First there’s denial. Having my daughter labeled with “behavioral and disciplinary problems” by her pre-school teachers offended me. It was painful and shaming when they called me in for parent/teacher conferences where they peppered me with questions about my parenting. I clung to the fact that my daughter was fine. I didn’t want to label her with something as defective sounding as ADHD.
Then I dated a man who gently pointed out that he couldn’t date me anymore if I didn’t take her for a professional assessment. “Excuse me!” When I looked in his eyes I saw love and concern instead of the judgment and blame I had become used to defending against.
Her social skills were poor, she was a worried and argumentative child. Smart but lacking in common sense and unable to focus.
The psychiatrist diagnosed her with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She was put on Concerta, which is in the Ritalin family (the meth family if you want to get all street about it). If you or I took this we’d be cleaning the house with a Q-tip, but the effect on my daughter was that her mind slowed down enough that she was able to concentrate and focus.
I coupled the treatment with weekly therapy, behavior modification that I learned from the therapist and dietary changes.
One symptom of ADHD, is that everything is a conflict. These are very argumentative people, I had to learn to pick my battles. Trying to get her not to bite her fingernails incessantly is not even worth it.
My daughter is SMART. Her social skills are a bit stunted and she would walk into a pot hole if it was in her path, but she has a terrifically high IQ. I’ve learned this is common with ADHD kids.
The medication allows my daughter to focus and pursue her interests. She taught herself to pirouette from watching a youtube video. She has the same self-discipline about teaching herself to knit. She loves math and numbers. She likes precision.
Our hope and the hope of her doctors is that she will be able to implement her own behavior modifications and eventually be weened from medication.
We have had TERRIFIC results with the Concerta. The only downside is that the medication reduces her appetite and my daughter has always been slight. She will go for days not wanting anything and then suddenly eat a huge meal. Even her appetite is impulsive! There she is above in a size 4T bathing suit. She's 8!
All’s well that ends well. The guy I was dating, by the way, is now my husband and is in the process of adopting our beloved little ADHD girl.
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