Jun 252016
 
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My Child Got Diagnosed With ADD - Now What

Last week I told you the story of how my son got diagnosed with ADD. If you didn’t read it, I suggest doing so before you read on – just so you have the backstory. It was a long process and definitely not an easy one. What I didn’t mention before was that when my son got his ADD diagnosis from the neuropsychologist, he was also diagnosed with depression & anxiety. Not only that, the neuropsychologist recommended that my son needed some OT (occupational therapy) and speech therapy. She explained to his father and me that our son had some auditory processing issues and was only catching every one out of 16 words that were spoken to him. The ADD diagnosis was expected when we got the results of his testing and I suppose it wasn’t a huge surprise that he had auditory issues, but the depression and anxiety were certainly news to his father and I.

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But now that we had an official diagnosis, we could start getting our son the help he needed. A copy of the neuropsychologist’s report was sent to me, his father, his school and his pediatrician and once everyone had a copy, things started happening pretty fast. Appointments were set up with both his school and his pediatrician and I am going to break each one down.

IEP (Individualized Education Plan) Meeting 

Once a special needs student is diagnosed, the school sets up an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting. That’s where parents and people from the school (teachers, the school psychologist, etc) meet to discuss that particular student’s needs and how they will be able to help that student succeed.  Someone from the SPED (Special Education Department) called me the day after receiving the report to set up the appointment.  My understanding is that they had 10 business days from receipt of the report, so I was thrilled that they called me right away to set up the meeting.

Before I go any further, I want to tell you how much I LOVE my kids school. My oldest is now in the middle school (which I am also very happy with) and he had a wonderful experience at the elementary school year after year. You know how you buy a house in a town because you hear the school system is good, but because you either don’t have kids yet or you do, but they are not school age at that point, you don’t really know until your kids are enrolled in the school system? I knew pretty much right away as soon as my oldest went into kindergarten that I made the right decision and could not possibly love the school system in my town any more than I do. Seriously, they go over and above where our kids are concerned and I could never possibly thank them enough for all they do.

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But anyways, back to the IEP meeting.

The day of the meeting, my son’s father and I met with his teacher (who has been absolutely phenomenal), a few ladies from the SPED (Special Education Department), the school’s Speech Language Pathologist, the Occupational Therapist and the school psychologist. About half way into the meeting, the principal joined us because we wanted to speak with him about the possibility of retaining him in 3rd grade. His father and I have decided to move ahead with the retention, but at that point it was still in question.

Anyhow, the meeting took about 90 minutes. My son’s teacher spoke at length about his behavior in class and his concerns. I was thankful for his brutal honestly, but in fairness we’ve met with him a few times since he took over the class in January and he’s never been anything less than forthcoming with us. Neither my son’s father or myself have ever been in denial about his situation, so we’ve always felt that we’ve been able to handle whatever his teachers have told us.

In addition to my son’s teacher speaking about his concerns, the school psychologist went over some of the findings from the neuropsychologist’s report. The ladies from the SPED department were both constantly asking questions to find out as much information as they could about our son and recording the information the entire time. They wanted to gather as much information from his teacher and both of us parents as they could to make an informed decision regarding his education.

After all was said and done, I was extremely happy with the results of the IEP meeting. My little guy is going into an inclusion classroom next year, which is what I was truly hoping for. In addition to the teacher, there will be a full time aide in the classroom. My son does better in small groups and that’s a lot easier to accomplish in an inclusion classroom. He’s also getting involved in a peer group at school, which I think is super important since he’s repeating third grade and will be with a whole new set of kids. I want him to make new friends – not that I am worried about that at all because he’s really friendly and outgoing, but since retention isn’t that common anymore these days, I don’t want it to be a huge blow to his confidence, which is already low at this point in time (the depression and anxiety).

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He will also be getting extra help in math & reading (visual aides as well as step by step instructions for math), as well as a behavior chart to help keep track of daily issues such as not paying attention or off task. His current teacher does this and it works really well for him. Oh, and he’ll be getting some extra time to complete his standardized testing from now on. There is a written copy of his IEP coming in the mail & I haven’t gotten it as of yet, but since school just got out for the summer last week, I don’t need it right at this moment.

