J has a diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I didn't realise it but J (finally) has a diagnosis! Went to the doctor (for something unrelated) and he showed me a letter he had received from the psychiatrist we saw a few times whose take on J seemed to be that he was like he is because he was adopted, I was divorced, no father, etc. Anyway, we had a few conversations in which I explained that I really felt J's behaviour arose out of a neuro-biological condition and that even if my circumstances were different, he would be the same. The guy seemed quite open and eventually said yes, why not, if one thought about it, all of our behaviour was governed by neuro-biological factors (I don't presume he changed his mind because of me but because of the changing trend here in France away from psycho-analytical thinking more in line with the thinking of the rest of the world...). Anyway, he wrote a letter to the doctor and the other psychiatrist saying there is no doubt that J has ADHD and that if I agreed to it, he recommended Ritalin...
    So it is in black and white and I have the letter to prove it :) As for the medication route, I really haven't got there yet. J is still too young, he's holding it together at school, it can't really be justified yet. Of course if they came without side effects, I would agree to it because life for him would be much easier (and others around him) without the hyperactivity. I have begun a process of reflection about it, it can be put like that...
     
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Why 6? If the doctor will prescribe it now and J is falling behind in school I would try it now. Here they will start it as young as 2 and 3 years old though 2 is quite uncommon. Number one getting a 2 year old to swallow a pill is difficult.

    My kids started on ritalin at age 4. At first it was only on school days for Jamie thought Cory was on it every day two years later. Ritalin made a huge difference for Jamie in school. It didnt change his personality at all. And if they had any side effects, there were none that we noticed. People say it can stunt growth...my kids are all over 6 foot tall. Jamie is 6 foot 5 and a half inches tall. If ritalin stunted his growth, thank heavens!
     
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Is he in first grade yet? I thought he was still in preschool.
    If he's in first grade, aka elementary school, I'd try it for a month. A very low dose, very very early in the a.m. so it wears off and he will be hungry later in the day. So, iow, feed him breakfast, then give him the medication, then expect him to not be hungry for the rest of the day until it wears off.

    Interesting that you found out that way. Hmm. So much for informed consent.
     
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, he's in your equivalent of first grade because, although still 5, in France children are grouped into classes by year of birth so, as a December child, he is the youngest.
    Oh but I'm not ready to give him any medications yet :)
     
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I am glad there is an official diagnosis. I would also be wary of Ritalin or any of the stimulants. Think it through, and only make the decision to do it when or if you feel like it is completely the right thing.
     
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks Steely. Of course I was hoping for a long time that J wouldn't ever be diagnosed with anything :) Acceptance of reality is a process...
    About stimulants. Actually, J doesn't need them for school, that's the thing... both his present teacher and the last one express surprise when you talk about hyperactivity because they see a little boy who sits still during class, concentrates more or less on the lesson and is rather turbulent and difficult in recreation times but nothing beyond what seems "normal". I too can deal (just about) with J's difficult behaviour, even though it is much worse at home. The time when I would, to be honest, be tempted to medicate him would be during unstructured social activities - such as taking him to a restaurant for a meal, to a birthday party, playing out in the street with other kids, going to rugby, all of that... because his hyperactivity and impulsivity make him not very welcome at these events (play fighting all the time, for example, jumping on other kids, etc) and hard to endure for him.
    Often people give medication Monday to Friday and not on the weekend. I would like to give it just on the weekend or at his sporting events...
     
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Interesting.
    I can't speak to the "weekend" difference, but... for my kids (both of them), they were way worse in the evenings before we went to medications. They put every ounce of mental effort into holding things together at school, and had nothing left over when they got home. medications at school... meant school took less effort, which then meant they were more "normal" when they got home (except, of course, for the rebound effect!)
     
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How did they test him to come up with the diagnosis? I'm "Iffy" about diagnosis. that aren't done with testing. Do you have the TOVA there?
     
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No testing, MWM. Just having met him on several occasions (the psychiatrist) and the report of the psychomotricien, who worked with him for about six months. The psychomotricien was a very measured, careful sort of guy who wouldn't come to rash or idiosyncratic judgements, I don't think; he had also worked with many ADHD kids. He said that there was no doubt J was ADHD but that he was slightly unusual in being able to concentrate so well on assigned tasks, though he said it was clear it was a real struggle for him.
    To be honest, MWM, knowing J better than anyone, I myself have no doubt that he has ADHD and that also, if people wanted to stick more labels on, he has ODD. But then he doesn't "have" ODD, really, does he... much of this oppositional behaviour is situational, driven by anxiety. The hyperactivity is extreme and constant, and certainly gets worse when J is anxious but is always in place when there is not a structured activity.
    I think J has developed capacities for coping with normal life. He does school, where he has been since he is 3, quite well. It would be strange to think of giving him medications for school and it could not be justified, at present. The kind of thing where, if there was some magic pill I could slip him to take away the hyperactivity/impulsivity, I would certainly do so, is the rugby lessons he has started doing. He is constantly in trouble for leaping on other boys because he wants to play at fighting, and doing silly things when he is waiting around for his turn to do an excercise... Because J is incapable of standing still and waiting, of being bored. That's when things go all wrong. I don't stay and watch him at rugby, partly because his behaviour is always worse when I am there and partly because, having gone into civilisation, it's useful to be able to go shopping...
    Taking him to the cinema would be another good example of where the problem lies. If there is a queue to buy tickets, it is agony - he won't wait with me of course but is careering and running all over the place, jumping into the games/amusements they have in the foyer of the cinema, pushing all the controls wildly, demanding to have a go, demanding that a toy be bought for him... once inside the cinema, he will sit perfectly quiet and attentively during the whole film - as long as it's interesting for him, of course. And on and on... every occasion in public is difficult.
     
