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Hi there. I am a single parent to my son who will be 5 in May. My son has just been diagnosed with ADHD. He is not as yet on any medication - doctors are reluctant to use it in under 6's and i have not made my mind up about it yet anyway - He started school in January 2008 and we have experienced alot of problems in his behaviour at school. He frequesntly leaves the classroom without adults knowing. Climbs over fencing around the playground which is meant to be in place to protect him. He has an obsesion with lifts and buttons and has got stuck in the school lift on a few occaisions. His teacher can not manage to get much work out of him at all, yet when i work one on one with him at home he produces excellent work that is definately up to standard for his age if not above, but it takes me a huge amount of time, sometimes hours to get him to complete one piece of work as he will only work for a few minutes at a time before getting distracted. This is really starting to bother me as i consider education to be massively important in early childhood. When he goes back to school on Monday 7th April after holidays he has got educational psychologist coming to see him to begin to access him for a statement to get him help in the classroom. At the moment they are having to use the classroom assistant one-on-one with him as much as possible. I have recently applied for Disability living Allowance and am waiting to hear if we are entitled to anything in the hopes that this would fund extra activities for him in evenings and weekends (indoor play areas, climbing frame for garden, groups etc) to help him disperse his energy. His behaviour at home fluctuates greatly from being what i now consider normal for him (although this greatly differs from friends children) to totally uncontrollable. He gets up at 4-5am every day after going to bed at 8pm. I have tried giving him a later bed time routine even up to him staying up till midnight and this does not have any effect on his waking time. he often still has massive tantrums if he gets frustrated or does not get his own way. Taking him with me to do every day tasks like shopping is a complete nightmare as he will not stay by my side. If i let go of his hand for even a second to take my purse out of my bag he is off like a flash! He is extremely easily distracted by anything and will not give eye contact at all. All of this can be very difficult as i dont ever get a break. Friends and family are very close to us but all refuse to have him for longer than 2 hours every fortnight and NEVER over night anymore as they cannot deal with his behaviour. His diagnosis has caused alot of arguments within my family too as my mother(who has worked with special needs children for 30 years) does not agree with the diagnosis (wants her grandson to be perfect?????/cannot accept it??). He does not have contact with his father anymore so i never get any time without him where i can just relax. The time he is at school for i am full time at university and in evenings have coursework to do.

He is a very "touchy" child, he likes to have his hands on everything reagrdless of whether he should be touching it or not. he is a kinetic leaner so i try to incorporate that into what we do at home playing counting and alphabet games in the bath where he has to swim to find foam letters i have requested and sticks them on the side of the bath.

I have also banned certain things like fizzy drinks of any kind and chocolates like smarties which contain E numbers. He only likes chocolates, not sweets (jelly or chewy sweets).

We often use stickers and chocolates during positive re-enforcement of behaviour which he enjoys greatly.

Basically at the moment i am trying to find out as much as i can about how to deal with his behaviour without medication using behaviour techniques.

I am also wanting to hear of anyone elses experience of ADHD whether it is as a parent of a child with ADHD or if you have ADHD yourself.

How did you feel??
How did you cope with the behaviour?
What education tips can you give me?
Did you use medication and what were your experiences with it if you did?

