Monday, 28 October 2013

Achtung Baby: Everything ADHD Part 2

October is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD Awareness Month.   In order to help promote awareness and education to parents, teachers, caregivers or anyone touched by ADHD Jaime-Lynne is providing some much needed information.

This is Part Two of a Three Part Series:  To read Part One Click Here 

Jaime-Lynne's "Boys"

What is the biggest misconception of ADHD you and T have faced since his diagnosis?
There are two major ones we have faced 1) That it's not real and that it's just an excuse to "drug" your child to "keep them in line". It has always been T's choice to take his meds or not as it's his body.  I actually took him off them for a while and he came to me at the ripe old age of six and said, "Mummy, can I have my pills, my head feels better when I take them." He went back on them, and if the day ever comes where he doesn't want to take them anymore then we'll sit down and talk about it all together. 2)  That diet or keeping them away from sugar will "cure" them.  ADHD is caused be the absence of a chemical in the brain, if it's "cured" by what they're eating or not eating, then they don't really have ADHD.

How does T feel about having ADHD?
He doesn't really understand what it all means yet because he's only seven.  He knows that he gets "silly" and has inappropriate behaviour sometimes and he works on it.  The pills he takes in the morning are to help him concentrate while he's at school.

What about the costs of medication?
If you don't have a good insurance plan you could pay upwards of $200-$400 a month for medication depending on the diagnosis and the medication(s) that work best.

What coping strategies can you recommend for families dealing with an ADHD diagnosis?
Never let having ADHD be an excuse for anything.  Yes the child is "different" but that doesn't mean they're "bad" they just need help in a different way than a neurotypical child. ADHD kids can be brilliant, advanced in some subjects while others they need more support.  They just need to be challenged while still working on the things they're behind in.  T is advanced in reading and math - he was doing multiplication in kindergarten, but he HATES writing and it isn't his strong spot.  When T gets a little spun we send him outside and have him run around and work off a lot of energy and that helps a lot.

What advice do you have for teachers in providing the best possible tools for a student with ADHD?
Keep an open line of communication with both the student and the parent.   It is also paramount for the teacher to understand that it is not a choice and it can't just be turned off.  They can't learn "inside the box".   It has to be interesting and different.  They need an outlet and sometimes recess isn't enough.   Be prepared to give them an out like have them go do an errand for you or just take a break or walk and then come back to whatever they're working on.

How does ADHD impact your parenting style with T's siblings?
When you have more than one child you need to adopt many different parenting styles, especially when only one has an invisible disorder.  What works for one kid, won't/doesn't work for the others. Sometimes it may seem like you are playing favourites, but you're not.

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