Question about 1st steps

Hi All :) I've been following this thread for a few weeks, but this is my first post :)

We are in the very early stages (saw our pediatrician and he referred out to a child psychologist- who we meet with this week) for both my daughter and my son (7 & 4yrs old). We highly suspect ADHD for both of them, but I am curious what the process for diagnosing looks like? Just meeting with the children? Surveys? Timeframe it took for your dr to give the diagnosis and to recommend options? We have known for several years that our kids are challenging, but as a teacher, I was trying ALL the strategies I know to work through this. Alas, we are exhausted and know we've reached the point of needing help. Would love to hear what this process looks like as we get started this week. Nervous and ready for help.


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11 Replies

  • We tried everything we knew to do also. Reluctant to use medication, but we also came to that point. Our evaluations took about an hour. He asked me some questions and we filled out a form rating behaviors on a scale of 1-3 for frequency or severity. Then he talked with the boys, asked questions that tested memory, verbal skills, etc. he observed how well they stayed still, how talkative and cooperative they were, how well they stayed on task. He evaluated for signs of anxiety or anything else that might have similar symptoms to ADHD to rule those out. He gave forms for the teachers as well, but was able to give diagnosis before I left the office. I felt it was thorough. It took a week for him to complete the report to take to the pediatrician to get prescriptions. Our appointment is next week for that.

  • Oh wow! That's a lot faster than I was thinking. For some reason, I was thinking it would be months before we knew. Thank you!

  • We paid for private testing and added in academic and IQ testing because we were concerned that our daughter's strong academic performance would rule out ADHD and needed to understand what capability she actually has. We had one 45-minute session for just the parents, 2 2-hour sessions for our daughter's testing, a follow-up with our daughter for a half hour and several parent questionnaires and optional teacher questionnaires. This all happened over about a month, mostly due to scheduling. We had a 45-minute session to discuss the results. She was diagnosed with ADHD, and the counselor gave us some ideas about what to do but not much specificity. She said we don't need to medicate her for now, gave us some suggeseted parenting books to read, and said a few counseling sessions could potentially help. We feel good about a very thorough diagnosis, but we aren't sure what we or her teachers should be doing to help her. Before testing, whether through the school, pediatrician's office, or a private psychiatrist, be sure you understand what the next steps might be and don't leave without making a plan!

  • Our examiner wrote a report that included recommendations to take to school for a 504 plan. I don't know if you received anything like that. He had somewhat specific thoughts on strengths and weaknesses that my son has and techniques that would help at school. I was told to call the school guidance counselor or the principal and ask to set up a 504 plan meeting. Get all the info you can from examination. I am currently waiting to hear back to set that up so we will see how it goes. That was the next step for us. Kind of learning as we go. We did start medication though. I was very nervous and we started very low and titrated up. We are having really good results.

  • Thank you!! I am a teacher, so I have the school side of a 504 down, but have NO idea how this process works from a parent's side! Definitely a learning process! I appreciate you sharing your journey with me- we go to meet with the psychologist tomorrow so we have some anxiousness as we get started.

  • Thank you so much for the thought and advice! We meet with the private psychologist tomorrow, just as parents, so we are anxious to see how things go.

  • Wow our story is exactly the same I thought I was reading our bio! Same exact story down to the times of the testing, etc. How old is your child? Ours is turning 6 in a few weeks. She's very intelligent, into music, loves to sing and dance. But she has hyperactivity quite frequently and lately has some behavior that is concerning (ran out of walgreens yesterday and ran across the street to my husband in the car--- without looking both ways,. I was scared to death-- had to take my little one in to go potty!!).

    We started counseling with a Licenced Family therapist and she loves him and he is amazing. I think it is helping from what I've seen so far. She does best with routine and we have no routine lately as we just went through IRMA! Luckily we had no damage to our house, but soccer and activities were cancelled for season so it is making it hard on us to come up with activities. she needs her exercise, that always helps her behavior!!

    I also started giving her more advanced type chores -- like setting the dinner table-- and she seems to take pride in it.

    Would love to hear more from you

    We are on the fence about medication,..

  • Hi Keysgal75- we had our first apt last week. We were really impressed with their willingness to try intervening with therapy before resorting to meds- we’re not sure that we are there yet. The apt was really helpful in listening to what we try as strategies at home and helping us to tweak things. We have seen drastic changes in behavior this week. We also have play therapy sessions scheduled for the kids to meet with her, just about every-other week. She said she would work with them to help their internal focus, helping their brain (since it’s a muscle that can be trained!) to learn self-calming strategies and how to s-l-o-w down! Lol looking forward to progress in the coming weeks :)

    It’s helpful to have this place to talk it out, and hear how others are doing- so feel free to stay in touch! Support from those experiencing similarities is nice!

