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Each month in our newsletter, we publish a question from a reader. Parents offer suggestions for dealing with the situation. Here are some of the answers:
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Help-I need a diagnosis for my
That Can't Sleep
Should Children with ADHD/ADD start school
ADHD without Hyperactivity
ADHD and Depression
Help with Homework
ADHD AND DEPRESSION
My son is diagnosed with ADHD but is not really a "troublemaker", however, his mood does seem to cycle every two to three months. These are the times he seems depressed and it is those times that he gets into trouble, such as putting gasoline on a neighbor (that we do not get along with) plants or getting into the paint in the basement. Are these acts connected more to depression or just ADHD?
**Have you ever considered the fact that your son may be bipolar? Bipolar disorder has been found to be
comorbid with ADHD. The thing that made me think about bipolar was when you said that his moods seem to
"cycle." Does he also have periods that seem like manic periods, such as being superenergetic, thinking
that he's Superman, etc.? I just finished reading a great book called "The Bipolar Child." I can't
remember the authors, but they were a husband and wife team, and I think they had a Greek surname. Try
searching for "bipolar disorder" on amazon.com and you'll probably find the book. Good luck and best
wishes! (BTW, I have a 4 year old with ADHD.)
**I have a 7yr old son with adhd, I feel that the things he does and gets into are part of the
adhd. I have also read that they can have depression and or ODD
**I would most definately talk with your physician about depression. There are many treatments available and if it is depression then he could have so much better success if it is properly treated. Good luck
I wanted to know what other meds can be used instead of ritalin. My son has been on ritalin for two yrs now and it does help but I would like to know what other thing can be done for him.
MY SON HAS ADHD. HE ALSO HAS LEARNING PROBLEMS THAT THE SCHOOL SAY IS DUE TO HIS ADD. HE TAKES SPEECH THERAPY AND IS A YEAR
BEHIND IN SCHOOL. THE IS SIX YEARS OLD AND IS ON RITALIN 3 TIMES A DAY AND HAS TO TAKE MEDICINE TO SLEEP.
HE'S ALSO ALLERGIC TO MILK AND HAS ASTHMA. HE IS VERY SMART WHEN IT COMES TO OTHER THINGS BUT NOT THE THINGS THAT SHOULD COME EASY. I AM A MOTHER DESPERATELY SEEKING HELP FOR MY SON AND LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR BETTER TREATMENTS FOR THIS PROBLEM OR A CURE.
**My 9 yr old daughter was on ritalin then dexedrine, at first I thought it was the right thing for us but as her personality changed into a moody, and misbehaving child and I told the doctor about it and just got more prescriptions I decided to take matters into my own hands. I stopped the dexedrine and put her on the Feingold Diet (feingold.org). I decided I would rather have her off drugs and she is doing better now. She is no longer moody, she goes to bed without problem, she gets up in the morning easily, and she is able to sit and do school work which I have been doing at home this summer to catch up on all of the learning she missed while in her drugged state, she finally had the confidence to learn to ride a two-wheeler and is a much happier child. We still have some bad days, but overall I would much rather just change her diet then drug her.
**I have 2 boys that are on meds. 1 is ADD the other ADHD. They both take dexdrine. I only give them meds twice aday so they can sleep at night. But it is rough at night when they are coming off there noon dose. I took my 13yr old off for a year and he failed 4th grade. on his meds he is an a,b student. My 9 yr old is on the honor roll since we put him on meds. He was on his way to failing the 1st grade for the 2nd time when he was diagnosed. He also has learning disabilities but with extra help in a reading disability class he has come up almost to grade level.
**1. Last things first: You'll probably feel better once you realize with all your heart that you're not going to find a cure. You may find treatments which will improve things significantly; you may find ways to help you make the most of the good times; and you may find ways to make yourself feel better, but a real cure is very unlikely.
2. The Ritalin could easily be making the sleeping problem worse. Talk to a doctor about it.
Generally doctors can make things either a lot better or a lot worse, and not just by their prescriptions. If you feel that your doctor is against you instead of being with you, you might want to shop around for other doctors. They can be in addition to the present doctor, not instead of him. For various reasons - more often political than medical, to give the school authorities the impression that we're doing something - we talk on different occasions to a general pediatrician (a nice guy with a brain, gives us moral support), and a pediatric neurologist (a nice guy who provides comic relief. He feels the same about us.) We have also just started seeing a pediatrician who supposedly specializes in child development, but seems more like an expert in soaping the school authorities. Very useful. Probably the best bet is to ask other ADHD parents in your area what professionals they've found most helpful.
3. As with ADHD and most other diseases, asthma and allergies are pretty much incurable, but A LOT can be done to help. Talk to your doctors about this, too.
4. A lot can be done to make both you and your son feel better. Communicating with other parents of 'problem' children will probably help a lot. I have found that working on my relationship with my son does more for everybody's general mood than what any professional can do. You and your son will both have to make compromises and work hard to make things work. Try it, and you'll probably find out that he's both willing and able.
**My daughter is 10 years old and sounds just like yours, in fact this morning I felt like running away from home! I have two older children who also have add, both want nothing to do with medication. My son (18) now has an electrical apprenticeship and my daughter (16) is working in retail full time. Both are happy. Many times I thought this not possible. All I can say is to keep trying, different things seem to work for a while then the novelty wares off and it's time to try something else. I have been using a reward system with chips. Each time she does what she is supposed to she gets a chip. We usually have some things in the cupboard at home that she has seen and wants when we're out, I buy them and put away until she has earned enough chips to pay for it. eg. Disney Adventures magazine, A Goosebumps book, etc. Keep on trying and start every day afresh and surround yourself with people who have a positive attitude to your child, that helps keep your sprits up.
**Write a letter to the school principal asking that your son be given a complete evaluation for
learning disabilities. Do it in writing. If it is not, they may not respond. You need to know for sure what he needs, not go by the school guess that ADD is the only issue. In the letter tell them the areas where you suspect problems.
Make sure you think about movement. He may have sensory integration problems that make him likely to move a lot. To educate yourself on how to use the special education system effectively you should read everything on the WRIGHTSLAW.COM website. It is an advocacy website that has everything you need to know to navigate the school system.
**I have two children that are allergic to milk. Take him off all forms of milk, even additives. It will take 3 weeks for his body to totally rid itself of the "toxin." Observe what this does for his behavior. Do you know about alternative ADD drugs such as Adderall? Discuss this with your doctor.
Check out Direct Instruction. It is a controversial form of teaching within the teaching community, but it has been around for thirty years and has proven to help children with LD issues (ADD is now considered a LD). I have used it successfully in the classroom and it has also turned the educationally tide for my son and nephew.