I need help!


New Member
Hey everyone i am a 33 year old single mom for six years now with 3 children ages 7, 9, and 13. I've known my oldest 13 yr old girl has been ADHD since she was 2 and put off having her tested for years then refused to put her on retilin, and i've dealt with it up till now with no treatment for her. This past nov 2006 she hurt me severely and i was on complete bed rest with an injured back for a cpl of weeks but laid up for 2 mths because of it. i now have her and myself in counselling to try and help her. I also recently found out last nov my 9 yr old son was dyslexic i had a feeling he was but the school wouldnt test him till he was in grade 4, he was a very sweet boy and i had no rouble with him in school or at home until this year, hes been bullied because he couldnt read and write an was behind all of his other classmates and until he was diagnosed with dyslexia he couldnt understand what was wrong with himself and im sure it been overwhelming for him and his behavior change is because of that, but now they have him referred to a pedeatrician saying he has a disorder called Oppisitional defiant disorder, i wont go into the details of his behavior as im sure you know the syptoms. and my youngest son age 7 has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia plus A.d.d. i need some help and theres so many sites i am so confused as to how to deal with it all, i am completely alone with my children i dont have any family around their all in another province, please give me some advice before i go off my head with frustration i need help for my children and no one here seems to be helping me. thank you.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Welcome funky...I see your hands are very full.

What kind of advice are you looking for? Just about every parent here has been in your position in one way or another. We've all hesitated to use some very potent medications on our children; I believe every parent here knows, intimately, the symptoms of O.D.D.

If nothing else, we are here to listen, to support you through the long journey of disordered children.


New Member
I am not certain how things work in Canada. I do know that it is difficult and important that there is help and support in some form or another. It seems like the sooner that you get some services in place for the dyslexia, the better it would be. I hope that the school can offer some kind of services, or there is a way to get services elsewhere. I know it is difficult to think about medication. Sometimes medication is a good thing to trial, along with therapy.


Active Member
If you can do a signature (instructions on the site) it can help people understand your family situation without you having to go back over it with each post. Keep names out of it (so you can feel free to say whatever you need to, without various teachers, neighbours etc being able to find it!).

You really sound scared and overwhelmed. But there are things you can do. People here cope with similar situations (as well as a wide range of others) all in different ways.

You've avoided the medication route - some people do. We didn't. But there are other things you can try, such as (for the ODD-type problems) reading "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. There is some discussion on this book in our Early Childhood forum. If nothing else, reading it might help you get some sort of feel for what the world is like from the point of view of your children.

Further assessment, maybe outside the school system, may be useful in pinpointing exactly WHY a child has dyslexia - there can be a number of different reasons depending on how the brain is functioning. There are also different non-drug techniques which have been tried (I can't comment on how successful they are - I'm not sure what studies have been done). One method which I know was developed in Australia (Sydney) by a Dr Helen Irlen involves the use of coloured glasses - the choice of colour depends on the child - to somehow 'filter out' the frequencies of light which are causing overstimulation of the brain and interfering with visual perception. That's the theory, anyway. I remember my nephew getting a pair of Irlen glasses - his had to be dark grey, his dyslexia was so bad. These seem to work best when the cause is some form of sensory integration problem.

For some kids who seem to have visual tracking problems behind their dyslexia (and to determine this for sure, you need testing to track eye movements while they track a moving object, or try to read), there is a fun exercise you can give them - have the child sit at a desk, a small ball in the LEFT hand. The child rolls the ball on the desk from left to right. They pick up the ball in the RIGHT hand then pass it back under the table to the left hand and repeat. If you have one of those trick balls which have an inner ball floating on fluid, so it doesn't roll (some of them are like an eyeball, or a globe of the world) then the ball appears to slide rather than roll. If you can, get an eyeball one - these work the best because you encourage the child to 'maintain eye contact' with the eyeball, it helps train them faster.
But remember, this only works if the problem is one of poor tracking with the eyes.

