ADHD and my 3 year old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MommysZoo, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. MommysZoo

    MommysZoo New Member

    Hi All ~ New to the site, stumbled upon it whle anxiously searching the internet for some type of support at 4 am :)

    I have suspected for the last 6 months that my son may have ADHD. He has been attending Occupational Therapist (OT) for "Sensory processing disorder" diagnosed in October, and I was told by his therapist that I should consider an evaluation for ADHD. So We went, and he was diagnosed ina matter of minutes by our Family Practitioner. At which time he promptly wrote out a perscription for Aaddarall and said see you in 3 weeks.

    I cam home and started researching. This drug is an AMPHETAMINE! People buy it on the street to get high. And I can't bring myself to accept the idea that giving my son this drug is going to keep him safe, and help him control his impulses without making him comatose or even more hyperactive.

    I am at a complete loss right now. He isn't in school yet so Special Education not an option. We continue with Occupational Therapist (OT) 1-2 times a week which just seems to make him worse. I have heard that certain diets and or nurtritional supplements can be helpful for a lot of children. I basically want to explore every route possible before I go the route of medication. Are there any other parents out there who have been in this similar situation and can offer advice? I am danggling by a thread right now. Cried all I can cry and need to get my butt in gear.

    I would appreciate anything anyone has to offer!!

  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    hi Jamie!!! Welcome to our soft little corner of the web.

    Adderal is an amphetamine, that is correct. Children with ADHD take stimulants to help and for many it makes a huge difference.

    I would be wary of the family doctor diagnosis. Just because pediatric psychiatry is NOT his field.

    You really need an evaluation by either a multidisciplinary team (major hospitals often have them) or a developmental pediatrician. I think he is probably a bit young for a neuropsychologist evaluation.

    We have a Natural Treatments forum here. Those who are there have many many ways to help. Allergy testing and elimination diets are one place to start. I know iwth my family the food colorings, preservatives and other additives tend to cause problems.

    Can you tell us about his development so far?? Is he hitting the develomental milestones appropriately? The Early Childhood forum has a list of developmental milestones.

    It is also possible that the sensory issues just overwhelm him and you can do things to provide the type of sensory input that he needs.

    Nuff said right now.

    Sending lots and lots of hugs, and a big ole rope swing so while you are dangling you can lay back and relax and look at the stars!

  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Jamie,

    Welcome to our boards. If your board name contains your real last name we ask that you change adjust that for the sake of your son's privacy. If you need help with that, please let us know.

    If you aren't feeling like it's time for your son to start on medications, then don't. You may want to try some different strategies first such as behavioral and dietary. In the end if you wind up going that route you'll feel more comfortable because you've tried other routes first and you'll have talked with other parents to learn their experiences. So set that script aside and dry up your tears and dig in because you have some research to do.

    You are welcome to post on this General forum but we do have a board called Early Childhood. There's a thread about adapting the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene for younger children. The Explosive Child is one of our favorite books around here so I recommend you pick up a copy.

    If your son is 3 and you live in the US, you can get him evaluated for special education preschool. This is an excellent time to have that evaluation to get that lined up for fall if he does qualify. You will need to write a letter to the director of special education of your local public school district. Request a full and complete evaluation. and send it certified mail.

    Can you tell us what you mean by Occupational Therapist (OT) making him worse? Does he come out of the sessions worked up, sensory issues getting worse instead of better over time, etc?

    Are there any other issues outside of ADHD and Sensory that you are seeing in him? Any speech delays or differences?
    Does he sleep well?
    Does he line up toys or other household objects?
    What's the family mental health picture look like? Any bipolar, depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc?

    Again, welcome and hang in there. You'll find some help here.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome, Jamie.