It was also decided at the IEP meeting that my son was going to get his OT (occupational therapy) and Speech evaluations through the school. Since the meeting was taking place so late in the year, those evaluations will be done in September. Both my son’s dad and I were ok with that and will both go back in for the results once they are in. If he needs services for either one – or both – they will be done through the school.

One of my concerns about my son repeating third grade was that he wasn’t going to be challenged enough, but the school is going to work with him to ensure he’s being challenged next year.  I could not be happier with the help that the school is providing to my son and I am so thankful that they care so much.

Pediatrician Visit

So here’s the question – to medicate or not to medicate. Guys, there is no right or wrong here. Each parent has to decide what is best for their own family and not be made to feel bad about that decision. You know your family best and you know what will work for your family individually. My son’s father and I were both in agreement that we wanted to try medication for him. The poor kid just cannot focus. We’ve tried giving him a stress ball, which definitely helps, but the attention and being able to focus is definitely still a major issue.

My son, his dad and I met with the pediatrician to discuss our options.  I love my kids pediatrician as much as I love their school – just so you know. He’s a phenomenal doctor and I just adore him.

Anyhow, we had a half hour consult scheduled with the pediatrician at the end of his day and he spent well over an hour with us.  Both myself and my son’s dad had a lot of questions and the pediatrician was more than happy to spend the time with us to ensure that we were well informed as his parents.  By the time our visit was over, both my son’s father and I felt satisfied that medication was the best option for him. His pediatrician agreed as well.

When kids start medication for ADD/ADHD, it’s not something that’s regulated by weight like other medications such as antibiotics are.  It’s trial and error and based on the child’s metabolism and the medication effects everyone differently.  The pediatrician said he had a high school student of his on a very low dose, but has a six year old on a much higher one.  The medication is designed to help focus improve and stop a lot of that fidgeting that kids with ADD do.  My son literally would not be able to sit still for even a whole minute prior to the medication. I had no issue with it, but I know it’s not considered acceptable at school and I hate to see him get in trouble at school for something that is not his fault.  While my son’s school is AWESOME, I know that the fidgeting would become more of an issue when he gets into older grades.

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The medication is to be given at the same time each morning and will wear off between 6-9 hours later.  It’s just enough to get the kids through the school day and wears off by dinner time.

A big part of our decision to medicate was how it was going to help slow down our son’s decision making process.  He’s very impulsive and makes a lot of bad choices because his brain can’t slow down long enough for him to stop & think about the consequences of his actions.  The medication will help him slow down just enough to (hopefully) see the big picture and make better choices.  I will definitely keep you updated on it, though.  We just started medication two weeks ago and while the fidgeting has stopped and the focus has improved – we are all still learning.

And in case you happen to be feeling judgy about our decision, I offer you this:  I was always one of those moms that swore up and down that I would never medicate my kids if they ever got diagnosed with ADD.  I was dead set against it until I was in that situation and saw that the benefits far outweighed the negatives in our situation.  So you just never know. Each situation is different and we all have to do what’s best for us.

Therapy

The neuropsychologist recommended getting our son into therapy with a child psychologist for the depression and anxiety. The thing is, child psychologists aren’t as easy to come by as you would think. There are a lot of them around, but after calling at least 10 different ones in my area, none of them seem to take on new patients. It was a pretty frustrating week of leaving messages and waiting for calls back only to find out these people couldn’t help me. I ended up coming across a social worker in a neighboring town who not only specialized in helping kids with ADD, but also depression and anxiety. I set up an initial meeting with her so that his dad & I could make sure she would be a good fit for our son. We wanted to meet her alone (without our son) the first time and we both mutually agreed that she was going to be a great fit for him. She sees my son once a week and seems to be making some good progress with him, so we are very happy with that.

My ex-husband, both of my son’s step parents and myself just want to the best for him. The four of us get along really well and we all are actively involved parents, which is the best thing when it comes to our son. I am happy with all of the progress we’ve made in treatment over the last month and I love the “team” that we have helping us. I am happy that my son is going to have a much better school year starting in September.

I will definitely keep you updated once he goes back to school, but things are definitely looking up for him as of right now.

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  87 Responses to “My Child Got Diagnosed With ADD – Now What?”

