Every day this month I have posted tips, tools, and information on ADHD and our family's journey with it. Today is day 10 and we are struggling to stay positive and light-hearted. We changed Michael's meds because his previous ones(Intuntiv 4mg) caused him to be extremely drowsy at school or even fall asleep. We (meaning his doctor and parents) chose to try another stimulant this time. The last stimulant (Adderal XR) we tried caused Michael to lose excessive weight and become zombie like. We felt like we lost our smiley,happy,loving boy. Putting him back on a stimulant is not something we did lightly. These drugs are basically meth. They are federally monitored and regulated so much so that every month we have to go get a new written script to refill it. There is no calling in to the pharmacy to get it filled. This time we tried Concerta (18mg) I have heard great things from other parents whose children are on this and it has worked for them. Unfortunately it did not for Michael. We gave him his first dose yesterday and it made him sick all day. Headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. He did not eat all day due to these side effects. He does not have a fever or runny nose. No body aches or any other cold/flu like symptoms. So we did not give it to him this morning (we gave him the Intuniv last night instead) He seems fine now, and I will call the Dr on Monday to see what he thinks. These are just the medicine difficulties we deal with daily/monthly. This doesn't include the IEP meetings, parent/teacher meetings or phone calls. I am in constant contact with his teachers. Yes teachers! He has 4. His regular 3rd grade classroom teacher, his special ed classroom teacher, his speech teacher, and he goes into a 1st grade classroom for a reading group. He is 9 years old and still reads at a 1st grade level. With a lot of hands on assistance every day he can get up to end of the year 2nd grade level but as soon as that assistance lessens it's gone. It's like he cannot retain the information. We have a MRI scheduled on the 17th to look further into the neuro-cognitive side of things.
I struggle with anxiety and guilt for all of this. I struggle with the fear that my child will not have a functional future. I struggle like any parent of a special needs child does. But I also struggle because unlike Autism or Down-syndrome or Epilepsy or any well know special need many children have, my sons special need is stereotyped as bad parenting, or laziness. Our family's struggle is not taken serious by many because it IS over diagnosed, and overly blamed for bad parenting and laziness.
I assure you my son is not lazy, and though I may not be parent of the year I don't think I'm a bad parent either. Do I have too much on my plate? Probably. Do I forget to make sure he did him homework? Sometimes. Do I yell? Damn straight I have 3 kids pulling me in different directions, even if Michael didn't have these difficulties I would yell. I am doing my best and sometimes my best sucks. Sorry I am human, but please don't belittle our struggle by brushing ADHD off as behavior or environment. It is real, and my child deserves the world because he did not ask for this. He did nothing to deserve this. He is the most loving, compassionate person I know and all he wants is for everyone to get along and have fun.
If you or someone you know is looking for more information on ADHD please go here: http://www.additudemag.com/