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Parents of ADHD Children

New and wondering about others experiences :)

I am new to this group…here is my story:

I am a mother of two little girls, one is 6 years old, the other is 3 years old. My first daughter, Savannah, was diagnosed with ADHD in February of 2014, however, I have known there was something “different” about her since she was 10 months old. She didn’t laugh much and was very “busy”. She never played with the same toy for more than a few seconds and was always onto something else or getting frustrated if she couldn’t be doing something else. As she aged, I noticed more and more that she was different from those of the same age. Despite my hours spent trying to teach her letters, numbers and colors, she was not picking it up. However, my younger daughter picked these things up without my even having to sit down and teach her. Savannah also has a VERY sensitive gag reflex and will gag or even vomit if she finds something gross. When Savannah went to her preschool testing, she failed due to not being able to focus on the questions, even though she knew the answers. She then entered special education. When she was 5 years old she began eating inedible things, such as, paint, ceiling, shoes, etc. I took her to her doctor where she was diagnosed with PICA, gross and fine motor delay (she is very clumsy) and low muscle tone. The doctor also mentioned he thought she had ADHD, but couldn’t diangose this until we had problems in school. Then starts kindergarten…. Savannah has to have an adult sitting with her at all times in order to stay on task, she is the last child in the building because she spins in circles and lolly gags. She is starting to fall behind… We were trying fish oil and caffeine to control her symptoms, however, the school was not noticing anything and so we decided to start medications (very scary for me). We will be starting on Metadate CD 10 mg tomorrow.

Savannah is a very sweet girl. She is very sensitive to other’s feelings and loves being with and talking to others. She is very social and wants to be everyone’s friend. She is also very creative and I love the way she thinks outside the box (sometimes way outside the box)!

I am just wondering if there is anyone that has had a similiar story to mine, if anyone has had good luck with the medication we are starting on and if anyone has found luck with non-medication treatments. Also, any advice on how you parent a child with ADHD is appreciated smile  I am always looking for different ways to teach her skills/right from wrong/etc without making it more difficult for her or me smile


I’m right there with you!!  My son is now 8 and in second grade.  He just got his ADHD diagnosis this fall, but we’ve known that he was different since he was about the same age as your daughter.  He’s so sweet and caring, and tries so hard to do what he’s supposed to do.  But right now we are playing catch up in school after a very rough fall start and I’m nervous for him all of the time.  I’m lucky to have a flexible work schedule so that I can meet him right after school 3 days a week to start working on homework right away.  It takes longer than it should at 4pm, but half as long as it would take him at 6pm! 

We are not going to try meds unless we absolutely have to.  I watch what food we buy and try not to give him anything with artificial colors or sweeteners.  It’s easier now than it used to be, although a bit pricey.  I’m now thinking about starting him on Fish Oil pills for the omega-3.  I have them and just need to check on the dose we should use.  We try to keep him fed on high protein meals, and he eats like a horse!  Partially because he’s burning so much energy all the time and partially because he’s tall for his age and growing fast.

He chews a lot, so we have chewable pencil toppers and I have Howda Chair for him.  He likes the chair but doesn’t use it as much as I would like him to.  The first time he tried it out he sat and read to himself for 10 min straight!

I’m on the lookout for other ways to help him cope with this, he’s going to be doing it for the rest of his life so he might as well learn early.  He also has epilepsy (discovered with the ADHD eval) and some anxiety issues.  I’m thinking about starting neurofeedback therapy with him, too.  But I have to sort out what the insurance would cover for there.   

I am constantly concerned about him falling too far behind in school.  He has a very hard time reading and it’s making other things hard, too.  And I’m terrified of messing it up.  But we are doing the best we can and he is a real trooper for sticking with it. 

Hang in there, and you will be ok.  I’ve not posted to this forum very much, but I watch it a lot for topics not concerning medications.  Either way, it’s extremely helpful to know that there are so many other people out there with experience and suggestions.  You are not alone!!

Posted by cborn on Feb 26, 2014 at 10:42pm

Your story sounds fairly “typical” of one of the many different ways ADHD presents.  So, yes, you’ll find others with lots of similar stories.

And you’ll find there will also be lots who will tell you of their success with Metadate as well as others who did not have much success with it.  There are two different classes of stimulants Methylphenidates (MPH) and Amphetamines (AMP).  The majority of people will respond (meaning have a decrease in ADHD symptoms) to a stimulant medication. 

Of those who do respond some will respond to drugs in both the MPH and the AMP class but they will almost always respond better to one class than the other; some will respond to ONLY drugs in one class but not the other; some will only “partially” respond; some will respond to neither class.

There is no way to predict which class a person will respond to in advance.  About the most that can be predicted is that if the person has a family member who responds to a certain one there’s a good chance that will also work.