  1. you and your son will have to go through a lot but I am confident you will able to manage them all. So happy to know that your son will have better school soon. Cheers from NYC..

  2. Parents always have to do what’s best for their kids and make a decision based on all the facts. Seems like you’ve made the best decision for your family. I look forward to future updates and I’m so glad you’re working with an awesome school system and pediatrician.

  3. IEP’s are amazing at helping kids make sure they get what they need for school. You both sound like you are very in tune with his support system which is crucial for him.

    • IEPs are a great way to make sure your kids get the support and help they need in school. I worked in special ED for a while.

  4. Sounds like you have a road head of you that may be a little up-and-down. You’re doing awesome for your child and being a good advocate for him.

  5. You guys are doing an amazing job!! I love how much everyone in his life is working to do what’s best for him!

  6. Both of my kids have ADHD. My son has inattentive type, which is what ADD is. I didn’t know that depression and anxiety were so common in kids with ADHD until my kids were diagnosed. One of my kids is medicated and the other isn’t.

  7. I am glad to hear you have a good support system behind you. It’s hard to find professionals in school and doctors that you really trust. We don’t have excellent ones here, so you are very lucky to have a team that you are on the same page with. Good luck moving forward!

  8. It is always good to know what’s going on and how to proceed from here. While I don’t have kids, I can say this looks like you guys are doing what’s best for your son!

  9. It sounds like you have a great plan in place for your son. Only parents know their own kids well enough to make these kinds of decisions.

  10. I think it’s so great that you’ve got a game plan in place. When you finally get a diagnosis, you need a game plan so you can start helping your kids as soon as possible.

  11. Thanks for including us through this journey with your son. It sounds like things are working out and your son will be getting lots of amazing support to help him learn and grow!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  12. It can be so difficult dealing with the challenges and unexpected parts of parenting. It sounds like you’re doing what’s best for your family and that’s the most important thing! I wish you the best of luck as you navigate forward.

  13. An ADD diagnosis can be hard on both parents and child. I think it’s great that you are being proactive and addressing it now.

  14. I’m glad your son got an official diagnosis and can now get the help he needs!! Great post!!

  15. This is such a great resource for parents who have a child who has been recently diagnosed with ADD.

  16. It’s great that you’ve been able to learn and make so many preparation so early. Knowing all of this might make everything easier.

  17. Amazing post! Thnks God all those doctors where busy so you find the right person for your son. Also it is great that you work together as a team!

  18. Sounds like you have everything under control. Both my brothers as I said had ADD/ADHD and were on medicine till they were 17 after which we started to take them off. now in their 20’s both hold down jobs and one is even a dad now.

  19. I totally want to start by giving you a hug, since our son is on the autism spectrum and also has an IEP, so I know how difficult a diagnosis and the procedures that follow can be. Your boy is lucky to have wonderful parents and a strong support system behind him.

  20. He definately has wonderful parents! Everyone has to work together as a team!

  21. I think it is wonderful that you are so proactive as a parent and you seek the support that your son needs. It’s so important for parents of children with ADD to advocate on their behalf.

  22. You guys are so on top of this, it’s amazing to see! He is so lucky to have you for a mama! My nephew had ADD and sadly he didn’t get quite the support he needed!

  23. I’m so glad to hear that everything is going well with your son and his diagnosis! I think it seems like you’re doing everything right by him and I’m sure it’s tough, but as the medicine becomes a norm and you can find the right dosages, etc.; everything should work itself out!

  24. The first IEP meeting is always long. My school had a wonderful support team for my son with his developmental delays and he is now in the Navy doing well.

  25. He’s blessed he has such amazing parents who are there to support him, he’s so lovely

  26. What’s important is that he has parents who cares for him and only wants what’s best for him, that’s how everything starts from the diagnosis to the actual treatment. Good to know everyone is working hard to give him a better future! That’s really all that matters.

  27. Thank you for all of these tips. Sometimes it can be so confusing.

  28. That’s wonderful! I know it can be so tough, but it sounds like your team is all committed to helping him succeed. I’m hoping to hear positive news as your son enters into his new role as 3rd Grade Expert & rocks the next school year.

  29. It sounds like you are doing everything you should be and what is just right for your situation. As a former teacher, I know those meeting can be long and hard but all of that teamwork with your ex-husband and school staff and doctors will pay off in huge ways!

