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Thursday, September 16, 2010

ADHD...

As a mother, it is hard to watch your child struggle. What are ordinary, everyday tasks and expectations to us, is a ball of confusion and frustration for our kids.

Sitting still. Focusing. Being organized. Paying attention to the instructor. Following multiple directions at a rapid pace.

Sounds like a lot, and even a bit confusing to you? I'm sure that it does. But to my son, and to millions of other children in the United States alone, it is a hardship for them every single day to keep up with those tasks while in the classroom, and even at home.

Constantly, I have to remind my hyper, active, not-very-attentive son to complete this task first, so he can move on to the next. Then, after that, I have to remind him to let me check his work against his Agenda, to ensure that he completed the assignments. Then, and only then, may he have his computer or his TV time.

The same goes for his household chores. And the teachers have to stay on top of Bryce as well, being he can fall off of the track pretty quick, and pretty often.

Case in point.. Bryce was found to be sitting in the hall, by his Science and Social Studies Teacher's room. Apparently, he was disrupting the class and "poking at" one girl constantly. After being told to finally move himself to an area where he could be alone, he started to bawl and be belligerent. So, the teacher sent him to the hall.

Then, at snack time, when the Mixed Berries were passed out, he couldn't have any, being that the kitchen never made him a separate bowl without the Blackberries, being he is allergic to them. He went buck wild, pitching a fit, not concentrating on the teacher's explanation, and saying he was being abused because she was "starving" him.

It's not ALL stemming from his ADHD. The lashing out is from another disorder he is inflicted with. But the "poking" of the child, his fidgeting, his lack of concentration, and organization skills, as well as his hyperness, even in his talking to others is a part of the ADHD that he has. Bryce has the more severe form of the disorder.

And yes, he is on medication therapy for it. He takes Vyvanse in the morning, before school. His Intuniv is taken before bedtime. It also serves as a sleep aide, being that his brain stays in "overdrive". The Intuniv relaxes the centers in the brain to control his sleep pattern. And it helps him focus on going to sleep, along with his bedtime routine rituals.

One thing that I have noted the last few years, as the parent of an ADHD child that is medicated, is that most (not all, mind you) teachers think that the medication is the "magic cure-all" for the ADHD while the child is in their classroom. That cannot be further from the truth.

While the medications DO help the child stay focused, attentive, and with less likelihood to blurt out or talk out of turn (or even go way off the topic at hand), the medicines can only control those points to a certain extent.

The remainder of the ADHD child's success relies upon both the child's willingness to gain SELF-control and SELF-discipline, as well as the teacher's willingness to work with the child to achieve those same goals that ADHD students need to be successful students.

This may mean giving the ADHD child a separate desk area, where fellow students will not be a distraction. Or even asking the child if the student is understanding and able to follow the lesson. The teacher can't be "all mouth". They must be about action as well. This means walking around, using hand gestures. Anything to keep the ADHD child engaged in the lesson.

On average, the typical ADHD child can give you no more than fifteen minutes of their attention. For the ones with severe ADHD, you are lucky, and I mean LUCKY, to get ten minutes of their attention, being most severe cases have an attention span of only five minutes.

Too many teachers rely on medication therapy. And anti-medicating advocates talk about us parents? MOST of us parents tried EVERYTHING else under the sun for our children BEFORE going the "pill route".

Our child's first line of defense of course, are the parents. Then, the doctors and therapeutic team. Teachers though, as well as the other school staff round out the team for these kids. We ALL have to work together to help these children with ADHD be successful . Within the classroom setting, as well as out in the community and within the world.

So, remember that while ADHD medications DO help, it's far from being the "cure-all" route of having a successful child. One-on-one working with your child (or student, if that is the case), providing the appropriate tools for success, and helping them to build their SELF-esteem and SELF-control are the REAL keys for having an ADHD child that is well-rounded, adjusted, organized and an overall good student in the classroom and beyond.

1 comment:

Dez said...

As someone who has struggled with A.D.D. for years, thank you for writing this glimpse into what life is like for us. I wish people could live our lives for an hour when you are distracted and confused and find it hard to decide what you're going to wear that day, much less major life decisions. Cheers!

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