ADHD Part 2: The Diagnosis
Posted December 13, 2014 by BonitaBlueEyes -
This is Part 2 of my ADHD journey with my son. Take a moment to read ADHD Part 1: Pre Diagnosis if you haven’t read it already!
I made the soonest available appointment with Leslie, the woman recommended to me by my son’s teacher. She is an amazing board certified child and adolescent clinical specialist with prescriptive authority. Our initial appointment was a 2-hour observation. Her office is full of intriguing toys and fun games. Leslie watched NiñoZ play, and true to his nature, he spent the entire 2 hours switching activities every 5 minutes. She also had everyone involved in caring for Zach fill out a questionnaire about him. If necessary, she will go and observe children in other environments to make an accurate diagnosis, though we did not need this. My son’s results from 2 hours with Leslie came out as clearly and undeniably ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Having my son “diagnosed” was not my mission. In the beginning I was actually quite defensive! I absolutely did not want NiñoZ given a label that would follow and haunt him. I feared we were placing him in a box that he’d never get out of. Let’s be honest…I also felt guilty. Did I do something that lead to this disorder? I was relieved to find out that ADD/ADHD is genetic, my son has a 50/50 chance of his own children having ADD/ADHD. On top of that, medicating him was not on my list of what I wanted to do either. But, I trusted Leslie’s expertise and appreciated her very scientific method in presenting the information to me. A 5-year-old child should be able to stay at one activity for a 20-minute period, not the five minutes that my son was consistently doing. His impulsive behavior and inability to keep friends were also strong indicators. She confidently demonstrated written evidence, and openly invited me to do my research before we went any further.
In all my research, one thing stuck in my mind most in my quest for ADHD treatment for my son. Children who truly have ADHD and are not medicated are way more likely to self-medicate when they are older. This means turning to alcohol or drugs, not to mention they are more likely to indulge in a myriad of risky behavior, become pregnant, or commit suicide as teens or adults. It became clear to me that not addressing the issue now could make the situation even more difficult for all of us in the future.
I ultimately decided that if medicine would make my son successful in his life, we needed to give it a try. And do you know HOW QUICKLY he was successful? 3 days. After 3 days on medication, he was doing what other kindergartens were able to do in school.
When treating your child’s ADD/ADHD with medication it is very important to have them monitored often by someone you trust (I felt confident in Leslie’s ability to monitor him). This helps to ensure proper development and weight gain, and you can remain confident that they are not over-medicated “zombies,” and that the medicine is not effecting the liver or kidneys. Your child’s medication should not make them lethargic or take away from their personalities.
Do you have a child with ADHD? I’d love to hear your experience.
Check back with our success and struggles since our diagnosis in the third part of this series!
Categories: Life As It Happens