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Member since 10 Sep 2008
Member from Waiuku
My seven year old grandson, lets call him Alex, has just been diagnosed with ADHD. Up until only a few months ago I didn't believe in such a thing as ADHD.
I thought that PC parents were so mollycoddling their boys that they were not allowed to be real boys.
"They are just energetic boys" I thought, "let them be boys"
Or else I thought that their hyperactive behaviour was a reaction to food colouring or preservatives and their parents should stop feeding them crap. OR I thought that the parents were weak and ineffectual and should practice good consistent firm parenting with appropriate use of "Time Out".
But by about three years of age Alex was becoming a difficult child. He would come and visit us and leave all four adults and sometimes a couple of teenagers all exhausted in his wake. "He's certainly full on" our fourteen year old nephew gasped. His kindergarten referred him to a psychiatrist who said he was normal but was given speech therapy for his slow language development and indistinct speech.
He started dropping behind in his milestones, never enough to really cause concern and as soon as we investigated the milestone he would achieve it. Another kindergarted also arranged for him to be investigated, Autism was being mentioned tentatively - this time the pediatrician and team identified a mild learning disability. Apparently he remembered everything but had difficulty recalling the memory to use it when needed.
When he started school he was disruptive in class, he was given an occupational therapist to design his lessons. Agression began to be a bit of a problem, he would hit and annoy other children and didn't seem to conform to social norms, didn't pick up on the social signals that he was annoying the other children or taking roughhouse play too far.
His poor Mum tried everything over these early years.
Giving him a Food colouring and preservative free diet - some slght improvement but not much
Studied good parenting, and avidly watched "Supernanny" and read Diane Levy from cover to cover. She became a great parent, calm, firm and consistent - better than I ever was.
Tried Mineral diet supplements and homoepathic treatment - some slight improvement - most days!
Then one day about six months ago his Mum rang me. "Read up on ADHD Mum - its Alex to a "T""
I did - and it was.
But I don't believe in ADHD.........
But it was Alex undeniably.
His Mum went to a GP
"I think he's ADHD and I'd like to put him on Ritalun for a weeks trial to see if it makes any difference" she said naively.
In New Zealand, quite rightly, it is not that easy. He was referred to Whirinaki the child and Adolescent mental health service here in Auckland New Zealand. Six months later, after a few sessions with psychiatrists, parent, grandparent and teacher interviews, we were told he was mildly ADHD. MILDLY oh yes and I do pity whanau (family) of full on ADHD children. Alex is handful enough!
So now I am a believer, and if you continue to follow this blog I hope to convince you as well.
Today Alex was just prescribed medication - We are waiting to see if it helps......
Member since 26 Sep 2006
Member from New Plymouth
Wow Aurora.....just goes to show life is never black and white. I've always been a bit skeptical about ADHD as well, but your story makes me totally rethink on that one. Hope the medication helps and everyone can relax a bit. Let's know how it goes.
Member since 29 Jun 2006
Member from Shirley
Good luck with that Aurora,I hope the medication helps. I have a Grandson who also has it & medication did help him.
But you'll find there are an abundance of people who still believe its all about poor parenting or bad diet - or worse,those who somehow think there's nothing wrong that a 'good hiding' won't fix.
Day five on Rubifen (a generic form of Ritalin)
Wow wow wow Wow
I want to tell the world (I guess I am telling the world).
I phoned all my friends to tell them, and when I’m done I sit down to think of who else I could tell-I can't stop-it's the best news I've had in years.
Alex is like a new child-no, not new, he's not changed exactly, it is more like the Alex we caught glimpses off on a good day. That Alex has emerged, come out of his dark cave, and is now the dominant personality. He switches off the heater, the first time Sophie asks him, he runs to get her a towel when she gets out of the shower. He wrestles with his 10-month-old brother gently, when Peter grizzles he says.
“Okay buddy, game over" and puts him gently on the floor.
Oh, I suppose those of you with "normal" boys do not understand the importance of these events. So let me tell you about before Ritalin
"Alex can you turn off the heater, please" Sophie asks the she places toast in the toaster and prepares four bowls of cereal, while balancing Peter on her hip.
"Alex-turn off the heater.” she is putting the bowls on the table, Peter is tetchy with hunger. Julie comes running in with her fourth change of clothing on-it's eight o'clock a.m.
She puts Peter in the high chair and drop some toast onto the tray.
"Julie you can't wear that, it’s frosty outside-you need to put tights and a jumper on."
