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My Experience of Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder

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      01.02.2002 04:35
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      How do you feel when you have to admit that something isn’t quite right with your child? I wouldn’t for the longest time and felt like a failure. My youngest son, Steven, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) this week after several years of struggling with the system. Let me tell you a little bit about Steven so that you can get some idea of what things have been like in the last few years. Steven has just turned 11 years old, he’s tall for his age at 5ft 1in and he only weighs 95lbs. My son is a very gentle and loving child who has an intense desire to be liked and he also hates confrontation. From the moment he was born he was always considered ‘hard to handle’, he was born with twisted intestines and had to be fed hourly because of the intense screaming fits caused by the pain he incurred. Starting school was a nightmare. Steven is incredibly intelligent which has helped him maintain his grades throughout although his social skills have been severely lacking and he has always been in trouble for fidgeting, talking and generally not paying attention during class. Riding the bus to school has also been tough, I’ve driven him to school more times than not because he’s been suspended for mainly stupid things like not wearing his seatbelt or being too noisy. For the last three years his teachers have been pushing me to get him tested for ADHD and to be honest I wasn’t too keen, after all I didn’t believe that he had it mainly because of my preconceptions of the ailment and what the symptoms were. I was under the impression that a child that had ADHD was violent and completely unruly and didn’t perform well academically – I was wrong. So, what is ADHD? Well, it’s not a learning disability but a behavioral problem and children that are diagnosed with it are usually overactive, impulsive and have trouble paying attention for mor e than a few minutes at any one time. Did you know that only 3% to 5% of all school age children are affected and it’s more common in boys than it is in girls? Most children know that they are being disruptive but are unable to do anything about it, which causes extreme distress both for the child and their family. The way it was described to me was that an impulse is carried out before the brain has time to engage and decide whether it’s appropriate leaving the child bewildered. What are the signs of ADHD? It’s a difficult disorder to diagnose because it shares many of the same symptoms as other disorders. ADHD frequently starts before a child reaches the age of 7 years. Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, are impulsive and usually very active. There is a list of telltale signs that the doctors gave me and I’ve listed it here so that if you are concerned about your child it will give you some guidelines. Children 3 to 5 years of age: Are constantly in motion. Find it hard to sit still at mealtimes. Play only briefly with toys and flit from one activity to another. Have difficulty responding to simple commands. Play in a way that seems noisier than that of other children. Talk nonstop and often interrupt others. Have trouble sharing, waiting and taking turns; often take things away from others with little regard for their feelings. Misbehave regularly. Have trouble keeping friends. Are described by teachers as ‘hard to handle’ or ‘behavior problem’. Children 6 – 12 years of age: Often get into dangerous activities without thinking about what will happen. Fidget and squirm restlessly in seat and often wander around the classroom. Are easily distracted and don’t finish assignments or chores. Have trouble following through on instructions. Play in an overly aggressive manner. Talk at inappropr iate times and often blurt out answers to questions. Are disorganized and often lose things; make careless mistakes at school and home. Have inconsistent school performance. Are socially immature, with few friends and have a poor reputation among peers. Have been labeled by teachers as ‘unmotivated,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘a daydreamer’ or a ‘behavior problem’. If you have any concerns or your child displays any of the above signs for more than 6 months continuously then it may be worth seeing a pediatrician. I laughed when they showed me this list because I recognized so many of the signs, for instance Steven has lost 4 coats, 3 sweaters and more lunch boxes than I care to remember in the last 3 years! He would put them down and forget about them. What causes ADHD? The doctors don’t actually know what causes ADHD but their studies do indicate that some of the following could be the reasons for it: If one or both of the parents have ADHD then there’s a chance that their children may show signs. Exposure to toxins may cause ADHD. Sometimes it shows up after childhood illnesses. ADHD may be caused by a brain injury. There are indications that children with ADHD have problems with the chemicals that send messages in the brain. How do you cope with ADHD? Stress is the biggest problem within families with a child with ADHD and without treatment of some kind then the child will continue to disrupt the family. Sticking to a daily routine can really help your child control their behavior. Punishing a child with ADHD for their behavior doesn’t help – I know, I’ve tried. More often than not they don’t even realize that they’re doing something wrong or inappropriate. If they really are running you ragged then ‘time out’ is excellent for getting the child to calm down and to give you time to regain control of yourself. Getting them to understand what they’re doing and the consequences can also help although it doesn’t always work but anything’s worth trying, isn’t it! Medication According to the statistics, about 5% of children have a serious problem with their attention span and about 70% to 80% of these will respond dramatically to medication. At the moment there are four different medications available to treat ADHD and these are: Ritalin, Dexedrine, Adderall and Cylert Everyone’s heard of Ritalin haven’t they. These medications are actually stimulants and work by making the brain ‘focus’ so that they can complete their tasks for effectively. Apparently adults who smoke and drink coffee or coke are doing the same thing for themselves that these drugs do for the children! The good thing nowadays is that these drugs are not considered addictive and usually the child comes off them voluntarily in their teens. Occasionally the usage continues into adulthood but not too often. Some of them are taken more than once a day and are always started with a minimum dose to find out the acceptable level required for each individual child. Steven has been prescribed Dexedrine; it’s a slow release drug, which means he only has to take one first thing in the morning with his breakfast. The dosage they’ve prescribed is 10mg and he has to take it continuously for a month so that we can monitor any side effects. After this time he will only have to take it during school time or when he really needs to be focused. It’s worth noting the possible side effects that we’ve been told about and how common they are: Frequent: Decreased appetite. Less frequent: Problems falling asleep. Sedation. Stomach aches and headaches. Weight loss and poor growth. Finger picking. Tics or twitches of the face (this can also be a sign of Tourette Syndrome). Rar e: Bizarre thinking. Depression. To sum up, it’s a relief to finally get over this huge hurdle! Although Steven has only been taking the medication for a few days we can already see a dramatic change in him. He’s not ‘zombified’, which was my greatest fear; instead he’s more alert and is actually enjoying school for the first time. The only side effect he’s experienced is difficulty actually going to sleep but I’m hoping that once his body is used to the medication this problem will sort itself out. I think it’s like drinking coffee just before bed – not recommended! I apologize for the length of this opinion – it ran away from me. If you’ve made it this far then thank you for your patience and if it will be helpful to just one person then it’s been worth it.

