When to take action

We have two boys, 11 and 8 years old. Our 11 year old’s school success started getting worse over the past couple grades. Work that was supposed to be done in class, he was weeks behind on. Trying to get him to do it at home, well you can imagine. Since he started with medication he has “done a 180” according to his teacher. He now keeps up in class, though is still struggling a bit with how behind he was.

Our youngest exhibits many signs of ADHD, though he has had more success at school. It’s actually been his impulsiveness (blurting things out in class, attacking other kids who upset him, hyperactivity) that’s been more of an issue than his actual academic performance. I’m not sure when we should seek assistance (and possibly medication).

My wife is apprehensive to seek treatment. Myself, I was diagnosed about 2.5 months ago as having ADHD (at 41 years old). I was always the daydreaming spaced out kid with lots of potential. Obviously I would rather my youngest son to go unmedicated if doesn’t need it. However I also don’t want him to suffer in school, as I’ve been there - done that. I was straight A’s when I was his age, and it went downhill by grade 6 or 7.

Any feedback is appreciated.
Joel

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@StillADHD
Can’t believe it. Thats my story😀
Exept that I’m female and can tell you what might happen if a child doesn’t get a diagnonsis. I was diagnosed 6 months ago at age 47. My second son is 14. And is currently tested. Like your son he had in the beginning problems with his impulsivity. Attacking other children and all that stuff although every teacher says that he is smart and a really nice guy. By now its gotten worse… much worse. He doesn’t want to go to school anymore, had to leave a really good high school (Gymnasium in germany) now he is visiting a private high school with only ten kids per class. But he doesn’t want to go to school anymore. He can’t do his homework. He forgets projects.He is getting constantly into trouble without knowing why. His grades are a mess and he strongly believes that he is the most stupid kid in the world. And that there is now sense in working hard. The school already threatened to end the contract. And he still can’t control his emotions. Now he is reaching puberty and I really wish that I knew earlier😟 I could have spared him a lot of soul wrecking problems. Thats only my story. And the main problem was, that we didn’t know about adhd. So I did a lot wrong. Because I have ADHD and didn’t know… You know about it. And thats a better start for your son. You will understand his problems and I am sure you and your wife will find the right way for him. Wether with or without treatment your son has parents who understand and care. I strongly believe that is really important. Everything else can be dealt with.

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beppi, I hear that. And as an educator both from the student side of ADHD and the teacher side, this is a complex issue. I wish there was an easy answer. But let me put it this way… I was encouraged to not disclose to people that I have ADHD and I think I should because there should be a dialogue. And ADHD is such a complex issue. I dunno just a teacher in the trenches.

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Similar situation here. My 14 year old struggled in middle years (grades 6,7,8). Went from being an exceptional student to having comments like “unorganized, needs to try harder” in her report cards. Her self esteem plummeted. Because she wasn’t distracting others at school she was easy to overlook. Meds and counselling helped tremendously. Do you have a school counselor who could meet with your son and come up with strategies for both at home and school? You may not need a diagnosis but just help to make a plan for behavior management. Then if you need more help later on you have a list of “what worked and what didn’t”.

Hey there! I have 13 years of report cards that speak to my potential, I totally get it! I was just diagnosed at 37, my husband was at 38, after our son received his about five years earlier. Personally, I feel that knowledge is POWER. Just because he gets a dx doesn’t mean he requires medication right now. Perhaps interventions alone will be enough. And if eventually they’re not you can add meds later. As we have seen on the channel, meds alone don’t fix it. We need workarounds, assistance, and intervention. Have a great day, you’ve GOT THIS!

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Joel is it the fear of medication that keeps you from seeking diagnosis?
Because a diagnosis does not mean automatically medication. But knowing might help a lot and you can put in strategies to help your child.

I honestly have no doubt that he has ADHD. I just prefer to let him get by unmedicated if he can manage. Right now he’s running borderline.

Maybe it would help to frame it this way?

Diagnosis is a doorway to lots of options. ONE of those options is medication. But, those options also include:

  • School accommodations (longer test times, private test environments, access to extra breaks)
  • Extra resources from school counseling
  • Referral to a behavioral psychologist that can help with behavior problems
  • Further education and support for yourself and your wife as parents of ADHD kiddos
  • Access to NON medication treatments, such as the “medical food” Vayarin

What kind of non-medication interventions have you implemented? (Limiting screen time, adding structured exercise, etc…)

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Obviously he is your kid so you have the final say. The thing that I would worry about is not on the academic side, but on the social side. Is he learning the social lessons he should be learning for his grade level? Also is he learning the study skills that he should be learning or is he just skating by. I am 40, just diagnosed last year. I did fabulous academically, however since I had ADHD, I never learned study or social skills. I skated by and took boring classes that where way under my potential. I struggled in college due to not having these skills. Moral of the story, is don’t just look at grades, look at behavior and are you setting the kid up for success later in life…

Treatment does not just have to be meds (but that is usually a good step). You can have some time of therapy either with the meds or instead of the med.

I see my story is the same as yours.

Bottom line, seek professional help and make your decision after consulting with 1 or multiple medical professionals.

