So much I want to say, but difficult child has already "minimized" my nearly completed post once and it was lost. Lucky you! lol
There are so many variables that can factor into our kids' behaviors and their ability and/or desire to respond to treatment. We've found our journey to be parallel to putting an ultra complex puzzle together in that even though the pieces were located to form the border, we were just getting started.
There is treatment for all behavioral-type disorders, but not presently a "cure." Treatment requirements can range from behavior modification to medication(s) to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) where staff are in place around the clock to everything in between. It's my belief that for the majority of our kids, a multimodal treatment plan for all environments will produce the best results .
For us the plan includes or has included:
Weekly play therapy for difficult child with-a pediatric clinical psychologist (3 yrs this month and continuing)
Weekly counseling for husband and me (6 months)
Formal behavior modification plan -- (8 months in the home; we were able to discontinue at the beginning of 2nd grade, but he still requires consistency)
Lots of structure in the home -- (we relax it as difficult child is "ready" according to mom . lol)
Behavior intervention - school (3+ yrs) - still in place, but relaxed in comparison to past years
Accommodations in school (1-1/2 yrs) -- and I stay in close contact with-his teachers and principal
Social skills training -- small and large group training (3rd grade only); creating opportunities in the home/family environment, social outings and via daycare to further develop social skills (4+ yrs and continues today)
Occupational and sensory integration therapy - 6 months (supplemented by in-home exercises that continue today)
Auditory processing therapy - 1-1/2 hr computer sessions five times a week for two+ months (in home)
Reading intervention in school beginning in 2002
Speech-language therapy 2X/week -- started in October 2003 primarily to address reading comprehension disorder, but other language weaknesses as well; supplemented in-home with-1 hr computer session every other week.
Private tutoring 1 hr per week starting this week to address expressive writing skill delays.
Daily "therapy" for me via this board.
And I've probably forgotten something.
Without a doubt, medication is "the" treatment that allows difficult child to get the greatest benefit from the other treatments. On the other hand, without the other treatments, difficult child wouldn't have made the progress he's made -- and he's made tremendous strides. We've gone from talk at school during the 1st grade of difficult child being placed in an alternative school where "little academics is taught" according to the principal (warehouse for behavior problems), to me sending him to school knowing there's going to be a field trip (without me), and with only the slightest rise in my blood pressure. lol
I wish, wish, wish, somebody had told me that co-existing/comorbid conditions is the norm rather than the exception, and that the comorbid condition(s) could be a disorder other than a "behavioral" disorder -- for instance, something like Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), fine/gross motor skill delays, etc.
I wish somebody had told me that a psychiatric evaluation isn't enough.
I wish somebody had told me that even though my 1st grader was an "A" student, he could have a learning disability that sooner or later would catch up with him. I wish I had known these type problems are also "hidden disabilities" and can only be ferreted out by sophisticated testing -- good grades and/or "observation" just doesn't cut it.
I wish somebody had told me that knowing a list of symptoms isn't the same thing as really understanding the disorder.
I wish the first psychologist had referred us to a Children's Hospital for a multidisciplinary evaluation rather than tendered an ADHD diagnosis, recommendation for Adderall, and a "if he's still having problems with-behavior, come back -- we can turn him around in 6 months." A multidisciplinary evaluation could have saved us a lot of time, unnecessary stress and emotional turmoil, and money.
I wish someone had told us there are educational laws in place to help children with academic OR behavioral problems.
I wish when the ADHD diagnosis was handed out, it had come with the address to this site. But I'm ever so grateful that I found it as early in difficult child's life as I did, while he still wanted to please us and before he got so beaten down that he lost the will to try. I do believe without early intervention, that's what would have happened.
Know that it's okay to keep looking for answers when the answers you get don't "feel right." Trust your instincts. You know your child better than anybody in the world -- it doesn't matter how many degrees a professional may have. Listen with-an open mind then go from there.
It's my belief that the greatest gift we can give our kids is to self-educate. Ask lots of question. Read, read, read, and then read some more.
For us, treatment has been effective. Life's not 100% perfect, but it's a whole lot better than it was and I'm optimistic things will get better yet.
There's always hope. Even if there's no immediate response to a particular treatment, that doesn't mean the foundation hasn't been laid and won't kick-in on down the road.