Friday, February 10, 2012

ADHD & "Pet Therapy"

We're parents on a mission to raise a busy guy. There's no claim to fame on knowing the ins and outs of all possible courses of therapy. But facts are facts. The more time we spend keeping our guy busy, the better-off everyone is. The busier the day, the better he sleeps that night. We've had a variety of pets over the years:

The fairly usual family pets~ dogs, cats, fish & guinea pigs.
Some farm animals ~ bummer lambs, baby goats, baby chicks & bunnies.
(Right now we've got 2 bummer lambs that were just hours & days old when they were given to us. We bottle feed them every 5 or 6 hours & Bobby LOVES his baby lambs. We'll sell them this summer to cover our costs, basically.)

All the animals have been fun & allowed our kids a chance to learn basic caring skills. This winter Dad & Bobby have spent every bit of their spare time reading up on bee-keeping. They've searched for good deals in equipment & suits to wear. They are set. As soon as winter is over they'll begin this venture. It has been an amazing experience watching as Dad & son bond through a love for something new & exciting!

We aren't kidding anyone. Our son isn't just "busy." He has been diagnosed with a real disability that sometimes wreaks havoc on the child, family & all around them. We have chosen to have Bobby take medication in addition to all of the behavior "plans" we embark upon.  We've found that having pets, for us, definitely IS a successful treatment/therapy. We aren't following a set program developed specifically for ADHD kids by health care professionals. We get to live in the country on a few acres with a couple animal pens & we use what we have to help our youngest child. It works. Sure love you, Bobby. Thanks for keeping us on our toes & out of trouble!
Mom & Dad

Thursday, February 2, 2012

ADDitude Magazine, Spring 2012

Wow!  When I received an email from the editor of ADDitude Magazine, back in October of 2011, I was quite surprised to hear he wanted permission to print one of my blog entries. I knew of the online site but wasn't aware of the paper magazine. After taking a quick look back at the site, I zapped off my reply & the picture of Bobby & myself he wanted for the magazine. Today our copy arrived in the mail! Additude Magazine, Spring 2012, p. 17.  Bobby was shocked to learn he had a pseudonym. He insisted I change it at once to "Ripjaw." Argg. That's my boy! 

16 months ago I was passing through a dark tunnel. Our son's impulsivity & destruction had become simply overwhelming for me to deal with. I wanted more than anything to be a good parent for him & help him. I had no solid resources and sought the help of a trusted Psychologist who began to guide me onto a healthy path. It was at the beginning of that counseling that I searched in vain to find other moms online who could help me understand I wasn't alone. Believe it or not, I couldn't find a single one! (They are there, I've discovered.) I had no familiarity with blogging except for the word & decided to look into it. I chose and began to write.  I wrote and wrote and wrote during those first months. I didn't care if anyone EVER read what I wrote.  It was personally healing & oh so helpful. Now my outlook is much more positive!!

Apparently it wasn't just for me. We are sharing our story with others & I only hope that this journey encourages and lifts up other families. You are not alone.

CAUTION: Don't Go-It Alone With ADHD

Even for the strongest of parents, ADHD is challenging. There's no reason to go through this without help & support.There is SO MUCH support out there today!

Free Resources:
1. Use the Public Library internet for ADHD support websites, forums & blogs. There are many!
2. Public School Special Education Departments  Here you will find professionals who will evaluate your child & select as a team (along with you) interventions specific to his/her needs.
3. Public School Counselor   This person is available to meet either individually or in small groups with your child, helping him/her find appropriate skills for coping with ADHD in a school setting. The kids in the school I work at eagerly look forward to their weekly or monthly sessions! (These are done only with written parental permission.)
4. Family & Friends  While some of these may wish they could charge for their listening services, most will be invaluable to you. Most people have friends to turn to. Not everyone has understanding family. The "old-school" philosophy of parenting deems ADHD as a misdiagnosis for rotten, spoiled behavior. Most families have at least one member who doesn't want to join the support team. Hopefully they don't live next door to you and the occasional family reunion is your only chance for a run-in. If you're blessed with friends AND family who care & show support and love for you and your child count your blessings! (And make sure you're taking time to listen to them when they need an ear too. I need to do better here.)
Family Physician/Child Psychologist:
ADHD kids should be medically evaluated. Doctors are  there to help you and your child.
Books & Magazines:
I have favorites. The plain and simple facts & information books are great and serve a purpose in helping us structure our kids, but I'm really about trying to see the humor in this thing so I've loved books like, "All Dogs Have ADHD," by Kathy Hoopman. Nothing like a good laugh to tame the stress! I've used to find used books. (The right column on my blog lists other favorites.) The magazine subscription we have currently here at home is ADDitude Magazine, which has an online site as well as a yearly subscription of 4 issues. Wonderful collection of helpful tips & information!

If you feel alone in this process, get help. Seek the counsel of a professional & turn this into a positive experience. Please share any resources you don't see listed here. I value all ideas - they're part of the journey I'm on with my son.