Yet another new member

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2009
Yet another new member
Wed, 11-18-2009 - 8:25pm

I have thankfully found my way here.

My wife and I have a fantastic little 7-yr-old son with whom we are just now beginning our journey through dealing with ADHD. I have ready many posts already, describing symptoms and possible treatments and "the process".

We have a great little guy who is very, very smart. He's in 2nd grade now and his teachers have told us that he is border-line genius in math for his age group. I've heard that this is actually semi-common for ADHD kids, true? In subjects other than math he can range from excelling to "just getting by" depending on the day. His writing is very sloppy and nearly unreadable unless we are able to slow him down and focus. Same with his reading. When he slows down, he's great but you can tell when he starts ramping back up again, he looks at the first couple of letters an then guesses at the rest of the word. His current teacher has told us it is actually quite remarkable that he is able to do as well as he does despite his inability to sit still and focus for more than a few minutes. Her experience has been that students with ADHD do far, far worse than our A.J.. He is also exceptionally gifted in athletics and is much more advanced than his peers in any sport/activity he tries. All of these things have caused us to wonder if, maybe he isn't just bored and in need of something more challenging in order to keep his interest. I think there are just too many other things we see, however, for it to be that simple.

The big fear we have is....are we going to be somewhat forced into medicating our lil man simply because that's the only thing that will really work.

I was a child of Ritalin back in the mid 70s when I too was in 2nd grade. Problem was, I kept throwing the pill behind my bed and my behavior never changed. They'd up the dose, I kept throwing it behind my bed. Eventually my mom just gave up on the meds.

Bottom line, I guess, is that we are scared to death of having to medicate our child if it comes down to it. I'd love to get some responses from those of you who could ease my mind about the meds that are out there.




iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Wed, 11-18-2009 - 8:45pm

HI, and welcome!

Gifted kids can easily be bored and show "signs and symptoms" of ADHD,it is actually more common for kids with ADHD to be gifted than most people realize.It is also possible that he is just bored,

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

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2008
Wed, 11-18-2009 - 10:33pm

The best thing you can do to ease your mind about medications is to ask the psychiatrist lots and lots of questions. What are the potential side effects? What can be done about them? How long could they last? What percentage of kids get the side effects?

Our son is six and we started on ADHD medications at age four. It was a very, very difficult decision, but we'd exhausted all options at that point and he simply couldn't be in a school environment without the help of medication (he was quite aggressive, in addition to being unable to sit still or follow direction). I was reassured using Ritalin because it has been around so long and is well understood.

Let me tell you, on day one of Ritalin, we were amazed! We had the same boy, still full of energy and personality, but acting like a normal kid. He could sit still, he could focus, he wasn't aggressive, he was happier and just pleasant to be around. Life changing difference. He's now on a long-acting form of Ritalin called Concerta and thriving in first grade (doing fantastic academically and socially). We see an initial drop in appetite early in the day when he starts an increased dosage (you often have to adjust over time), but it improves a lot over time.

The Zombie Kid horror stories just don't happen if the dosage is right. You will have the same child you know and love, just one whose behavior is in the normal range. The best part about ADHD medications is that if you don't like anything about them once your child starts, you can stop immediately. You call the shots, so it's not like if you decide to try medication and hate the side effects, you're stuck.

Good luck! Hope you are able to get a diagnosis quickly with the right professional and get your son on a track that works best for your family.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2007
Thu, 11-19-2009 - 12:49am

My 17yo was a ball of energy since she was born. She is quite intelligent. I never had her diagnosed but believe she has mild ADHD. At 7 she was often like your son. I homeschooled her so was able to do this, I doubt a teacher would welcome it but maybe you could work out something similar and see if it works for him..

First, I made sure her work was challenging. If I knew she got something then I wouldn't make her keep repeating it because someone who wrote a text book thought you should.

Second, she didn't have a chair at the table. We had a big enough area that whenever she felt the urge she could run around the room a few times. She usually was fidgeting and jumping while she worked which is why she didn't have a chair. She was also allowed to excuse herself and go run around outside if need be. When she returned she'd get right back to work.

Third, sports and lots of physical after school activities.

By the time she was 12 I had to send her to public school due to my work schedule. I was worried but over the years she had gotten pretty good control of herself. She still fidgets in class but does so quietly. She is able to concentrate and stay still during class. She still does a lot of sports. She also works out on her own too. I'd says she very active 4 hours a day on average. She gets mostly A's but struggles with advanced math due to graphing which turns out is really hard when you're dyslexic. Until this year she never realized she had what most schools would have considered a disability and that's only because it seems to be a daily topic in our home now with the younger kids having problems.

Get through the diagnosis etc and if you can get an IEP maybe they can set things up so your little guy gets what he needs to be successful. I think it's probably a lot easier to help them when they are young. My 14yo DSS has gotten pretty out of control since he didn't have much intervention when he was younger.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 11-19-2009 - 9:14am

Well, math is the automatic thing for my kid (nice to have SOME piece of homework that can be completed off the pill!). Waaay back (he's in 7th grade now), I remember wondering if it was a challenge thing, too. so clearly wasn't "just" that. He so clearly tried but couldn't, as it were. Over the years, he had some fairly detailed testing & basically, he's a really smart kid, with enough strengths that he used them to compensate for the weaknesses. As school got harder, that became less possible. If that all makes sense? It's interesting, reading, different kids do it so differently.

