When I started this blog I was planning on writing a lot more about our journey with my thirteen-year-old son Red’s ADHD. It turns out that I have barely written about it at all because I didn’t want to come off like I’m complaining. ADHD can be a very frustrating affliction. It touches so many of us but it’s sometimes hard to write about or talk about with others which can leave families touched by ADHD feeling somewhat alienated.
One of the most frustrating things about this disorder is that so many people don’t think it’s real or is a parenting issue. It can sometimes feel like friends, coworkers, family members, even teachers are looking down on you for not parenting your child well enough, for medicating them, etc.
The fact is, when you live with ADHD 24/7 you know that it is very real and all you want is to help your child succeed in school, at home, and in life. A great support system and reliable information like that found on Lifescript.com is key to managing your child’s ADHD.
There are several different types and symptoms of ADHD: Inattentive, Hyperactive, Impulsive, and Combined. My son has the combined type of ADHD but is more of the impulsive type as he gets older. He was diagnosed in the middle of first grade at six years old but honestly, I think I knew before then.
It isn’t that your child doesn’t want to follow directions, pay attention to what needs to be done, complete a task, or not fidget in public. It’s that they can’t. That is the difference between ADHD in children and just being a normal kid.
The ADHD child is generally quite intelligent but has a hard time concentrating on subjects that don’t interest them, they are often unable to read social cues, are often emotionally younger than their same-age peers, have a hard time discerning other people’s emotions or intentions, they can be disorganized and /or lose things, may speak out of turn, not have a filter when speaking, and they also sometimes have tics. As I mentioned, my son is the combined type so these are all traits that he has.
While parenting him has been a challenge at times, he is a smart, funny, sweet, sensitive kid. He is not the “problem child” that some people may think of when they think of ADHD but these things contribute to academic and social issues. Some things that have helped us are:
- Being involved in school and getting him on an IEP and then stepped down to a 504
- A good therapist for him to talk to
- Having his medication managed by a psychiatrist instead of a pediatrician
- Sticking to a schedule as much as possible and giving him prompts
Red is now thirteen and teens with ADHD can require a different kind of support as they are also dealing with all of the other things that come with becoming a teenager. He will be a Freshman in high school this Fall and I do worry a bit about how he will handle it. He has always been a good student, but he does struggle a bit socially sometimes. We will be navigating this new stage of his journey carefully. We will be watching for any bumps in the road and deal with them immediately either with the school, his therapist, or his psychiatrist. I don’t know what the next four years will bring but I hope that they will be good, exciting things for him!
One encouraging thing that I have been reading lately is that 50% of teens may be able to be weaned off of medications and respond well to behavioral and other Alternative Therapies for ADHD. I have heard of fish oil and certain diets helping children with ADHD but Lifescript has a section on their website about some alternative treatments such as vitamins and supplements, even massage that can potentially help as well. This is something that I will surely be exploring further as he becomes more and more aware of his actions and is able to control them even more. I can already see a change in how he is managing his ADHD. In this past year he has improved in several areas that had always been difficult for him.
When it comes to having your child diagnosed and treated for ADHD, follow your gut. You know your child better than anyone.
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Lifescript’s Childhood ADHD Health Center features tips, quizzes, recipes and articles – all by professional health writers, experts and physicians – covering how to help your child succeed in school, advice for getting through the morning routine, how girls’ ADHD differs from boys’ and more. Please visit the Lifescript Health Center on Childhood ADHD for more information.