Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by novangel, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Like I said before there's so many of you here that are dealing with huge issues in comparison to mine, so to those of you that are i'm sorry. I definitely feel humbled and silly for crying about my son's label after reading the majority of the posts here...never the less I still feel sad at times for my son.

    Anyway, I'm new to all of this and I guess what I want to know is are there different levels of severity to ADD? My son is 8. I would have to assume that since I can take my son to restaurants, count on him to keep his room organized/clean by himself and send him to mail bills or complete other tasks that I ask of him that he's not a real severe case?

    He struggles to stay on task in school (gets average to below average scores) and is easily distracted by trivial things. He also can be impulsive (impatient and talks out of turn) has a hard time following rules, a bit hyper, squirmy in his seat and argues sometimes but nothing real dramatic. He has a hard time retaining information to problem solve. He is on an IEP and sees a child psycholgist every week.

    So for those that have been there done that what should I expect from here? Do things usually get better as they get older or can the ADD get worse?

    I sometimes sit and cry imagining the worst. I know I shouldn't do that but I can't help it. I try to remain optimistic and then the thoughts of parole officers pop into my head. :/
  2. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Oh, for those that don't remember my son was originally diagnosed with ODD but the psychologist says ADD. He does not seem to fit the critera for either 100% so for now I will call him ABC challenged. lol
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    ABC challenged, I like that!
    As in a lot of things there are degrees, yes.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My fourteen year old is ADD inattentive and nobody pegged her as having it because she is not hyper and is well behaved. She is opinionated and can argue, but not maliciously. And her social skills are really good...she is very popular. Supposedly, ADHD kids struggle with social skills, but not her. She is sort of a leader in school socially, in spite of academic struggles. She excels in sports which helps.

    It was difficult to get the school to believe she had ADD, although shes'd already been diagnosed with it by a neuropsychologist... until she took the TOVA test and the rest of the IEP testing at school...haha. She has severe ADD. I think it gets harder for the kids because the school work gets harder as the chld moves through school and more is expected of you and ADDers tend to have memory issues and organizational problems. My daugher needs and gets a lot of good supports to help her. She has a 504 plan. Without them, no matter how hard she studies, she can not do well.

    It is untrue that ADD involves behavioral issues. If there is too much over-the-top behavior it is probably more than inattention ADD. Anyhow, that's my experience. Your son does not sound that serious, behavior-wise. Why do you feel he will end up in trouble?
  5. novangel

    novangel Guest

    His bio father definitely has major issues and I'm scared my son will wind up the same way. And I have to make a correction, my son is not on an IEP he has an IST. Sorry I still have a lot to learn. What is a 504 plan?
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I haven't heard of an IST. It may be something local that the school is using to keep from providing an IEP or even a 504 because those 2 come with legal protections under federal law. Can you explain more about the IST?

    As he doesn't seem to really fit ADHD, I recommend having him evaluated by a neuropsychologist. MANY problems look like ADHD - and ODD is often a symptom of other problems that goes away when the underlying problem is appropriately treated. Any of a thousand other things could be causing the ADHD symptoms and with-o testing you won't have any idea if you really are treating the right thing. It could be a processing disorder, a learning disability, or some totally different problem. Often problems run in families, so any info about problems in his father's family and yours is helpful. Relatives with alcohol and/or drug problems are often a big red flag that there was something else going on and the person used substances to treat the problem because they didn't know or could find/afford other types of help (or refused them).

    As for the future, PLEASE do not cross that bridge until you get there. At 8 we were super worried about my son. By age 12 it was a LOT worse - we worried he would grow up in a prison of some sort because he refused to stop hurting us. By 14 he couldn't live iwth us and now, at 19, he is a delightful young man that we truly enjoy spending time with no matter what we are doing. He has had a job for 3 years, has his hs diploma, finished a vocational course, and is now in college!! At 8 we were hoping he would graduate high school outside of a juvy facility and by 12 we were hoping he would be safe to live outside a prison facility. These are NOT jokes - they are what we feared based on his behavior and choices. I don't have a clue what caused his changes and neither does he. All we know is that he chose to turn himself around and managed to do it.

