My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in the second grade. Eight years ago. Since then, we have been truly lucky with the prescriptions her pediatrician put her on. When we discussed the possibility of ADHD with her Dr, I was hesitant. I felt that it was overly diagnosed. That a kid misbehaves in class and is labeled ADHD. My daughters 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 she had ADHD. I was then hesitant to put her on pills. I was afraid that she would be reduced to having zombie like qualities. Unsmiling and just shuffling along from point A to point B. As stated above, we were lucky. She continued on as normal, but, we noticed a remarkable change in behavior because she was able to focus enough to figure out what she wanted. She ran and played like a normal child, without being overly hyper. This continued through to this day.
She started on Metadate and used that from second to fifth grade. Her Dr then moved her on to Concerta in the sixth grade and has been on it ever since. The dose increased as she got older and her weight went up. Medications are usually based on half their body weight. Right now, during the school year, she is on Concerta 54 mg. She does not take it during the summer and is perfectly fine for the most part. The pills mainly help her to keep focus during the school day so she can understand what she’s being taught. During the school year, she does not take them on the weekends.
With all that said, she HATES being on these pills. Says that it makes her feel weird and out of sorts. When she didn’t take them for two weeks after she got her expander in, she said she was perfectly fine. She could handle being off the pills. So, I looked at her and asked, “Didn’t you tell me that your teachers asked if you smoked something before class?” She looked startled and replied, “Oh, yeah they did. I guess maybe I wasn’t fine.” She, 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 her issues with having ADHD is test taking. She will pass all of her assignments with flying colors. But her tests? She 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 found this list from a great parents resource. You can view it HERE.
I’ve reached out to my daughters school to make sure she receives all the assistance she is eligible for and entitled to under this protection. The main one she 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, and less distractions. She does well with assignments and at times, with tests. Has maintained an A and B average with a C in Science. She’s highly intelligent. But, gets discouraged when it comes to tests.
The school advised me that it can take up to 60 days to get the evaluation under way. That’s a little further into the school year than I had planned, but, at least I know she’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.
Does your child have ADHD? How are they with their pills and testing?