  30. I was diagnosed as an adult with ADD and my two sons were when they were young. From my experience and my both my sons actually change is hard sometimes to deal with with ADD. It sounds like the school has a great plan ahead for him. Thanks for sharing your experience and sharing awareness as well.

  31. He may lag behind a bit but at least he’s getting the help he needs. This will not only help him catch up but also be better in school.

  32. I am so glad to hear that all of you- parents are involved in his therapy. I hope everything turns out well on him. He looks like an adorable kid.

  33. Sounds like you have a great plan for your son.. Thanks for sharing your personal story. I hope everything will turn out well

  34. Your son is so fortunate that you are his mother. He will get along with this, I am so sure about it.

  35. I was happy to read things are looking up for him at the end. Your son is very fortunate to have very involved parents. As a school psychologist, I know that’s not always the case.

  36. Sounds like a tough road ahead, but with the support of the school and the pediatrician, your family can easily deal with this. You are a great and strong mom and your son is very lucky to have you.

  37. I believe that if you focus on what your son can achieve and that he is amazingly talented and all the good that comes with taht, you will overcome the potential challenges ahead. What we focus on expands and manifests. You got this Robin, it is well!

  38. It sounds like your school and the doctors are very supportive, and that’s half the battle right there! You and your son’s father are doing a wonderful job advocating for him too 🙂

  39. It is so great everyone in the family is looking out for your sons best interest! This is such a real struggle for so many children!

  40. Sounds like your son has a great team supporting him and finding tools to help him succeed.

  41. Sounds like there is a lot of support. I think this can be a struggle with some kids. I recently found out my niece is autistic, and I have another niece that is as well.

  42. Thank you for letting us see into what you’re going though! I know that it can be difficult to open up and let strangers know about your business especially when it is a controversial topic but I commend your openness and honesty! I’m sure it will help someone!

  43. Glad to hear the road’s still clear for you guys. Albeit in a different situation, we also tried letting my nephew use stress balls but it wasn’t working, maybe there’s a different thing out there that’s more suitable.

  44. My Nephew was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. He had so much energy he would do a cartwheel in class to pick up a pencil. It was a struggle to find what worked for him. The medication caused to many side effects for him. Now he is 22 and has been able to find a balance.

  45. I am so glad that your son is getting the help he needs. I had no idea that school systems would do so much – it is amazing to have that kind of support. Hang in there Mama!

  46. Welcome to the world of special needs. My son has ADHD and speech and sensory issues (age 5). We’ve been doing all the therapies and IEPS for about 3 years now and while the first few are great the meetings do get hard. I will give yout he suggestion of going in with an advocate as well every time you go. It really helps to have someone else on your side who knows all about it and has been there, you can usually find them through therapy services or your school should allow you to select that another parent be there with you who has been through IEPS.

  47. Your son is so cute. It sounds like you and he have a lot of support.

  48. I admiire how solid you and the father of your son are as a team to support your son, seek and find help for him. Glad that he makes good prgress.

  49. It sounds like now that you have answers, and he’s got a HUGE support network, treatment and life goals will be NO PROBLEM for you guys. I have battled ADHD , Bipolar, PTSD and the mania, anxiety and panic that goes along with all of that. At 40 years old, I can say, that it does get better and you do learn to work with it.

    Best wishes for you guys!

  50. ADD seems to be becoming more and more common these days. I am glad to see that you have a plan in place to give him the help he needs.

  51. So many people manage this different ways! Glad to know you are moving forwards in what you need! Keep learning and keep trying new things and new ways to work with it!

  52. I am so glad that you have found a path for your son moving forward! I know that it is still a long journey, but at least you are making some progress.

  53. Awwwww glad you got a diagnosis!!! Swear getting that little bit of info can be a total game changer when it comes to a child’s education:)

  54. That is a hard thing to grasp. But, there are so many resources out there nowadays!

  55. My son has ADHD so I understand it all. From IEP meetings to therapies, we have done it all. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but then it just becomes the norm.

  56. It is such a blessing that your son as a great school with amazing staff. I have had hears such IEP nightmares – it is refreshing to hear that everyone at the school is on your son’s team!