She ushers Julie towards the bedroom and turns the heater off herself as she goes past.
After breakfast Alex grabs Peter and lies on the floor with him, tickling him and wrestling. Peter giggles in delight at first, but stops after a while. Alex tries to get him giggling again by tickling harder. Peter starts to look alarmed. So Alex tickles him harder still. Now Peter decides this hurts and starts to moan louder... Sophie, always with an eye on Alex knowing he cannot be trusted not to hurt Peter, intervenes.
"Alex, Peter has had enough put him down."
Alex continues rough housing with the baby who is starting to cry now.
Sophie goes over and takes Peter from Alex.
"Peter has had enough Alex, stop it now."
Alex turns to her.
"You’re a poo poo, I hate you," he screams at the top of his voice
"Don’t you talk to me like that," says Sophie "go to your room."
“Poo poo“ says Alex, dodging Sophie as she tries to grab him, Peter on hip.
"Go to your room"
Somehow, I never quite know how, by some magical mother trick and sheer determination, Sophie manages to get Alex to his room where he screams and throws things around for about five minutes. He comes out, says sorry and is allowed to join the family, but immediately annoys Julie and is sent back to his room.
"But that's just a spirited boy” I hear the doubters say. "My son behaves like that and he's seven, just like Alex."
"Yes" I answer, "I am sure he does-but how often? Once?-twice a week?"
With Alex it can be five times a day. Don't try to tell me that is normal boisterous boy behaviour.
Sophie says it's like with a two-year-old who is learning how to behave in the family. You have to teach them family rules; no hitting, no swearing, no throwing toys at people. Sometimes you have to put them in timeout. Usually within six months or so, the two-year-old starts to get it and adjusts to family life. With Alex, no matter how often you explain, or give timeout, he never grows out of the two-year-old impulsive behaviour.
Back to day five on Ritalin and Alex has been great, five days.
He still runs around and is a goofy boy sometimes -but now stops when you tell him to.
Its bedtime and Sophie as saying
"I'm so proud of you Buddy; you've been such a good boy. You have been kind and helpful and really nice. Well done “
"It’s my medicine mum," says Alex. "It makes me be good, I like my medicine, I must take it every day. I get it now, I can be good."
"What was it like before your medicine Alex?"
"I would kick .... And then know I had done something wrong."
Out of the mouths of children sometimes comes truth, plain and simple. Alex had just accurately and succinctly described what the “impulsivity” side of ADHD is like.
How absolutely marvellous Aurora. I'm so pleased for your family. It must feel wonderful, and so quickly too. Great stuff!
Member since 27 Nov 2010
Member from Maraetai Beach
ADHD - is certainly more recognisable these days than ever before. Certainly when growing up in the 50's & 60's it never received as much attention probably due to a lack of either sufficient knowledge or research in acknowledging it as a condition.
Then there was the era of imbibing young children [boys in particular] who were seen as hyper-active with a medication known a Ritalin /Ritlin [sp - brand name] a terrible calming down suppressant. It certainly slowed the lads down to the point of being docile and manageable.
My Mother, was fortunately one of those mums who never believed in such tactics but rather in pro-active remedies; so she encouraged me to play sport and to participate in everything our community could offer for children. I was involved in playing sport 6 days a week at primary school, high school, university and then club levels; Boy Scouts; Sunday School and Home Chores [inclusive of petcare, cooking once a week for the family, gardening, making your own bed daily etc].
Needless to say it also taught me time management [ as far as school and university home assignments were concerned], it succeeded in keeping me occupied, healthy, always keen for adventure, away from all the natural vices that young persons get up to when bored or left to their own devices, moreover it ensured that when I went to bed at night I was more than ready and able to fall asleep immediately and as a consequence slept like a baby [without a peep or a murmur].
In the final analysis I ended up with a wonderful education, very successful career, very energetic, keen volunteer, good religious education and I guess a well balanced fellow to boot, whom most parents would be proud of [even as a retiree I still work at it and naturally manage to keep it under control, with good healthy results] .
Fortunately with the benefit of hindsight our own 3 children have been privileged to enjoy a healthy childhood / adulthood without the fears of being considered problematic.
To all those readers who are struggling to address the condition, regardless of age, would suggest getting involved with any one of the following -
- play as much sport [single or team] at whatever level possible
- get involved in community activities wherever and whenever possible
- keep as active as is possible
- don't let it take over your life but rather embrace it and use the
energy positively to enrich your life
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