Will you be forced to medicate? Who knows...for us, we had to, yes. Mine's way more on the inattentive side & there just wasn't anything he or others could do to help him concentrate.

I struggled a LOT with that decision. What really helped me say, "OK, lets try" was that (especially with the ritalin family), you can just try. If something goes wrong, it doesn't take long (that day!) for the meds to come out of their system. I was so scared it would change my kid, make him less than he is, hurt him--instead, it helps him be MORE himself. He can concentrate, he can hold these great conversations, he can deal with stuff life (middle school, blech!) throws at you. I can honestly say to you that it's one of the best things I've done for my kid (still do, goodness knows, since one gets to keep wondering about whether one needs to raise the dose...).

OK, so WHY did you keep throwing the pill away? I suppose I'd suggest that you might, um, want to watch your kid take it ;}. Honestly, though, we were really clear with our kid about what was going on & why try the pill. Nowadays (not so much at age 7), he's really our best judge about whether the thing is being sufficiently effective. If he'd ever came to us & said "I don't like this", "It doesn't work", "I hate X about the med", we'd probably be back at the Drs, finding something new. Or flex something to help fix the issue. You know?


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2006
Fri, 11-20-2009 - 9:42am


I think yours and my son were separated at birth :).

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2009
Fri, 11-20-2009 - 12:15pm

Thank you all for the friendly responses.

As I said, I have been reading quite a few posts and it has become very comforting to see that, clearly, we are not alone. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've experienced what so many of you have when reading these comments.

"Oh my god....that's my kid." And then..."Oh my gets better!"

Thanks for being here and for being willing to share what you can to help the rest of us get a handle on an issue that can be confusing and scary to deal with.

I actually feel a lot better just knowing that there's something we can do and that others are seeing such dramatic improvements.

We've filled out the forms and our first Psych appt. is a little less than 2 weeks away. I'll share whatever I can in the hopes that it can help others out there.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Fri, 11-20-2009 - 12:48pm

Hi, this is such a hard road to go down, isn't it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2007
Tue, 11-24-2009 - 6:21pm

I wouldn't let my ADHD ds get his DL til 18 and he was on meds - its just that simple - boys to tend to mature slowly - especially with ADHD/

The funny thing was I had to force him at 17 1/2 to get his learners permit (which was April and he started college that July - I already knew I would be driving him - that wasn't going to work for me - with different days and different hours - oh no.

It was the written test that killed him - 3 times - there were 38 questions and 15 of the questions would not apply to him when he got his lic in Oct cuz he would be 18.

Now the driving he got 100% - I knew he was good at driving but it took me about 3yrs not to worry when he got on the road - he was on meds

My ADHD nephew was not on meds - got his lic at 16 - and I think at last count he has had 8 accidents - totalled 3 cars - oh yeah



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Tue, 11-24-2009 - 9:15pm

Unmedicated teens also tend to "self medicate" with illegal drugs. Another reason to use ADHD meds, and not worry so much. The chances of heart problem's are small, and that is why the EKG's are done before meds.

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

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 11-25-2009 - 10:42am

A lot of kids can manage to cope, or CON, their way thru school till they hit 12 or so, on a combination of personality and intelligence. It's when their brain suddenly has so many more competing things to deal with at the same time: sports, social life, extracurriculars, more self-directed schoolwork, and PUBERTY, that things begin to fall apart. And it's not always a matter of brain off/brain ON with meds either. My older dd was brain off/brain on. To this day(she's 28) I can tell if she's missed her meds. With my now almost 26yo dd, finding the right meds, and GETTING THEM INTO HER MOUTH, was much more difficult. She was "on" a variety of meds for almost a year, with no appreciable difference, when I happened to find a pharmacy in her sock drawer!!! After that, I was the "pill police" till she was 18. My younger dd was also ODD, and has a processing disorder, and benefited much more from counseling than my older dd. She still sees her Pdoc from time to time, while my older dd only needs her meds.

And even WITH the meds, and the counseling, and everything else, it's STILL a day to day struggle. My younger dd also did not even get Drivers Ed till she was 18. My older dd has had so many accidents I've lost count. Her last car was paid off in Oct '08. By March '09, she'd blown the engine. (Are you SURE you've changed the oil??? Swear to God, Dad. Swear to GOD!)
A few years ago we got both girls an IPod. On the back of younger's we had inscribed "To our little Peanut". On the back of older's we had "Rae, do not lose this." A few months ago, as older dd was giving me a ride in her new car, she wanted me to hear something on her IPod, and gave it to me after I screamed that perhaps she should watch the ROAD instead of the Ipod screen. As I messed with it, I turned it over to see a shiny, UN-inscripted back. DD looked at me and said, Oh hell Ma, it's my 3rd one!