When a good reader picks up a book and reads it, their eye movements jerk in steps across the page from left to right. Each jerk is followed by a short pause, during which a number of words in sequence are read. The eyes cannot see during the movement 'jerk' but only during the stationary bits. These jerks and stationary bits are called saccades. Sometimes in dyslexia, the saccades aren't going properly from left to right but are jerking all over the page. Sometimes the pause is too brief; sometimes the number of words read during each pause is too few. This can be dealt with by training. The exercise I just suggested is one you can do at home, once you know it's the right one.
There are numerous causes for this, including simply poor training in early reading, or bad habits picked up in early pre-reading. But the most likely cause is incomplete brain dominance. One half of the brain tends to be dominant over the other half. For example - are you left or right handed? Or are you ambidextrous? Some people are genuinely ambidextrous while others simply have not settled into brain dominance.
For example - I'm fairly ambidextrous. I write with my left hand but I use scissors right-handed. I use cutting knives in my left hand but I spread butter using my right hand. Always.
Someone with incomplete dominance will feel some uncertainty over which hand to use. Sometimes they'll use left, or right, but there is that moment of dither which marks them apart from someone who is truly ambidextrous. Such a person may go on to become a true ambidexter, or they may settle on one hand. If they continue to dither, chances are they're also dyslexic, to a degree.

There are other causes, I'm only giving you what I know from my own experience. Other reasons for dyslexia are more complex and still being examined.

One very important thing you may notice - as your children are formally diagnosed as having a learning problem, there may be a point where their behaviour improves (I hope so). This happened with us and I've seen it happen with other kids who are becoming behaviour problems - when the kid is told that their learning problem is NOT THEIR FAULT they are relived, because they have just been told that they are NOT automatically bad or naughty at heart. They don't have to take the line of least resistance and be difficult because that's NOT how they're made, after all.

Your son should not be getting bullied. The school should be keeping him safe. He also needs to feel confident in himself, which isn't easy. He needs to know that there is no shame in dyslexia - some very famous and capable people have been dyslexic. Being able to spell seems to be a vanishing art, in these days of spell-check. Get him to use a computer to compose words. There are some typing tutor programs which might also help him develop his letter and word recognition, as well as tracking. If he's having a lot of trouble, enlarge the type to as big as he wants it to feel comfortable, and work from there. As his skill improves, encourage him to slowly drop the size back. Once he's composed a story or piece of writing for school, you can always change the font size back to something presentable for the teacher, before printing it out.
Once again, this is what also worked for my nephew. I don't know how he would have gone with the ball tracking exercise - that's one I invented for some coaching students of mine who were dyslexic, and the coloured glasses hadn't worked for them. My exercise did help them somewhat, but it needed more repetition (10 times a day, every day, spread through the day) and they were in their teens and not interested any more in learning to read properly.

Anyway, this is just a few ideas thrown together. I have no way of knowing how useful it is likely to be for you - I really do think your kids may need more assessment, perhaps at least initially, as a group. I also have a family full, I got the best results when I presented the whole lot and said to the doctor,
"Some things they have in common, some things they do not. I'm not an expert, I'm just a parent. Please help me find what is the common underlying cause, then we'll work on each for more individual detail."
My kids ended up supporting each other too, as they compare notes on how their brains work! No shame, just curiosity and using the knowledge gained to grab back advantages previously lost.

If medication is suggested, please at least consider it.

Good luck, Keep us posted.



New Member
For us personally we could not do it without medications, we tried, but nothing was helping much. For now with all of your kids I would suggest a scrict routine, keep things the same day after day after day, label everything, every drawer, cupboard, cabinet, and shelf, when they are trying to clean up it helps so much. Make every kid their own notebook and give them routines a morning routine, an after school routine, an evening routine, and before bed routine, ours is something like, wake up, get dressed, put on socks and shoes, check backpack, have breakfast, comb hair wash face, brush teeth grab lunch or money, and to the car. (for morning) The other thing I do is write down how to do chores, to the letter, IE: Dishes, 1. Go through the house and get all dirty dishes. 2. Rinse all dishes and put in dishwasher, load silverware by type, load plastics on top rack, plates on bottom. 3. Wash by hand those that don't fit. 4. Put in one soap packet and start washer on heavy wash. 5. Dry and put away hand washed dishes. 6. Wipe down sink and counters. 7. Turn off light.

I hope these things help you get a start on things, and help things go a little better.

HUGS to you and know that you are not alone in this.


Active Member
Owutaqt, that is really good advice. A routine, especially one that's written down, is something these kids need. And having it written down (use pictures as well, if it helps) makes it easier to check what task still needs to be done. difficult child 3 has his list on a small chalkboard. difficult child 1 would use a scrap of paper. Whatever works!



Well-Known Member
I'm wondering if he has ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist or a Child Psychitrist? I'm not sure how it works in Canada. Welcome to the board. I'm in the minority--because of bad experiences with misdiagnoses, I'd hold off on any medications until I was sure it was ADHD. ADHD has many mimickers and stims can make them worse. ODD rarely stands alone and is usually part of a bigger disorder...I think almost every kid on this board has at one time been diagnosed with ODD. It's what causes the ODD that is most helpful, in my opinion.


