Monday, January 24, 2011

A Day Without Adderall!!!??!!

Unbelieveable! Parents really CHOOSE to do this sort of thing?  I was running late to work and remembered the little blue pill when I was close to his school. There was no turning around and there were no back-up sources. Just had to let him go. I decided not to remind Bobby he hadn't taken his pill due to the fact that I felt he'd act out and think he had an excuse to do so.

This particular day was a half-day so that part was a blessing. Sounds like he really didn't raise too many red flags either. But when it came back to hit me was later that day when I was organizing a kids' skit. It was practice time and he had not one stitch of calm in his body. There wasn't a moment in that 30-minute practice, that my son held still. He talked non-stop, while bouncing from one spot to the next the entire time! 

I've thought of taking a day off from meds before, but we're gonna wait until it's a day that we don't need to focus on ANYTHING!

Do your days sometimes (or often) run like this? You're not alone in the battle.  Scroll a few inches down the right side bar to "My Blog Titles."  Maybe something there will be familiar!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simple Invitation/Heart-rending Reaction

It couldn't have happened at a better time. Bobby has regular ups and downs in this journey but as he approaches pre-adolescence, we're hearing more and more about how he wants to fit in with the other kids. Wants to be accepted. Craves positive attention. That's why he was so excited when one of the older kids invited him home for dinner after church. Aside from family & people we've asked to watch him here and there, Bobby hasn't been invited home after church to spend time in another home. I could tell he was surprised and hopeful that we'd say yes. Nice family. Good kids. A quiet meal & afternoon drive with our older son was in our very near future! OF COURSE we said yes! Bobby had to get some jeans & tennis shoes first, so we headed home for the quick change. His buddies would be stopping by shortly to pick him up. What followed was something that nearly brought tears to my eyes. After changing, Bobby grabbed the binoculars in the living room and sat down to see if he could spot the highway from our home. It was quite the sight-Bobby all ready to go with his jacket on, staring out the window toward the highway. (I don't think he could see the highway, but he was ready when they arrived in the driveway!)

Today made a difference in our son's life. He has many, many people who love him and go to bat for him but today, a special family took a step so many would find overwhelming. They opened their home and welcomed him in. He won't forget this soon! I never will. Thank you, friends.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Joey Pigza" books, by Jack Gantos

Some exciting books have flown onto my radar today: "Joey Pigza Loses Control" & "Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key," two in a series by Jack Gantos. These were recommended by our oldest daughter. Few know our youngest child, Bobby, as well as his older siblings and our daughter stumbled upon these this week. Of course, she knew we'd appreciate hearing about them. The books by Jack Gantos, in this series, are geared toward 3rd - 6th or 7th graders. Joey Pigza is a busy kid, and as you've probably guessed, has some BIG problems.

Mr. Gantos also has a series for younger kids: ("The Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers")  & I tried one out today on my first grade class. Put it this way, they've fallen in love with Rotten Ralph, a very naughty cat who's always getting into trouble and they gave this book two thumbs up!

These books aren't new to bookshelves around the globe, but we've just discovered them so have to pass along the goodness! I checked and one of my favorite sites carries them.

As I read the following, I found myself laughing so hard there were tears rolling down my cheeks. This is my life and it's not funny. It's only a hunch but guessing here that Jack's family is pretty impressed with where he took his creativity. Impresses me! I'm going to end today's blog with this excerpt taken from his bio on his website:

"Jack Gantos was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. He remembers playing a lot of “pass the chalk” in Mrs. Neiderheizer’s class in first grade. He was in the Bluebird reading group, which he later found out was for the slow readers. To this day he’d rather be called a Bluebird than a slow reader. His favorite game at that time was playing his clothes were on fire and rolling down a hill to save himself..."

Friday, January 7, 2011

ADHD 501

Currently I'm enrolled in a really challenging class. Juggling graduate courses with full-time teaching & mom duties, isn't that easy. But this "graduate course" isn't the typical type. It doesn't come with a set curriculum & the requirements keep changing without warning. I won't be given any certificate upon it's completion but I'm learning at least as much as I did in ANY of my college courses. It's called real life.

