Most kids are not quiet. They tend to be loud, run around and get into things. Some kids are a bit more adventurous than others. They are easier to anger, yell or interrupt us. Maybe all of the above and more. This can go on for years past the “terrible twos”, which is supposed to end by age four at the latest.
THE TRIP INTO THE UNKNOWN
There is not a certain day that I knew that something was a bit different with Julian. I just knew. That story can be read in Looking At The Bright Side It’s incredibly difficult to realize that your child may need to be evaluated for any reason. You may question yourself as a person, as a parent. I did this daily. Matthew did this towards me and things went badly between us after that. There are many books to help get you through the diagnosis and afterwards, but what about the unknown? There are support groups for this. I’m in a couple on Facebook, both local and non-local. They’re helpful for almost any question I’ve had in 6 years. The unknown is scary. Why didn’t I see this earlier? What’s next? What about when my child is an adult? What about medication? These are just a few questions. Just about every parent has a moment that snaps them into action- a playdate gone bad, daycare/school issues or other similar reasons. I realized things were adding up to not being the way they should be. Julian was still having loud and destructive tantrums, very aggressive and his siblings were scared of him. Plus he has problems sleeping and was very hyper.
LOOKING FOR THE SIGNS
The signs of ADHD are usually hit-you-in-the-face obvious, at least with boys. With girls, it may be less obvious and diagnosed later. Many boys are diagnosed as early as four or five (Julian was five) but because of personality differences, most girls are diagnosed as late as 10 or 11, if not older. This information can be found on Additude Magazine.
Signs of ADHD:
There is a timeline that these behaviors have to be observed for, and this leads me to the next step.
I highly recommend speaking to your child’s pediatrician. They will know how to screen him/her for ADHD and if needed, refer them for testing. Julian was first seen by his pediatrician and then evaluated by a neuropsychologist. If your pediatrician screens your child for ADHD, they will have you fill out a questionnaire and have your child’s teacher fill one out if that applies. It’s a pretty simple questionnaire. It helps them see what is going on from your perspective and an educational one. The same will occur if you are sent for an evaluation. The evaluation may be one day, or spread out over two. This depends on the testing itself and your child. Each practice differs on results, so please ask about how long those take when you are setting things up. The wait can be excruciating. Our wait was two weeks but it crept by.
MOVING INTO THE FUTURE
Once you have a diagnosis, you will have a better idea of what to do. There are options, depending on what you feel works for your child and family. Medications aren’t for everyone but they definitely help. Julian has been medicated since not long after his diagnosis. It was a difficult decision to medicate a 5 year old that was already small for his age, but I am very glad that I chose that route. Most kids with ADHD struggle in some way socially, and Julian is one of them. This didn’t surprise me since he also has autism, but it also broke my heart numerous times. He was placed in social skills therapy, as recommended by his former psychiatrist. This social skills group was great and he went for almost a year. He learned a lot and has made a lot of progress in this area. I will discuss getting outside help for kids with autism and other disabilities in an upcoming post. The main options include: Medication Therapy- occupational, social, physical, and/or for emotional issues A combination As recommended by your child’s pediatrician. All done with group therapy Finishing group therapy! ADHD can be a hard diagnosis to figure out, especially in the beginning. There’s still a lot of stigma behind it- if others around understand more, we can help our kids be understood a lot better.
Have you had issues with getting your child screened for ADHD? Are you worried about a child that is showing symptoms? Leave your thoughts in the comments.