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        11.12.2001 09:39
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        I am a parent of an ADHD child (Attention Defecit/Hyper Active Disorder). Now some people don't believe that is a disorder but simply bad parenting. I also think that many people think that normal kids are hyper or have problems. In fact, I think recently it has become a catch all for children who just have some problems settling down. But I was not going to fall into that easy excuse with my daughter. So when she began at the age of three to have problems, I had her diagnosed 5 times by different means before I agreed that it was ADHD. Then there was the question of medication. The doctors wanted to start her right away. But she was only 4 at that time and I was all against that. No child of mine was going to be put on drugs at such an early age. But as time went by, the realization came to me that my child had a disability and if medication helped her, who was I to deny her a better quality of life. So I began to study the disability. I found a lot of theory about it and some fact. The most convincing facts showed me that it wasn't a behavioral problem. She thinks differently than other kids, she has problems that other kids don't, she has difficulty doing things the same way that others do. Even her logic is very different from others. Her senses react differently to stimuli. To give an example, to do her homework, she has to be farther away from the frig, the humming motor drives her nuts. How many of us even notice it. She has impulse control problems, she speaks out of turn, can't sit still, can't remember more than a few items at a time. Her life is not an easy one. The explanation that made the most sense to me was this. Everyone has brain cells. Each brain cell has the ability to send or recieve impulses or messages. In a child with ADHD, some of the brain cells send and recieve. Some only send. Some only recieve. So in order for the brain to process the thought, it has to bounce around before it get's w here it's going. And so, it is harder to focus, harder to understand, it takes longer to process. It is also hereditary. However, by helping her compensate by teaching her alternate ways to function and with the help of medication, she will find her own way in the world. She is now 13 and still struggling, but suceeding. She has always had to work harder at things to get them done. Her biggest problem is organization. She can put something down and five seconds later forget where she put it. And the emotional control is still hard for her. She reacts to everything stronger than most people would. But she is doing well. Because of her problems, many of the kids through the years have made fun of her and teased her. This has made it even harder. But she does well marching to the beat of her own drum and is really becoming her own person. She has all our love and support behind her no matter what and that is what is important. If you believe that your child is ADHD or your doctor tells you they are, don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that it's true, but don't rule it out. Find several people to diagnose it, go to psychiatrists, doctors, school nurses, teachers. People who deal with your child daily. There are many clues, but make sure there is enough to go on. Putting your child on a stimulant on a daily basis shouldn't be taken lightly, but if it improves your child's life, don't be unwilling to consider it. This is not an exact science. there is currently no blood test or other simple test to diagnos it. But there is a way to safely and accurately find the answer for your child.

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          26.08.2001 06:32
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          I have ADD. Nobody else has really figured it out and I keep it my secret. I am terrified that people will make fun of me and consider me mentally ill. I was never diagnosed in school. I grew up in a place where the name for Attention Defecit Disorder was called "Bad Parenting". There was no Ritalin or special help. You just got beat into submission. I was lucky, the fact that I got up and wandered around the classroom and didn't pay attention was attributed to my high IQ, 166 Wechsler and 171 Stanford Binet, in case any of you wondered. I was able to skate by in all my classes because I never once had to learn anything I did not already know. I was never treated like I was stupid, only absent minded and a "scatterbrain" It is hard to live life with my mind always wandering. Women sort of dig the eccentric genious whose mind drifts and seems preoccupied, but what they don't dig is when you show up to your own wedding hours late because you got "distracted". I try to focus on stuff but my mind just sort of takes a vacation from the task at hand. My dad always got mad when I failed at household tasks like painting or sanding and I could not do wood working or macrame. My mind just could not conform to following some routine task that required mindless repitition. I would get bored and make something else. I got in trouble in Junior High School for making my ice scrapper into a knife. They gave us a chunk of plexiglass and wanted us to make a stupid icescraper that would not be as good as the ones you can buy at any filling station for 79 pence, so I took the opportunity to make a knife that could be taken on an airplane. Man all them punks overreacted on this one. But you can read my stuff and see that I spend a lot of time finding ways around doing work so I don't fight with Popeye, because even though he is smart and should realize what my problem is he is more of the old school when mental illness gets treated with a good strap of leather and solitary confinement, he can't appreciate that I have a real bonafide problem. Piano lessons were a nightmare. All these A-holes always say how they regret quitting piano lessons. I am here to say the best day of my life was when Popeye got us thrown out of lessons for good. When I found out a person can play a few guitar chords and sing about killing people and others will listen I became a hell of a musical artists, check out my stuff on Napster and Aimster under "Satan Sanchez's Unholy Trinity", that is my band. People love my work. But I can't find the time for it anymore. When college did not work out the service was my next stop. Except when you leave Dartmouth College there are not armed guards trying to stop you. Somehow I made it through basic training in about 25 weeks instead of 8 after all sorts of punitive measures and remedial stuff since I could not march properly or follow instructions real good. All I wanted to do was to run a tank like grandpa but when it was all said and done I ended up guarding Iraqi prisoners during Desert Storm. I was pulled behind the lines because our XO found that I could facilitate a conversation or rather "questioning" of prisoners if they spoke any european language as well as Arabic. But I had to guard Iraqis and I could not pay attention to what I was doing. We did not have the facilities to hold lots of prisoners but it was mostly Ok since most of the prisoners were happy to be in captivity and just sat there smiling at us. But we got some hard core defiant Republican Guards in there and they saw me as being the weakest link. They tried to get away when I was daydreaming and unlucky for my charges my mighty Mattel held 20 rounds. I got ran up on charges and all this crap and I basically walked away from custody in Frankfort and found my way to the only damn place on Earth I thought I was safe, which was Jugoslav ia. It took me 5 years to get home. I got off scot free over the whole mess because of my shakey status as a recruit and all that jazz and they made me betray Serbia and give all these people a briefing on what their military preparadness was like and how many Russians were there and all that. If you did not know The USA has been looking to beat up Serbia for years just to show the Russians that they are powerless to help their closests Ally. Somehow I have managed to keep a good job on the railway. Basically I can focus on life and death sort of things, as my tasks generally were, when I was actually called upon to perform my duties I had to really concentrate the whole time or else stuff would get ripped up. So I managed. if I was not in the middle of doing something critical I tend to fall asleep. Everything was Ok and I was making good money, riding around on trains, getting off to drop off or pick up cars or fix any minor problems with the engine or goods wagons. But then due to some crazy interpetation of our working agreements I was forced to take Locomotive Driver training. It was the worst month of my life, in a classroom, having to learn stuff that I had no other way of knowing, (how many amps of dynmaic braking can an SD-90 tolerate). I about went nuts and barely passed the course. Then I had to train for 8 months with another certified engineer. No one would tolerate me as a student for very long as they came to the conclusion that I "Just don't listen". To properly run a freight train you have to not only consider the terrain ahead of you but also what type of terrain your train, sometimes 3000 meters long, is travelling over. If you make the wrong move you can tear your train in many pieces or go right off the track and smash through someones house with a few 100 ton tanks of hazardous material. I really never meant to make everyone angry but I just can't focus for the 10 hours it took to g o 210 miles with my train. The problem is I just start thinking about my personal problems, the books that I am writing or I just let my mind drift when I see some deer or ducks. I then realize I am going far to fast or far too slow. If the rest of the crew is asleep they wake up and look at their watches and yell at me. But oddly enough in 8 months I never tore anything apart or even could be accused of rough train handling. I guess I was lucky. I got promoted which takes having my immediate