In April of 2013, my son was diagnosed with ADHD. What a feeling of relief it was to have the official diagnosis. While as parents we were proactive in the treatment process, it wasn’t an easy road. My son’s journey of living with ADHD is nowhere close to being over. As he gets older we keep in mind that there will be new challenges and obstacles, but now we are ready to deal with that head on and are better prepared than we were four years ago.
Where it began…
We always knew Avery was an active and spirited child, he loved to do the typical boy stuff, but when teachers started pulling us to the side and comment on his behavior during class and with other kids, I knew something was wrong. I knew something was wrong when he would play with his baby sister and end up hurting her because he could not control his impulsive behavior. This wasn’t my sweet boy, something was wrong. I knew something was wrong when he started coming home crying that the other kids would call him the “bad boy”. I knew something was wrong when he would not be invited to hang at friends houses because he was know seen as the kid who was hard to handle. This was not him, this is not who he wanted to be, the exclusion was hurting him. I was not going to ignore it and say “this is part of growing up, boys will be boys.”
During those moments that he would act out, he would hate it. He mentioned once that no matter how hard he tried to sit still and know that it was what was expected of him, he couldn’t help it. The potential to be that sweet-natured kid, one who loves life, learning and helping others was still there. It was his heart of gold, never a doubt in my mind that he truly was a “bad boy.”
The socialization problems he was having started back in kindergarten, we just didn’t connect it to ADHD yet.
-Lack of focus
-Fidgeting, not sitting still
-Overbearing to others
Those were the symptoms, ones that were tormenting him daily.
On the hunt…
I was looking for answers, I needed answers. Why did this happen to him? Was it something we did as parents? There was so much information out there about ADHD and kids. A very popular topic, but one where not all situations fit my son. Scenarios, symptoms, ADHD, ADD, ODD… my head wanted to explode.
Despite feeling like it was our fault (it wasn’t), I wanted to get to the bottom of it – something was wrong and I needed to help my son.
There were many nights I drove myself crazy reading, days when I would cry because all I wanted was for my son to enjoy life again. Despite his trouble, he still had friends and family with so much love for him – he just didn’t love himself.
After tremendous piles of paperwork, various trips to his general doctor and a behavioral specialist, he was diagnosed with ADHD. Although I felt relief because I knew that we could now get him help, would we be able to help him understand, cope, and manage it? After all, he is the one with ADHD, I can’t even begin to understand how it feels.
The one thing I tell people who are starting the process is to not go crazy reading information online. Finding helpful resources is wonderful, but it will vary from kid to kid – no kid is the same. What worked for my son may not work for another. The first step to helping them is to acknowledge that it’s not just about finding out what’s wrong, it’s about doing what’s right for them.
Diets and exercise are the first things suggested, and I do believe that this works. Coffee and sugars actually had the opposite effect on my son, because it was a stimulant for him. They would calm him. So he does have the occasional treat or two, however, he was already very active in Karate and we didn’t give him junk food – so changing his diet wasn’t really working for his type of hyperactivity. What ended up working for him was the combination of diet, medication and seeing a behavioral specialist weekly at school.
Four years later and this continues to work very well for him. We stay in constant contact with his teachers and therapist in school, at the sign of any change in his behavior, I am notified.; I needed to know they were noticing a change in his behavior. And they did, it took a couple of weeks, but even he knew that he felt calmer and could process and think about things in a calmer way. What a relief this was, not so much for us as parents – but to see my boy happy and love life.
He is now a happy, healthy and an academically bright 11-year-old boy. He is an honor roll student, a brown belt in Karate and absolutely loves anything Lego related (future engineer).
I know with the patience and love we give him as parents, he’ll go far. Living with ADHD does not keep him down.
ADHD has taught us how to strengthen our love. We have come closer as a family and that is exactly what God had in store for us.
*It is important to note that I am not a doctor or medical professional. This is my personal story on how my son is coping with ADHD. If you feel like you or your child may have ADHD please consult with your physician.*