Eighteen months ago, TMan was diagnosed with ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). He had a difficult year in kindergarten and was struggling in first grade when we had him tested. He just couldn’t sit still and seemed to need constant stimulation – rocking, chewing on things, crumbling papers, etc. It’s like one of those old wind up toys that’s been overwound and it ends up on its side with its legs twitching…
We did some therapy for a while and it helped teach us how to soothe him and provide some things to feed that need for stimulation in the classroom. But his grades and behavior were still falling short. Our doctor has a lot of experience (personal and professional) with ADD/ADHD and suggested we try medicine. We did some research and decided to go for it. He put TMan on a very low dose extended release pill that only lasts 8-10 hours and then it’s out of the system.
We could see the difference immediately. Not zombie or anything like that. It was the same little boy with a great sense of humor and smile, he was just able to focus on things for a change. He could sit with you and work on a project and there wasn’t this constant frenetic energy pulsating and poring from his pores. And the kid who was barely passing and getting terrible grades started excelling in class. His reading score shot past his grade level and a few months later he tested for gifted and talented. The same kid the teacher wanted to hold back in kindergarten because he couldn’t sit still for her to test him properly! Bah!
Now, 18 months later, TMan is still in gifted and talented – in 2nd grade he is reading at a fourth grade level and has recently become enthralled with chess! He constantly amazes me with what his little mind comes up with.
Over the months we have had to tweak his meds, gradually increasing the dosage as it stops working as effectively. Our doctor assures us this is very common as the body begins to get ‘used’ to the stimulation the meds provide.
The last month has been a struggle. TMan is getting more and more marks at school, and mornings and evenings are difficult. Getting him dressed in the morning takes at least 30 minutes with constant redirection – he will stand there with a sock in his hand and start to put it on, see something, have to tell you about it, twirl around, set the sock down, start to walk away and then look at you blankly when you remind him to put the sock on. It’s exhausting. Most days, by the time I drop them off for the bus I am already frazzled and ready for a nap.
Fast forward 8-10 hours. Meds are wearing off rapidly. Dinner becomes an effort (on my part) to ignore the constant rocking, twisting in his chair and drumming of his utensils. Homework is a battle to move along – he does ok on the math since it’s so easy for him, but he hates writing so spelling is a fight every night! Many kids with ADHD have terrible handwriting and TMan fits that category – it’s almost illegible, but making him rewrite things when he can barely sit still to focus on them in the first place is impossible! So evenings are as difficult as the mornings are. We have to constantly remind ourselves not to get too angry with him, but try to figure out ways to get him to do what we need but still feed his need for ‘speed’. (Very bad pun, I’ll admit!)
So tomorrow TMan starts a totally new med. ugh. He reached the highest dose on the one he was taking so doc prescribed a different med. I know he needs a change but I hate trying something different. What if it doesn’t work? What if he has a weird reaction? What if it zombies him out? Bleh!
Praying that it helps him focus better during school. It’s very hard to tell him to ‘try harder’ to not get behavior marks when I know he tries hard everyday. He doesn’t want to get in trouble, and it effects his self-esteem greatly, which I won’t tolerate.
So here’s to hoping the new meds are just the ticket for TMan to finish out the second grade smoothly!
Hello! I saw your blog link on the ETL forum page. Your T-man sounds exactly like my 7 yo ETL. He is in 1st grade and just dx’d with ADHD combined type. I have yet to start meds, it just scares the heck out of me. But reading blogs like yours help me to realize that maybe the meds could help unlock something that is clouded by ADHD. Thank you for your blog. You are helping people like me!
Thanks for your kind comments Monica! And believe me – they scared me too! We still tweak his dosage and watch him closely and mornings and bedtimes are difficult, but he is thriving at school and that was super-important to us! I asked him the other day about his meds and if he liked taking them. He shrugged and said sure, except for one thing…I’m not quite as hilarious on my meds!! Cracks me up! Hang in there – you are not alone! I know as a mom, I still feel ‘guilty’ or ‘responsible’ when my kiddos don’t do well (it’s our cross as parents, I think) but knowing I am trying as hard as I can to help them succeed is a balm to that guilt! Doesn’t make it stink any less when he is spastic if we have to go somewhere in the evenings and at the table next to us is some ‘stepford’ kid who sits quietly and still! I like to think that we were picked as parents of a ‘hard one’ because we have the skills to help them be great people!! Feel free to reach out to me anytime – med questions, advice, or just to be able to vent to someone who has been there and won’t judge!