supervisor ride the whole trip with me twice and then having the top engineer on the system ride with me. Somehow I managed to focus and make it through. maybe it helped that we can't smoke with the bosses aboard, I really don't know. Another thing that I have to do is carry a notebook with me and write down lots of reminders to myself because I can never remember anything, Oh I can remember the names of every man who fought at the Alamo (187) or the names of every man who died at Custer's Last stand. But If I think of the fact that I need to buy some tin foil on the way home from work I have to write it down or else I will forget it. My biggest problem is my writing and music. I am not coming off as some arrogant puke who has a senseless waiters job or driving cab while I wait for my pipedream big break. I have a good job, a real man's job but my true talent is producing awesome Alternate history science fiction books. I happened to meet one of the most famous authors of the genre at a nearby book signing. I was wearing my jacket that the Railroad gave me and it turns out that he is a big time railfan and he took a liking to me. He came on to me too, but I wasn't going to be gay with the guy. I ended up showing him all the books that I was working on and he totally flipped out and admonished me, harassing me that I need to complete them. He said the plots were fantastic and they would win Hugos and Novas if I ever completed them. Some times I sit for hours and don't even type anything, only if I save up all my thoughts from times I am supposed to be working on something else. I get so mad at myself and that is why I am so mean and hateful. Another thing I have trouble with is that I have to keep meticulous records of every mundane thing in my life; the cable bill, when my cars oil needs changed, when the baby needs to get her shots. But what is worse than that is how many speeding tickets I get. I always find myself going 50 in a 25 or 25 in a 45, it just depends what is on the radio or what I am thinking about. I finally tore my stereo out of my car to help me concentrate on driving. The only good thing that has come out of my disability is nobody can %$@# like I can. I can last forever since I don't have Psychasms or get mentally worked up and lose control. I can %@#^ forever and the men and women love it. I get bored but what the heck. I'll be throwing a godd ^$^&%ing on a woman and lose track of time and then I realize she has gone and passed out of me since I &$&^%$ed her so well. I think most of you read my stuff and realize I am telling the truth, I start writing about one thing and all of a sudden it becomes something else. That is just how my mind works, and it is terrible. I mean so often people look at me and say, "And what does that have to do with the subject", see I don't have the finesse to say , "not to change the subject, but", see but what I am saying exactly has something to do with what we are talking about. For instance someone is running their mouth about a Czech restaurant, I all of a sudden talk about Ford Mustangs since the only dude I ever knew from Slovakia drove a Mustang. This is why all my ops have been written and rewritten so many times because I have to work on them for hours and try to spit out what I am saying and then re-edit it when I get a chance. Then I have to go back through and try to remember all the stuff I really wanted to write in the first place. I think I need to try to make an outline or something first. Just so you don't worry. I am not a railroad engineer anymore. The bosses saw what my problem was and so they really couldn't get rid of me, since I never did anything wrong. I mean I am just a retard in a way and they can't punish me for that. They can't fire me for what I would have likely done in the future, only for stuff I had done. So they put me in charge of one of the major port facilities on The Eastern Seaboard. It is a good match for me. It is an Ok job and I make good money. But I want to run trains. I think so anyways. I do good at my job since I can tell all tehse Russians and Ukrainians not to load all these old junk cars on coal ships the way they always try to when people aren't watching. They buy all these junk cars and then try to ship them home...see there I go on another tangent. I guess the sad thing is I never intend to try to get help. I sometimes go to Mexico and buy Ritalin to help me concentrate but I always grind it up and snort it or smoke it. I just am so afraid to get help and then everyone will know the truth. I am ashamed but i know this isn't my fault. People around me just think I am a creative jackass that can't pay attention, but it is like my brain stutters and then shifts gears on me. I open up so many windows at once on my computer and try to do a million things at once and can't keep organized. I try to get on Napster to download songs and by the time I am trying to get the one song I came for I got 20 songs piled up but I am playing videogames at that point anyways. I would like to go to college but I can't pay attention to lectures, it sucks because my company would pay for it and I can't get any more promotioins without an education. I lie and say I have a degree and I have made a good effort to learn all about some small co llege in Tiffin Ohio and claim I graduated from there. I think more people respect you if they think you were studying history in college rather than running around Bosnia committing genocide. I don't have any concrete statistics to back that up. I just think it is true. I want to be normal and think like ordinary people. Some of my best friends love me and say I am fun to be around because I always think of stuff to do and make stuff exciting. I don't know. I wish I could pick up a book and read it cover to cover. I wish I could play cards or chess with people. I just keep pushing the "Refresh" icon in my head over and over. I try to put tattoos on people and they come out all crazy because I get distracted when I do them. Last night my sister, SouthernBelle's friend Sara, came over and I was just supposed to put a little heart tat on her inner thigh that said "Girls only" and the next thing I know we are laying in bed smoking seven hours later and she has a tattoo of a dragon snaked around her leg. I gave her a damn $700 tattoo for free and blew her mind on top of it. I just want to be normal, I could never make the same stuff as the other kids in school. We would make those haunted Houses for halloween where you have windows that open up (see something just triggered opening lots of windows in my head) and monsters would be in there. I had my all 3D with Idi Amin and Frank Sinatra popping out and stuff and it had nothing to do with halloween. Then you ought to see me try to follow a recipe. I mess everything up and make all the food crazy and then if it tastes good I can not remember what I put in it. That makes me mad. Then I get on Dooyoo and write mean comments.

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            16.07.2001 20:00
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            • "society hates anyone who is not 'average' or 'normal'"

            My son is 5 1/2 & is handicapped. What's the matter then? He looks fine to me, he's just a bit lively, a typical boy & needs a firm hand.- Spoilt, hopeless parents. These are just some of the comments I have heard about my son. He suffers from a 'Hidden Handicap' -to coin the phrase;this is the title of a book written by George Serofentien about children with ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER or ADHD. We knew he was different from his peers at 18 months as he was always on the go & nowhere was safe for him as he would fiddle with or climb everything. By 2 he was getting worse, woke up at 4am & was like a tournado every day.Eating snails & sand in the garden. He had this little mischivious face with a glint in his eye & was great fun to watch & hell to live with. By age 3 he was absconding if we went out anywhere- I felt like a prisoner in my own home as we had made our home as 'safe' as possible.He was on reins or a wrist link at all times while out but at 3 1/4 learnt how to undo these or car seats or buggy straps. He LOVED everything- woould go up to strangers in the street especially the elderly & hug & kiss them. His siblings were loved to nearly suffocation. Once hhe woke up in the morninngs he would be on top of them in the cot or would pin them down on the floor kissing them. I was a nervous wreck & when I was 8 months pregnant with his youngest sister his nursery threatened to exclude him as most of the kids were frightened of him. He would 'Love' the other children too much & did not notice social cues especially facial cues, children would be screaming out for him to stop or get off but he was not comprehneding them.We took him to see a specialist privately & she disgnosed severe ADHD & Oppositional defiance disorder ODD. At play he would flit from one thing to another, would butt in on other kids games & expect to be the winner every time.He could not p lay with other children but played paralell to them like a toddler would.But put him in front of a computer & he was focussed & calm. He was prescribed Ritalin & after a lot of juggling around of doses & additional drugs his ADHD & ODD is much less of a problem. He started school last year & has come on so much. At one time it was thought that he would never cope in mainstream education but because of early diagnosis & treatment his impulsive behaviour is greatly reduced & his concentration held while the Ritalin is in his system. He is now popular & getting more confidence by the day.This is due to medication & a Statement of Special Educational Needs which gives him 20 hours classroom support a week from the most amazing lady. He is acutely aware that he is different to his peers & hates feeling out of control.He describes this feeling as being 'Whizzy Buzzy' I hope this opinion will give hope to other parents with a child like mine. The help is there but you must fight all the way to get it.