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You need to teach J some of the ADHD (emphasis on hyper) coping skills.
    Just like Janet's oldest, he needs to learn to be appropriately active.
    When you have to wait and can't stand still... for example, you can wiggle your toes, count on your fingers, march in place. It doesn't work well to combine chewing gum and sports at the same time, but chewing gum works for other situations.
     
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, Malika, I agree with you then that it is not sensible to give him medication at school. Seems he needs some sort of help with his social skills more than anything.

    If it makes you feel any better, Sonic was so hyper at J's age that we used to say he "climbed the walls" and "hung from the rafters." If shopping, he would blaze ahead of me and I'd be chasing him while he wailed in pain. I'm sure if cell phone had been popular back then, many people would have called the cops, thinking I was kidnapping him (I am white and Sonic is black, which probably made many people suspicious). Like J, he did not behave like that at school, although he DID like to run around at recess and a lot of the kids would follow him and get worked up with him. But now, as an adult, he is not hyper at all. Not in the least. He is laid back and the only residual affects of his hyper behavior are that sometimes he taps his foot while sitting still or pulls at his clothes. His attention span is good too.

    When he was at his most hyper, stimulants only made him worse. If Sonic can outgrow the hyper, so can J. Not saying he will, but he could.
     
  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Along the lines of what InsaneCdn was talking about, when I took dance classes as a child my teacher taught me several "controlled fidgets" which kept me still during down-times. In fact, just about every coach or teacher I had used to give me "something to do with my hands and feet" so that I could pay attention and not wriggle out of my skin or torment my classmates or teammates during activities. Examples: practising tap techniques (in soft shoes rather than tap shoes) when I was waiting my turn in dance class. Boucing a tennis ball on my racquet (forehand grip 10 bounces, switch to backhand grip 10 bounces, back to forehand grip, etc.). Since the movements were purposeful, people didn't see it as disruptive, and it allowed me to get the wiggles out without having to force myself into stillness or get in trouble for non-stillness.

    ADHD medications were a nightmare for me, so the controlled fidgets were the only thing I could do to keep still-ish. And I use them to this day. Right now, in my office -- toe down, twirl chair 1/4 to the right, then centre, then 1/4 left, then centre. Then both feet down. Begin again.

    I wonder if something similar might be helpful for J. Is there something that the leader/instructor/coach can give J to do that will keep him busy and active?
     
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Alas, trinity, J would not agree - at this point in time, at any rate - to do any "controlled fidgets" :) He needs to be running, doing somersaults, climbing up impossibly high walls... When they are waiting around in rugby, he runs around kicking the ball high in the air or trying to do one of the rugby holds on another boy... I've explained about the ADHD to the instructor, he had never heard of it and doesn't seem to understand my point that punishing him won't help.
     
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    So, have him RUN the length of the field continuously - back and forth. Burn off steam. Not as much fun as tackling team mates, though!
     
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    IC has a pretty good idea there with running the length of the field. As for the controlled fidgets, the key with me was not so much getting my agreement (or they never would have worked), but challenging me to do something difficult that required focus and concentration. So -- my dance teacher would challenge me to do something like silent walking paradiddles, which, if you know tap dance, is next to impossible. It's creating a 4-beat movement with your feet while walking, and doing all of that silently. Working on that took up all my energy and attention so that I didn't have time to be a pest.

    With regard to the coach, rather than explaining that J has ADHD, maybe try explaining that J fidgets a lot and needs to be kept busy. Sometimes people are just confused by an unfamiliar diagnosis, but if you give them direction about how to manage the behaviour (because ultimately they don't really care about why, only what and how...), then you might make more headway. None of my coaches or teachers ever knew that I had a "diagnosis", they just knew that I was the squirmiest kid ever, and they needed to give me stuff to do to make me un-squirm.
     
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's a good idea, Trinity. I should ask the coach (that's the word, not instructor :)) to give J things to do when he is waiting his turn to do the exercises. The length of the field might take him away for too long but there are surely things he could do with the ball...
    Yes, I sometimes feel like I blurt out "he's got ADHD" when people complain about him (I told the coach because he complained that J was fighting the other boys, which he does as a way of playing with them) but of course that's not always helpful.
     
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