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ADHD Parents Together
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Angry mom that doesn't get it.

Hello New here. My family was just told our 8yr has ADHD. I am not sure not do I get how they know with one visit asking questions that could or could not be what a typical 8 yr old is supposed to be like. I am angry, not because of the diagnosis but because I don't know if the kid is a "typical" kid. I was asked to "compare" him to others his age. Does he act the same, do the same things, ect. I think that is an unfair question. He is not like his friends. All his friends are ADHD, every kid today has it (sorry but it is true), most of his friends are on medication and the families do not really let their kids be kids. They want to "control" ever aspect of their lives. SO no he isn't like his friends. The questions they ask could be a typical 8 yr response or it could be ADHD. How in GOD's name do they know for sure. Please....Does your kid fidget when sitting for a long period of time? Yea he is 8 and I am 46 and do it too. Does you kid, have difficulty with friends? I don't know they play one game for 2 mins, then want to switch and the other doesn't so my kid goes inside. Umm we all did that as a kid. Does your kid find it difficult to focus on certain things? Yes, like homework....um again we all did it. Do you find that your kid is focused on one thing particular ( watching the same show over and over again, playing with the same toy, ect)? Again, Yes, but so did we. Is it just me because I am an older parent that when I was a kid or even when my 25 year was a kid that life was simpler and things made sense? Now a days it seems to all be controlled by medication and lack of interest of having kids make mistakes and grow up. Sorry if I offended I am just so angry they can asses this with just a few dumb questions.

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Welcome. May I ask who made the diagnosis? The reason I ask is you want to make sure a full evaluation was completed by a professional who specializes in ADHD evaluations- not a pediatrician. My sons preschool teacher had to complete an evaluation, we had to complete a parent evaluation and then the specialist did an online assessment with my son. My son has no impulse control and is unable to focus which are common traits of ADHD. We can definitely tell he has it and without medicine it would be hard for him to succeed. Don’t panic at this stage and just make sure the diagnosis is accurate. There are a lot of options to help your child so if they truly have ADHD many of us on this group are happy to help answer your questions.

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Thank you for your response. First his Therapist and then our Family doctor, and they suggested a Psychologist. The psychologist made the final determination today, after asking these questions on a 3 separate forms. The medication he is on is helping his focus. I am okay with that, but how do they know it isn't him just being a kid?

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Like you I wasn’t happy with my son being diagnosed with ADHD and no parent wants that diagnosis; however, I try to focus on the positive that it’s a controllable condition with the help of meds. I would trust the fact that you worked with 3 different medical professionals on his diagnosis. Of course you can always get a 2nd opinion if that would make you feel better.

My sons preschool teacher suspected ADHD with my son and I’m glad she did, Goimg into Kindergarten would have been extremely challenging if I did not have him diagnosed and taking meds. Your son may have a less severe case of ADHD so his symptoms may not be as severe which may be why you are questioning the diagnosis. My sons ADHD is severe so I knew something wasn’t right.

You said meds help your son focus so that’s positive, Give the meds a chance and see if you see more positive outcomes, If he’s on the right med then I think you will notice positive differences at home as well as school. As your son gets older, school will become much more challenging for him so finding the right meds is half the battle, Hamg in there and try to focus on the positive. :0)

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My 6 year old grandson has just been diagnosed. I'm getting a second opinion before I put him on meds. I am truly afraid of the meds. I am an older parent (grandparent raising grandchild), so I struggle with believing even after study that ADHD is neurological versus merely behavioral (we medicate for everything these days). That being said, may I ask what medication prescribed as some have less side effects than others? Thank you in advance.

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OldMomof46-

First off... Welcome to this very supportive group. We are here for you. Tell us why you went to "doctor"? Then discovered your son might have ADHD. Also are there any other family members that also have ADHD?

Big deep breath and maybe we can help you.

