of the off-med time was over the summer. In school, he's o.k. Started middle school this year which is a big transition. He's having some trouble staying organized (but he was like that on meds, too.) He's also a bit forgetful ... lost his music book and his strap for his trumpet case both today. BUT, is that ADHD or being an 11 y.o. boy? Hard to say for sure, and I don't feel that it would have been different if he'd been on meds.

You need to do what you feel comfortable with. Meds are not the only solution, but often, they do give you the greatest success.



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Registered: 08-26-2000
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 8:43pm
I have one of those. He was having a lot of trouble last year in K, and wanting to avoid the fiasco my oldest had in 1st the previous year, I had him evaluated last year. My ped was not gung-ho about putting a 5 year old on meds, and he was not having insurmountable problems. He had a wonderful, kind, caring teacher for K. She worked on a behavior mod system with him. He likes skeletons, so she made a deal with him that for each day he did whatever (stayed in his seat, didn't bother other people, didn't talk out, whatever...) he would get a bone to glue on his paper skeleton. When he had the whole skeleton, he would get a special treat - like recess while the others napped or somthing like that. I think I rewarded him as well. It took a while, but by the last 9 weeks, he had all A's in conduct. Don't know if it was the behavior mod, a little bit of maturity, or the teacher just backing off a bit.

This year, he is pulling his card a good bit, and I think he should be doing better on his work. Last week he missed a couple of problems on tests that I KNOW he knew just because he didn't do them. This week he put on his religion test that Jesus came to show us how to "break promises". I KNOW he knows better than that. He just wasn't listening. I have leveled with his teacher, but she is also wonderful and feels that he is doing OK without meds at this point. Last week, I offered him a bribe (a small imaginext skeleton toy that I'd bought the weekend before at WalMart) if he could go 3 days without pulling his card, since he'd been pulling his card every day. He made it 4 days straight + this Monday, with that incentive. I let him HAVE the toy, but he couldn't open it until he earned it. He carried the box around, slept with it, whatever, so I know it was definitely on his mind.

With my oldest, his mind was so far removed from the classroom setting, that I don't think it would have been possible for him to succeed without meds.

Hopefully your teacher will work with you to implement some kind of reward system with him at school. Even if you have to resort to being the one to furnish the incentives.

Karen ~ who is about to strangle the little one if he doesn't get his spelling homework done!


PJPIIadoration.jpg picture by Kimberly_sahm

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Registered: 09-05-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 9:01pm
Hi Amy,

My son is in 2nd grade and shows signs such as being impulsive (calling out sometimes), or not wanting to do his work. I started by first doing ALOT of research. I found out that he has a sensivity to dairy. I took him off milk and dairy products and noticed a small improvement. I also try to reduce his sugar intake as much as possible. Also, some children have a reaction to Red 40. I was very lucky that he had a great first grade teacher who started him on behavior modification and it really helped alot. I would reinforce it at home. I was lucky enough this year that he is in the looping program and has the same teacher for 2nd grade. She has started the modification again and it is working fine so far. After starting the behavior mod. program, and really working with him at home all his grades improved.

You should definitely talk to his teacher and start a program in the classroom and keep the same structure at home. Also, try to check for food allergies....dairy, wheat, food colors, etc. How are his sleep patterns? How is his hearing? There is so much to look into and research.

Here is a link for an article by Dr. Lendon Smith. I hope it helps.

Take Care!


Avatar for kathy_in_ga
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 8:40am
You & the teacher could try rewards for completed work, offer to bring in rewards for him, or he can earn school computer or play time like my son does. Also, he should be sitting closest to the teacher so she can prompt him when she sees he is not paying attention. Not by calling out his name, but by putting her hand on his desk or shoulder while walking around the room, or saying something like "Is everyone watching what I am doing" and making sure your sons eyes are on her. My son also has an envelope of 5 popsicle sticks. If he talks out he looses one, if he shows one of the behaviors, he looses one. If he looses all, he doesn't get computer time.

My son takes meds wich are doing what they can do. He also has an IEP (individual education plan) & behavior mods in place and all the above mentioned ideas.