View Full Version : Started the Process but Unsure


jaznia15
09-28-17, 05:12 PM
Hey Everyone!

I am new here and am in the process of getting my 10 year old child evaluated for ADHD, but I am unsure if I am over-reacting. My child is the oldest grandson and also the only boy in our family. My mother gave birth to two daughters. I am the youngest and my sister currently has three daughters. This is a disclaimer because I know nothing of boys which will make more sense as you read.

We'll call my son, Isaiah (not his real name), for the purpose of this post. Isaiah has always been a sweet and polite child. In truth, I feel this may be the reason we've never thought anything could be wrong.

Looking back, there were little clues upon the way. Our school does a pre-kindergarten test required of all kids going into kindergarten the next year. At the end of the year, his pre-K teacher pulled me to the side and told me Isaiah did not do well on the test which surprised her. She assured us that he would not be placed based on the test. I didn't think much of it, my child was four. Looking back, he probably did not do well on the test as he probably was not focused or attentive.

Well since that time, school has been a nightmare for us. Isaiah is a great kid, but things would be forgotten. I've dealt with lost books, lost coats, forgotten homework, forgotten test dates, etc. I work out of town and many times my mother will get Isaiah from daycare which is right around the corner from the school. Isaiah would forget his assignments so much, my mother was well known to the school environmental service staff as she was always there going through his desk after hours retrieving what he had left.

Throughout the years, he's had different teachers but I've been told the same thing at almost every teacher conference. "Isaiah is a great kid, but sometimes he seems to lose focus". I would see daily assignments with bad grades and be told by his teachers "we went over this several times with students before they did the assignment" or "I went over the answers for correction at the end of assignment, Isaiah was reading a book". I didn't know what to do, punishment was not working. Talking was not working. And then the phrase "typical boy" was thrown around last year with his 4th grade teachers. I thought it was immaturity and continued to work with him at home, sometimes long hours going over things he should have learned in class.

His grades were fine for the most part. He made the Merit List (90 avg) his 3rd grade year. He also only had one teacher that year. Last year, he didn't make the honor roll due to one C, but had an overall A+B average in all classes. I feel like his good grades and good behavior are the only reason his teachers have never suggested ADHD.

This year I have yearned for improvement and see none. Forms do not make it home EVER. Homework that we've worked on the night before goes missing and is not turned in. He actually ended up packing up a quiz with his work and it was missing for two weeks. His teacher was nice enough to grade the paper when it was finally found because she knew he hadn't cheated but just misplaced the paperwork. He brought home a 0 on a daily assignment the other day. The teacher wrote a note stating she had gone over the assignment several times and had even given the kids the answer to number one. Isaiah got every single answer wrong and it was clear he did not pay attention to how to do the assignment. I went over the assignment at home and he grasped the concept quickly. He was able to retake this assignment as well.

As we continue through this year, fear began to grow with me. His lack of focus was not improving. If not for the fact that I keep in close contact with his teachers and other parents of students in the class, I wouldn't know what is going on. If not for the late nights spent going through concepts that he has missed in class, he would not be doing well in school. My only thought is middle school is next year when he'll have one teacher per subject.

He is so disorganized. Each subject has its own folder and students have binders with dividers marked with "homework" or "classwork". We counsel Isaiah all the time to put the assignment behind the correct tab as soon as he receives it. The teacher states she re-enforces what the assignment should go under several times throughout class. Isaiah's assignment ends up not in the correct place or just stuffed into the book bag each time. It got so bad in the first few weeks of school this year, the teacher even volunteered to help him organize his binder in her free time.

Researching Isaiah's issues, every behavior exhibited or reported fits the ADHD inattentive type. I think Isaiah's behavior and good grades are what makes me question myself the most. I know elementary school grades are inflated to some extent. I just attended a parent's night event which was worth a free 100 towards his language arts grade:rolleyes:. I just don't want to wait until he is on the verge of failing a class or grade to do something.

We are scheduled next week for the appointment with his pediatrician. I was told medication could be prescribed by the doctor based on the forms from his teachers and I combined with his assessment. I'm going to ask for a formal test to be conducted by a psychologist before I make the final decision. Please share your thoughts, opinions, or advice. Thanks for reading!