  • Wow, sorry to hear you were affected by Irma! That can't be easy.

    My daughter is 7 and a half, so I'll give you a little look at what you might see in the next year or so since our girls sound so much alike! I can see how she'd also do something like run across a street without looking, and those kinds of concerns are the big reason we wanted her diagnosed and getting support. I read somewhere that untreated ADHD can lead not just to academic struggles in the later years but also eating disorders and car accidents... It's better that I'm aware now that, unlike her friends, who can bike around the neighborhood unsupervised, my kid won't be safe for a few more years.

    Speaking of friends, whereas intellectually she belongs with kids who are older, she struggles with peers a bit and tends to be friends with misfits. She comes on very strong, tries to be cool, and is loud and gets too close to people. I'm not sure she's aware that people find her annoying, and I have to be careful about how we work on that issue to avoid having her withdraw - she skipped a grade, so she's very cognizant of the age gap and sometimes lacks confidence (when she's in a self-aware kind of mood anyway). Anxiety and perfectionism and even a bit of fear of contamination (avoiding public restrooms, etc.) are starting to show.

    She's on a swim team and dances around on the pool deck while the other kids stand still in line, and she stops swimming halfway down the pool to talk to someone coming the other way. I don't expect her coaches to know what to do with her, and it's frustrating to constantly hear her coaches yelling her name to get her attention. I'm sure other parents would prefer their kid doesn't become her friend. I'm embarrassed for her and need to find ways to help! I'm afraid to put her in team sports because I think she'd let her team down, but swimming helps with the energy. She also does a theater program and takes a bunch of after-school enrichment classes and piano lessons. Until recently, piano was a big struggle - every time she finished a piece, she'd have to regain her focus to figure out where to put her hands.... but art has been good, and theater, surprisingly, is working out very well. She's likes singing and dancing and seems to really understand how parts come together to make a show, so in that way, she's a supportive teammate.

    She's better with routine for sure; we just don't have a good one. My husband and I both work full-time+ with frequent travel. It's a rare night that we're home before 6:30, and even rarer that we all eat together. She does her homework during the after-school program, which has worked out so much better than at home after dinner. Bedtime and mornings are a big struggle. No matter how early we start, I have to stand there and remind her ten times to brush her teeth or keep getting dressed instead of getting distracted by the mirror or a toy. It's a bad cycle of lost precious minutes of sleep that makes mornings harder and symptoms worse all day. I really want to give her chores - but with the constant rush, I don't feel right asking her to do much more. She has so little downtime. But we do need to keep working on the simplest things like bringing in her backpack from the car and putting her shoes away.

    Another issue we're facing is people dismissing her ADHD and not wanting to take it seriously because she is so successful academically. I feel bad seeing other parents talk about their kids who struggle with reading - my daughter hyperfocuses to the point that we have had to take books away as a punishment. She read the entire Harry Potter series in about 2 months and keeps rereading sections of the books obsessively. When I tell my mom stories about things she struggles with, she tells me she to lighten up because she seems to be doing great. And she is! But there are issues that will make her future harder if we aren't proactive now. I can see the issues in school beginning - she is a daydreamer. The good news is she's better at sitting still this year. Last year, her teacher let her stand at her desk as needed. She still claims it's painfully boring to listen to the teacher drone on all day:) She forgets her lunchbox 50% of the time; the teacher claims she is often on the wrong page and never listens when she tells the class to shift from one activity to another. Speed drills like math facts are a big issue for her, but she can do complex math problems with no problem. It's merely an attention issue.

    I'm very happy to have found this forum and am looking forward to getting some advice on techniques that really work to help her focus. We meet with her teacher in two weeks to start devising a plan for school; home requires a little more creativity and possibly some therapy. I'm glad to see your daughter is making strides with her family therapist. That might be a good route for us too.

  • If you get to a point where you will try medication, ask for genetic testing - it is where they swab your child's mouth, send it off to a lab and the results will tell you which medications would be best for your child. This testing helps eliminate the trial and error of trying meds that might not work.

  • Oh that’s really interesting! Thank you for mentioning this! I didn’t know this was even something that could be done!

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