    On the subject of medications, it does sound scary but if the diagnosis is correct then chances are, the medications will show a HUGE improvement. difficult child 3 was diagnosed as ADHD plus autism when he was 3, we started him on stimulants (dexamphetamine) when he was 3, much to the horror of the pre-school staff, school staff, relatives and friends. Most were in fact so horrified they didn't say a word to us, but their faces spoke volumes. But the improvement was so amazing, so dramatic, that we felt justified.

    He is now 14 and doing amazingly well.

    So as I said, don't feel too spooked. Although that's easy for me to say now, from where I sit. I do remember how awful I felt at the thought of dosing my baby. I was so worried about him anyway, he seemed to have so many problems and yet so many talents, I didn't want to do him harm but I also was in a panic over how to help him.

    So, with your son - if you're really concerned, then use the time and your wish to delay, by getting a specialist to assess him and confirm whether ADHD is an issue or not. I agree, I don't think a diagnosis from a GP is enough, not with all your concerns over his age etc. I'm amazed he could write the prescription - only a specialist of the right kind can prescribe this sort of stuff in Australia, and even then only after the doctor applies to the government for permission to prescribe to that patient.

    Also in the meantime - look at natural alternatives. But be aware that ANY product capable of having a pharmacological effect (and this includes 'natural' remedies) should only be given with the supervision of a health professional. If something can have a therapeutic effect, it can also have side effects. Natural products are not immune to side effects or adverse reactions. ALWAYS play it safe. Remember, cyanide is a naturally-occurring substance. "Natural" does not automatically mean "good for you". Sugar is natural. Don't give it to someone who is diabetic, unless they are in insulin shock.

    Also watch out for 'fashionable' natural remedies. You will lose your money and maybe not have anything to show for it. A big promotion lately (at least in Australia) is "antioxidants". A lot of juices etc are being marketed as "containing antioxidants" and suddenly, they cost a lot more. Yet when we check them out, we find that all that has happened is they've got extra Vitamin C added. Yes, it's an antioxidant, and yes, the fortified juice is good for you, but there is no need to charge twice as much (or more) for commercially-packaged, Vitamin-C fortified, apple juice. It's much healthier to juice your own fresh apples, picked from a tree. If you want to fortify Vitamin C you can buy Vitamin C powder and add it to your juice. You'll probably get more Vitamin c that way - Vitamin C in liquid form breaks down FAST - a matter of days, at most.

    It's the same with so many things - they get fashionable, then they get stupidly expensive (and often less healthy, because they're now so popular they have to be mass-produced). And so often they're being marketed privately, by people who have no medical training but who have a very strong commitment to making a lot of sales.

    And while you're trying out all these expensive products, you're often pining your hopes on a pipe dream while time is passing and your child is getting older.

    So stick around, pick our brains, then make your own decisions. You are currently on the lower (and steepest) part of the learning curve. Hang on, it's sometimes a bumpy ride!

  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good Morning Jamie and welcome to the board.

    You have gotten three responses to your first post and I think that's enough information for you to process right now. I think that your little one is still very young. Early intervention is a great thing - but having your family doctor diagnosis him in minutes does not sound like the way to go.

    Take a deep breath! First I suggest you remove your last name from your profile. This site is read world-wide and it is for your and your family's protection that you not reveal your real identity. Second, go over and read a little on the early childhood board (for those with children under five) and read a little on the naturual treatment board.

    I must tell you that I resisted medications for about a year and a half. It came to the point for us, that difficult child could not give what was being asked of him and that was not fair. It made it extremely difficult for him in school. When he started medications in first grade, it was night and day! Sometimes it takes a little while to get the right medication and right dosage, bit it gets there.

    Additionally, I just have one question for you. Does your son attend preschool or daycare? I can tell you that I don't medicate my son, even at 12 1/2, if it is summer or school holidays. The reason for the medications was so that he could experience success in controlled enviornments. When he's home, it's ok if he's a little hyper and impulsive - I can take it. It is where he is judged and required to maintain that the medications are for. And, my son does have severe adhd-highly impulsive/combined type - pretty serious on the adhd scale.

    medications are a decision each family has to make on their own. I would continue doing just what you are doing now. Read, read, read! Read the other boards on this site. In the meantime, when you have time today, please go ahead and remove your last name and do a profile signature like you see at the bottom of our posts. Give us a little overview of the family - other sibs, marital status, any family history of adhd or mental illness, etc.