Thanks very much

Kerrie

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My 4th child a girl, was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 4 years old. Today she a beautiful 19 year old. When she was diagnosed with this problem they put her on Rydlin. I was some what opposed to it as i really am against mood altering drugs. She was on it for almost a year before i slowly started to wean her off myself. She gained a hugh amount of weight, was sleepy all the time and pretty much wanted to go off by herself, which i didn't like.
I'll admit, the meds calmed her down enough for me to replenish my sanity. As i backed her off of Rydlin, boy was i in for a rough ride. She was a maniac. Running, yelling, screaming, tearing up the house, beating on her younger brother, hitting, kicking, slapping me as well. Getting dressed the morning was a feat in itself. I honestly say i could not wait for her to go to school. Another problem, school. She was a disaster in kindergarten, never paid attention and didn't learn a darn thing. I kept her back. This pattern continued for a few more years. I thought i was going to jump out a window. I will be honest with you. There was a few times i couldn't stand my own child. I got her into a special ed program at her school. It worked wonders. She did a lot of one on one or smaller group settings, which sounds to me what your child will need. You mentioned this is what your mom does, she should know exactly how to handle him and what you can expect. As far as she being in the "oh no not my baby" zone. Forget about it. This is your child, you make the decisions and you know what is best for him. I know you must love your mom, but if she keeps being in denial, you must seperate yourself from her until she sees that her grandson has got a problem. Then stress to her all you want is positive input. Love, understanding and support is very important.
Raising a child with ADHD does not have to make you want to dig your own eyes out. You just have to be patient and loving at all times. Punish him when it's called for and don't feel guilty giving him time out because you may feel he is "special" Don't put a label on your son. If you do this, he will catch on to your softness and play you like a fiddle, trust me, i've been there. You don't need to get physical with them. Plenty of time outs with out slapping.
13 years later, Gina is a beauty. She graduated High School with a local diploma, just like every one else. She took a one year course at a local college and got her CDA credit for daycare. She works full time at a childrens center. She drives, bought her own car and has been with the same boyfriend for 3 years. She is responsible and aware of every thing. There are a few times when she gets a little excited tho. She might yelp, or laugh really loud. But we laugh about it. I joke and say ADHD coming back!!! Which she knows she will always have. She knows how to control it which she does well.
Good luck to you and your baby. There is a book out about this that my daughter has read. My 7 year old grandson has just been recently diagnosed with ADHD as well. They thought is was Asburgers, but it turned out the other way. I will see what the name of the book is called and let you know.
I know it's hard, and cry when you feel you have to. Don't make excuses for him to others. He will fall, a lot, and so will you, but i went thru it, and i'm still here. Don't give up. Get into a support group so you can relate to other parents. You will get thru this. I did. As i look back i know that i would not have traded her for anything. PM if you like. Keep in touch here too. Hugs to you and your son. :-)
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Thank you so much for your reply. It was so nice to hear that someone else has been through the same thing and managed to come out the other side! He is such a lovely, intelligent, attractive, witty child who i love so very much. Yet at the same time there are so many occaisions where i do not want to be around him at all. He can make me so mad that i cannot stand the sight of him. Especially when he has hurt others physically or damaged others property. For ages i wouldnt make any allowances for him at all. I was always complaining about him ruining things of importance around the house and used to get told constantly off my family and friends to just "move them to the top shelf out of his reach", i refused to do so saying that he should have learnt by then not to do such things and why should i change my lifestyle. Since i have begun to find out more about ADHD though i have begun to understand that he isnt wanting to do something "naughty" or "make mummy mad" he is just so impulsive at the moment he cant stop himself from touching and it is only afterwards that he realises and often tries to hide the evidence, often in some extremely thoughtful and creative places lol

At the moment i still have to physically dress him each day in order for us to get to school on time. If i leave him to do it we will possibly end up with underpants and a sock on but no further and an hour later he'll be looking out the window or playing with his bricks! Generally he does not even get this far and just wonders off and doesnt do anything at all!

I soon realised (after being hit back a few times) that slapping him when he was naughty didnt work at all! I do attempt to use time out and the "naughty step" for 4 minutes (as per his age) but he has a big habit for getting bored of sitting on it and either wanders off upstairs or constantly follows me around the house saying "I'm sorry mummy" and as im sure you know all to well they dont give up easily! If they have something to tell you they keep on and on and on until you think they are going to bore a hole in your brain!

I get really embarrased at the moment still if i need to take him shopping in town as he throws massive tantrums and does things that make people look down their nose at me. Last time i took him there was myself and my best friend and Liam. We were on our way back home from the hospital on the bus and had only called off in town as he was complaining of needing the toilet. We went into mothercare where he went to the toilet and then as we were coming back out i decided to have a quick look if they had any wellington boots in his size. He asked if he could go to play on a ride that was right next to where i was looking. I agreed and had barely turned my backon him for a minute before he was off across the shop where he began to have a massive tantrum when i said he would now have to come hold my hand, he proceeded to grab a shopping trolley and push it down an escalator before i had the chance to stop him . Needless to say the security guard then came and asked us to leave the store. I know avoid taking him shopping with me at all costs!

I am currently waiting to hear about local support groups and behavioural management groups from the hospital at the moment. I am hoping these will have a positive effect on both our lives.

It still really scares me when i think about the future and what is to come. He isnt even 5 yet and i can barely control him at times. Whats he going to be like when he is in his teenage years?? He is already a tall child for his age and i dread to think what its going to be like when he is older and able to physically match my strength. he is hard enough to restrain now when he has a tantrum!