  57. Thank you for this post. My son has ADD as well. Recently diagnosed. We are still on the fence about medication…

  58. I am so glad he’s getting what he needs at school to be successful. My husband was one of the first “ADD” type of kids diagnosed in the 80s, and it was truly a nightmare for him the way he was treated. I am so glad you’re there to advocate for him.

  59. I am sure parents going through this will find this so comforting & reassuring AND helpful! Your son is lucky to have you by his side!

  60. It’s great that he’s getting support and love from all around – my husband has ADD and I can see how hard it is for him. Your son is lucky to have parents who are involved and care so much about him.

  61. thank god you have an amazing support system,!!

  62. He looks lovely, I am so glad to hear that he has a good support from both of you. It is very important that you give him the right attention and care.

  63. Despite the disorder, I can sense that he is a lovely child. Good job on both of the parents, I salute your dedication on your son.

  64. What a handsome fella you have here, and you are such an inspiration to other moms. thank you for this post. Sending you and your family hugs! xx

  65. Having a plan in action is a great thing for your little guy! Hopefully he will get the help he needs in the way that he needs it. IEPs can be super helpful!

  66. This is quite a journey.
    The medication issue alone sounds to be a difficult hurdle.
    I am glad things are working for you and that your son is in a good school for him.

  67. It sounds like you have quite of a journey ahead. Glad he got diagnosed.

  68. Sorry to hear about your sons ADD diagnosis. Seems like you all are doing whats best for him and keeping him focus while still being a child. Keep going!

  69. Sorry to hear about it. however, your kid is too cute and lovely. I’ve heard somewhere that omega-3 fats are helpful in ADD. Stabilizing blood sugar and spending time in nature is also helpful.

  70. Glad to hear that you’ve got a diagnosis and treatment started! Im sending lots of positive transition vibes your way!

  71. One of my friend’s son has ADD & I know how much it is deal with such kids personally being her close neighbor. They are going with a speech therapy along with various other care programs as well. I am hoping you succeed with all the efforts you put in to it!

  72. My son also has ADHD. He was diagnosed a couple years ago. I know that it can be a crazy time when you want the best for your child. So glad that you got everything figured out for him and things start looking up.

  73. I love your honesty and upfront approach about it. My son is only 2, but I wonder if he’ll have it one day. I wish you the best of luck with your plans!

  74. Hey, me too. Means alot to read this. They didn’t know howta deal with me lol.

    It’s why I love the Percy Jackson book series so much, Rick Riordan wrote it as a bed time story for his ADD kid and made it so that if you had it you just might be a greek demigod lol which was super awesome to hear.

    Epic post, taught me a few things.

  75. I have been through these same processes. My son has autism, adhd and anxiety. Having a strong IEP in place is important and so is being an advocate for your child. It looks like you are making the best decisions that you can for your son.

  76. Thanks for your authenticity in this post. My daughter has dyslexia so we’ve been through the IEP and 504 process. Keep your head up…it’s a challenging road but you all will get past this!

  77. Sound like a bumpy road ahead, in life we are faced with many things just try and find the positive side of things and help your son by always being there and helping him through it. Love conquer all specifically the love of parents.

  78. It may seem challenging but I know that you will forge through. Sounds like your son has a very supportive team behind him. Wish you guys the best.

  79. I believe in you and know that you will make it through anything that comes your way. Having a child myself with a disability can and will be a challenge, but as they grow and learn, you grow and learn right with them.
    Keep your chin up and stand tall, Learn to let things bounce off and show the world what can be done.

  80. I think the fact that you the ‘four parents are heavily involved in your child’s life is the best foundation to help you son throughout.

  81. As a teacher, it is great to see parent involvement. You are your child’s advocate. Having an IEP in place will help your child in school.

  82. It’s really nice to know that your son will finally get the help he needs. It’s also nice to know that his school are willing to help too.

  83. It is indeed helpful that all of you are united for the welfare of the boy. I wish you and your child the best of everything/

  84. Dealing with a diagnosed ADD is much more of a challenge compare to not knowing. It will be a roller coaster ride but I am sure you will be able to see all of this through. Stay strong and your love for your family will help you get through it all.

  85. Sounds like your son has a lot of support. Stay strong. It’s great that you have a game plan.