    Again, welcome to the site. I know you will find fabulous support and some great advice.

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter, who is 23, said all the ADHD stims are abused on the street big time, and she abused them. She is clean now and is my expert on drug abuse on the street.
    Diagnosing from a GP "right away" to me is not a thorough diagnosis. in my opinion, I'd take him to a neuropsychologist or for an MDE before I gave him anything. He could have ADHD and he could have one of many ADHD mimickers. Is his development normal? What behaviors worry you? Do you have psychiatric problems or substance abuse on the family tree? I'd go very slow before medicating him on "a few minutes." Lots of disorders look like ADHD. My son is on the autism spectrum, but was diagnosed with ADHD first. Stimulants made him mean and violent. Given to the wrong kids, these stimulants are not good. Make sure it's ADHD. Good luck :)
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Jamie, you've gotten some great advice. I just wanted to add my welcome!
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Hi Jamie and welcome aboard! :) I've sent you a personal message. Please click on the words "personal messages" toward the top right hand side of this page. Thank you!
  9. MommysZoo

    MommysZoo New Member

    Thanks you everyone for the great information. My Son has been through the state Child Development evaluation 6 months ago which showed he was borderline for just about everything. Speech, gross motor, you name it. They ended up telling me he not delayed enough in anything to warrant their covering services for anything. They did say that he appeared to gave ensory Processing disorder which can mimic ADHD. And fortunately my insurance covers Occupational Therapist (OT). He loves going but when he leaves he more wound than he was when he went in. And his "issues" progressivly getting worse. His GP basically pulled out a sheet with from DSM and checked things off (checked EVERYTHING off) as we went over them then handed it back to me and said "yep. and he needs medications before he hurts himself or others."

    He has a lot of trouble getting over stimulated and hitting and biting for no reasons with no concept for personal safety, i.e. running in front of cars, running down ramp to boat (we live on small island that requires ferry transport to the mainland), jumping off bathtub, couch etc. And the list goes on and on. I don;t have to explain these things you all know what I am going through :)

    There is no preschool program on the island. As for the family history. ME :) I have bipolar disorder with severe depression and anxiety which I control with medications but it is a constant everyday struggle for me. There is a history of depression on my side of family. There is also a history of substance abuse on both his father and my side of the family. We no longer drink but the gene is there.

    I think I need to go with my heart on this issue. I can't bring myself to medicate my 3 year old yet. I am fortunate enough that one of my best friends is a early childhood development therapist and works for Maine Child Development Services. She is going to have them reopen his case and reevaluate and it will be possible for him to receive a full evaluation from a group of childhood specialty psychs. We are also going to work closely with our tiny school to make sure we have appropriate services available next year when he starts pre K. In the mean time hiis father and I have discussed researching changes in his diet to begin with and see where that goes. I think I couldn't rest well if i just jumped the gun and didn't exhaust every alternative before starting the medications, which he may end up needing, but not now. Not before we've worked. I know it's going to be a long haul anyway we look at it, but who ever said parenting was easy :)

    Thank you everyone for your kind words and support!

    PS ~ Is there a glossary of abbreviations? or maybe someone could just give me a rough clue? like what is a difficult child?

    PPS ~ I am in the process of changing my screen name with the administrators :) Thanks for the heads up on safety though. Sometimes my brain stops working and I become a walking functioning vegtable.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Jamie,
    I can see both sides. Hard decision.
    One thing no one has mentioned is, since you are on the water, make sure he can swim. We live on a creek and when we moved in, I immediately signed up my difficult child for lessons. When you're dealing with-impulsive kids, it's a matter of life and death.
    Luckily for me, my difficult child does not like to be alone and never did go to the water when he was a toddler, but you can't bank on luck.
    Take care.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Jamie, I think you are wise to be cautious, especially about the diagnosis. "difficult child" = "Gift From God". There is a list of abbreviations, browse around the site and you will find what you need.

