Monday, November 24, 2014

ADHD CAN SUCK IT

My eight year old was diagnosed with ADHD eight months ago. Things have been a real struggle for our family in dealing with it. When I try to talk to others about it I hear ignorant responses such as:
ADHD doesn't exist.                                                    
Just put him on medication.
He's just bored.
He's just lazy.
He has behavior problems.
He's still young, he will grow out of it.
He was probably misdiagnosed.
He just  needs discipline.
He probably has a high IQ so the work isn't challenging enough.
BLAH BLAH BLAH.
 I don't even respond to such foolish nonsense because you can't fix stupidity.

I can tell you with certainty ADHD does exist and my boy has it. We went the long route for diagnosis and got a full scale mental health evaluation instead of just filling out some surveys.

At his evaluation his IQ was tested and then they conducted a lot of other tests to pinpoint what he is struggling with and rule out other learning and mental conditions. He was found to have a full scale IQ of 130, which is very superior, with lowest score being 114 (high average) in Verbal Comprehension, and the highest score being 137 in Perceptual Reasoning (very superior). This was comforting to know since many ADHD kids with high IQ can do very well. He was diagnosed with moderate combined type ADHD (inattentive and hyperactive) and was also  diagnosed with unspecified anxiety. He sees the school counselor once a week for the anxiety.

His psychologist was shocked when he got to the 7th and 8th grade questions on the IQ test and was still answering enough questions correctly to continue the test. When he had answered enough questions wrong the test concluded. The attention test, however, was a total BUST! He could not even complete it. He was asked to stare at a screen and hit the space bar whenever a letter popped up. He could not focus enough to even do it at all. He restarted many times and still had the same result. He could not stare at a screen for 5 minutes. Most ADHD kids can complete the test but miss some because of inability to focus and distraction.

This confuses me. He can answer hundreds of difficult questions and spend hours doing it but can't stare at a screen for 5 minutes? Apparently if something is engaging enough ADHD kids can hyper focus, but if it isn't they have a hard time focusing at all. It is very hard for me to understand how he can build with Legos make forts or plat Minecraft for hours on end but has difficulty even starting the simplest of worksheets. It is crazy to me, but that is the mystery of the ADHD brain.

This brings me to our struggle with him. I do not know how a child can be so amazing and so infuriating all at once. Sometimes he can do many pages of homework very quickly and others he can't even start. Sometimes he sits for 4 or 5 hours to do 1 page. This saddens me. He is missing his entire childhood. I get very frustrated and our whole family suffers. I feel like I spend all my time and energy on this child in order to get him to accomplish what he needs to accomplish, so that everyone else is just pushed to the back burner. This monster that is ADHD has invaded out home and I just wish it would leave us the hell alone. But alas it won't, it is here to stay, so we need to find a way to beat the monster. My boy is so creative, caring, empathetic, brilliant and funny. He is also busy, stubborn and strong-willed.

One night last week he sat and sat and sat and did nothing at all for 3 hours straight. When it got to be bedtime his father told him to go to bed and he could get up early to do homework in the morning. I thought is was a horrible idea because I was worried the same thing would happen and he would end up with late assignments. I have never let him wait until morning for that reason and also I'm lazy and don't want to get up early. I always had him stay up however late he had to in order to get it done.

Well at this point I was crabby and exhausted so I was willing to try anything. Nothing was getting accomplished anyway so staying up with him was pointless. So I went to bed early, and got up at six the next day to wake him up. I got him going and left him alone to work and I went back to bed. I needed to see if he could be self driven and work even if it meant late assignments, and also did I mention I'm lazy. I was well prepared to end up calling his teacher to explain what had happened.

IT WORKED! Low and behold, it worked! When I got up at seven he was just finishing up the last of fourteen pages, only eight of which were due that day and the other six were due the next day! I was so very proud and completely ecstatic to finally find SOMETHING that worked. We haven't had to do this again since, we always try to get him to do homework in the evening, because again, I'm lazy, but at least now we have an alternative if evening isn't working.

I believe this worked for several reasons.
1. He was well rested
2. His brain wasn't overloaded and fatigued like it is in the afternoon from all the school work he did that day.
3. More was at stake because if he didn't finish he would have late assignments and a consequence at school.
4. There were no distractions because everyone else was asleep.

When I realized what was happening, that we were WINNING against the monster, I was giving the finger to ADHD in my head thinking: See you bastard ADHD, you can't beat us! We are gonna fight and keep fighting and we are going to beat you! Oh, and one more thing.....

                                 SUCK IT ADHD!!!!!