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Looking for Advice - Newly Diagnosed Child with ADHD


Hi! Looking for some support. My 8-year old son was diagnosed with ADHD about 4 months ago. I was given a 504 Plan Letter to provide to the school. When i presented it to the principal, her first question was is he on medication. We are very doubtful about putting him on any type of medication because of the long-term affects on his body and mind not to mention the possibility of addiction. I know this may seem extreme, but i have witnessed it first-hand. We are in such a difficult place suck between a rock and a hard place. We want to help our son the best way possible. But, now i don't know if NOT putting him on medication is the right decision.

We looked into a program that claims to train my son's brain to act appropriately, but again we are doubtful that would work.

I don't know what to needs tone done about his 504 plan ... am i supposed to follow up with the school? Who comes up with the 504 plan? Me, the teacher, the principal???

Sorry for the rant ... i am just in need of some support. I see there are so many people dealing with a child with ADHD here and wanted reach out to see if i am the only one feeling this way.

Any advice is welcomed and appreciated.

7 Replies

mrsgt2000- welcome to to group. It sounds like you are new to understanding ADHD. I am curious at what made you get your son tested? It is important to see him for who he is and try not to compare him to other people in the past. Everyone is there own person and their treatment is unique to them. I hope this makes sense as you learn more about ADHD I hope you can learn what works best for your son.

As far as school is concerned, I am not sure where you live but in the school district here our school psychologist is the person who usually writes up the 504 plan and it would be a good idea for you to look at some samples so when you attend a meeting you know what your son needs help with. Now that you notified the school they have guidelines as to when they need to reply to you and set up a meeting by. Also, the principal reaction is not unreasonable since most 504 plans are based on medical issues with children that take medication.

Our son's pediatric psychiatrist told us that %60 of the symptoms of ADHD can be controlled with medication and %40 are controlled with behavioral therapy/ counseling. This has really been what we find is true for us. We have also been told that ADHD gets better as children mature and gets much easier to manage and that our son may choice to not use medication when he gets older.

So I know our son could not be successful without medication. We all want to be the best parents we can and living now is the best thing we can do.

Best of luck with your journey of understanding, learning and accepting your son and the new life you will lead.

We are part of your new life, if you need us we are here.

Take care,

I can’t relate to the 504 plan but can relate to doctors, teachers, etc. pushing medication. I was opposed to it for many years but after years of seeing my daughter struggle with anxiety I gave it a try two years ago and it’s been great. She started on ADHD meds a week ago. I’m always in favor of trying non- medication options first but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to help my daughter. You know what’s best for your child. Trust your gut.

Hello and Welcome. While no parent likes to have their child on ADHD meds, you will find many posts on this website that share their positive experience with meds. I am one of this parents, Without meds my son would not be successful. He has been on Mefs for 8 yrs and it really helps to control his impulses and ability to focus. He’s now 13 and tells me when he feels he needs meds outside of his normal schedule for sports late in the day. As he matures, I am finding he can manage himself with less meds but in school he needs more because the curriculum is harder. He is able to attend a Catholic school without a 504 and still be successful. With your son being 8 I highly recommend you reconsider trying meds. It’s only going to get harder with him as he gets older both academically and socially, A doctor once said to me if your child had diabetes you would treat their condition with medication wouldn’t you? ADHD is no different. In most cases kids need meds. The journey to find the right meds can be challenging so I recommend starting asap. It took us 3 years and I can’t imagine dealing with this through the teen years. Good Luck,

Hello mrsgt2000, I too am on the same boat as your family of our child being newly diagnosed early this year. For a few years now I have been in denial of the whole ADHD but my child's symptoms just kept worsening and it started disrupting the whole household, school, and even with family outside of our home. From my understanding the 504 is just to give the student special accommodations during school and on top of that the school gets more funding per child on 504. My child was evaluated by a specialized counselor from the district and she actually concluded that he did not qualify after her evaluation of him. We gave in to putting him on meds because we had tried everything in the book to help him deal at home. He has multi ADHD and has gotten very violent. Medication has helped a lot but my husband wanted him off while he was out of school for the summer because it was a bit hard seeing how he would react when the medication was wearing off. We also read up on the medication and the long term affects scared us. But now that I am doing my research and reading more and more about ADHD I think that there will be help or options to get him off the medications as he gets older in a safe way. As parents we want the best for our children and I believe that in the end we will be glad that we made that decision once we see them succeed. Read up on the diagnosis and medications if you feel that you don't have enough information. Hope everything goes well with your family!

