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ADHD Medication and Ms. King
“I am just calling for ideas or suggestions Mrs. Pettit.” Nina’s first grade teacher Ms King said circumspectly to me over the phone. I groaned a little too loudly. If I was able to get everyone in school for a day, inevitably, somebody’s teacher would call because he or she could not manage one of my children. I was running out of patience. I managed all of my children and I did not have an aide. I desperately needed those hours when they were at school. Apparently, Nina was standing on tables, yelling and pounding her chest. I told the teacher about the 1-2-3 rule, which is that Nina would have until the count of 3 to do what she is supposed to do. Amazingly, there was no threat of serious punishment, Nina just had to comply by number 3, and she usually did. I used fingers for the countdown, more than the voice. I explained to the teacher that the new school, new kids and full day was a lot for her and she would settle down (I didn’t think she would settle down). I also assured Ms King that I was going to take Nina to a multi-disciplinary center for evaluation and possibly medication and warned her that it would not happen overnight.
Nina and I went to a center that offered child and adolescent psychiatric services, behaviorists and regular counseling. At Nina's psychiatric evaluation, the doctor had to tell her several times not to touch a telephone in the corner of his office. He stated that she very definitely had ADHD and he did not think she had any other disorder that would benefit from medication. We left with a prescription and a scheduled appointment for the doctor in one more month. We were also told to expect a call from a behaviorist and a counselor. I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home, they needed two hours to fill the prescription and I planned to return later. I was eager to give Nina her first dose of ADHD medication before school the next morning.
I followed the instructions carefully and watched Nina eat her cereal right after she took the medication. I did not tell the teacher about the meds, I wanted to see what would happen. Right after lunch, Ms King called to tell me how great Nina behaved and she asked if Nina was on medication. She also volunteered that Nina did not eat any lunch. I asked her to please insist that Nina at least eat her fruit and drink her milk hereafter.
Nina was a stout little girl, she loved her dinner time. In fact, when she was just 3, a bucket of chicken on the table for dinner one night was missing. We found Nina and the chicken in the bathroom. Nina weighed 60lbs and was barely 3 ft tall. I was aware that she was eating less and not eating lunch at school. Her clothes were also getting very loose. The second appointment we had with the doctor, it was noted that Nina had lost 20lb in one month! The doctor said her weight was in the normal range and her vitals were good but she should not lose any more weight. I was warned to watch her diet carefully and to make sure she ate a good dinner.
The multi-disciplinary center also assigned a behaviorist to go to Nina’s school and observe the behavior in the classroom. The behaviorist was not anyone Nina had met, so she was unnoticed in the classroom. The behaviorist was to report to the counselor and also make suggestions to the teacher if in order.
For a short time, Nina had counseling. It was determined that Nina benefitted more from the medication and special instructions to the teacher and the counseling ended fairly quickly. Ms King was Nina’s teacher for three years. I felt as if we were surrounded by supportive people who were not only committed to my child’s success but the people were also a team and worked together for Nina’s benefit. I also must add that Nina has always been my “sparkly” little girl. She is full of love and energy. The medication leaves her with plenty of sparkle and lets me have some too, sparkle that is, I don’t need the meds.