New Member
Hi Funky, and welcome. I didn't want to medicate our difficult child either. I still don't like medicating her, but it got to the point where her behavior at school was so unmanageable that we finally agreed to put her on some medications. I don't medicate her on the weekends or during the summer so she gets a break from the medications for a while.


New Member
Hi and thank you guys for responding to me. The help i'm looking for is on everything i have no idea how to deal with my children because their disorders are new to me. My 9 yr old son(Dyslexic, O.D.D) was kicked out of school today because his behavior is to hard for them to deal with , were he is acting up everyday. So they asked me to keep him home for all mornings and only send him to school in the afternoons until i get and appointment with the pedeatrician. Luckily for me i called over to the hospital and the secretary got me in first thing tomorrow morning on a cancellation because if she never i would of had to wait till june 25th to have him seen. I am pretty sure he will be put on retilin like my 7 yr old. I am open to any suggestions anyone has to try and deal with my childrens behavior in a good and positive way. Again thanks so much.


New Member
Hi midwest mom, yes my son was tested in the school by the school nurse she has training for this. But she doesnt treat the kids she makes a referral to the pedeatrician, and they diagnose it and treat the disorder. My boys both have dyslexia and from what i gather A.d.d and O.d.d is something linked to dyslexia.


New Member

Wow, it sounds like you are dealing with a LOT... I could say that I am in a situation somewhat similar to yours, with not knowing anything about these disorders. I have 2 easy child's of my own and my husband's daughter only moved in with us a few months ago. At that point, we were totally UNPREPARED for what was ahead for us. Before the move in to our home in January, she had only been visiting with us on weekends and was SUCH a joy to have around and such a great kid. She was in foster care due to issues that she was having in regards to her mom, and CPS made us go through evaluations and all sorts of things before they would allow her dad to have custody, because he never has had her living with him before. During our evaluations, she was placed in foster care, and her foster mother, although she was having all these problems, just wasn't telling anyone what was really happening at home, so we had NO IDEA what was going on until she moved. And it was such a SUDDEN explosion of feelings and agression and sometimes violence that prompted me to start searching for help. It is only by chance that I came across this forum, and everyone here has been WONDERFUL. The time between January and now, between everything I learn here from these wonderful people and everything I learn from her psychiatrist and her therapist, I am beginning to feel somewhat competent, which is a great feeling.

As mentioned before, some parents opt not to medicate, and in instances where an ADD child needs stimulant medication to control their ADD, medication can become a problem because if they have behavioral issues such as violent or agressive behavior, stimulants can make that behavior worse. If you are 100% against medication of any kind, I KNOW that EVERYONE here will do their best to help you get through and even offer helpful advice on how to deal with your child's symptoms umedicated. However, I might suggest that if you would consider medication, you could try some of the natural/herbal remedies, which would keep you away from the psychotropic medications, but might provide some releif of her symptoms. There is an entire forum here at this site devoted to discussions on those natural medications and it is actually a great thing. Also, they have come out with some "non-stimulant" medications for ADD, such as Straterra, that are not quite as altering or scary as say, Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, Adderall, or the others you read about....

Don't misunderstand, I am not trying to talk you into something you don't want to do, just trying to give you a few other options, in case you didn't realize they were out there. And don't think for one minute that anyone here will criticize you for the decision you have made not to medicate, because believe me, our difficult child takes Concerta, which IS a stimulant and most of the time I believe that her medication, while it may help her focus, overall, it makes her behavior WORSE, and we have considered taking her off of it and trying to go it unmedicated, and it still may come to that. In July, CPS is prepared to give my husband and I full custody of our difficult child, at which point that decision will be ours to make, and there is a good possibility that if it is up to us, we will be trying the same road you are on now!!

Good luck, if you have any specific questions, please let us know! Otherwise, just know that we are here for you!!!!!!!!!!


1st thing the next time your daughter acts out and injures you call the police, your other children need you and this behavior can not be tolerated.

2nd I would start with a neurologist, here in the US a neurological diagnosis opens the door to a lot more benefits and assistance for your kids, not sure about Canada. But as single mom I am sure there must be some resources the system has for you. It's a matter of research.

3rd - do you go to church? My church family is invaluable to me, and difficult child's, and I get alot of support from them.