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Thank you for your response. We first went to a Therapist because my son was talking about wanting to be with his sister. His sister was stillborn years before he was ever born. We still do not know where that came from, but anyway, when we went to the Therapist he thought that my son may have had some ADHD, but was unsure and thought that a stimulate may help him to focus more. It has! I am okay with the ADHD, but it seems to me that some of the questions are kids being kids.....whatever that means now a days. When( sorry sound like an old person now) I was younger and even when my 25 year was 8 we did the same things that he is doing now. Ignoring people when they talk to you, pushing limits, arguing with mom and dad, friends one minute not the next. Watching the same thing over and over again. Getting angry, the whole bit. I call it his teenager ways although he is only 8...lol. His behavior is not bad, I feel it is a kid being a kid and is misunderstood. To my knowledge there is no one else in the family that has ADHD. But of course this diagnosis is "new" in the last 20 years, so it was never heard of while I was growing up ( '70's-80's kid).

The Psychologist also suggested that off these questionnaires that he could also be Autistic, and that we should have him tested further. Again how can you say that by these questions? He had 13 out of 15 of the markers based on the questions. The problem I have with the questions is that they are not yes or no answers but yet the "professionals" take them as such.

ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.....So angry and frustrated.

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Thanks for adding more details that truly are personal. I can relate to you in so many ways , when I first started my journey into acceptance that our child has ADHD, I thought how could they judge my child while they sit and ask those silly questions... but our battles at home, school and after school were still going on. Simple things that children without ADHD can do without being asked (simply get up, being self motivated, brush every tooth, put on deodorant, brush your hair and dress yourself) are a battle even with medication. So honestly it doesn't matter to me how the questions are asked of me, I know my son has ADHD. I was just like you when I was first told, but years have gone by and I have learned what it takes to get him to do the tasks that need to be done and how to motive him to get them done.

Acceptance is a journey and we are on it at different places, I still have not told many people in my life about my son's ADHD, not sure when I will be ready for that.

As far as the way kids are now as to the way they were "back then" we could write a whole PHD about that, what I can say is I am positive that "medical professionals" are not going to label a child unless they really feel they have the evidence that they have symptoms of something. What parent choose to do with that is another story.

I hope this helps you with calming you down a little. We are here for you and I know more amazing people will chim in to support you.

Best of luck in your own journey.

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I remember feeling the same way. I just thought he was a little kid and that’s what little kids do. (In my case, I knew deep down but had trouble facing it)

Me, ‘well duh! He’s 5, of course he can’t sit still’!

Psychologist, ‘but other 5 year olds can sit still for short periods, such as, listening to a 5 minute book’

(My son couldn’t even do 2-3 minutes)

Me, ‘he is just an 8 year little boy, obviously he can’t control his emotions, he has outbursts’

Psychologist, ‘but other 8 year olds can listen to an adult when they get upset and will usually calm down after a couple minutes of talking’

(My son frequently needed at least an hour or more to calm down)

Me, ‘I was exactly the same way when I was his age’!

Psychologist, ‘Yes that makes sense, there is a hereditary component’

(Made sense, I was adhd as a kid but never knew, all of those behaviors were mine)

Me, ‘Dangit! You’re right’

I went to school several times and observed. Without my son knowing.

I realized my son’s behaviors were quite extreme when I compared him to his peers.

I am not saying they are correct about your kiddo! I just sympathize with your anger and disillusionment.

Adhd is a difficult diagnosis because it’s all behaviors. There’s no lab test or mri or biopsy.

Anyway, keep on advocating for your son! You will be his biggest fan. You know him and love him, and he needs that more than anything!

Hugs to you and your little man!!

