When my youngest daughter was smaller, I always knew that she walked to the beat of her own drum. ADHD is hereditary on her biological father’s side of the family, so I always knew there was a possibility that she would have the same diagnosis. At that time in my life, I wasn’t mentally prepared for what that would entail but with kids who is ever prepared, right?
Let me preface this whole look into our journey by saying we did not receive an official diagnosis of ADHD until last year. My daughter was 9 then. Prior to that, she displayed most of the common traits, easily distracted, inability to focus, impulse control issues, etc. She struggled a great deal in school. The school system at that time said that it was most likely because she was young (my daughter is a June baby); most of the other kids were already 5 for some time at the start of Kindergarten, while my girl had just turned 5. As we got farther along in school, the issues got worse. She ended up repeating 2nd grade (teacher’s recommendation but our choice). She has never really been an act out badly in class kind of kid. She is more of a talk nonstop, cannot stay seated kind of kid. She had started seeing the counselor at school weekly during the second year in 2nd grade. Her counselor stated that she was seeing the same behaviors we saw at home and that her teacher saw in class.
I was the parent that did not want my child to be medicated which is why it took me so long getting her tested even though the traits were there. Medicines had such a bad rap as I remembered it growing up that I just couldn’t fathom having my girl be a zombie. I should say that I absolutely no longer feel this way. Needless to say, I finally got out of my own way to get my girl what she needed.
Right before 3rd grade started, we went for our yearly checkup and I explained to the doctor the issues she had been having in school the previous year. She recommended that my girl go see a clinical psychologist that worked in their practice. We got scheduled for that visit and crossed our fingers that we would get some much-needed help. Prior to our first visit, the doctor’s office sent over forms for the teacher, myself and my mini to fill out and bring back. During our first visit, there were lots of questions for my mini and I together and separately. She was then officially diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety (mostly as it relates to school and testing). We were provided me with an official letter to get my girl set up with a 504 plan at school for the 3rd grade year.
My mini was put on medication during that first visit too. A small dose of a non-narcotic intended to slow her heart rate to calm her down. It made her very sleepy while her body was getting used to it. Afterwards, we saw improvements at home and school for a short period of time. Then things seemed to go right back as if she weren’t taking anything at all. Shortly after that, we were notified that her doctor was leaving the practice and no replacement was being hired. Then, BOOM … COVID-19.
We were without her medicine the entire quarantine. We got back into see a clinical psychologist about 3 months ago. She switched my girl’s medicine to a narcotic which took some getting used to for her and us. Her moods were strange, she did not want to eat but we have been pushing through. Halfway through the new medicine she planed off and her behavior started to decline again, so at our last visit the dosage was increased and she’s a whole new kid. It’s definitely trial and error game. What works for one kid won’t necessarily work for the next. We are still in the process of figuring out what works for my girl. She does visits with her doctor who prescribes her medicines monthly. We have switched to homeschooling this year, so she does visits with a new counselor weekly via computer.
My girl now can enjoy being able to sit down and focus on tasks without being distracted. As a mom, I just want my mini to be happy. I shudder to think where we would be if I had stayed in my negative mindset about seeking help or medication any longer. It’s now easier for her to function. In some ways it makes me a better parent for her too and in life that’s all we want, right?