At a loss and need some help...

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-2005
At a loss and need some help...
Mon, 06-01-2009 - 7:02pm


I have a 10 year old son who was diagnosed almost two years ago with ADD. He was having problems in school and I spoke with his teacher and his doctor. He has been on Focalin for almost two years now. I have had his dosage increased 1 time since he has been on this medicine. Also his father had a learning disability in school and was put in "slower" classes.

My husband and I separated in March and now my son and I live on our own and my husband has visitation every other weekend. I left a controlling and abusive relationship and my husband wants me back, but I am not going. I know that he says "things" to my son that shouldn't be discussed with a child about my husbands and mine relationship. I think finally my husband is letting go.. he has a g/f now so hopefully he will quit using my son as a go between.


I look at my child who I love so much and wonder, "who is this kid?" He's not the same child. I know it didn't happen overnight, and sometimes I don't know what to do. He throws tantrums and whines when he does not get his way. He seems to have no control over his actions sometimes. He is a space cadet sometimes and I always have to tell him to do things multiple times. He is angry, aggravated and detached. He constantly worries. He repeats himself over and over again. The littlest thing sets him off. For example today I did not unlock the door when he came home off of the bus. He knocked and since I did not get to the door right away he was bawling in tears. Any little thing can upset his day. He is a very sarcastic child who loves to be silly all the time. When I try to correct him, I have to say the same thing at least twice before it seems to register with him.

His school work is lacking. His handwriting is awful. He has a tick where he traces over his letters again and again. He has problems with reading and is in a special group to help him because he is behind grade level on his reading. His teacher has commented that since me and my husband split up, Jacob's schoolwork has gotten worse, his attention span is worse and he will not do his classwork. He did hit his bench marks in other areas so they will pass him on to the 5th grade.

I know he needs help, but I am at a loss of how, where, why to get it. I know his school does have a 504 program. Are there pros and cons to that program? Should I take him for testing with someone outside the school system?

Currently I have insurance, but that will lapse in July ( I was laid off). I will go apply for Medicaid for my son so he can continue to get his focalin meds. How pricey is private testing?

If you have any other comments or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it, right now I am just at a lost for words. I love my child so much and I want him to succeed in life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Mon, 06-01-2009 - 9:38pm
Ah, the tween years! Let his doctor know what's going on but it sounds like hormones and tween angst to me.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Mon, 06-01-2009 - 9:52pm

You should request an educational evaluation, the school will have to test, and they have 60 days to do it by law. He should be eligible for an IEP, or a 504 at the least.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-05-2007
Tue, 06-02-2009 - 12:44am

Children regress with stressful events in their lives. It could be that the separation has caused part of this problem. Don't take that personally. Change is hard to ADD/ADHD kids. Routine is so important to them. Be consistent and keep the routine when he is with you. Most of the things you have mentioned are typical symptoms of ADD.

What I would suggest is seeing if there is summer school available in your area. Here, the schools offer reading summer school for kids that need it and provide transportation. Utilize whatever programs are available for your son to keep him on track.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 06-02-2009 - 9:31am

Oh, wow....OK, I'd go for "everything" on this one: get the 504 process going (doubt you'll be done before next fall), and get some private testing. Is he getting any counseling at all? It's not possible for me, a non-professional, to sort out all the possible cause & effects there. Maybe you could find someone he could talk to? Even a few sessions between now & July could help. Is it "plain" upset over the divorce & way his father's acting? Is it meds being too low? Too high? Are meds causing issues (like ticks!)? Still helping? Might be worth trying a few days without meds (at home!) to test some of that out?

My experience: my kid can do that instant upset thing. Worst, of course, is at the usual med-wear-off time (crash!). The thing that helped there at around age 9 was to explain to him that he was getting so upset because of the meds wearing off--he, himself, didn't "get" why he was so upset. We went through a few periods in the last 15 months where he'd lose it--angry/upset--over relatively minor stuff, stuff that wouldn't've gotten him so upset earlier. We worked on figuring out triggers & stuff with him afterwards, when he was calm (OK, once we realized it was an issue, this is, at FIRST, of course, not so reasonble parents ;} ). I know that BOTH too much AND too little meds can make him much more emotionally labile--crying OR anger.

If my kid were doing all that, I'd be worrying about anxiety, as well, that kind of thing--mine gets "anxiety" as a partial diagnosis (or at least, treating some of his emotions as anxiety helps?) & isn't at that level.

Oh, and finally? If you can, teach him to type this summer. Made a HUGE difference for 5th grade, it is SO much easier to revise papers & stuff like that if you've typed them in the first place. And that's the sort of thing you might be able to get into the 504--we have him being able to type both for in class assignments & for the state-wide testing, for instance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-2005
Tue, 06-02-2009 - 2:47pm

I just wanted to thank everyone for the support and suggestions. I feel alone most of the time when dealing with my son and his ADD. No one I know has to deal with a child that has "special needs". Alot of people do not understand either.

I am going to go for the 504 testing the begining of next school year. I am going to wait until July to have him tested privately. I want to make sure he is on the correct meds for him.