Lunacie
09-28-17, 09:11 PM
Based on teacher and parent reports our pediatrician started my granddaughter
on Concerta at age 10 or 11. Your son sounds so much like my granddaughter,
including my having to dash to the school to round up forgotten paperwork and
books, and her doing her homework but not getting it turned in.

If you really want the reassurance, you can see what the psychologist says, but
there isn't really any test for ADHD beyond the evaluations that have been filled
out and the history you've discussed with the pediatrician.

aeon
09-28-17, 10:17 PM
I was a polite child, a people-pleaser, and I loved school. I got straight As, in part because of my love for school, in part because of fearing the consequences at home of not doing so.

I have my report cards, and they all say I am a pleasure to have in class, but that I daydream too much.

At age 41 (48 now) I was diagnosed with ADHD, primarily inattentive presentation, severe degree.

I know I can't change the past, but knowing what I know now, I only wish I could have been diagnosed and medicated as a child.

Because of this, when I hear about a child who likely has the disorder, I always hope they get a proper diagnosis and treatment...so they can avoid the confusion and heartache I endured...and so they have a fighting chance to be the best they can be...and have the greatest opportunity to be happy, however they would define it, in spite of their disability.


Well Wishes,
Ian

jaznia15
09-29-17, 11:49 PM
Thank you all for the responses!

I definitely want to give my son all the help and tools he needs to succeed in life not just the school environment. The reason I wanted a psychologist involved was mainly for the focus on teaching us and my son behavior modification tools to help him adjust to his disorder should he be diagnosed.

One of my college classmates told me of her three daughters. All three had ADHD, but one was primarily inattentive. She stated that the psychologist gave good behavior modification tools that she utilized along with medication. The psychologist provided strategies which she was able to input into the child's plan at school and utilized at home. She said after two years the child came completely off medication because she was able to utilize the tools on her own. Putting important dates into her phone calendar with a reminder.

It is my belief that medication only holds one component for treatment. I feel a psychologist can provide the self-care tools which the child can adapt to their own life as they get older. Of course, as his mother, I will do everything in my power to adapt on my own to help him in anyway possible. I just don't want him to see medication as the only solution to his disorder.

Caco3girl
10-02-17, 09:17 AM
Thank you all for the responses!

I definitely want to give my son all the help and tools he needs to succeed in life not just the school environment. The reason I wanted a psychologist involved was mainly for the focus on teaching us and my son behavior modification tools to help him adjust to his disorder should he be diagnosed.

One of my college classmates told me of her three daughters. All three had ADHD, but one was primarily inattentive. She stated that the psychologist gave good behavior modification tools that she utilized along with medication. The psychologist provided strategies which she was able to input into the child's plan at school and utilized at home. She said after two years the child came completely off medication because she was able to utilize the tools on her own. Putting important dates into her phone calendar with a reminder.

It is my belief that medication only holds one component for treatment. I feel a psychologist can provide the self-care tools which the child can adapt to their own life as they get older. Of course, as his mother, I will do everything in my power to adapt on my own to help him in anyway possible. I just don't want him to see medication as the only solution to his disorder.

Um....that's not usually how this goes. I'm not calling your friend a liar but I suspect people urged the kid to get off the meds much to their detriment. In my opinion, while the kid may be functioning in society they just handicapped themselves.

ADHD is a long term medical issue. In a way, I think of it as having brain damage. Yes, there are tricks and things that a brain damaged person can do to cope throughout life but they aren't the same as everyone else, and people should stop pretending they are, they are only making the kids feel worse. I am dyslexic, this is another condition that means I'm not like most other people. I have adapted sure, but I don't think like other people. I can't tell you how many times, even in college, I would sit there and cry because "I was SO freaking stupid". I use to BEG to be like other people, I even remember hitting my head on purpose to try and "fix" what was broken up there. As an adult my not thinking like other people is a blessing, but as a kid trying to conform to school, which is a one size fits all institution, my differences made me feel stupid.

You can't cure ADHD, and the people you should be talking to about strategies are the guidance counselors and the special education coordinator at the school. They deal with thousands of children yearly and for years, they have a better grasp on what works for their school.

jaznia15
10-02-17, 12:33 PM
Um....that's not usually how this goes. I'm not calling your friend a liar but I suspect people urged the kid to get off the meds much to their detriment. In my opinion, while the kid may be functioning in society they just handicapped themselves.