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              29.06.2001 17:46
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              Those of us with ADHD children have all had the old chestnut "Make a star chart" thrown at us by well meaning, but misguided family therapists haven't we? These 'magical' star charts (which invariably don't work ) are supposed to encourage our kids to work towards rewards and learn that they will get no attention, positive or otherwise, from bad behaviour. Does this strategy work? Ask any parent of an ADHD child. They will tell you emphatically NO! Star charts might work on so called 'normal' children, whose brains work like the majority, but with ADHD kids you are working on a very un-level playing field! Unfortunately, the mechanism that remembers reward and gives a good feeling when one is given, is dulled in ADHD children. So when we are trying to teach these kids to conform, does anything work? Well, yes and no. There aren't any behaviour strategies that work will all kids, the whole time. A strategy that is effective on one day might not be so effective on another. These kids are just too inconsistent, and don't learn from experience. However, here are a few tips honed by ourselves over many years of bringing up a child diagnosed with ADHD. I can't promise they will work, but you could have a go. If your little Johnny is the type who won't get up in the morning, try offering an incentive. Don't just call "It's time to get up now", rather "Power Rangers are just starting." Because the child wants to watch his favourite program NOW, he is more likely to come downstairs. He will be sat glued to the box, but so what? At least he is out of bed. Ease your own stress by learning all about ADHD and what behaviour you would expect. The more you know about the disorder, the more the baffling things that they do make sense to you. Don't try to beat your brains out trying to get them to comply with things which aren't *that* important, li ke putting clothes on the correct way or getting matching socks. If they're happy wearing clothes inside out and back to front, it's OK. Chill out. Learn to separate inability from non-compliance. Then you will have a clearer idea when to punish and when not to. We used to go spare at our son's inability (or was it refusal?) to get ready for school. It was a year in year out battle. One day, we just said "sod it" we'll get him ready ourselves. In 5 or 10 minutes we had him washed, dressed, hair brushed and ready. It just made life simpler for *us*. Fortunately as he has grown up he has learned to get himself ready in the mornings, and he comes down after the first shout. So don't be worried about making him lazy by doing things for him through a difficult period, it doesn't necessarily follow he's going to end up lazy. If you are going through a particularly bad patch where everything but everything seems to be going wrong, your child seems to be going backwards, and he is picking up so many strange habits and bad behaviours that you don't know where to start, try focusing on one or two of the WORST misdemeanours and forget the rest for the time being. Our son went through a period of the most blue language you could imagine. It made the other difficulties pale into almost insignificance. What we did therefore, was fine him 10p from his pocket money every time he swore, but didn't attend to any of the other difficulties. We concentrated on the swearing thing at the time. Don't therefore, try to sort everything at once. Finally, look for the good things about your child and see the whole picture. Things might be very bad at the present time, but it might not always be this bad. I can't promise things *will* get better, but they just *might*.

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                26.06.2001 23:02
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                There is a lot of rubbish talked about ADHD, mostly by those that no absolutely nothing about the condition. Although it is a biologically based disorder, even in this day and age, you still hear some pontificationg that these children are the way they are because of a lack of parental skills or because they eat too many sweets. Therefore I thought I would put the record straight here. ADHD is a largely hereditary neurological disorder that can strike anywhere. It knows no social or economical bounderies so *anyone* can give birth to a child like this, so please don't be too quick to condemn those who arestruggling to bring up children with ADHD ... you might find yourself doing the exact same thing. Right, onto some of the myths that abound; 1; ADD/ADHD only affects children It is difficult to estimate how many ADHD children become ADHD adults but it's thought to be around the 50% mark! Although hyperactivity subsides, in it's place is left an overwhelming feeling of restlessness. Also, many of the planning and organisation problems encountered by the ADHD child are taken into adulthood. 2; Parents are to blame for their children's condition Many parents have this put to them by the very people who they go to for help. People (and psychiatrists / psychologists) who blame parents for this condition are ignorant, stupid ..... Or both. For the parent still struggling to find a reason for their child's problems this may be difficult to accept. There is nothing like a mother's guilt! With education of course, comes knowledge and once a parent accepts that they are no more to blame than the parent of a physically disabled child, they can move forward positively. 3; More boys than girls have ADHD Apart from girls manifesting the symptoms differently from boys, there has also been much LESS research done on females. On top of this the diagnostic criteria, which fits the male model o f ADHD, is still used as a tool for diagnosing girls. Boys, frequently stick out more because of the boisterous, overactive symptoms. It is thought that more girls have the spacey ADD and have more learning difficulties than their male counterparts who tend to be more hyper. 4; ADD is over diagnosed At this moment in time, ADHD is thought to be UNDER diagnosed and definitely under treated in Great Britain. Unfortunately, some people are concerned at the use of stimulant medication in treating children. This is the picture often presented in the media. What these people are forgetting though is, not all ADHD diagnosed children are on medication. Some parents use other strategies such as dietary measures, homeopathy, nutritional supplements to name just a few. Many parents are now wanting to try the natural or holistic approaches to managing ADHD. On teh oteher hand, stimulatnt medication has been proven to be THE mose effective treatment for ADHD. 5; Ritalin zonks out children or turns them into zombies Complete rubbish. These emotive statements are put out by extremists who know little about ADHD and it's effects. Like ANY medication, the pros and cons have to be looked at before taking any course of medication. Stimulants do have side effects sometimes. These are well documented. A parent or practitioner looks at these possible side effects and weighs them up against the possible improvement in the quality of life of the child or adult. No one forces anyone to take stimulant medication. If a parent finds that Ritalin doesn't suit her child she is at liberty to take the child off. 6; ADHD can be cured with the correct discipline Unfortunately this misconception is rife amongst other parents and professionals. Parents of ADHD children in fact instill MORE disciplinary measures than ordinary parents. We have to, because our children challenge so many more boundaries. Another thing to consider is the differ ence between inability and non-compliance. Punishing a child for something that they have no control over is cruel. ADHD kids don't enjoy being in trouble the whole time and do not bring further aggravation on themselves for amusement. Anyone who says ADHD can be cured by discipline is misguided. 7; A child who can concentrate sometimes can't have ADHD A child who is known to not be able to concentrate on mundane, boring or repetitive tasks can actually hyper-focus on something which he or she is really interested in. Computer games and the like are very stimulating to the ADHD child. It's a 'one on one' situation and there's usually plenty of action to keep their interest. Because they can concentrate on something which they are REALLY interested in does not mean they CAN'T have ADHD. 8; A child who can sleep can't have ADHD Some children with ADHD do have trouble sleeping at night. Some tend to wake up at regular intervals throughout the night, waking parents or going 'walkabout'. Most of them are very difficult to settle at nights. However some do sleep all the way through when they eventually dropp off at 1 am and some have no trouble at all sleeping. Therefore don't think that just because a child *can* sleep they can't have ADHD. I hope this clears a few things up. Meanwhile hereare the diagnostic criterior for ADHD; Either (1) or (2) 1: Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level: Inattention (a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities. (b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities. (c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. (d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish s choolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions.) (e) often has difficulty organising tasks and activities. (f) often avoids, or dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework.) (g) often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (eg. toys, school assignments, pencils, books or tools.) (h) is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. (i) is often forgetful in daily activities. 2; Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level: Hyperactivity (a) often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat. (b) often leaves seat in classroom or other situations in which remaining seated is expected. (c) often runs or climbs excessively in inappropriate situations. (d) often has difficulty playing of engaging in leisure activities quietly. (e) is often "on the go" or acts "as if driven by a motor." (f) often talks excessively. Impulsivity (g) often blurts out answers before questions have been completed. (h) often has difficulty awaiting turn. (i) often interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations/games.) TYPES; Attention Deficit Disorder, Combined Type; if both criteria 1 and 2 are met for the past six months. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type; if criterion 1 is met but criterion 2 is not met for the last six months. Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Hyperactive, Impulsive Type; if criterion 2 is met but criterion 2 is met but criterion 1 is not met for the last six months. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder not otherwise specified. This category is for disorders with prominent sympt oms of inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity that do not meet criteria for Attention Deficit

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                  19.06.2001 16:43
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                  hiya bit about my kids to start with, I have 2 boys age 3 and 4 both are registered Special Needs and are hyperactive although do not have all the syptoms of ADHD. They can not concentrate for long, and do get very tired easily which results in naughty behaviour. A typical day is get up do breakfast while I am preparing this the two boys would have taken all the cushions off the couch and messed around. I am lucky I hid everything from the rooms now so the things that we do have eg videos,cds are high up ina locked cupboard. I had to do this and screw the tv into the tv unit as they would try and knock it off. Next I would play with them for a few hours, today my eldest wanted the train set so I got it out,within 10mins of playing they started throwing it around the room, and then crying as it hurt when thrown. This starts the fighting off. While tidying that up they have opened the safty gate and are in the back room. my dryer has cars,balls and other toys going around in it now. also all my clean clothes are posted out of the cat flap so they are all dirty again. Half the food out the fridge has been eaten by them or spilt on the floor. Dinner time again goes on the floor mostly when eaten enough. They do not seem to understand that you just hand the plate to mummy yet, instead the floor gets it. At 1pm I am lucky as my eldest goes to nursery so I take him there, then come back and tidy up again. after school it is a matter of doing tea and bed time. They go down handy but get up at around 4am. I have tried keeping them awake but with no avail, when they are tired they will sleep no matter what they are doing. Things that normally happen in the day are the bathroom toothpaste all over water on the floor. I have lost count the amount of times I have had to clean that up after cups of water have been thrown on the floor. Other things I have done to make life a little easier locked all the doors upst airs so they can not get in the bedrooms, 2nd were possible lock things away eg cds, videos so they do not get smashed. 3rd is to not get my self wound up over them they can not help it. Thing is they do not understand danger so need watching 24/7. I find that trying to tell them off is also hard as they do not understand. I can not lock them in there room as they are a danger and would prob smash the window ect. if I smack at the last resort they smack me back thinking it is a game. I am just hoping that they will grow out of it. No matter what they do they are still my kids and I love them for who they are. Sure days are hard but others have it worse off than me. after all it is an illness they are not just being bad.

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                    25.03.2001 20:50
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                    As you may have read in another of my opinions, I have a daughter with Oppositional Defiance Disorder and I have written a long opinion about that. Now, after being inspired by wishywalshy’s excellent opinion on her experience of ADHD, I thought it was time to write about my son, Dominyk. He is nine years old and has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I don’t intend to tell you all the facts about the condition, as the other opinions in this category already do that brilliantly. But of course, as individual parents with individual children, we all bring something unique to the discussion, so I felt I could contribute by telling you about my son and my experiences of dealing with him. First of all, it needs to be said that I split up from my son’s father in 1992, when Dominyk was only six months old. Due to a long and complicated situation which I won’t go into now, Dominyk went to live with his father. It was originally supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but my ex was offered a flat as a single parent and took it. This meant I felt I could not fight for custody of my son, or my ex would have been made homeless. When I did go for legal advice, it was too late, I was told the courts would not listen. However, circumstances change. Dominyk is moving in with us next month and will be living with us permanently – at last. Over the years, he has stayed with us for most of the school holidays, half terms and alternate Christmases, so we have had regular visits, often for up to six weeks at a time. So, his father has dealt with most of the ADHD, including the complicated process involved in getting a diagnosis of the condition. Dominyk’s form of ADHD cannot be helped by use of Ritalin, so we use behavioural management techniques to minimise the difficulties. One of the first times I really noticed something was different about Dominyk was when he was staying with us in the Summer of 1996. He would have been four and a half or so. He asked to watch a Dr.Who video (We are all fans), which I said he could. Well, we had about ten videos at the time and he’d watch maybe ten minutes of one story, then ten minutes of another one, then a third, then another five minutes of the first and so on. But – he also knew exactly what had happened in each story and had followed them perfectly! He could easily retell each story. Amazing. As he got older, his aggression became more obvious. One day, I said something – so trivial that I can’t remember what it was – but he just flipped out. My Gran and Aunt were there at the time and it all became rather surreal, as we were all talking, trying to pretend nothing was happening, while Dominyk was in the utility room (visible through a glass window), systematically trashing it! He would throw toys and furniture from one side of the room to the other, until he had got rid of all the aggression inside him. When he had calmed down, he came in as though nothing had happened. Now he is nine years old, he can do real damage. His most recent ‘flip out’ was when he stayed here a couple of weeks ago, after being suspended yet again from school – this time for a week, after hitting another boy. All the kids had been annoying each other and playing up, so we sent them to their bedrooms, treating them equally. However, he took exception to this. He packed his suitcase and was preparing to get out of the house and walk home to his Dad’s, some 95 miles! We locked the doors, took the keys away and came upstairs. He went into his room (which is downstairs and used to be the Dining room!) and threw the chairs around, shouted, swore, kicked the wall and slammed the door repeatedly. We ignored him and let him get on with it. We kept an eye on him, of course, so he didn’t do anything dangerous, but he didn’t know that. Once again, he got it ou t of his system, although it lasted maybe an hour or so. Exhausted, he fell asleep in his clothes. The next morning, it was as though nothing had happened. He unpacked and life went on. We have learned the best way to deal with him is to keep things calm and quiet. If we shout at him, it increases the tension and things get worse. It is best to check he’s safe and move away, observing discretely from a distance. He adores animals and we often use our pets to calm him down. He especially adores our dog, Katy, who is a Jack Russell/Chihuahua with a playful nature – but Dominyk wears her out. The first few days, she loves all the constant attention, being able to sleep on Dominyk’s bed, having an eager and enthusiastic playmate who always wants to play fetch and run around the garden. But then Katy disappears, usually into the bedding cupboard <shhh> for a well-earned rest. If he is being noisy and won’t/can’t calm down, he is more likely to quieten down if we tell him he’s keeping the dog awake, than his sisters! He has a pretty good relationship with his elder sister (16 months older) and his younger sister (14 months younger), but he cannot cope with Viki, our O.D.D. almost five year old. They are two opposites, but both with umpteen demands and idiosyncrasies. Whereas the other