Because of his behaviour it also really makes me think whether i should ever have another child (which is something i would definately like in the future) as im scared in case the next child also has ADHD and i end up having to deal with 2 kids like this, yet at the same time im scared in case the next hasnt got it in case i constantly compare them in my mind and think look how much easier this would have all been if Liam didnt have ADHD.

You say in your reply that it is your 4th child who has ADHD, im presuming although you dont say, that she was also your last. If you had gone through everything with your 1st, 2nd or 3rd child, having ADHD instead of the 4th do you think you would have had anothe child afterwards?? I know this is a hard question to answer, especially as it means attempting to imagine not having 1 or more of your children but its something i've been wanting to ask someone who has gone through it, if you do not wish to answer it i totally understand.

It really was extremely nice though to hear that your daughter came through it and is now leading a happy "normal" life. It makes me more positive about Liam's future as i'm so scared at the moment about where he will end up.

I am new to this and do not know yet how to PM but i will keep checking this for replies.
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To answer your question. My first three did not have this problem. There is one more after her, with no problem. You ask if i would have had another in fear of this being repeated. Well...G and J are only 15 months apart. G showed no signs until after J was born. I would have thought twice i think. I noticed odd things after bringing the new baby home. G was VERY jealous. I could not even nurse the baby. G would climb all over me, poke at my breasts while i was nursing, poke at the baby, trying to hurt him. I was so stressed my milk wouldn't come in properly. I finally gave up and went to formula.
As J got older, G really started to demonstrate problems. She would literally attack her brother. She bit him so hard on the face i had to take him to the Pedi. I would wake in the morning to find her hovering about his crib with toys in her hands, she was always throwing things at him. It got to the point where i had to bring him into every room that i was in. He would be sleeping soundly in his bassinet and i would roll him into the bathroom with me just for a quick pee.
I feel your pain hon, i really do. There were nights that i would cry myself to sleep. I would ask God why did he give me this creature? I would go into her room after hours of fighting with her to go to sleep and just look at her. I would wonder how such a beautiful angelic child of God could be such a maniac. I began feeling guilty for thinking those awful thoughts. As i spoke to other parents, my guilt lifted. My feelings were justified. I never beat her, but she got a few good spankings on the behind. That didn't work, it only stings for a minute and only makes the madder.
You need mommy time. It is hard for you to get a sitter i'm sure. Thats why if you can get into a parents group that has kids who suffer from this, i am sure that they have alternating babysitting. Even it's just for 2 hours, you get to regain your sanity.
In the meantime, don't give up. I know you fear for when he gets older, but i am a success story. My child did the EXACT same thing as yours. There is a light for you. We are not the average run of the mill family when we have children with a handicap, yes it is a handicap. You have to resort to that right away. There is so much extra stuff to do for us. We can't get up in the morning with the birds singing and fa la la our way thru the day.
I think i mentioned that my 7 year old grandson was diagnosed with ADHD. At first they thought it may be Asburgers, which is a form of Autism. He acts just like my daughter did at that age. (not his mom by the way) His mom is 29 yrs. old.
I know it is trying, but look into every avenue you can. It is our job to see to it that our children grow to be happy and healthy, no matter what.
I forget to mention something. She liked to hurt small animals. One morning i walked into her room and her and her brother was playing catch with the hamster. She would laugh when the poor animal hit the wall. I was mortified. Needless to say, the hamster died. I was so mad at her i think that if i spanked her i wouldn't have stopped. Her little brother had no clue. She would poke at the dog, carry the cat around by it's neck, get sticks and poke at dead birds and pull wings and legs off bugs. I was really scared. That didn't last long, thank God.
My grandson pulled the tail off his gerbil and actually squealed with laughter when the thing ran around the cage screaming and bleeding. Have you noticed any thing like that? Be very vigiliant, and report every little thing to his Specialist as that is how they come to any conclusions and how to base any medication.
I'm sorry for you. I know what you are going thru. I did my time, and i still have after thoughts that make me shiver. Now, grandson is going thru the same thing. I see them coming over to visit and i get all wired up. Sometimes, i am embarrassed to say that i have locked my doors and not answered. Then i would hide in my own house until i heard the car pull out of the drive. OMG, i am ashamed but he drives me nuts.
Just get some free time for yourself. You have to. A few stolen hours here and there once in a while. You absolutley must have some quiet time for you.
Keep in touch, i will be thinking of you.
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Hey where have you been? How is your son doing.
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