ADHD is a long term medical issue. In a way, I think of it as having brain damage. Yes, there are tricks and things that a brain damaged person can do to cope throughout life but they aren't the same as everyone else, and people should stop pretending they are, they are only making the kids feel worse. I am dyslexic, this is another condition that means I'm not like most other people. I have adapted sure, but I don't think like other people. I can't tell you how many times, even in college, I would sit there and cry because "I was SO freaking stupid". I use to BEG to be like other people, I even remember hitting my head on purpose to try and "fix" what was broken up there. As an adult my not thinking like other people is a blessing, but as a kid trying to conform to school, which is a one size fits all institution, my differences made me feel stupid.

You can't cure ADHD, and the people you should be talking to about strategies are the guidance counselors and the special education coordinator at the school. They deal with thousands of children yearly and for years, they have a better grasp on what works for their school.

Thanks so much for your response. This is still a learning process for me. I am still trying to wrap my head around the possibility of this diagnosis. I'm not sure of my friend's situation. We are in graduate school together and I was telling her of my issues with my son's focus which was leading to me struggling to keep up with my assignments. She made mention that his behavior sounded like her middle child who had the inattentive type of ADHD. This is when I made the decision to get my own son evaluated. Our appointment is today and I will definitely provide an update on how the appointment goes with his pediatrician today.

Caco3girl
10-02-17, 02:47 PM
Thanks so much for your response. This is still a learning process for me. I am still trying to wrap my head around the possibility of this diagnosis. I'm not sure of my friend's situation. We are in graduate school together and I was telling her of my issues with my son's focus which was leading to me struggling to keep up with my assignments. She made mention that his behavior sounded like her middle child who had the inattentive type of ADHD. This is when I made the decision to get my own son evaluated. Our appointment is today and I will definitely provide an update on how the appointment goes with his pediatrician today.

I'm in GA too and our pediatrician wouldn't do anything without scales and proof of the issue. He/She may give you forms to bring to the teachers. When I had a psych eval done by the school the doctor finally accepted that since almost every other word was impulsive, or inattentive. Even then she tried 2 types of medicine and said it was beyond her expertise and sent us to a psychiatrist. This person doesn't really talk to my son, she just asks if they are working, takes his blood pressure and writes a Rx. In an out in 5 minutes.

jaznia15
10-03-17, 08:55 PM
UPDATE

I took Isaiah to the pediatrician yesterday. She went over his paperwork and thoroughly reviewed his history. She asked about his grades and his standardized testing scores. After her review, she felt he was borderline but that medications were not needed at this time. I think mainly due to the fact that his grades are not bad. He's an A/B average student and he was on the Merit List in 3rd grade. She said at this point he seemed to be "compensated" and that if his grades began to worsen that I could bring him back to talk about starting medication.

Although I felt her assessment was thorough, I still have so many unanswered questions. Was "borderline" a concrete diagnosis of ADHD? I stressed to her that his grades were largely due to my mother's and I's great effort to keep him organized or work with him a lot at home. She mentioned finding tools to help him stay on task. She didn't really offer much in the way of suggestions of strategies that may help him.

I went to the school before heading to work this morning. Of course I find out Isaiah has not turned in some daily grades and did not complete an assignment that the class worked on in school all last week. I am at a loss of words and really emotionally beaten at the moment. We should be studying for his unit test in math tomorrow, but here we are working on an assignment that should have been completed in school. I wish I had more support from the teachers. I know they are dealing with a group of 25+ kids, but I have gone out my way many times to email and stop by the school to check on Isaiah's progress. They never communicate unless its initiated by me first. I wanted to put a 504 plan in place so there was a plan specifically for Isaiah, but apparently you cannot do that unless the child is on medication. I plan on talking with the principal about this. We have an app on our phone which connects us to the teachers, his teachers don't utilize this app to send out the homework assignments for the parents. I guess other parents are not having issues where their child forgets homework or forgets which of the many forms is homework.

At this point, I can only take it a day at a time and keep a close eye on Isaiah. I actually plan on stopping by the school to get a copy of planned homework from his teachers for the next couple of weeks. This way I can check on his progress as well as have an extra copy of homework for myself should he misplace his copy.

