So, the big news around here lately is that Jeffrey has been officially diagnosed with ADHD. We’ve suspected it for a while, but until recently it was difficult to separate symptoms of the disorder with the usual abberations of early childhood behavior.
We had him psychologically profiled when he was five, and even tried a short run of Adderol, but it had no apparent effect, which is common for very young children taking Adderol. He couldn’t try any other medications because he, at the time, could not swallow pills.
Since entering first grade, things have been rough for Jeffrey at school. He couldn’t follow directions, he couldn’t sit still long enough to listen to a story. When doing math, he would forget what number he was counting to in the middle of solving a problem. Within the first week of school, I was notified that Jeffrey was occupying almost all of the student teacher’s time.
His teacher — who is amazing, and I’m very thankful we landed in her class — has taken great pains to help with Jeff’s behavior, but by the halfway point of the year, things were bad. Jeffrey was old enough to realize that he was falling behind his classmates, he couldn’t seem to control the problem.
“Focus!” he would yell at me. “I need to focus, Mom!” He pounded the sides of his head with his palms, gritting his teeth.
Then he began acting out in class (which surprised everybody), and would come home so frustrated that he would throw his backpack down a window well before coming inside. I began getting phone calls from the school, and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it. Jeffrey wasn’t intentionally doing these things; he hardly seemed aware that he was in La La Land 90% of the time.
After a lot of tears and hair-pulling, I decided to take him to our doctor and give medication another go-round.
Our first attempt was with Concerta, but this unfortunately caused Jeffrey to have a manic episode (he came home talking a mile a minute, biting his cheeks, and so dizzy that he couldn’t eat). This terrified me, and I felt terrible.
After that terrifyingness, we switched to Ritalin, and his teachers have noticed significant differences in his behavior. For the first time ever, he was coming home with his worksheets filled out, with words written legibly (instead of clusters of random letters scattered about the page). He was able to pay attention during classroom read-aloud time (instead of wandering off to play with toys). Best of all, his teacher arranged for him to take his standardized tests one-on-one with an administrator, and he scored above expectations in every category!
Yessss! He’s a really intelligent kid, but it’s difficult for people to see that when he can’t line up in a row like all the other good boys and girls. His teacher called me immediately when she got Jeffrey’s scores, and we were both practically jumping up and down together.
However, it isn’t a miracle cure. Jeffrey still spends most of his time at church chewing on his shoelaces and rolling on the floor, and piano lessons are as much of a trial as ever. But he’s starting to see himself as a kid who can make good, and that’s a very big thing.