Sometime after Thanksgiving, my son was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. His doc suspects it's more ADD than /HD, but there's no way to know for sure at this point and the treatment is the same for both, affording to him. When it was being "politely" suggested last year by his Kindergarten teacher, we disregarded it as a personality conflict. But this year, we knew our son loved his 1st grade teacher and that the personality wasn't the issue. He was going to the bathroom but then forgetting what room he was in before that. He was near tears trying to do his homework because it "hurt his brain" and there were "too many things running around in there" for him to concentrate. So, reluctantly, we accepted this year's teacher's complaints were valid and we brought them up (again) with our son's doctor. This year, he met more of the criteria and qualified as ADD/ADHD.
So now what?
Well, we thought about not medicating – just learning behavior modification strategies. But that takes time and, in the interim, our son's grades would keep falling and his teacher would keep emailing me or calling me about his behaviors. (Which, incidentally, I cannot do anything about FROM WORK so I often wonder why she bothers to tell me… but I digress…)
Then, we thought about alternate medications… but as Hubby pointed out, if FDA-regulated pills make us uncomfortable, how badly would we feel about non-regulated supplements that may or may not even work? (Please spare me testimonials about how well alternative supplements work for you, by the way. While I am happy you may have found something that works for you, I am not asking for your input as I've already made up my mind.)
So, we decided to medicate. Our little boy takes his Adderall every morning, right before school. He's on the dose his doctor calculated to be the "right" one per his body weight (which has already dropped 2 pounds due to the appetite suppression). It gets him through school, just about. If we forget a day's Fiber supplement, though, he'll be in the bathroom for 20 minutes and then in the nurse's office complaining about his tummy hurting and how he cannot poop. :sigh:
I guess we've picked our poison, huh?
Before we had our son, I would have been the first to say "what is wrong with these people, putting their child on stimulants?!?" I was okay with taking medication for my own emotional and physical health issues. And I understood some illnesses – like diabetes, thyroidism, or heart problems – required meds early on. But stimulants? It sounded so barbaric!
And you know what? I still wonder if we're doing the right thing.
Our son's work product has improved tremendously, already. And he's gotten over whatever hurtle was keeping him from reading. But the meds make his appetite non-existant, which means he doesn't eat much (if anything) at lunch, which means he's feeling queezy later and either in the bathroom trying (in vain) to poop, or in the nurse's office forcing himself to eat crackers or dry bread. We've traded off one problem for another, and I feel like a P.O.S. for doing it.
My son is not perfect – far from it. He can be obstinate and disrespectful and down-right difficult. But he can also be (and often is) compassionate, sweet, caring, creative, helpful, and fun to be around. His only "sins" are being socially clueless and hypersensitive. And, for better or worse, he has a teacher who is worried about him – as well as two parents who probably worry too much about him. But he is also smart – very smart – but gets bored easily and, unlike I was at his age, he will tell the adults teaching him that he's bored or the material is for babies. But because, without medication, he will forget things or wander the halls after a potty break, he isn't concidered behaviorally ready for the "gifted" school in our district. And they won't move him up a grade because of "social interaction concerns." (Nevermind that he doesn't really have friends now.)
I am just so torn and, honestly, so very tired of fighting with what feels like EVERYONE: the teacher, the nurse, the principal, the doctor, etc. I want the best for my son, but it feels like that would be not medicating and homeschooling. We cannot afford to go down to one income, so that rules that out. I refuse to send him to any of the private schools in the area (they are all religions in nature). He won't qualify for the "gifted" school because of his behaviors when he's not medicated, but the medication has side effects which make him feel like crap and would have him in the nurse's office too much to keep up with the higher-speed curriculum. While I suspect a faster curriculum would mean less boredom and less acting out, I am not 100% sure and if I'm not sure, I cannot convince the doctor or the school he's at now to support me.
And then there's the whole doubt in my mind that his problem is ADD after all. What if it's not? What if he's got anxiety issues, too? That's another pill. And then what about the mood swings that go along with the ADD and anxiety meds? Another pill. It's a slippery slope and I don't want to have my son on as many medications in the 1st grade as I am on at 37. Or is that just societal conditioning on my part?
Hello, my name is Sullen_Not_Stirred and I am a horrible Mom. Thank you for listening.