ADHD A Diagnosis
My son has been diagnosed with ADHD
My son, Alex, has been recently diagnosed with ADHD. He is a healthy 6 year old, who attends first grade and is having extreme difficulty in class completing work and staying on task. At home it takes quite a bit of persuading and coaching to get him to do his homework. He is far below expected achievement levels in his grade. So let me tell you a little about Alex.
Alex is a good natured boy, he loves to joke around and make people laugh. He is average height and on the low side of weight for his age. Alex is very energetic and loves to ride his scooter and I often find him climbing where he shouldn’t be. For example, I live in a 1928 Craftsman Bungalow style home. I have built-in cabinets throughout my living room and dining room, and often find him on top of them! He loves to make car and plane noises and is very chatty. He watches television, but is more interested in the commercials than shows. Alex often talks over the show for several minutes about the commercial. This can be distracting for the whole family. Personally I find it interesting when listening to the details he picks up on the commercials and he can recall the whole thing in detail. I often wonder why he finds commercials so entertaining. He loves stability and wants a structured environment. Every night when I put him to bed we have the same routine, if anything is off structure he will have a difficult time going to bed. He is not good with changes, if he has an idea in his head about the way things should be he is very stubborn and will have a fit about it until we are able to redirect his thinking to something else or he has to be consoled for a long period.
Obviously, there is much more to my son then what I have laid out for you, but these are his basic behaviors. I don’t totally agree with his diagnosis. I think there is something else going on with him and I have researched ADHD a little bit, he does fit some of the symptoms but he may have another problem. I have included a brief overview of ADHD as a result of some research. Stay with me so I can continue my story after we learn a little about ADHD.
ADHD is considered to be a behavioral disorder or syndrome, not a disease. ADHD affects between 3 and 5 percent of children, the ratio of diagnosis is boys and girls 5:1, respectively. Boys are diagnosed ‘hyperactive’ predominately and girls ‘inattentive’.
The symptoms of ADHD include; short attention spans, easily distracted, forgetfulness, difficulty completing tasks, fidgeting, unorganized, messy room, uncooperative, argumentative and stubborn. There are many more symptoms I could add to the list related to ADHD but I have included the symptoms which occur most widely. ADHD is difficult to diagnose and often this behavioral disorder is accompanied by other diagnoses such as learning disabilities. Symptoms generally show before the age of 7 and may last a lifetime.
The causes of ADHD are widely unknown but may include, Genetic factors, biological factors such as immaturity, prenatal exposure to drugs and/or alcohol, temperament and even parenting techniques. Diet is considered as a cause also, processed foods and certain food dyes may play a role in ADHD causes and also increase symptoms.
The treatments for ADHD
Behavioral Modification-parental education, social skills training, therapy for anxiety problems and problems associated with the symptoms of ADHD.
Stimulant Medications include-Ritlan(Methylphenidate), Dexedrine(Dextro amphetamine)
Non-stimulant Medications include- Strattera(Atomoxetine)
Anti depressants are also used in some cases.
Various other medications can be prescribed for symptoms at the doctors discretion
This was a brief summary of my findings, it is not meant to be used for diagnosis or as a guide to care for the individual diagnosed with ADHD. Now back to my story.
Interesting ADHD articles
An interesting and informative link suggested by fellow Hubber BlissfulWriter
Natural treatments for ADHD
There are Alternative treatments for ADHD which include vitamin and nutrition therapy, parenting classes to teach parents the skills to more effectively parent a child with ADHD. Medications are not the only answer. Natural treatments for ADHD can be used instead of and along with the medication. Vitamins regimens have been proven to decrease the required dose of medication for the child with ADHD and in some cases eliminate the need. This will vary from child to child and it will depend on the amount of parental involvement too.
Whatever treatment you choose for your child, it is best to have a clear understanding of ADHD and the available treatments.
Food allergies and high amounts of dyes and sugars seem to aggravate symptoms of ADHD. Theories suggest that lead levels in children can increase ADHD symptoms.
Typical Boy Behavior or ADHD
Now, more about Alex. Alex is a boy, and ‘boys will be boys’ as we used to hear. Nowadays we want to put boys in the same category as girls and they just aren’t. Girls typically mature at a faster rate than boys. Girls typically develop their fine motor skills faster than boys. Girls tend to deal with their emotions better than boys at least during their pre-teen years. Boys are generally more energetic than girls and have always enjoyed the freedom of movement and risky behavior more often than girls. They skateboard, surf, climb, play pranks, typically they are more physically active than girls. I am not saying that girls don't enjoy doing these activities, I know they do. I was a girl who surfed, skateboarded, climbed and played plenty of pranks. I am simply pointing out that boys and girls are not the same in behavior. Boys definitely are in a different category than girls, they are wired differently.
Routinely you will read or hear someone say that if Huck Finn were assessed today he would be diagnosed ADD or ADHD. So, when I consider this, I am a little leery of just sitting down for a diagnosis of ADHD for my son. He is child number five for me; I have three boys and two girls. He is not much different than my other boys. When I look at his behavior, as a whole, he doesn’t, neatly fall into the ADHD category. Yes, he does wildly climb where he shouldn’t, and he is behind in school. He is full of energy and he can be distracted at times. He is not turning our home into chaos, in fact, he is very mellow at home and school with no behavioral problems. But when I look at his progress in school I am concerned. I know that ADHD is often misdiagnosed and I don’t want Alex to fall into that category of misdiagnosed children and have something else missed.
I am not against medicating him, if it will help him achieve success. I believe the studies that prove that medication benefits children with ADHD; I have read and seen the benefits myself. I haven’t decided if I will give him the medication yet, that will come in the next few days. I will continue researching and playing an active role in his health care decisions and school. I am not trying to play doctor, just become well informed. I am not sure that the diagnosing doctors are fairly taking into account the typical boy behaviors. I know my son best and I feel that I need to know as much about this subject as possible so I can, along with the doctor make the right choice for him.
I hope this article has been of some interest to you and please feel free to comment, give input and share!