two can see the signs and know when to calm the situation down or retreat, Viki finds the spark and lights a match to it. One of her favourite activities is winding Dominyk up, often by poking him, circling him or chanting. He has a low tolerance and when he is fed up, he lashes out. Viki irritates him, he hits out, she comes running to us in tears. Last Summer, he hit her in the face with a chair causing a very dramatic and distressing nosebleed. She didn’t learn, she still persists. It is not an easy relationship between those two. There are some activities that keep Dominyk interested and happy. He watches videos disjointedly and sporadically, but will read voraciously – often having several books on the go at once. He loves his Gameboy and big sister’s Playstation and these will hold his – and Viki’s – attention for hours. Of course, theses games are fast-moving, colourful, bright, constantly changing and varying – perfect for an ADHD or ODD child. Dominyk and Viki both wake up early – it used to be 4am with Viki for years, but now they both get up around 6am. Viki goes to sleep around 7pm, but Dominyk needs a long time to wind down. He has a 8:30-9pm bedtime, the same as our ten year old, but he reads for hours after that. He is often awake later than we are, but he just needs that time to calm down, so his body is in the relaxed state it needs to physically sleep. One of Dominyk’s talents is that he is brilliant on computers, understanding more than I do about most things. When he looked round his new school, the headteacher asked him what his favourite subject was, to which he replied “I.T” – he’s not kidding! Since he was around four, he has been fascinated with how things work – taking apart clocks, watches, pens and so on, then fixing them. He can work out people’s video recorders and set alarm clocks. He is way above his years in this. He also collects things obsessively, going through several different fads – Pokemon, Digimon, dinosaurs, Dr.Who figures, Star Wars stuff and so on. Currently it is Thunderbirds, so everything is geared around watching the programme, buying the toys and playing with them. He talks constantly and usually very fast. It can be hell being on a long car journey with him, especially if you have a headache! He is also fascinated by emergency vehicles and accidents. When we were in a minor car crash in 1999, he thought it was brilliant, ringing his Dad up to tell him all about it with great glee! < br>He is bright, but his brain works too fast for his hand, so his work is often illegible. His spelling is worse than my seven year old’s. But his main problem at school is his behaviour. If he gets bored or someone winds him up or other kids egg him on, he will become loud, aggressive, violent. When the other boys know it’s time to calm down, fearing being sent to the headteacher or having their parents called in, Dominyk just keeps going, he has no idea of consequences. He has been suspended (excluded) countless times. He has swore at staff, attacked other children, even hit the headteacher. The school seem to refuse to help, passing him off as “not their problem”. It is easy to send him home for a few days than have to deal with him themselves. I know schools are underfunded, especially Special Needs, but why try to put a nine year old on the scrap heap? They have talked of permanently excluding (expelling) him. Then what? Thankfully, he is moving in with us soon and will go to the local school, which is much better with ADHD children, using the exclusion policy as the very last resort. With me being at home, I can also go to school with him when necessary, whereas his father has to work and nearly lost his job over all the time he had off. ADHD children are difficult and definitely test your patience, but I do wish the schools would be more of a help, rather than a hindrance. It is also annoying – as some of the other writers in this category have said – when people question the ADHD diagnosis, suggesting it’s an easy way out, an excuse for a naughty child or just a convenient label to hang the world’s evils on. Because ADHD (and ODD) are not obvious - you can’t see them as you would notice a missing limb or a wheelchair, for example – it does not mean they are imagined. To us who live with this, they are very, very real.

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                      17.03.2001 20:22
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                      ADHD (Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder) is quite a common occurance in children and sometimes adults these days. It is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain which (in my experience) gives the individual very little sense of right or wrong or ability to control their actions or emotions. My son suffers from this and was first diagnosed as hyperactive at 3 years old. He would flit from thing to thing while playing and be constantly wanting attention and generally be a very demanding child. The main problem now that he is 9 is that he has a very poor attention span. You can keep him occupied and interested for about 10 minutes. (unless its Pokemon or Something similar on TV then he will watch for a long time, even up to an hour). His school have not been very good, they noticed a problem with him in the nursery at 4 years old and brought it to my attention. Since then each teacher that he has had has struggled with him. It took 2 and a half years for him to be assessed by the Educational Psychologist and when this happened they said that he was 1yr 10 months behind (that was when he was 7) and to get any help he would need to be 2 years behind. This is petty educational beurocracy and l complained bitterly but to no avail. He has 15 mins of extra reading a week. The school is a very good Primary school if your child excells as my older daughter did but if you struggle you are more or less left to get on with it. The parents having to do any extra work to try to help the child themselves. He now reads well but his spelling, writing and maths are very poor. James sees a paediatrician about once a year and each time (since 3) they offer me Ritalin (which is known to have a calming effect on children with this condition but only lasts for 3 hours) for him but l feel it is not right for us and we have been told that is is better to take the behaviourist approach in the long run it is more successfull. It is very hard to do though a nd l think a big part of me would like to try the drug. THE FOLLOWING (IS AN ADDED SECTION DONE VERY RECENTLY SO MAY NOT QUITE FIT INTO THE READING PATTERN> I have just (Friday) had an appointment with James paediatrician (a new one) and she was absolutely brilliant. She is a GP herself with children, so there is a hope she understands. She says James is suffering and from severe low self-confidence and esteem. That comes from the techer belittling him in front of the entire school (in assembly) for only getting 2/10 for his maths. She and l were furious and she is taking strong steps to stop this kind of bullying (thats all it can be called). She says that l have been perfectly correct in being hesitant to give him Ritalin as in her opinion he is not a suitable condidate for it. She has referred him to the therapist at the child development centre and is also referring him to a hypnotist as she has had experience of this REALLY helping children like my son, so l am really hoping something finally is going to get done. In the street or in shops when he was small and had what l can only describe as a tantrum refusing to get up off of the floor and shouting and screeching people have no altruism or undertanding of the problem. I have actually had one 'well-meaning' old lady say that l should keep my childrne under control and if l couldn;'t l shouldn't take them out of the house. GASP!!!! Most individuals just give you very black looks as if there is some magic thing you can do to stop it. As far as relationships at home are concerned he is a very loving child. He has an older sister who is 10 and they are very close. I feel that she suffers probably the most of all of us as one moment he can be playing happilly with her and the next he is lashing out and shouting and generally being very disruptive. This comes on instantaneously and there are no warning signs. He does not have the ability to understand what is and is not acceptable, appropriate behaviour no matter how much we talk, plead, shout, pray for him to not do these things. It is a great shame that so many children now are appearing to suffer from this condition. My personal opinion is that because James is Asthmatic it has something to do with the medication that he takes. He is on a Ventolin inhaler and has been taking that since he was 2 and 1/2. This has in it Salbutamol and this chemical is known to cause hyperactivity. You can tell when he has had to use him inhaler more because he becomes more hard to handle. I have suggested this to the GP and the paediatrician but they poo poo the idea. But l am sure that there is something in it. Are there any other sufferers with asthma? It is a fact that asthma has definately increased in children over the last 15 years and so has the ADHD. It would be wonderful if a study could be done to establish whether or not there is a link. We will continue to help James as much as we can because we love him as much as the others. He gives us so much affection and can be real joy to be around. If only there was an answer to the cause of this condition. I find myself constantly taking a deep breath and counting to ten...............