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@KaylaBapple, @Outdoorsy Thanks for the replies. Sorry for my slow reply, I’ve been in a bad state of life overwhelming me the past couple of days.

My wife and I have discussed it, and we agree that we need to take action soon. The biggest problem is emotional regulation. If our son is playing with other kids, and they start teasing him, or hit him, he goes on a rampage. He has hurt other kids in the past (and upset parents) and I think it’s just a matter of time before the next incident occurs. One already happened within the past week.

I think that even a mild dosage would take his edge off, and let him keep his emotions in check.

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That’s the kind of difference we saw in our son. Emotional regualtion is HARD! Glad you’re seeking help :slight_smile:

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I recommend getting the diagnosis. As has already been said, it will help start a dialogue with your son’s school and allow for accommodations. Your son will learn that he is not a screw up, just a race car in a world of minivans. After you get the diagnosis, include him in the discussion on what happens next. Do the research with him to explore the different options. This will help him take control of his own mental health which, as he gets older, will be important. I am speaking from the perspective of a teacher as well as a parent. Here are a few strategies to help your son with some of the issues he is facing currently. Blurting: (I had a hard time with this in school) get him a small notebook. Have him practice writing out his thoughts instead of blurting them. This way he does not worry about forgetting what he is going to say before the teacher calls on him and he can raise his hand. Also, if he has questions he can then always approach the teacher later with his notepad if they move on with the lesson before he gets a chance to speak. Attacking other kids: talk to him about his anger and apply calming exercises. It is easy to get on the case of a kid who is lashing out (and they do need to learn that it is wrong) but that will not solve this problem. Talk with him, find out together what is triggering these angry episodes and how he feels leading up to, during, and after an episode. Once you both are informed, talk to him about ways of avoiding or detaching from situations that cause these outbursts as well as ways to calm down if they cannot be avoided. I hope this helps.

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He already suspects that he has ADHD, so presenting it to him won’t be much of a challenge.

For his blurting, it’s not so much about answers as it is his feelings. Maybe commenting that something is boring, or funny, or whatever. I don’t think that he’s doing it to be the class clown either, he’s just unfiltered.

I’ve talked to him about dealing with his anger, but he still struggles. Usually his older brother is present, so I also need to get across to him to help the situation. Usually the older brother is part of the antagonists (to fit in), so that doesn’t help.

Adhd doesnt always affect your grades so if that is what is holding u back from a diagnosis or medication for ur second son forget about that. Just if u r concerned get him checked out by a doctor and if they say he has it treat it from tjere but dont not get help just cause his grades are good because it affects much more than that and un treated adhd can lead to deppresion anxiety and more. So i hope for the best an ya​:grinning::grinning:

Fellow brain, I also have problems with social anxiety and as an adult, making friends. I was too hyperfocused on the wrong things.

My 11 year old son was diagnosed last year. I would say his biggest issue has been the emotional regulation. He did not get a diagnose with ADHD until the end of 4th grade. By that time he had been suspend from school once, been in fights, sent to the counselor or principals office many times and had shown so many odd behaviors in class that he had build up a reputation as the “angry boy” and who knows what else. I’ve been most worried about what effect his behavior has had on the other kids perception of him. But through proper diagnosis, therapy, and the lowest dose of an non-stimulant medication available, he is doing much better and has had a great start to 5th grade. Hoping the kids in school will see him in a whole new light and all the “odd and angry” behavior will be forgotten, I did not want to medicate my child and still worry about it tremendously, but wow how it has made a difference. He is still a fun, curious, smart and active child. He just isn’t ruled by his inability to regulate his emotions.

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I hope that it goes well for him this year.

Get him diagnosed. They will offer medication immediately, but you are under no obligation to give it to him. But other options will present themselves with a diagnosis. With a diagnosis for my daughter, the school was able to develop an individualized education plan and give her the extra help she needed. She is taking Concerta now, but at first we avoided giving her medication. The school modifications helped, but weren’t enough for her. Every kid is different as they say.

Also if he is doing well in school, you might have difficulty getting him diagnosed, so better to start the process as soon as possible.

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Thanks Jen. I asked my oldest son’s pediatrician (who’s treating his ADHD) about where to start with our youngest. She said just to start with the family doctor (which we haven’t scheduled yet).

I myself used to be on medication, they do not work for everyone. In most cases, it works but in some, it does not. The thing that worked for me was Cognitive Behavioral therapy because here I learned what ADHD is and I got some tricks to help me cope.

But there are a lot of options out there. And every one with ADHD is different.

I used to struggle a lot with regulating my emotions, I got angry real quick. For me, it helped that I joined a team sport where I could let out all of my energy. I am no parent, so I can not tell from that kind of view. But as a kid with ADHD, I remember what my grandma used to say remove your self from the situation when you start to feel angry. Or keeping a situation chart.
In my case, I was often not aware of my behavior at the moment. So I kept a situation chart.
This is a small notebook, or note on the phone, where they can write down the situation, ask them self why they reacted the way they did. If this reaction is a good reaction and why. Or when it is a bad reaction, why is it a bad reaction. And what could be done otherwise?

I know that my parents struggled with me a lot. But they kept trying to talk and calm me down.