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At a loss with twice gifted child.

Hello,
I’m new to ADDConnect and after browsing the site, i’m not sure why i’ve waited so long!
I have a son who is 11 1/2 years old and has ADD, as well as anxiety and some mild sensory issues. He is also gifted.
I believe the term for him is “twice-gifted” child.
Anyway, he was diagnosed in 1st grade. Because he’s a little guy, and doesn’t weigh much, we waited before medicating him. When we started, we went to non-stimulants first.
We tried Strattera, which made him sad, sullen and depressed so we stopped. We then tried Intuniv. It didn’t do a whole lot at all, so we stopped. By 4th grade, we decided to start stimulants. We tried Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse I believe, and they either didn’t work or he had major rage issues as side effects (he’s a very calm, well-behaved, sweet boy usually!) so we stopped all of these. By then, we were in 5th grade and his psychiatrist suggest an off-label medication for him, that is usually prescribed for Parkinson’s called Amantadine. It helped a little but then my son started hearing voices one day and per the doctor, it was a side effect of that medication, so once again we stopped.
The problem is that at home, he doesn’t need to be on medications, he’s totally fine, but once he needs to concentrate for homework or when he’s at school, it’s a disaster. We set up a 504 for him but i have to tell you that with 6th grade coming up in a month, i’m scared. I know his schoolwork takes a turn for the worse when he is not medicated and can’t focus, but all the meds we have tried so far have had major side effects on him. It got so bad that this past Christmas, I had an 11yr old son who came to me to tell me he wanted to die. I’m not sure what to do. Part of me wishes we had a medication for him that worked, because he himself feels self-conscious when he can’t focus at school and hates feeling “different” and part of me hates thta nothign has worked and he became sad and suicidal. Since he’s bene off all meds, his modd is fantastic, he’s happy and joyful and fine (then again, it’s summer vacation, so that helps! lol)
Also, school is so hard for him due to his innatention that he now hates it. I want him to enjoy it enough that he’ll want to go to college.
I forgot to mention that he was tested and found that his IQ is above normal, in the 135 range, but yet he score very low with his processing speed (he scored 85) and that makes sense since his biggest issues at school is putting on paper what he’s trying to say. If he was to dictate, he’d be fine, but writing what his thoughts are, is impossible. he takes 30mns to start and never finishes.
ANyway, i’m done rambling, i’m hoping to either find people who have a child with common symptoms or someone with a similar experience than mine.
Any thoughts, suggestions or help will be highly and greatly appreciated!
Thank you!
Kat.

Replies

Hi Kat!

Our boys could be twins. My son is 12 in October, starting 6th grade, IQ in the 130s and super-extra sensitive to medications. Also, diagnosed in 1st grade. Every stimulant would lose effectiveness after two months. Doc tried adding all kinds of antidepressants and the like with bad side effects like severe fear, anger, and hallucinations. He’s normally sweet as can be. He took amantadine with his concerta for 2 years and it seemed like a miracle, until we realized his severely increasing fear issues were due to the amantadine. Now he just takes concerta, a low-ish dose, and we work on the rest. We’ve seen concerta work better at times, but have to accept that this is what we can do with his sensitive body.

A couple ideas:
(1) Vayarin—it’s a medical food, so requires a prescription. After reading many parents online talking about it, I asked our doc to try it. My son has tolerated it well (at half the normal dose) and it seems to make his moods a bit more even. A lot of parents only give their kids Vayarin, no medication, and say it helps with inattention too.

(2) There are many alternative treatments to try. A change in diet is sometimes helpful (http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9136.htmlhttp://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9807.html and http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/8174.html).

Twice exceptional makes it doubly tough to advocate effectively in my experience. We all do the best we can for our kids though.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 21, 2014 at 5:14pm

Thank you so much! My son’s psychiatrist had suggested anti-depressants for my son as well but I know it can increase suicide ideation in teenagers so I’ve been scared to start him on it quite yet….I’m not opposed, but I just don’t think he’s ready yet. Plus when he’s not on any ADD meds, he’s happy and fine.
I like your suggestions, I’ll look into it for sure! Hoping it will help! Thank you so much!!!

Posted by Kajeluma on Jul 21, 2014 at 10:18pm

Does your school district have a gifted program?  My son said putting him in our excel program was the best decision we ever made for him.  Being with others of his intellectual capability was really important socially.  In middle school he had a 504 plan.  It sounds like your son may qualify for an IEP.  Middle school was difficult.  My son had a lot of problems organizing anything: schoolwork, time, assignments…  Language Arts and writing assignments…well, I would not like to go back there again.  But as he got older he was more and more able to keep track of his assignments, do them, and get them in.  That was his junior and senior years of high school.  He is taking six years to get through college.  But he’s going to make it, and he’s going to be a great engineer.

I would advise walking around the school ahead of time and meeting your son’s teachers.  Involve him and set reasonable expectations.  Stay in contact with his teachers so you can solve problems before they become big.  Help him accept who he is, what he can do well and what he can’t.  Help him understand that having an IQ of 135 and a processing speed of 85 will be frustrating.  Figure out ways to compensate.  Maybe he could have a scribe unless that was too embarrassing at school.  Maybe he could use voice to text software at home and have extra time to do everything at home.  Help him see these things as ways to be successful.  Celebrate small victories.  Sometimes in the muck and mire of difficulties it seems like it will be like this forever.  But our kids grow and time goes so fast.  Enjoy the journey as much as you can.

Posted by whizinc on Jul 23, 2014 at 4:29am

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