Metadate is in the MPH class, along with Ritalin, Methylin, Focalin, Daytrana, Concerta, and Quillivant.

The other class of stimulants (AMP) includes Dexedrine, Adderall, and Vyvanse. 

The stimulant group as a whole (MPH + AMP) has the highest overall success rate of all the different drugs used to treat ADHD.  Other things besides “drugs” which can help some people are fish oil and caffeine.  Fish oil has been studied and has shown to have a significant effect for some with ADHD (meaning significantly more than a placebo)—but not as many or to as much of a degree as stimulants.

Caffeine is another matter.  I’m not sure what all studies are out there or what they conclude.  Anecdotally, some people report that it helps their ADHD symptoms while others report that it does not (and the side-effects that particular STIMULANT has are sometimes troubling enough that even when/if it “helps” it isn’t really their “drug of choice”). 

Having said that, it is definitely not something I would recommend for children, at all.  There’s no real concrete dosage of caffeine that anyone can say FOR SURE is safe in kids.  There are plenty who say no amount of caffeine is “safe” for kids.  Caffeine is just as complex/multi-faceted as MPHs and AMPs are, if not possibly more so.  But one thing is for sure it is not as effective as “taking drugs” or “taking medicine.”  Further, all people have some toxic dose of caffeine, but that varies considerably among different individuals.  Some people are highly sensitive to even very small doses and experience “caffeine toxicity” at very low levels.  For those people any amount of caffeine is too much caffeine—so jittery, edgy and irritable that’s all they can “focus” on.

Posted by BC on Feb 26, 2014 at 11:19pm

You have gotten great advice about medications.  There are many books that will help you learn how to parent a child with ADHD.  They do much better with positive praise than negative.  We have done charts and points and money.  I have had to constantly change it up.  Most recently my son is into video games. so for every few weeks that are good at school, they do their own point system, my son gets to pick out a video game.  (I buy used ones to keep the cost down.)  We also will go to movies or get a special treat, whatever works at the moment.

You will learn what works best for your daughter with regard to positive rewards and praise.

My son spent a year and a half in behavioral therapy.  It was hard on the pocketbook but it has helped him in countless ways.  It has also helped me learn how to be a better parent.  I also saw my own therapist to deal with the anger, grief and frustration.  That helped me so much.

It is easy to lose sight of you when dealing with parenting an ADHD child.  It is not an easy thing to do.  I put myself in time out sometimes just to give myself a break and to breathe!

You are a good mother and you will learn about ADHD and how special your child(ren) are!  Good luck.  This group is great for advice and information.

Posted by cmullen17 on Feb 27, 2014 at 12:26am

Oh yes. And our doctor was the same way, no diagnosis till there are problems at school and school, no help until a doctor diagnosis.  Then since ADHD is not considered a learning disability in our district, no help once diagnosis was done!  School wanted to hold her back in K and 1st - but I refused because I know her well enough to see that she was learning just not being able to focus long enough to regurgitate back answers.

She was behind in reading because she just refused to even try to read on her own in K and 1st.  Then she spent the entirety of 2nd catching up her skills - after diagnosis at the end of 1st and meds her life changed for the better.  She is now at grade level or above in all subjects and in 4th grade.

So, your daughter will catch up if she has the right meds to help her focus and the right assistance in class.  Sometimes just the ability to complete a project at her own pace is all my daughter needs.  She wants to do well in school and that also helps.

Posted by YellaRyan on Feb 27, 2014 at 1:01am

Hello there, we experienced very similar behavior in our tyke as well. I have posted before about the non-medication program we use called play attention and it is working brilliantly. As I have said in the past, we did not dismiss the medications but just felt he was too young a chap so we researched (we found great information on this site) and found what we were looking for. You know he wanted to learn, to love to communicate but his brain just wasn’t making the connection. Now it is and we are loving and learning as a family unit and possibly thinking of having another!. CHEERS to you and yours.

Posted by Elly on Feb 27, 2014 at 1:13am

Your story could be mine. The only difference is that my son was a very still and quiet child until the age of three, then he very abruptly wasn’t.
Medication makes an enormous difference for my son, now 11. He was diagnosed at 6. Found to have additional learning disabilities at 8. Every day is a struggle for him, he’s EXTREMELY hyperactive, but medication takes the extreme out of it.
It’s a process to learn how to parent a child with ADHD. ADHD presents differently in every single individual that has it, so it takes time to get to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses and what strategies will work well for them.
There are many great articles on parenting a child with ADHD on In fact, there’s an entire section on parenting I think you will find very useful: As well, they have some great webinars with experts in the field of ADHD. There are many in the archives there now that can help you find your footing in light of this new diagnosis.
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Feb 27, 2014 at 6:57pm

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