Thursday, November 20, 2008

To Medicate or Not To Medicate...What Was the Question?

On November 9th I wrote about my decision to finally try ADHD medication on my 12 year old son, Alberquando (no, that isn't his real name but that was a long story that I posted about back in May). It was my post titled "Still Very Symptomatic" This decision was made after about 5 years of every teacher and many doctors telling me that he needed it. I was determined not to put my child on a medication for something that I felt he and I could conquer on our own....remember now, I AM MyADHDMe. I can barely focus long enough to read his assignment book, much less help him focus on doing it. (ok, minor exaggeration there, but you get the point).

This is a sample of the comments and phone calls I have been receiving from his teacher this year (and it's only been 9 weeks so far)

Alberquando is very smart but it just seems like he's not there, even when he is.
He got another incomplete because he didn't finish his classwork again.
I continually need to remind him to stay on task.
I've asked him 3 times to bring in his notebook but he keeps forgetting.
I gave him an extra week to do his project but he just won't do it.
He rarely has his homework and when he does have it, he can't find it.
He gets Advanced scores on his SOL tests but is barely passing class.

Every night his homework would take approx 3 hours and usually ended with both of us mad, frustrated, him crying, and only half the work done.

I would tell him to go and brush his teeth. He would walk towards the bathroom, only to return 10 minutes later and say "what was I supposed to be doing?".

These are the grades that he brought home (for his core subjects) on his interim (half way through a 9 week grading period):

Earth Science-F
History-D (just one grade point above an F)
Language Arts-D

Finally I knew I had to try another route. He took his first does of the medicine on October 31. He was SO against it. It was a battle every morning and I literally checked under his tongue and in his mouth after he took it.

I had a parent teacher conference on November 13th. That's just 2 weeks after he started the medication.
Here are the quotes that the teachers wrote on the paper they gave me at the conference.

"Huge (underlined) improvement in the last week. Homework being completed on time. Classwork completed quickly. Grades improving. Notebooks are more organized. Paying attention in class. MUCH Improvement. Concentration has improved".

This is what his grades are as of today, (he has now been taking the meds for 21 days):
Earth Science-B
Language Arts-B

Last week I asked him if he noticed a difference. Here is what he said to me. "I had no idea how good it would feel to go to class and be prepared and have my work. I always hated it when the teachers would sigh or say they were disappointed in me and knew I could do better. I dreaded each class because I knew I'd be missing something. Oh, and you should see my locker! When I open the door, everything doesn't come flying out like a waterfall!"

A few of you have sent me e-mails asking me questions for your own kids or a friends kids about what I thought about ADHD meds for kids. All I can say is the difference in him is phenomenal.
One of the concerns both he and I had was that the meds would change who he was or his personality. Well, the only difference I see is that he seems happier.

He slept quite a bit more than normal the first 2 weeks. Especially on weekends but the doctors had advised me that that was very probable. Also, he had a few stomach aches at first that I am quite sure were due to the meds, but both of those side effects have gone away.

I told my own doctor about him and asked why I didn't have at least similar results. He said that because I wasn't diagnosed as a child (no one was back in those old wagon train days) that over the years it just got worse and worse. So, I'll probably always be "Still Very Symptomatic". But that's ok with me, because as for Alberquando.......who knows, one day you just might see his name on that ballot in November. Of course it will be the name with the big R next to it!


Greg C said...

I love that final commment about the R. That is great. They told us our son was ADHD well one of this teachers said he was but in our case it turned out to be that he was just not challenged enough at school so he was bored. I would suggest to any parent that thinks their child may be that way to go to a doctor and have them checked and not just take the word of the teacher. Great post. I am so glad that things worked out for you and Al. :)

My ADHD Me said...

I agree with Greg completely. It's a tough decision to make. I had a few teachers tell me that my older son was ADHD. As it turned out, he too was bored. We put him in advanced classes and then he was fine.

I wonder if they have advanced drivers ed?

The Patterson 5 said...

I am so glad for him and for you. I must be super emotional today but I am all teary after reading this post. I am so thankful he is happier, more prepared and enjoying school more. What a blessing. What a wonderful, amazing Momma you are!

Beverlydru said...

What great news. Amazing change! I am happy for ALL of you - your son, you and the teachers too.

I can relate to this post on a lot of levels.

Have a terrific weekend. I am finally mailing the book today.

My ADHD Me said...

Mrs P.-Thank you for the encouragement. We've been struggling with this for years.

Beverly LouWho- Thank you so much. No rush on the book. Whenever you have time is great.

Edie said...

Oh my goodness. My heart just broke reading about what he was going through. Wow what great results! I can just imagine how much more confident he is now. Yay for you ADHD-Jo. I really applaud you for your willingness and for your caution. I worry sometimes that teachers just want to label ALL kids with ADHD.

I'm very proud of you and please tell Alberquando that I'm very proud of him too. (and I really like his name. lol)

On Purpose said...

For the joy in a mom's heart when she feels like she is helping her child conquer the world!

Love to you!

Chatty Kelly said...

Hooray! I must say I also love your title. LOL! You are so funny.

Pinkshoelady said...

Hey Girl,
I love this!
I am proud of you and him!
I habe been praying for both of you.

You are a jewel!


Sue J. said...

I didn't wait to cry until the end. I started somewhere in the middle....

There are so many "best parts" of this story, because, really, everybody is happy in this. But, that your son sees a difference and doesn't fear the effects of the medication now but is embracing the possibilities for himself.

Hugs, hugs, hugs (OK, not too much, my back, remember?) get the idea.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome-I need to call you-I am just so happy this is working for him. I wonder what other changes you will see in him.


Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

I'm so glad for him (and you)! Nothing feels more horrible than to have to stand by and be helpless when your child desperately needs some kind of help. I have heard the meds can be wonderful or not so much. Happy they are working for him!
p.s. thanks for the black belt offer...I HOPE I've talked my boys in going to the school cops if they don't get the case back (It was a Rhino brand and cost about $45...the kid seems to think that that should be his payment for returning what he stole, I guess). I feel like this kid can have more consequences if handled thru the it keeps my kids out of jail on an assault charge. One jailbird a month is our limit here...