My son was diagnosed with ADHD in the second grade. Eight years ago. Since then, we have been truly lucky with the prescriptions his pediatrician put him on. When we discussed the possibility of ADHD with his Dr, I was hesitant. I felt that it was overly diagnosed. That a kid misbehaves in class and is labeled ADHD. My son’s teacher, father and I each completed paperwork for our respective locations and the degree of variance in our responses were so minimal that the Dr said that there was no doubt in his mind that he had ADHD.
I was then hesitant to put him on pills. I was afraid that he would be reduced to have zombie-like qualities. Unsmiling and just shuffling along from point A to point B. As stated above, we were lucky. He continued on as normal, but, we noticed a remarkable change in behavior because he was able to focus enough to figure out what he wanted. He ran and played like a normal child, without being overly hyper. This continued through to this day.
He started on Metadate and used that from second to fifth grade. His Dr then moved him on to Concerta in the sixth grade and has been on it ever since. The dose increased as he got older and his weight went up. Medications are usually based on half their body weight. Right now, during the school year, he is on Concerta 54 mg. He does not take it during the summer and is perfectly fine for the most part. The pills mainly help him to keep focus during the school day so he can understand what he’s being taught. During the school year, he does not take them on the weekends.
With all that said, he HATES being on these pills. Says that it makes him feel weird and out of sorts. When he didn’t take them for two weeks after he got his expander in, he said he was perfectly fine. He could handle being off the pills. So, I looked at him and asked, “Didn’t you tell me that your teachers asked if you smoked something before class?” He looked startled and replied, “Oh, yeah they did. I guess maybe I wasn’t fine.” He, like every teen, doesn’t like anything that make them appear different. And yes, taking a stimulant to calm down can appear different apparently.
One of his issues with having ADHD is test taking. He will pass all of his assignments with flying colors. But his tests? He went all last year and did not pass one Science test.
This past July, the Department of Education labeled ADHD as being a disability and now these children have protection under the civil rights law. This is great news! Some of the resources and tools students with ADHD have available to them, but, not limited to, are:
- Highlighted textbooks
- Extended time on tests or assignments
- Peer assistance with note taking
- Frequent feedback
- Extra set of textbooks for home use
- Computer-aided instruction
- Enlarged print
- Positive reinforcements
- Behavior intervention plans
- Rearranging class schedules
- Visual aids
- Preferred seating assignments
- Taping lectures
- Oral tests
- Individual contracts
I’ve reached out to my son’s school to make sure he receives all the assistance he is eligible for and entitled to under this protection. The main one he was concerned with was the tests. Either slightly longer time to take the tests, or, to be moved into a different room with a smaller crowd, fewer distractions. He does well with assignments and at times, with tests. Has maintained an A and B average with a C in Science. He’s highly intelligent. But, gets discouraged when it comes to tests.
However, the school advised me that it can take up to 60 days to get the evaluation underway. That’s a little further into the school year than I had planned, but, at least I know he’s going to get it before the holidays. So, if you think your child needs to be protected under this new ruling, contact your school immediately so you can get the ball rolling and get your child on the list and make it a better year all around for them.