When ADHD comes home……

by Rod Smith

I am grieving. No. No one’s dead. I’ve not been deserted or fired.

My second son (8) has been diagnosed with ADHD. It’s official.

At least it is as official as a prescription and an accompanying list of side effects enough to make me want to dump the little white dispenser of the daily dosage in the trash.

Here’s how the diagnosis went: I make a phone call. I tell the nurse (not the doctor) what I see. Based solely on my description the boy’s called in for a physical and, pronto, the words are uttered. A (pre)script(ion) is written.

But wait. I am accustomed to his ways. Constant movement is his signature.

It’s his trademark.

I am comfortable knowing he sometimes practices his spelling while he’s whizzing through the kitchen on a skateboard.

I love him just as he is.

I don’t want the boy silenced, quieted down, tamed. I know he’s tough to handle. I know he doesn’t play by the rules – but does he have to be drugged into order?

Or, wait. Will it do wonders for his self-esteem and his school grades?

Will the day soon dawn when I thank God such help exists for this, my beloved, affectionate, funny, talented, and caring son?

3 Comments to “When ADHD comes home……”

  1. Oh, Rod.
    When he’s older you and he will be grateful that you made the decision you’re going to make, because you’re the best parent he can possibly have and wisest human being in his life. No-one else knows or loves him as thoroughly as you do, with T coming a close second.

  2. Rod,
    Yes, only you will know what is right. We all think our parental love will do the best for our children. It doesn’t always. The drugs cause side effects that could be seen soon or might not harm at all. Things that change lives forever can’t be taken back. Love him and let him be a boy.

  3. One on one my son seemed fine – articulate, self-assured, and even still – and mature beyond his 7 years. But in the classroom when trying to compose and write, the frustration and anxiety would gradually begin to build.
    His preschool teacher had commented on his anxiety. His kindy teacher wondered whether his hearing had been tested, he often seemed deaf. By Year 1, my son started hating himself for not being able to do what a bright boy should.
    When my son became more and more anxious, I knew there was an underlying cause.
    Just over a year later, the developmental paediatrician congratulated me on being so astute. My son had the more common, yet lesser known, inattentive sub-type of ADHD.
    The medication trial testing indicated his response was highly significant – a 40% improvement.
    The transformation in him was nothing short of miraculous. His teacher said at the end of the first day, “Great day today!” then the next day, “Another great day!!!”, then “Wow, he’s on a run – 3 great days all in a row!”
    One “good day” a fortnight was typical, it was usually Monday after a restful Sunday but lots of exercise, lots of healthy food and an early night and a good sleep, that is, everything had to be perfect with the planet aligned etc, but he would still be exhausted and unresponsive by 3pm.
    But when he started medication, the difference was astounding. At 3pm he’d jump into the car and actually had a spring in his step, instead of the exhausted slump and scrape that used to happen when he’d haul himself into the car using what seemed like the last kilojoule of energy he had left.
    On medication, he’d jump into the car and ask how I was! Then he would animatedly chat about his day and share all the wonderful and interesting happenings of the day with me. It was astonishing.
    His reading rate increased by 2 years within 6 months, and then another 2 the next 6 months. Finally, he was able to concentrate, he was doing what he felt he should do but just couldn’t. My little boy was transformed from a sad, despondent, anxious little boy to a positive, enthusiastic, confident little man.
    Three psychologists and one GP said my son did not have ADHD but my gut feeling told me otherwise.
    Thank goodness, I found the Gifted and Learning Disabled group with the NSWAGTC. If not for them… well, I’d rather not think about it. With suicide running through both my family history and my husband’s, it’s best to follow only factual and evidence-based information, and never rely on pure conjecture from those who really have no valid reason to discuss issues about which they really know nothing about…

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