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Thank you for your response. My son is different from other children. Most of his friends and most of the people in his class, have ADHD. He acts nothing like them. He does not have outbursts he does not get angry when someone talks to him. he is as an 8 year old child does get upset when he doesn't want to do things such as pick up his toys take a shower go to bed etc. But that is what all kids do. the biggest problem we see is he has focusing issues. Meaning that he gets bored very easily, while in school he's okay but once he gets to a point where he knows what he's doing he doesn't want to do it anymore his focusing falls apart. Again I'm not saying he doesn't have it nor am I saying I'm embarrassed by it, I am okay with it I just don't know how they're diagnosing it? Yes most kids sit still for a few moments but all kids fidget. the questions are asked does your child fidget within 2 or 5 minutes it says does your child fidget and unable to sit still. I'm 46 years old and I fidget when I'm bored. Fidgeting is just part of it it's not all of it it's just part of the questions I remember. I will find the right answers that fit me and my family I'm just very frustrated.

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Keep pressing for answers! You’ll find the right doctor to help. The questions on those forms are really vague.

Or maybe you’ll be the one to discover the solution. So many parents end up finding their own solutions. After all we know are kids the best.

I truly understand your frustration. 😖

PS. I still fidget too! Lol.

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Hello and welcome,

You would know if a child, your child , has adhd. You would always suspect something isn’t typical. My son is 14 and I can’t live him with my sister or brother ( adults with own families) without worrying that he will do something stupid or irresponsible . Now , when hormones started to buzz, it is extra hard. I cried even today. He told me his life isn’t fair because of me. It hurts. He is newly diagnosed/ last September. The diagnosis is shocking. We are not sure if the doctors are right. We feel guilty by giving our kids this psychotrops , but you know what ? We don’t do it to make our life easier. We , mothers, are strong. We do it for kids who struggle with their own personalities and differences and who are socially “not fitting “.

Please, give yourself some time. See if get more comfortable with the diagnosis. If you disagree, look for a diffferent doctor, second opinion.

Good luck

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Thank you for your reply. I've seen other kids with ADHD and I know all kids are different I don't see it in him. He is sweet kind loving will give you the shirt off his back. In fact his therapist says he's very empathetic. he doesn't ever say that his life is worthless or that people don't like him. I'm just at a loss and just don't understand. Of course the psychologist I went to gave me no answers, all she kept saying was the studies the studies the studies. and I'm sorry but I don't give a darn about these studies. I care about how he was diagnosed and how they actually come up with it. she did say that children with ADHD when they do brain scans their brains are different than normal than people without ADHD. I said if that's the case then do the brain scan. She laughed at me and said we just don't do brain scans LOL.

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You can pay privately for a brain scan.

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Not all kids with adhd are not kind loving and caring. My daughter can be very kind loving and caring. Her teachers alway say how sweet and helpful she is. The big thing with her is her focus and self control a paper that takes other kid 5-10min can take her a hour or more. She also has a very hard time telling when what she is doing is bothering people

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Your daughter sounds a lot like mine. 🙂

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I would like to know if your son has been having trouble in school? This is when we discovered our son had ADHD - his behavior seemed perfectly normal to us until the third grade and his teacher actually called me about him not being able to focus. (She had been his teacher in kindergarten and could see the difference.) Have you looked into the Conners Scale for ADHD? This is one of the scales used for diagnose ADHD. (Connors CBRS) I would also like to mention that stimulant medications like Ritalin, Adderall, etc. will cause "normal" kids to act stimulated - rapid pulse, hyperactive behavior, anxiety, etc. But ADHD kids have almost the opposite effect - these drugs actually help calm them, help with focus, and impulse control. So if your son responded with more focus and less hyperactivity, there is a good chance he does have ADHD.

My son is now 23, so I can give you some perspective.....ADHD is not the end of the world. It is a true psychiatric disorder, listed on the DSM-5. And that's a good thing because it allows for insurance coverage for medication, and testing, as well as giving ADHD a real name and not something that is "made up". Believe me when I say there are many psychiatric disorder much much worse than ADHD.

My advice is to take a deep breath, and start doing your research. Buy a Russell Barkley book or watch a video. Talk to your friends who have ADHD kids. Join a support group. Work on getting your son an IEP or 504 plan, if this is indicated. Get a second opinion, if you think this would help. Psychologists and therapists have often seen so many of these kids that they can diagnose without hours of testing. They know what to look for and what questions to ask.