So often the biggest part of coping for me, includes perspective. One thing is certain, as a teacher, it has not hurt me to have a first-hand knowledge of what parents are going through with their ADHD kids! I like to think of Bobby as a capable tutor in the field of out-of-control behaviors. Have to say there are days when I'd like to drop the class but I'm in far-enough now that I'll go the distance. I'm not sure yet if it makes me better than I was in the classroom or just more compassionate and a bit less cynical.

I'm probably not the only teacher who has worked with ADHD kids and wondered at the back of my mind if the parents could be using more effective discipline or regulating schedules more appropriately. Were they doing everything they could to change this naughty behavior? If you haven't experienced this in your home, how can you really understand the battles from day-to-day? Walking a mile in someone's shoes helps with the understanding & though I don't understand what to do with many situations, I can look parents of my students straight in the eyes and say, "I understand what you are going through and I want all the best for your child as he/she is in my care." This is what "ADHD 501" is doing for me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

This Ain't Easy - Hang In There!

Being a parent isn't ever really simple, but when it's complicated by hyperactivity, rage & impulsivity, you're in over your head. The home, the kids, the school, work & bills all add up to exhaustion.  ADHD kids run in overdrive & before they learn the necessary skills to deal with life, everything seems completely out of control. What is a parent to do?

I don't know exactly what our future years hold, but I'm guessing we're on a challenging road. It will be easier on me if my husband and I have strong strategies in place for raising our son & good skills to pass along to him, so that HE feels more successful in this battle.

I'm a list-maker, so here's my punch list:

*Seek out professional help if/when necessary. (I'm eternally thankful for my doctor's support!)
*Make sure child has a doctor who is experienced with ADHD treatment.
*Spend daily time 1 on 1 with this child. Outdoor excercise is crucial!
*Get myself healthy - sleep, rest, exercise, meditation or prayer, nutrition & balance
*Keep my son on a fairly consistent schedule. This is crucial.
*Choose carefully my strongest support system....friends & family who will help me focus positively & objectively on my situation. It may be difficult, but if a family member or friend can't deal with your child or is a negative factor, limit the time. A parent has the right to do this.
*READ (I've read about 6 books and countless articles on ADHD so far. Even though some professionals' views differ, we can glean from all angles.)
*Journal (or blog)
*Make a list of child's strengths & be sure your child knows these!
If you're raising an ADHD kid, you need a strong support system around you. If you are doing this alone, have multiple kids with disabilities or are facing other "giants" in your life, WOW, you really need the support.

Parents have to gear-up when entering "Battle-Zone ADHD!" Hang in there!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Don't Make Me Go Back - I Hate School!"

Christmas vacation is hours from over. School starts in the morning and we've been getting ourselves back into a bit of a "groove" today. Clothes ready & lunches made. Earlier shower and storytime routine. Talking about the changes tomorrow brings.

Out of nowhere but not a surprise, comes, "I hate school! I don't want to go back! Some kids are really mean!" Deep sigh. Time for Mom to gear up, but I really don't know what to say that hasn't already been said. Our older kids generally enjoyed the excitement of returning to school after summer and holiday vacations but Bobby NEVER has. Ugh. I listened to his reasons and promised to hear him out. Then, something popped into my head. Brilliance I'd say. I called his bluff. I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "We just can't have that any longer. We are through. I'll go request a transfer tomorrow morning and end this problem." I didn't blink or take my eyes off my son. His eyes grew big and he shut his mouth. "No Mom. Don't take me away from my school. I don't want to go to another school."  I continued, "No, you know Bobby. We don't want you to be where you aren't happy."  He was now almost in tears, pleading with me and promising a list of strategies that proved he DID HAVE good school skills. "I'll walk away. I'll tell the teacher. I won't tell you I hate school any more. Pleeease, Mom."

Well, that was all I needed. We wrote out the new plan. We also wrote a list of all the things that were fun in school. We noted the bullies were fewer than the friends & the teacher wasn't all that bad.  It was a good session with my strong-willed, negative-thinking, ADHD boy. I don't recommend calling kids' bluff like this all the time but for me it worked. Thank God!