Angela, Hespeler | October 28, 2013
When I was first told my son, Chris, had met the criteria for ADHD, I felt relief because this diagnosis meant I wasn’t such a bad mother after all.
We had had him assessed by a psychologist when we had reports from his first grade teacher that he was leap-frogging around the room and unable to complete any work assigned to him. Since we had been through a learning disability diagnosis with his older sister, we thought perhaps, he had a learning disability and should have him assessed as soon as possible. The results were a surprise and even though I am not the kind of person who runs to the medicine cabinet for every little ache or pain, I found myself seriously considering giving my 6 year old boy medication for ADHD.
Weighing the risks with the benefits, I decided that he should have a trial to see what the outcome would be. The short story is that my son took a well-known drug to enable him to be in school without behavior problems, to learn how to read and write and to do most of his assignments.
Motivation and focus were a challenging problem for us for most of his schooling in spite of an IEP (Independent Educational Plan). Everything required a huge effort to stay on task: getting dressed, any chores, homework, and even getting out of the house.
An excellent resource and support was the Learning Disabilities Association of Kitchener-Waterloo and, of course, resources from the Library. The most effective tools I found at the library were Thomas Phelan’s 1-2-3- magic books and DVDs.
An excellent book to read with a school age or younger child to explain ADHD is All dogs have ADHD by Kathy Hoopmann. It's a clear picture book that combines humour with pictures of dogs that describe symptoms of ADHD. It was a good reminder to me that not all the behaviours were willful. Check out our list of materials on either Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Attention-Deficit Disordered Children.
The good news is that ADHD children grow up and, with support from family and teachers, learn to manage this challenge, and turn into productive and creative adults. And by the way, there are materials geared to adults with ADD under Attention-Deficit Disorder in Adults. But that’s another idea.