    Your son is NOT NOT NOT doomed to parole, prison, probation, or anything else. Don't get too caught up in the future - there is enough to handle in the now.

    How severe is his ADHD? Sadly there still are a lot of cases wehre normally active kids are diagnosis'd adhd because they are in schools that simply expcet behaviors that are NOT possible for kids their age. I have a friend who had the ONLY 2 boys in her town who were not on adhd medications. It was a small to medium town with 1 fairly large elementary school and 2 pediatricians. The teachers told the parents of every single boy that their child was adhd because they wouldn't sit still and do their work and lsiten quietly all day. And because they wouldn't do that stuff even if recess was taken away! Elementary aged kids are SUPPOSED to have lots of energy, it is what is normal at that age, and sitting at desks for a full day is NOT. Taking away recess would make any normal child more restless, in my opinion. ESp in a school with strict rules like this one. My friend and her husband moved away largely because of this and the boys' teachers in oru town were shocked that anyone thought they were adhd. The school district was taken over by the state, the teachers were reprimanded or not hired the next year, and the doctors lost their licenses because my friend made some complaints to some people her family knows who knew some people. This took a long investigation and happened after they moved, but it is something to think about.

    I am NOT NOT NOT saying that your school is unreasonable, just that this is something to be aware of. I only have the info in your words, and cannot see the degree of the behaviors, so I truly do not know. I do know that many feel that adhd has been overdx'd. i also know that many of us, if not most, first got adhd diagnosis's for our kids. Then we pushed for more testing and evaluation to find out what was going on, esp if the adhd medications were not helpful. For a lot of us adhd is part of the picture, but not all of it.

    I also encourage you to have a sleep deprived EEG done on your son. My daughter was diagnosis'd with inattentive adhd but I insisted on this before we started medications. We did not expect to find anything, just knew that sometimes a seizure disorder can look like adhd, esp inattentive adhd. Turns out she has Absence epilepsy - seizures that are very short (less than a minute) and have no outward signs other than staring into space. She was having so many that she actually was missing about half of everything that was going on during the day. Treating this stopped the symptoms that looked like adhd so she never did need the adhd medications.

    Don't EVER feel bad because your son's problems are not "enough" or "as bad" as others!!! You have EVERY RIGHT to be sad, mad, cry, mourn, grieve, and feel every single feeling that you have over your son's problems!!! (And to feel every other feeling that you have, period.) We do NOT rate our kids' problems or the severity of them on any kind of scale. This isn't an Olympic sport and there are no medals for worst problem, most outrageous difficult child, best parent, etc.... It just doesn't work that way. We are a family here and we support each other. Period. So jsut because your son has one diagnosis instead of another, or this problem rather than that, doesn't mean that you shouldn't feel whatever you are feeling, or shouldn't ask for whatever you think he needs to help him. The fact that other kids have different problems is irrelevant to what your son needs - and deserves!!

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have no idea what an IST is, but the only supports that are legal documents with backup for you in case they are not followed are IEPs and 504s. Has your kiddo ever been tested for an IEP? You can request that in writing and they have to do it or explain why they won't and if they deny it, you have recourse to file a complaint. That often snaps them out of their refusal. Log all your phone conversations with them. Keep every single e-mail too.

    Sounds like your child struggles in similar ways to my daughter. They wanted to just do mild unofficial interventions too, but shes continued to struggle and the school was resistant to doing anything about it so we contacted our Free School Advocate (all school districts in all states have them, but school districts never tell you about this service). Things moved after that. She now has a 504, which is enforceable through the Dept. of Civil Rights Education (every state has a different office to contact).