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                        13.03.2001 03:46
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                        My son is twelve years old, yesterday he told me he wants to die. He suffers from ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and has little or no control over his mood. Outwardly he is a very happy, loving boy who just happens to get into a lot of trouble, is a bit cheeky and a big show off. This is what the casual acquaintance sees, to his teachers he is a keen student, has an amazing grasp of language for his age, is very keen on class discussions and is possibly the most disruptive influence in their class. Not a day goes by when he’s not involved in a fight with someone, he has to be chaperoned wherever he goes for his own safety, although he has alienated himself so much from his older brother that he walks away now, rather than involve himself with another fight. Our son was born with a condition called “Reflex Anoxic Seizures”; he would suddenly stiffen and fall, eyes rolling back and stop breathing. These attacks were obviously very frightening, not only for him but also for his mother and I. Many doctors call these attacks “breath holding”, they assume that the child has brought the seizure on by holding their breath in a tantrum until they pass out, but how can that be? we asked, he was quietly watching telly when it happened. Gradually, and with much pushing, we got to see a specialist in the Yorkhill hospital in Glasgow. He was, finally, able to put us at ease and explained the ins and outs of this condition, (it is not life threatening) he even induced a fit while our son was attached to a myriad of equipment, his heart “flatlined” for about thirty seconds and then started beating again without any problem. He has now grown out of this condition but we have often wondered if the fits he endured have had anything to do with him now having ADHD. ADHD children have a chemical imbalance in their brains, this imbalance affects them in various ways but the most common wa y it affects them is in their ability to function socially and how to interact with their peers. Untreated, this condition will inevitably lead to serious trouble, both socially and mentally. How many untreated children are now in prison or children’s units? how many have been branded trouble makers or have just been abandoned to drift through life alienated from all around them? When our son was six he was diagnosed, after thengthy tests, and prescribed “Ritalin”. To say this drug made a difference would be a major understatement, it has quite simply saved our family from perpetual hell. Ritalin enables our son to attend school and function in an almost normal way, (he still has a lot of trouble communicating with his peer group and will always seem a bit “odd” to them), his concentration level is 100% better and he is ultimately a lot happier. It goes without saying that we are a lot happier too! Unfortunately, the down side is that because Ritalin is a class A drug, it can only be prescribed and administered under very strict guidelines. Each dose only lasts for around three hours,(in my sons case anyway), and so by the time he gets home from school the effects are already wearing off. From tea-time to bed time we tread the minefield of fights between him and his siblings, tears and tantrums at the slightest thing and heartbreaking sobbing when things get too much, he ju st doesn’t understand why he has no friends. Paranoia is perhaps the most difficult side of his condition to deal with. He imagines that his classmates are plotting against him, and with this belief in mind he feels totally justified when he confronts them and starts yet another fight. No one can convince him that he is imagining it and of course the end result is more alienation. We have often found that teachers, friends and even some of our family think that ADHD is a cop out for being a bad parent. They think that because ou r child is so difficult, we would rather blame it on a medical condition than admit to being indulgent parents who have ruined and spoilt our child until he is an unholy monster, if only that were the case, we could at least begin to reverse a situation like that. We have to explain and justify our sons behaviour on a regular basis, we have to try and explain, to people who really should know better, that our son is the way he is because he is ill, all he needs is more understanding from his teachers and peers and together with his medication he may have a chance of leading a normal life.(he may be on medication all his life, but as he gets older and matures he will be able to understand just what is wrong with him and how to deal with it). There are times when I, to my shame, have wished that he had never been born, but then when I look across the room at him, I feel such a rush of love for him, a need to protect him that I know I will go to any length to see that he has the fairest chance in leading his life, in a way that he sees fit. There are many organisations and help groups for family’s living with ADHD or ADD one of the best is www.adders.org if you visit this site you will find lots of helpful advice, forums and links to other organisations. [UPDATE] Since I wrote this opinion, my sons behaviour in school has, unfortunately, gone downhill rather fast. Although the ritalin still seems to be working (on his concentration anyway) his ability to discern proper behaviour from improper has dissapeared, we are faced with more meetings with the child psycologists and the inevitable move to a "special" school and all the stigma (in our area) attached to it. There is still so much more research needed in this type of illness, so much more information to be made available to the right people (teachers, youth workers, police etc, not just parents)that I fear we will still be in the same position for a few years to come.

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                          11.03.2001 22:31
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                          ADHD Impulsive, and destructive, hyperactive and unruly behaviour exhibited by many of the children in this and other societies. Shunned by adults and other children, an affected person and their carers can be driven to despair. My experience of ADHD is based on life with our 9-year-old sufferer. Diagnosed over 2 years ago after a battle with the authorities and her school it was and is an uphill struggle. Sometimes called an equivalent of yuppie flu, it has recently been proved by American scientists by the use of more intricate CAT scans that it is a real and bon a fide condition not merely a figment of someone’s imagination, nor an alternative name for a naughty child. What is ADHD? A neurological disorder, which appears to affect around 3-5% of the school age population. It is believed to be a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is decided at birth. What does ADHD stand for? Attention deficient hyperactivity disorder. Can a person catch it? No , it is seen to be hereditary, my hubby is exactly the same character. It knows no social bounds or constraints either, it doesn’t matter whether you live in a mansion or a council house, you have the same chance of having it as the next person. What are the symptoms of this condition? It can vary slightly from child to child, but generally consists of some or all of the following behaviours;- · Excessively fidgets or squirms · Difficulty remaining seated · Easily distracted · Difficulty awaiting turn in games · Blurts out answers to questions · Difficulty following instructions · Difficulty sustaining attention · Shifts from one activity to another · Difficulty playing quietly · Often talks excessively · Often interrupts · Often doesn't listen to what is said · Often loses things · Often engages in dangerous activities There are al so other conditions which can be combined with ADHD such as Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and conduct disorders. It is believed that some ADHD sufferers also are frequently dyslexic.(We are lucky there!!) Why did you think that your child was affected with ADHD? Initially we didn’t, we attributed her” bad” behaviour to how she was dealing with the death of her baby brother. As time progressed and nothing improved, we began to realise that there was more to it than grief. What age did you notice these changes? To be honest she was always on the go, and always wanted to do what she couldn’t engaging in downright dangerous activities was a favourite. She was convinced for many months that she could fly, so we had to lock every window in the house. Her school lost patience and even employed their own educational psychologist, who stated that he felt that something wasn’t quite right, Willow darted all around the classroom, wouldn’t listen to instructions and would never shut up even when spoken to by adult, would constantly interrupt and basically couldn’t control her actions. How long did the system take to form their diagnoses of your child? Are you ready for this…….. 