I feel your frustration, I wish I knew some of the things I now know about a 504 plan. My son and I both have ADHD. My son was diagnosed by a neurologist as having moderate ADHD at age 14, and I have yet to be officially diagnosed. I knew my son had ADHD since he was in preschool but up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea that accommodations could be made through a 504 plan. I let his elementary school know and the teachers just assigned his seat in the front of the classroom- that was it. He was also a GATE student up until junior high when he refused to do homework.

Getting a 504 plan for my son was a game changer! By law, the school must make reasonable accommodations for those with ADHD. My son who still has not been medicated is now in high school. He gets a copy of all notes at the beginning of class, gets to take tests in the library if he needs a quiet environment, he is allowed to take pictures of homework if it is written on the board, and he can have an extra day to complete homework if he makes arrangements.

You know your son best and you will be his best advocate for him to get the best education possible. Its hard to believe that even today some educators still don't know how to work with a person with ADHD. (My parents were told by my teachers that I was smart but lazy) I would suggest that you schedule a follow-up appointment, but before your meeting, write down all of the ways you can think of that they could accommodate him. I know when I was 8, I had a hard time sitting through boring stuff, so it would have helped me if I was allowed to go outside and do some jumping jacks for even a minute to break up the monotony. I never turned in any math assignments where I had to write out the problems. I only did the ones where I had to write in the answers. I would ask that the teacher write down his homework, because that was a huge problem for me. Stuff like that can be addressed and those accommodations seem reasonable to me.

To medicate or not to medicate is a tough call. There are different levels of ADHD and different symptoms. My son and I seem to have the same ones which are forgetting things, difficulty concentrating/having the drive to finish boring stuff, hyper-focusing on things and others that I cannot think of right now. Fortunately, my son and I do not have any anger, aggression, or depression. (I have been told by other ADHD moms that these may be side affects of some medications.) Because I was worried about the side effects, I decided not to medicate him when he was younger, and he and I have gone back and forth since, but we still don't feel the risks/gains would make that much of a difference.

I was able to overcome a lot of my "quirks" as an adult. My husband and I have told our son that a lot of things are always going to be out of his comfort zone, but as he gets older he just needs to put on his big boy britches and do them- just like my job as a supervisor in a financial institution makes me do things that I don't like doing.

Sorry about the long message. I hope you find this helpful.

Awesomealexmom- I just read your post. My son is 14 , he has a lot accommodations at school, but he doesn’t take advantage of them. He seems not to see a problem. He can take picture of the homework, but will he ? No! He either doesn’t think of that or he thinks he will remember to bring that paper home this time.

He gets copy of the notes, but do they make it home ? No! It stays in his desk. Etc, Just venting :)

Good luck girls to all of us, school is around the corner, and as many parents can’t wait for the first bell, for us it is stressful time .

Hang in there Aniusia. Last year I went to back to school night and got contact info for all of my sons teachers. Perhaps you can do the same and contact the teachers by email or phone to let them know about his 504 plan and see if they can make sure homework and notes gets written down and in the backpack. (Be sure to let the teachers know not to embarrass him or call him out on it.)

I can tell you that I did the same thing. My brain just did not work the way most do. I would space out or be distracted by another kid and by the time I realized it, everyone else was packing up and heading out the door so I did the same. By the time I got home, I could not do my homework because I didn't know or remember what it was. Getting punished or an earful really didn't change anything because again my brain didn't think that way.

Fortunately, now most schools have a "Parent Portal" or something similar so most teachers post homework, missing assignments, and grades online. That takes the guesswork out of what has been assigned.

Ah yes, and that bring me to the other part of homework...For most people knowing is half the battle. For me, turning it in was more of a battle because even if I did it, I was disorganized so finding my homework in my backpack was hard. I would spend time looking for it and when I found it I would turn it in, but if I couldn't then I would move on with the rest of the class. Knowing this, I constantly help my son organize his backpack (Even at 15). He has color coordinated folders- one for each class. I make sure he puts his homework in the correct folder so I'm sure he turns it in. (I also check the Parent Portal to make sure)

He should eventually get it. For those with ADHD it just takes longer. I am an example. Nobody at work knows that I have ADHD. I work as a bank supervisor and I am well organized, have great written and verbal skills, and I do my job very well. I still have to go through a mental checklist before I leave the house so I don't forget anything. I have reminders on my work calendar to help me remember things, and I have a notebook handy to write things down because my thoughts are like butterflies. (Here one moment and then gone forever.) Good luck and hang in there.

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