    If your son can not succeed with the supports he is now being given, I suggest making the district test him. but get an Advocate first. They are DIAMONDS! Without them, sadly, many/most school districts will give you the runaround because t hey don't want to have to pay for testing/IEPs/504s and teachers don't like to do the extra work with accomodations too. Also, like with my kiddo, the teachers didn't believe she had a problem because she isn't hyper so they were very hostile toward her and toward us for even suggesting she had a problem. Instead they tried to pin her with a bad attitude. It was ugly, but in the end we got what we wanted. And it is illegal for any retaliation from the school district. they know this. You can file a grievance for this with the Dept. of Civil Rights (if your kid has a 504 Plan) or the Department of Education (if it's an IEP). In both cases, the district will be investigated. No school district wants this.
    Good luck!!!!
  8. novangel

    novangel Guest

    I agree. I know for sure there is a learning disability (he has a hard time retaining information to problem solve) the psychologist he sees has 30+ years working with children is adamant he's ADD. I'm somewhat convinced too but think it's a combination. I'm not entirely surprised, I have been suspecting he is ADD since he was 3. I was in Special Education classes in gradeschool and was also delayed, not only intellectually but physically too. There's tons of addiction on both sides of the family. *sigh* I will cross that bridge when he nears highschool..god help me.

    IST stands for Intervention Strategies Team which are services provided by special education cooperative. They told me that if we feel he needs an IEP they're willing to work with us. I got lucky, we have a great school district.
  9. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Oh, want to add that the psychologist says that his problem with retaining information (short-term memory) is part of having ADD....I thought that was part of a separate learning problem. Input??
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    It can be.
  11. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Exactly. This is why I feel confused. psychiatric evaluation said ODD with short-term working memory issues and senior psychologist says ADD. *rips hair out I don't want my son being labeled, it makes me tear up all of the time. I try to convince myself over and over that he's just immature and a slow learner. :(
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    There are a lot of things can affect short term memory. Don't worry overmuch about the label itself right now, use every tool at your disposal to get the help needed.
  13. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hi novangel,

    I got diagnosed ADD in my 50's. Boy it sure explains a lot of stuff that I did when I was younger! (I had fun though -- glad I got the chance). But I did fine undiagnosed for all those many years until I couldn't compensate anymore and ADD started to detract from the quality of my life. Can't have that!

    ADD lasts for a lifetime but you are ahead of the game because you're starting so early. My advice -- read up. That's what I did.

    Short-term or working memory is one of the executive functions that are coordinated in the frontal lobe of the brain. ADD impacts the executive functions. Here is a good article on the EF's and you can also search for executive function on this (CD) site -- there are lots of threads.

    Executive functions are called "executive" because they are like the CEO of the brain. They're responsible for planning, organizing, implementing and evaluating an activity. So your son can visualize the mailbox, hold the memory of the mailbox and how to get there in his brain, walk to the mailbox, drop the letter in, and and walk home. He knows he has successfully mailed the letter.

    As he gets older the ADD doesn't get worse -- but the demands get more challenging. He'll learn to live with himself, and create routines and habits that sustain him. He'll learn what his strengths are, and his job and career will be based on those.

    He is young and he is a boy (male). School is boring for many boys (many girls too). Stay on his side and don't be discouraged if he can't meet all of the school's expectations, or he'll learn to hate school (he might anyway). I'm not saying your son is lost in school, but you might keep in mind the book Lost at School by Ross Greene. It's easy reading and very specific. I think you might like it.

  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    ADD can affect short term memory. My daughter has that so badly that she has to bring notes in for her tests because 1/She freaks out taking tests and 2/She has trouble retaining info without promps.
    A 504 plan is like an IEP only less intensive. It is still enforceable.
    Beware thinking you have a great school district. I'd still get an Advocate. They can test for an IEP and still deny him services by saying she doesn't meet the state criteria for a disability. And often they did, even when it's not true.
  15. novangel

    novangel Guest

    Very informative article, thank you!
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You've received some valuable information from "the family". Almost all of us are advocates for neuro/psychological testing to identify the scope of problems. The testing needs to be done by specialists and includes a whole bunch of tests. Once the experts correlate the results they are usually able to identify the exact problems and usualy recommend actions on the basis of their extensive examinations.

