My son…my wonderful, energetic son!
My other son…my handsome, rambunctious son!
Here lies the drama within the world today. Does your child have ADD or ADHD? How can you be sure that the diagnosis is right? There are no givens in the mental health field…no blood test or CT scan that can tell you. So, as parents we are resting on the conclusions of medical professionals. In my opinion, that’s not the best path to take!
I spent a lot of time with my boys…playing with them, reading to them. By the time my oldest entered kindergarten, he knew all of his states and a lot about them all. He could build the most amazing things out of anything he could get his hands on. But I couldn’t get him to know his shapes or write his name. I knew in my gut that something was wrong. Even though he couldn’t hear much until he was 3, I knew that something else was causing this. After all, he could pick up on the most complicated things instantly…I was frustrated! Once in kindergarten, I had to fight to get him into speech therapy. The school decided to ignore the doctors orders…they said just give him time. I finally won that battle and he started therapy. But, something else kept eating at me. I requested that the school test him for learning disabilities…they refused that too! By the end of first grade, the school brought in mental health people and diagnosed him as ADHD…I was told he must be medicated to continue in the school system. I knew he was very far behind and quite hyper, but I didn’t feel he needed medicated. That battle I lost. And so came our experience with Ritalin. The wonder drug for kids…the nightmare drug for my son! After a year, I took him off of the medicine. All it did was cause him to have violent outbursts…thought it was supposed to prevent that!
By the time he was in 5th grade, he was tested for learning disabilities. When they brought us in for the results, I sat in that chair and tried not to cry. In front of my son, they informed us that he was dyslexic and had a severe reading comprehension disability. If he would have been diagnosed at a younger age, they said he would have been able to catch up. At this stage, it’s near impossible. I don’t know if I was devastated over the news…or over the fact that they told me all of this horrible stuff in front of my son! Either way, it made everyone look at the ADHD diagnosis and realize that it was probably wrong. All my son did was exchange one label for another. Both of those are issues that will follow him throughout his entire life. I’m just happy now that we know for certain.
As for my youngest son, he is ADD all the way. Straight A student if he chooses to be. Last year, he thought it would be more fun to fail the 7th grade…I think he learned from that one! Thanks to summer school, he moved ahead with the rest of his class. He has all the classic signs…none of which could be mistaken for a learning disability. Finally, both of my children are correctly diagnosed. Neither of them are medicated. And life is going on as normally as it’s always been…at least in my house!