    Your son and where you are right ow with him sounds very familiar - difficult child 3 (check my code on my sig at the bottom of my message) is actually very smart, but when he was assessed at age 4, he tested as "borderline". It was the polite way of saying he was retarded. The reason he did so badly - his language delay at the time was bad enough to make it hard for him to understand what he was being asked. Please keep an open mind with test results that rely on your child having a certain level with language - because language delay is not always related to being 'slow' intellectually. It certainly wasn't in our case.

    If you can, have a look at Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (aka "Pervasive Development Disorder"). Your son seems to have a constellation of symptoms which make a number of diagnoses possible, including Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). And if so, it responds to a different way of handling, a different point of view. It's also not the devastating news it would have been considered in times past.

    Check out and look for their Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire. It's not officially diagnostic, only a specialist can diagnose, but it can give you some idea on what sort of things to mention to that specialist. You can print out the test and take it to the doctor for his opinion.

    difficult child 3 was clearly more than ADHD when we realised there was a problem - the language delay was obvious - he just wasn't talking, or "talking in scribble" as his sister called it. But he was reading. Words, numbers, sheet music. We had various services offering to assess him, and then they pulled away when they discovered what he COULD do, saying, "We can't help, we can only help if he is developmentally delayed, and he would test out as normal because of his skills." And so we were in limbo, getting no assessment, no help. The pediatrician diagnosed the autism, it was later confirmed, but along with the "borderline" label and us being told, "He will never be able to attend a normal school. He will always be dependent. Maybe in a couple of years you can consider some sort of special school for him."

    The outcome is very different - he has been winning awards at school for academic achievement, although last year he had much stiffer competition. He attends a mainstream correspondence school.

    Keep an open mind re your child. And try to not let it get you down - life is an adventure, if you make his environment as stimulating and interesting for him as possible, you are doing the best for him that you can. This doesn't mean filling his life with distractions and driving him crazy with noise and light - just give him access to the things he likes to do, encourage him to learn, expose him to a range of experiences, document it all in photographs and journals and read them together.

    With medications - some people delay medicating. Some do not. Some continue medications without break (such as us). Others do not. We each make our decisions based on our own concerns for our children and our own understanding - you have to become an expert on your child so you can make informed decisions. In general, whatever you choose for your child, based on your own understanding, is the right thing. Learn to have faith in yourself.

    We are glad now, that we began to medicate difficult child 3 when we did. It made an amazing difference. However, this decision was based on our experiences and our own sense of "we've got to do something, doing nothing is not working for us." Also we'd had prior experience with stims (older son) and also had the benefit of a specialist diagnose the lad.

    I don't think you're in the same place as we were at that point. Not jut yet.

    I'm so glad he's getting that extra evaluation. I hope he surprises you, but also they're able to find the information you all need, so you can know where to go from here.

    And living on an island - it's lovely. Ours is attached, it's a peninsula surrounded by wild forests with a very long road access, like a 30 km long cul-de-sac! And lots of estuary and ocean beaches, so we teach kids to swim as best we can. Apart from a small elementary school, the kids have to catch the boat to school.

    Use your environment to teach your child, immerse him in it and enjoy your son. This can be such a lovely time for you, disability or no. Just have fun! And pack a camera, and note pad...

  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jamie, although nobody, especially at three, can be diagnosed for sure with anything (diagnosis. change) I'd watch him for possible autistic spectrum disorder too, especially Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified or Aspergers. Here's a checklist if you want to look. It's not a psychiatric problem so a psychologist could easily miss it if he doesn't do specific tests. You may want to look at this.