ADHD Challenges To Parents: Part-Time Genius, Full-Time Job
Parents Of Children With ADHD
Could you live with the responsibilities and time intensive commitments inherent in raising a child with multiple learning disorders (LD) and behavoral disorders? I respect parents and grandparents with custody of children suffering these disorders who make the commitment to the long haul.
I worked with ADD- and ADHD-labeled children and youth, and some autistic youth from 1982 - 2009. My associates and I helped achieve some notable successes in the educational and behavioral lives of these young people. However, living with a child that needs attention in these areas - especially more than one, ala dual dignoasis (which is often many more than two) - can be crazy-making and health crippling for the parent(s) and siblings.
Enelle Lamb comes forth with her new book, Part-Time Genius, Full-Time Job to relate her own experiences with her beloved child, who has had what the system calls LD and ADHD and/or ADHD Spectrumand some unfortunate behaviors called Oppositional Defiant Disorder ("ODD" - odd - That always makes us laugh and reduces tension right away with clients), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress ... but the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association is being updated as DSM V and I think we will have a new shipment of labels soon.
The DSM 5
- Mental Health Reform: American Changes In Legal Criteria
Proposed diagnostic changes in 2012 will reduce the number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, possibly eliminate these individuals from some services in communities, and possibly reduce government funding for diagnosis, disabilit
In my own work I do not use labels; but diagnoses are a first step in understanding LD conditions and they operations and the treatment modalities that work to help make the best life possible for these young people and their families. Although, millions of adults are now receiving diagnoses for Asperger's and other Autism Spectrum and ADHD Spectrum Disorders in the USA.
Ohio was the first of the US States to award Social Security Disability income to children and youth diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, beginning in the later 1980s. Early on, there appeared a lot of misdiagnoses, but also a substantial number of cases in which family members coached their children to show symptoms of ADHD. After the first decade, these anomalies seemed to largely sort themselves out. ADHD types of disorders are handled in Ohio with drug treatments, talk therapies, and behavior therapies. In Canada, procedures are somewhat different; however, Ms. Lamb's book is an ideal introduction to what may be expected in rather severe cases on the ADHD Spectrum. I think parents with children newly diagnosed and anyone planning to study psychology or sociology should read it.
Note: In Ohio, it has been found that AHDH is related to OCD and Tourette's Syndrome, all of which show promise of responding to Clonidine, first produced to treat hypertension. Enelle Lamb shares in her book something new to us here - that over-the-counter Melatonin sometimes helps these youth sleep. I must say that this is far superior to the left-over Codeine that one parent here used on her offspring.
Sick or Different?
Much research has connected conditions such as ADD, ADHD, and OCD to neurological foundations that make a "difference" among people who experience them.
I hesitate to call it pathology. After all, Jack Black is highly successful in his own reported ADD and OCD, making a good income and even making contact with his high school crush and marrying her - and having a family. And many people love Tony Shalhoub's character "Monk" with his OCD and anxiety. But to live with a "Monk" or a Jack Black? - much effort required.
Interestingly, Mr. Shalhoub reported from time to time that he began to pick up short-term obsessive-compulsive habits by acting them out as Mr. Monk. This gives more credence to the work outcomes achived in training these behaviors out of some individuals' behavior sets. However, we must look at Ennelle Lamb's firsthand reporting of her success in raising a child with multiple conditions.
I personally know firsthand of two cases a bit worse than Enelle's experience. One was an adoption in Indiana in which the child escalated to attempted murder of parents and sister and was institutionalized after several years of unsuccessful treatments and education. The other is an Ohio case in which the youth, after troubles in high school two difficult years of college, was fired from five jobs and divorced. He recognized that he was most talented in music and began his own music related business, in which he seemed to be successful. The aggressive behavior and lack of concentration eased significantly.
A mild case here became tragic when a psychiatrist prescribed three antpsychotic meds atop a high dosage of Ritalin. The 7-year-old began to hear voices telling her to tear out all of her bodily hair and lashes and then kill herself. We caught this action just in time and the inpatient removal of all drugs down to a 10 mg daily dose of Ritalin was effective. Each case is different and some can be removed from Ritalin later.
Multiple Diagnoses and Lots of Time
Ms. Lamb is a courageous individual in that she put the effort into raising her son, the subject of this book and about 14 in 2011, and chose to share this adventure with the world. The first person account is one that can help parents in understanding and gaining strength in raising their children and one that can help the rest of the world understand what happens in the lives of these children and their families. My estimate is that many have not a clue. This book is the clue.
Eventually this child was diagnosed with four separate disorders, but Ms. Lamb learned to cope with them over years of effort, at the same time she taught her son how to self-manage them as well.
How does one live with someone that suffers all of ADHD, ODD, an Anxiety Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress? More importantly, how dose one live with oneself amongst these disdorders and survive life? My first reaction is that a CNS transplant would be just the ticket, but we don't have those. My father used to say when he encountered folks with untreatable or difficult health problems, "There ought to be a shot (injection) for that!" We also do not have one of those for the spectrum disorders.
Punch Between the Eyes
The snare that hurts the most perhaps in these types of cases is the onslaught of friends and relatives that tell you as parent that there is nothing out of the ordinary about your child - even when he is colicky from birth, "highly agitato" as Kinky Friedman might say, and highly sensitive to stimuli - like noise, smells, flourescent lights, touch, temperature, all kinds of things. Exasperating.
This is like my soon-fired supervisor telling an LD student that because the young man had a physically based visual disorder in which he saw NOTHING in the center of any page he tried to read that he simply had to TRY HARDER. The student dropped out of school.
Another example is of a fine lady with severe fibromyalgia whose friends and family tell her. "You look fine, so there's nothing wrong with you."
Are we in the Stone Age? I must ask.
Not only can the uninformed be of no help at times, they can be of harm.
A Possible Insight
- Autism, OCD, Asperger's and ADD: the Spectrum of Distraction
How Kanners autism, ocd, ocpd, asperger's syndrome, and ADD are all the same illness with a different onset timing
Older Theories Revisited
On Wednesday, March 29, 2011 the Federal Drug Administration issues a few comments about ADD/ADHD and food additives. We in America and other parts of the world already know that red dyes act as environmental estrogens. What else might they do? In the 1990s, a large study in New Jersey found food sensitivities to worsen hyperactivity symptoms in children and youth. Some pointed to these additives as a cause, not substantiated. Is the field of red dyes also a perpetrator in ADHD symptoms?
Will red dyes be regulated to a farther extreme after total examination by the FDA? Perhaps.
We know that certain substances make hyperactivity symptoms worse - sugar, although not a CAUSE of hyperactivity; MSG in some kids. Red dyes? We thought so in the 1990s. Let's see in the 2010s.
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