2 years, and what a bad 2 years that was. During this period of time we had modified her diet many times, under the illusion that it could be attributed to an allergic reaction to un natural additives, that didn’t work. Spent a fortune at the homeopath, didn’t work either. Challenged the whole behavioural support team in our area, Willow outsmarted them there. Aromatherapy, no success Physical punishment, useless idea, she doesn’t remember what she did 10 minutes ago, let alone being physically punished after the event. Withholding privileges, again same story as physical punishment Rewards and star charts, great for the first couple of days, then b ack to the same old problems. Does her education suffer? To a degree yes, she is very fortunate to be highly gifted and has a photographic memory as well as a tremendous flair for the English vocabulary, but she cannot and often will not relay these thoughts onto paper. However if she were asked to verbally answer the questions in front of her she would excel. She also has an amazing natural musical ability and a beautiful singing voice Unfortunately the other kids in her class suffer as well, Willow interrupts the class and causes chaos in her wake Her reading ability is quite amazing, and has a reading age of 14, her love is books. What about medication? There are several options on the market, but most ADHD children and adults take Ritalin(Methyphenidate) several times a day, it is not a magic pill that controls behaviour by any means, but in Willows case it seems to work, and to give the ability to slow down ant to focus on what is being asked of her. Ritalin is a controlled substance and a prescription must be obtained. Alternative chemical prescriptions include Adderal, Equeaseam(sp), and slow release Ritalin. Unfortunately many children have to be prescribed other drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants and and on the odd occasion sleeping tablets and medication to prevent bed wetting. We currently do not allow Willow to take anything other than One 10mg tablet of Ritalin twice a day. But there are cases of children being prescribed up to six a day. How long does one dose of the Ritalin last for? Not long enough<sigh>, usually for around 2-3 hours, when she starts to speed up again. How often does she take the medication? Currently twice a day with food, but that dose is regularly revised. Are there any side effects? Unfortunately yes there are, they include lack of appetite, insomnia, weight loss, failure to thrive, bed wetting, anxie ty, depression etc to name a few. We have experienced the bedwetting anxiety, insomnia, and the suppression of appetite. I tend not to make a big thing out of wet beds, but I do ensure that she does eat something, usually obscure things none the less, but she tends to eat what she likes, and likes what she eats, even if it is in minute portions. Our home life was in turmoil and she seemed to take every opportunity to cause a problem, she really didn’t know that she was doing it, we felt that we had no other option apart from the drugs available us. The drugs are something I was dead against, and to a degree still am, but with the building pressure, and several years of living with "the child from hell" there was little choice. My arguments were that if we couldn't sort her out no-one could, and basically took a defiant stance regarding the use of prescription drugs, even having full blown arguments on Talk radio with James Whale and his Professor guest regarding this topic. I now stand corrected, they were right and I was wrong.(I don't say that often;) A typical school day will go something like this; 7.am, wake the children for school, Willow is usually awake reading and has normally wet the bed so will need a bath and the bed stripping 7.15am, Call Willow again, tell her I’m not happy give her to the count of 10 7,8,9,10,1001,1002 etc 7.30am Willow is still in bed by now playing her Gameboy(damn thing)Other children have already eaten their breakfast and are getting dressed. 7.40am.I now threaten to smash the Gameboy she ambles downstairs, guaranteed not to have had a wash yet, tries to pick up the baby swing her around the room etc, decides what she is going to do, fights with her sisters, bullies them, reads their minds insists that she knows what they are all thinking(joke) and finally results in shouting match, shrill adult voices, finally makes her own breakfast, not before moaning and whining that someone has more cereal/milk/sugar etc and spilling most of it onto the counter. Picks the biggest bowl and the smallest spoon and eats a quarter of the contents 7.50am. Time for her medication, battle ensues finally takes it. 7.55am. Goes for a wash(at last)after operating her selective hearing 8.00am arguments from upstairs, can’t find her clothes(all in front of her), can’t remember if she did her homework or where she put it. 8.15am, still not dressed, almighty argument with hubby.(Usually about her) 8.30am finally washed and dressed and ready for school. And out of the door. 8.31am.Back again she forgot the flute her lunch, her homework etc More arguments in the car about seatbelts answering back, inappropriate behaviour etc, shouting at me, and antagonising her sisters. Finally at school. Each day is a stressful event and an experience, sometimes resulting in phone calls from school etc, early pick ups There have been times that I have hidden in the stairwells to avoid confrontation from her teacher and snide looks from other parents. Then home time dawn upon me all too quickly, there is barely enough time to rectify the damage done by her that morning before it all begins again, only this time it is worse, as the medication prevents her sleeping and we do not give it after 1.00pm(Not that it makes that much difference in her sleep patterns) By the time she has arrived home there is bound to have been at least one argument. The evening then goes from bad to worse, as she turns her nose up whatever is cooked for tea, and again antagonises the others. Battle for homework to be done, tears and more arguments, banish the Gameboy, homework finally completed…badly. Bedtime is around 9.00pm, with her now in her own room, as she insists on swinging and bouncing around the others room. Back downstairs at least 6 times for v arious reasons, none of which are valid. If I am lucky she will be asleep by 11pm, but not before turning out every cupboard and drawer, emptying every bottle of shampoo etc in the bathroom, climbing on her sisters bed punching her a few times, waking the babies etc. You see, she does not understand the consequences to her actions Nor does she understand that she hurts people with her actions and words. It is guaranteed to have been tears and verbal outbursts during the evening, she just does not understand that there are other members of the family who are affected by her condition, nothing is ever "fair", and everyboby seems to either like or loathe her. 1105pm, stand at her door turn the light off, give her a kiss, and think to myself that she is so angelic when she is asleep. Phew that is a quiet day!! How does ADHD affect the rest of the family? I think that there is certain amount of resentment from her siblings, Willow seems to get most of the attention, I do try extremely hard to give even and equal amounts of time to them all. The family is on a knife edge, we KNOW it isn’t her fault, but she would try the patience of a saint. Every day is a new learning curve, and with the support that the Internet has offered us, we can see that this problem will never go away, you have to learn new ways to resolve the problems. Are there any advantages in this illness? There are a few advantages in having an ADHD child though believe it or not, they are exceptional problem solvers and are prepared to take a chance when “normal” kids wont, they will speak their mind and will not be silenced or stifled by society. Support on the Internet? There are many groups on the net, and they are exceptionally interesting, as they give an insight into how others deal with their “unruly” children. I belong to ADDvocate am email group whic h can be subscribed to email address ADDvocate@yahoogroups.com www.adders.org is full of useful information and experieces of both parents and children with this condition I can also thoroughly recommend ADHDUK.co.uk written by a fellow dooyooer Gail Miller who has also written a brilliant book called Wild child, essential reading for all ADHD parents. There are many children that suffer from this disorder, so next time you see a badly behaved child in the street, before you criticise or start to think that the child needs a damn good smack, or that mother has no control over their kids, please spare a thought for the child, it is an impossible position, decided at birth. Will your child grow out it? Many do, but some do not, there is evidence to prove that Einstein is one of the many prolific members of society affected by this illness. Some ADHD adults undiagnosed, unknowingly self medicate with excess amounts of caffiene, it seems to make a difference, my husband can vouch for that!! Tragically one of Britains leading authorities on ADHD Prof Steve Baldwin was killed in the Rail crash at Selby recently, a real shame. Thank you for your time and patience, patience is one thing that I have learned not to take for granted. (Dedicated to the work of Proff Steve Baldwin Rest In Peace, and thanks for the good work he has left behind in this field of medicine.)

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                            07.03.2001 03:46
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                            I have two children my son will be three in April my daughter one in May. My son is very hyperactive he changes from day to day some days he can be good as gold other times really bad. I sometimes wonder what I'm doing wrong? When I mentioned to my health vistor that I thought Kyle was badly behaved she told me to stop giving him sweets and pop as they contain e numbers. I stopped giving him sweets this did stop him being hyper for a short time but he is still hyper-active. He hardly ever has sweets or pop so I know they are not to blame. He wakes up about six on a morning or sometimes during the night wanting to get up. He can sleep for an hour and be up all night. There have been times when I have thought I have had enough of this and felt like walking out but he is my son and I will always be there for him. I have spoke to numoures people about his behavior but no-one will give me any help and support there soloution is put him in care but why should I? If they offered me support maybe I could understand why he behaves like he does. I also have a problem getting him to eat. I make him meals and he refuses to eat them . Sometimes it is like a fight Im never gonna win. He attends nusery three days a week and nusery say he never misbehaves for them. So is it me? I have mentioned to my docter about testing him but he says no as he can not see a problem. Well there is one and someone needs to help me as sometimes I think I am gonna crack up. I constantly ring my health vistor asking to see someone who may be able to help or a group we could attend she says this is not necessary although she has told me that my son has a behaviour problem but how can I do anything when I cant even get any support.

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