I'll keep you all updated.

namazu
10-03-17, 11:08 PM
Was "borderline" a concrete diagnosis of ADHD? I stressed to her that his grades were largely due to my mother's and I's great effort to keep him organized or work with him a lot at home. She mentioned finding tools to help him stay on task. She didn't really offer much in the way of suggestions of strategies that may help him.
"Borderline" in this case is not a firm diagnosis of ADHD. Bear in mind that ADHD represents the extreme ends of traits that everyone has, and there's not a bright line dividing "normal" from "ADHD". It sounds like the doctor feels that your son's symptoms are somewhere in that gray area -- where he's not functioning great, but also not so clearly impaired by a clear pattern of symptoms that an ADHD diagnosis is obvious.

It's too bad that she didn't provide much in the way of direction. As a pediatrician, that's not going to be her specialty, but a referral would have been nice. You may want to look into local educational psychologists / learning specialists (or even moonlighting special ed teachers) who could provide more guidance on strategies for your son.

I wanted to put a 504 plan in place so there was a plan specifically for Isaiah, but apparently you cannot do that unless the child is on medication. I plan on talking with the principal about this.
It's not true that a child has to be taking medication to be eligible for a 504 Plan (or IEP). However, a diagnosis is generally required. There is a helpful website called WrightsLaw (which I can't link here, because they advertise services there, but you can look it up) which has some guidance for parents navigating these processes within the school system.

If you want a more thorough evaluation that the pediatrician did, consult a psychologist or psychiatrist with expertise in ADHD. They should be able to help you sort out whether your son may be dealing with ADHD, a learning/processing disorder of some kind, or other issues that could be affecting his learning and other areas of his life. And they may have more ideas about strategies for working with the school.

If there is a CHADD (ADHD support group) chapter near you, the parents there may be able to give referrals or other helpful tips for dealing with the local schools. Also, CHADD offers some "parent-to-parent" workshops that may be of use to you.

Best wishes to you and your son!

Caco3girl
10-04-17, 09:52 AM
Do you go to your pediatrician for a dental issue? Probably not. And you shouldn't go to a pediatrician about a brain issue either. Some people go that route, but in my experience and others, it isn't really their wheelhouse. They had maybe ONE chapter on it in med school and 3 books on the flu. Please see a child psychiatrist that knows more about ADHD than the pediatrician.

sarahsweets
10-09-17, 12:12 PM
I loathe "borderline" anything. To me it sounds like a cop out even if it has legitimacy to it.
Did you ask if she was wiling to risk him getting to whatever magical baseline she has in order to treat him? Would moderate or severe make her more comfortable. I am all for erring on the side of caution with most things but adhd is so pervasive and tricky it seems to me that he should have a second opinion.

UPDATE

I took Isaiah to the pediatrician yesterday. She went over his paperwork and thoroughly reviewed his history. She asked about his grades and his standardized testing scores. After her review, she felt he was borderline but that medications were not needed at this time. I think mainly due to the fact that his grades are not bad. He's an A/B average student and he was on the Merit List in 3rd grade. She said at this point he seemed to be "compensated" and that if his grades began to worsen that I could bring him back to talk about starting medication.

Although I felt her assessment was thorough, I still have so many unanswered questions. Was "borderline" a concrete diagnosis of ADHD? I stressed to her that his grades were largely due to my mother's and I's great effort to keep him organized or work with him a lot at home. She mentioned finding tools to help him stay on task. She didn't really offer much in the way of suggestions of strategies that may help him.

I went to the school before heading to work this morning. Of course I find out Isaiah has not turned in some daily grades and did not complete an assignment that the class worked on in school all last week. I am at a loss of words and really emotionally beaten at the moment. We should be studying for his unit test in math tomorrow, but here we are working on an assignment that should have been completed in school. I wish I had more support from the teachers. I know they are dealing with a group of 25+ kids, but I have gone out my way many times to email and stop by the school to check on Isaiah's progress. They never communicate unless its initiated by me first. I wanted to put a 504 plan in place so there was a plan specifically for Isaiah, but apparently you cannot do that unless the child is on medication. I plan on talking with the principal about this. We have an app on our phone which connects us to the teachers, his teachers don't utilize this app to send out the homework assignments for the parents. I guess other parents are not having issues where their child forgets homework or forgets which of the many forms is homework.

At this point, I can only take it a day at a time and keep a close eye on Isaiah. I actually plan on stopping by the school to get a copy of planned homework from his teachers for the next couple of weeks. This way I can check on his progress as well as have an extra copy of homework for myself should he misplace his copy.

I'll keep you all updated.