Saturday, October 20, 2012

Refusing To Medicate

So, my child is out of control at home, school and all public places. He grabs, bursts & speaks without thinking. This goes on and on day after day, year after year. The voices in my head are shouting, "something needs to change here" but other voices fill the gaps with, "Do you want a drugged-out child?" What does a parent do?

We went down this path for a few years with our boy. They were difficult, miserable years but well-meaning friends/family would suggest he would out-grow this behavior OR he just needed tighter reigning. Of course, they knew best. They took him in the car, to the store, to school, to the dinner table. They meant well. Because they hadn't experienced exactly what we were living, they truly did not understand how challenging this was minute-to-minute. Nobody understood.

We did not blindly bolt for the pharmacy and a drug to change our baby boy. We agonized, sought counsel from many & prayed. Would our boy be safe on a sidewalk? Would he learn in school? Would he make friends? Would he destroy his home? These were the REAL QUESTIONS we asked ourselves for several years, while experiencing this day-to-day trauma. Another question plagued us. If Bobby had Type 1 Diabetes would we put him on medication? If he had any disease, would we seek treatment? Without a doubt.

The above situations molded our thinking and Bobby has been able to function more successfully since. Not a perfect solution but a tremendous change was seen and continues to this day. If I was going down the path again I would probably endure a few years again, just making certain I was doing the best for my boy. But, in the end, I would add medication to his program. No question. Anything less hurts him more in my opinion.

Not Lettin' Our Guard Down Around Here!

Yep, it's wayyy easier than years leading to this one but we can't let down our guard. We're proud of Bobby's growing but not burying our heads in the sand. He's all-boy, filled with wild mischief & a daring nature. Those characteristics make for challenges no matter how much "growing up" he has done. We continue to watch closely, trying to always keep the channels of communication open so that the blind-siding is less frequent.

Years ago we realized Bobby had a fascination with matches, knives & paint. These three items have caused a few problems for our adhd boy so we can't really turn our backs now. ADHD doesn't simply "go-away." The indicators for this disorder may shift & change over the years but they make up the personality of most people who have the diagnosis for the rest of their lives to some degree. Hence, we can celebrate the good changes & maturity we are seeing but our guard remains in place.

Bobby turned our world upside down but we would never trade the joy his sense of interest, adventure & wild-curiosity have given us. We have learned & here we share, hoping other parents will find compassion and understanding.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Easier Days With ADHD

Wasn't it just yesterday that our home was filled with chaos & confusion? Seems that way, but in the past year every week has become easier than the previous one. Few tools & treasures have been torn or broken & nothing is missing. It's positively miraculous. There was a time not that long ago when everything looked very bleak. Bobby's behavior was a challenge not only daily but moment-by-moment. He high-energy boy bent on destruction & nobody could stop him. I looked around and saw few children who matched his naughtiness and I was a broken-hearted mom, seeing no way out of this darkness.
When he was 2 I figured when he turned 3 he'd grow out of some of the terrible behavior, since he'd be out of those infamous "terrible twos." Then I expected change with the 4th birthday, 5th birthday, 6th....and so on. As he approached 9 & 10 I began to believe this was never going to turn around & that we were on a long dark path. No longer was I expecting to see that "better year" ahead. And then we hit 11. Our world began to change. Bobby became more mature & the sunshine poked it's way through those dark storm clouds. There's nothing in me that believes there was a "cure" out there for our boy but rather a collection of contributing factors. Just in case another parent is overwhelmed in adhd-land:
1) Lots of love (though not always patience as this isn't easy to be 100% patient with)
2) Parent/child hobbies done together
3) Outdoor exercise together--sports, hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming
4) Medication adjustments as needed
5) Supportive family and friends who show kindness & love to our boy!
6) 7 months ago- drastic steps taken to reduce and eliminate soda, sugar, processed foods, oils & artificial ingredients from our diet. Adding daily helpings of fresh dark green veggies and lots of other fruits and vegetables. Our whole family does this so there's no feeling of "I can't eat what everyone else gets."
7) Consistency in discipline & routine.

As a teacher, I see an incredible increase in adhd labels today. Do we accept the labels and go no further? Definitely not. We owe it to these high-needs kids to find out what triggers their behavior and what helps it. Combining many interventions will likely see improvements in a good share of these great kids. Bobby will probably always be high-energy but for today we're pretty thrilled that  he's growing in positive ways!