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Jackson and ADHD

Updated on July 23, 2014

**Please not that I am NOT a trained professional. I am a parent of a child ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Any information I give in my blog should NOT be used as a substitute for the expertise, knowledge, skill and judgment of a healthcare practitioner.**

Jackson Ray

Jackson at six days old.
Jackson at six days old.

Jackson Ray

Jackson was born in October of 2003, one of the happiest days in my life up to that point. He came into our lives in a whirlwind, and is responsible for a host of blessed tornados during his time. (lol) Everything about a child should be considered a blessing, and is considered a blessing with myself; even the meting out of consequences. His dad and I are so, so proud of him and all that he is and all that he does.

Jackson Ray

Jackson Ray at 3 years and 5 months old when his sister, Alana (Autistic) was born.
Jackson Ray at 3 years and 5 months old when his sister, Alana (Autistic) was born.

Meeting Milestones

Jackson, at birth and all through his 10 years, has developed on an average scale; meaning, every one of his milestones has been met at an average time and with little to no major exceptions. And he is average in nearly every way. He measures in at 54 3/4 inches tall weighing 69 pounds and 4 ounces; however, his height I'm sure will be at least six feet by the time it's all said and done (his dad is six foot tall). Currently, he is considered slightly underweight; but, that is measured by governmental standards, and, so, I feel that he is just he...which is what I want him to be.

He held his neck, sat up, crawled, walked, etc. all within normal milestone ranges. He was completely day potty trained by the time he was three, completely night potty trained before he turned four. As you can clearly see, he was an average little boy. I think for us (Mark, his dad, and I) the concerns started showing themselves when he was 3 1/2 years old and had to go through Speech Therapy. He went through one year of Speech Therapy, twice a week for 30 minutes each session. By the time he started Head Start in the Fall of 2008, he no longer needed Speech Therapy; however, other concerns stayed in the forefront of our minds.

Jackson Ray

Jackson when he was in the first grade...this picture was taken just a few months before we started the ADHD evaluation process.
Jackson when he was in the first grade...this picture was taken just a few months before we started the ADHD evaluation process.

Continuing Concerns

When Jackson was nearing the end of his first grade year in public school, we started noticing more and more how "off" he was compared to other children in his grade (disruptive behavior, getting into trouble, incomplete school work, etc.). Not bad "off"; but, enough so that we knew we needed to discuss our concerns with Jackson's pediatrician. By the time the summer rolled around in 2011 we had gotten a referral to take Jackson for an ADHD evaluation. Mark and I considered this a good thing; although, at that time we were not wanting to put him on any specific medication. To be truthful, as of today, Jackson takes two different medicines each night just before bedtime. He takes Intuniv which helps with the symptoms of ADHD, and he takes Trazodone to aid him in getting to sleep each night.

Jackson's pediatrician had referred Jackson out to a behavioral therapist for the ADHD evaluation and therapy. There was the initial consultation followed by the actual testing and psychological evaluation. At the end of it all, Jackson was confirmed as being an ADHD child. Twice a week he would see a therapist for 30 minutes and then have 30 minutes of behavior and focus training. It was during this time that I home schooled Jackson for the first time; he was doing his second grade work during the school year 2011-2012.

What seemed to help the most during this time of therapy for Jackson was that Mark and I removed all corporal forms of punishment and went to a time-out routine for disobedience or bad choices. The rule of thumb is one minute of time out for each year of a child's age; for example, Jackson was seven years old at this time so he had a seven minute time out for each indirection. The first few times of time out were the worst, obviously. If Jackson talked or got up from his time out pillow, Mark or I would have to put him back into time out and re-start his time. We were to do this until he completed the original seven minutes without talking or getting up. Those first few times wore us out; but, consistency is always the key to anything. Eventually, Jackson understood that the sooner he was quiet the sooner his time out would be over. As of today, Jackson has been put on a compliance contract for consequences and privileges, and it works quite well. Jackson, as well as me and Mark, had to sign the contract stating that we all understood what the contract detailed. This gives Jackson a more concrete idea of what is expected of him and what his consequences might be, as well as rewards and privileges he can earn for good behavior and good choices.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is classified as a psychiatric disorder of the neurodevelopment (the brain and nervous system) type. Symptoms often include problems with a lack of attention, moderate to severe hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms can appear as early as six years of age; but, for a confirmed diagnosis to be made the patient must have had these symptoms for at least six months or will continue past six months of duration. In children ages 6-12, 6-7% are diagnosed with ADHD, and the rate for boys with this diagnosis is three times more that of girls. Additionally 30-50% of children with a confirmed diagnosis will continue to show symptoms into adulthood, while 2-5% of adults will get a first diagnosis of ADHD. Successful management for those patients with ADHD includes counseling, life style changes and/or medications.

For about two-thirds of those with ADHD there will be additional disorders:

  • 20-30% of the time an individual will have some type of a learning disability.
  • Tourette Syndrome will sometimes manifest itself.
  • ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is commonplace 50% of the time.
  • CD (Conduct Disorder) is prevalent 20% of the time.
  • Mood disorders such as Bipolar Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder may occur.
  • Anxiety disorders may make themselves known.
  • There can be an influx of substance use disorders.
  • A patient may be diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome.
  • There might or might not be additional sleep disorders.

Determining Factors

The exact cause of ADHD is not known; however, there is a reasonable case to allow for many factors that may, or may not, influence whether an individual might, or might not, be a candidate for an ADHD diagnosis.

1. Genetics: Approximately 75% of the confirmed diagnoses were of an inherited nature; meaning, one parent, or the other, was the carrier for the genetic predisposition of the child. Also, if one child in a family has been confirmed as having ADHD the likelihood that other siblings will be also is 3-4 times more likely.

2. Environment: Though none of the following have been confirmed true or false, researchers have theorized that the following may influence an individual's risk of being ADHD. These influences include; but, are not limited to...alcohol intake by the mother during pregnancy, tobacco exposure of the mother during pregnancy, lead exposure to the child during his or her formative years and possibly insecticide exposure to the child during his or her formative years.

3. Society: Societal issues that may complicate a child's life and thereby increasing the need for an ADHD diagnosis might include a poor education system within the community or the family, dysfunction within the family and/or physical, mental & emotional abuse.

**Please, remember that these are my thoughts & opinions and my personal research. I implore you to consider your concerns for your individual child(ren) and discuss those concerns with your primary care physician. By no means am I qualified to tell you what is the condition of your child(ren) or how you should have your child(ren) treated; that is strictly between you, the child(ren) and your personal healthcare doctors.**

Upcoming Article Blogs

I would remind you to be watching for upcoming blogs detailing the medications that Jackson currently takes (Intuniv and Trazodone). I am also in the process of brainstorming various dietary restrictions research as Jackson and his sister, Alana (Autistic), both have dietary restrictions. Jackson is lactose intolerant and we try to follow a routine gluten-free diet with Alana. These topics and more will appear in future and upcoming articles. I thank each one of you who take the time to read my articles and who support awareness of the various needs in children.

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