Thursday, July 28, 2011

There's Proven Help for ADHD Kids!

I'm a mom on a perpetual pursuit for tips & tools that will help me work effectively with my son. He's growing and changing. What Bobby suffered with at 5 is different at almost 11. Books stacked around me and always new websites saved in my "favorites," I'm finding that I have to work to keep up! One thing is certain. There IS help for ADHD kids! No question. I'll wrap up this blog entry today with the short list of my favorites:

1) Dependable routine
2) Plenty of sleep
3) Exceptional nutrition (For us this means only a little sugar. Few processed foods. Many vegetable and fruit servings each day, especially the deep greens like spinach, broccoli & kale! Wholewheat bread & whole grains - we make wheat pancake mix from scratch & use with blue berries. Delicious. Lots of water. No soda or juice drinks that aren't 100% juice.) Ok...rare treats!
4) Working closely with teacher/principal
5) Counseling for Bobby & us, as needed and with a very well-trusted physician, psychologist or preferably a child psychologist.
6) Daily outdoor activity

These things WORK for us. These make our days manageable. We top this off with TONS of praise whenever Bobby does something terrific. (Praising him in public makes him beam!) The scolding/correcting does not happen in public. (Well, in a perfect world they NEVER happen in public...) Generally only in private. His confidence & success are improving leaps & bounds and I attribute it to "getting on board" with his ADHD!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clean & Quiet - Am I At The Right House?

We can almost hear the silence. I've only cleaned the house once in a week. This is what it's like when there are no kids at home. Wow. Bobby is at summer camp. He has an older brother and sister that are staff there so we know he's in good hands. The college students who staff the camp are high-energy, happy young people who are there because they want to be--it's all good. I don't feel a bit guilty for enjoying this time with my husband. Moms and dads really gotta have a bit of this once in a while.

We chose a good camp that's been operating for many, many years. We visited the camp first to see what we thought & we talked to staff members. They are fully-capable of working with our ADHD son! (Surprise, surprise. He's not the only ADHD kid there!)  Because we did our "homework," we were able to make the 4 hour drive home, knowing Bobby's in terrific hands. This wouldn't be happening if we didn't know for certain it was a good choice. He may spin loud and crazy circles around us but we ADORE him!

I am at the right house. I'm going to enjoy this until it's time to go pick him up! This is rejuvenating time. Time for us to have complete conversations. We needed it. Taking another deeeeep breath...relaxing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We Must Advocate!

The job description is broad: "Mother, judge, lawyer, veterinarian, nurse, event coordinator, chef, maid, bus driver"...and the list goes on. Moms are stretched already but if there is a higher-than-normal-needs kid in the house, we have no choice but to add to that description. Now there is: "Advocate, pioneer (relatively new territory), campaigner, messenger (we need to share what we learn), spokesperson, pleader (some of this is necessary).

Ignorance has no place in our lives as parents of ADHD kids. We must read, listen & learn. Our kids can NOT slip through the cracks. Our most important treasure on earth is our children and for them we will do whatever it takes to get them the best help.

What does this mean? This means working side-by-side with their teacher, school & principals. This means passing along tips that are helpful but then getting out of the way so that the teacher can work! Advocacy means listening to our children's needs and being there for them. Advocacy does not mean we excuse their behavior or criticize the people around them. In our home it has a positive spin. School isn't the only place that is challenging for our kids. All social areas can be chaotic for them. If my child is sent out of a church class every week, I need to get into that classroom. I ask the teacher what it would take for my child to be successful. If that class/teacher is only capable of working with the "easy" kids it's my job to find another church or class. This one doesn't work. We experienced this. Our son has attended a new class for 7 months and has never been sent out. When he was absent a "we miss you" message was sent. YES!!

Being a parent of a high-needs kid (specifically talking about ADHD here) is not easy. I roll up my sleeves and get busy every single day. I walk a fine line as an advocate. As a parent I want to go to bat for my son but I don't use the bat, so-to-speak. The other adults in his life are important to me and I treat them as such. (Yeah, even if/when I don't agree!)  Advocacy becomes a life style.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Camp Is For Parents!

The planning is over. Registration, the months of waiting, dreaming, packing & the long drive. All behind us. Bobby's at camp! He's in a cabin with 7 other boys and 2 counsellors. (Terrific ratio!) I don't know if any of the other boys in his cabin are ADHD but if the national ratios are accurate, he could be the only one which would make it a tad easier for everyone. 

We don't just drive to camp, drop off our boy & his mountain of necessities for the week and leave. We spent time talking with the director, camp nurse and his counsellors. We made a few notes on good strategies that work for getting him to REALLY take his meds and also how to "chill out" when over-excited. (Brief notes!)  Then I made his bed with the extra blankets and pillows that will make it feel more like home. Time to turn the car toward home and spend quality time with Dad!

Bobby will be fine at camp. His brother & sister are staff there & the other young people know and love him. He gets to do the things he's really been wanting to do like sailing & survival skills. He'll eat like there's no tomorrow & enjoy a camp curfew which is much later than home!

But let's get this right.....Camp is for US! Bobby's got an insane amount of energy and defiance to match it. We can't sleep at night until we are positive he's asleep. We bolt out of bed the second his feet hit the floor in the morning & we can't take our eyes off him during the day. With this 24/7 schedule we are honestly, worn down. WE are ready for Camp! Dad & I just might finish our conversations without forgetting what we were saying.  We'll get some projects done around the house that require accuracy & focus.

We'll play & we'll rest. In two weeks we'll all be ready for the grand reunion!  We'll race toward the camp, snatch up our "all-smiles" boy, listen to his non-stop stories all the way home & then force him to take his first shower WITH SOAP in 14 days. Then, we'll begin saving for next year's Camp Get-Away! (Well worth it!!!!)