    I've lived with ADHD since the l960's and know how devestating it can be for the child when peers, friends and family and often teachers/schools don't recognize the behaviors as a disability. Has he been seen by a child psychiatrist. Have you tried medications to help him along? I know many parents absolutely want to avoid medications...I was one of them. on the other hand the correct medication can allow your child to maximize his assets. The labeling of a young child as a trouble maker, in my experience, can have long term effects on self image. My eldest was never destructive or "evil" but since she did not behave as her peers did she quickly was excluded from parties and teams etc. Medication was "pioneered" in the 60's and therefore it was not appropriately effective. By the time I raised the two grandsons (starting in the l990's) the experts knew what they were doing and both boys were able to blend in quite well.

    Sending supportive thoughts your way. We all know how difficult it is to find out that our child is different. It is normal to grieve the loss of projected dreams. You are, however, facing the problems early on and should be able to make informed choices that will help his success. Hugs. DDD
  17. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I wouldn't worry aboyut the labels. It doesn't change WHO your son is, it just gives him access to services, etc.

    ADD can be part of a bigger picture or it could be a stand-alone issue. Often if it is 'just' ADD, it will respond quickly to the medications. My daughter Piglet is 'just
    ADD and is doing great; yes, she has some struggles with attention and processing and some people who don't get it (coaches, teachers, etc) get frustrated with her because they want to see more "effort" from her. (She is giving 100% effort - she's just so demure that they don't see it without being reminded to look at what she is accomplishing, not how loud she shouts about it).

    I agree with the rest of the 'cd family' -- complete neuropsychologist testing to find out if there are other underlying issues -- developmetal, senosry, learning, mental health, etc.
  18. novangel

    novangel Guest

    We did a full evaluation (6 total hours) that in the end costs $3,200.00. He also sees a child Psychologist every week. Like I said the final evaluation diagnosis was ODD and problems with short-term working memory. Phychologist disagrees with the report and says ADD.

    in my opinion he does not meet the criteria 100% for either diagnosis. He's very organized and does not have an explosive temper. He is well liked by other kids (outgoing and a bit of a class clown) and I would even go as far as to say he's pretty popular. He just has a hard time listening to directions and focusing. He's easily distracted and fidgets. At times he will argue with authority when he feels he's being picked on. He takes too much redirection as disapproval and then he's done cooperating and becomes angry. I have found this only happens with teachers that have zero tolerance for any kid behavior. One thing I have learned since having a child is I know my kid is not perfect but some teachers/ daycare providers just suck and shouldn't even be working with children unless they're prepared to deal with all types. Since having him moved to a new second grade class in December the problems have diffused by 90%.

    He does not use swear words, bully or damage property....and I hope things never turn into that. Although he does like to talk about bodily function a lot which gets on my nerves but I think most boys do this. I hear the word "weiner" at least 10 times a day. Daycare is not impressed. Oh well. I pay them 8k a year to listen to him say weiner. Deal with it.

    I would have to agree with the ADD diagnosis more but there is a defiant side to him that pops up every once in a while that the psychologist has not seen. At this time I am not willing to put him on medication. I will make that assessment later when I know for sure what's going on. In general he's a very happy child but has some inner turmoil (inconsistent father) that hopefully will be addressed with the Psychologist.

    So far things have been looking up but I won't deny that i'm scared about 3rd grade. :scared:
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Not sure I already asked you this or not, but have you had him allergy tested?
  20. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    lots of information given.

    I would have to say that from what you have said that if you can keep things positive in the house and he is meeting with some success at school that I think the outlook is pretty good. Maintaining as much positive self-esteem as possible is great and if you can get the school to work with you that's great.

    Short term memory issues are related to executive functioning deficits--related to ADD but not quite the same. A book recommended to me was Smart but Scattered. It has lots of real practical information for dealing with the various aspects of ADD and exec. functioning.

    There are plenty of kids with LDs that do very well. Their parents are probably not seeking out this board.
    Keep working on the positive. You sound like you are really on top of things.