Finally, I know that no one plans for their kid to have ADHD and it can certainly be a challenge.

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I’m about a year younger than you with an 8yo boy with ADHD - inattentive. His friends are ADHD as well, but the hyperactive and/or combination. He is also different from his friends for that reason. He doesn’t seem to show he has ADHD until he has to focus on or do something that doesn’t interest him. I understand your frustration since a questionnaire does seem less than scientific. Did he spend time with this psychologist for them to do IQ testing and executive functioning teats? If not, you can get a 2nd opinion by sending him to a pediatric neuropsychologist, which is what we did. We learned a great deal about my son, including some of his strengths. Anyway, if you are unsure, a second opinion will put your mind at ease. By the way, the diagnosis wasn’t a thing back in our day, but I look back on the behaviors of some of my classmates, and they definitely had it. Lol Best of luck to you.

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I understand your frustration but for me it was no surprise to get an ADHD diagnosis. I’m not sure how to explain it but my daughter is very much different from other children. I don’t know of any of her friends that also have ADHD but it certainly is common. The differences between normal kid behavior and ADHD shouldn’t really be so subtle - difficulty interacting with kids their age, not understanding body language or the flow of conversation (when it’s your turn, staying on topic), difficulty transitioning between activities, hearing someone but not really comprehending what they’re saying/asking, difficulty following directions especially with multiple steps. I’d recommend getting a second opinion if you have doubts. It took years to diagnose my daughter. We’ve tried everything under the son including holistic treatment/medication. Nothing worked so we resorted to medication. I wouldn’t judge those who choose medication for their child. I understand your point but sometimes it’s the only thing that helps. My daughter is grateful for her medication because it makes life a bit less challenging for her.

I hope you’re able to find answers for your child.

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I get it. I felt so much self doubt when we were starting this process. I was worried that I was labeling my kid when maybe it was us or the school that was the problem. But I had a lot of people tell me to go ahead with the evaluation and, for us, it really helped. Our evaluation was really thorough. 9 hours of tests (over several days) that also measured IQ, executive function, academic performance and a bunch of other things. The teacher had to fill out an eval and I had to fill out two. Do you think you would feel better with a more thorough evaluation? Also, if there’s more going on with your kid - maybe a more thorough test will uncover it. Also, really diving into the evaluation process can also help you, as a parent, see if you share any traits with your kid. That can be kind of a tough realization - but I actually know a lot of parents who realized that they had ADHD, anxiety or what have you by going though the process with their child. You might also want to read more about it. Our physiologist recommended “Driven to Distraction” by Hallowell and Ratey. I get what you’re saying about how the questions don’t seem scientific - but that’s how a lot of mental illnesses are diagnosed. If you were depressed or had an eating disorder they diagnose you based on behavior. My understanding is that one of the hallmarks of ADHD is lack of insight - meaning it’s hard to see it in yourself. Which is part of why they have to ask you for your observations as a parent. But, in any event, if you have hesitations about the diagnosis, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper - if only for your own peace of mind. Good luck.

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Welcome to the group, and we all understand your pain and frustration. My son was diagnosed in May of this year. Down deep inside I always new. My son has a no behavior issues but always on stage, especially in front of groups. I handled it but was alot of work .

My son always struggled in school, I paid for tutors every year since 3rd grade to get him to pass. But, as your child gets older it's gets very hard for them in the upper grades. They can't can't catch up in classes and homework. They check out. With my son's diagnosis which I went privately to a nerologist who did a thorough check. My son was offered alot of extras in school to help him. Especially , the teachers didn't look at him as a class clown but as a boy with AdHd and trying his best on class.

It's a journey, and something you have to be ready for. Medication is a personal choice. For my son, he takes it during school and he has told me how much it helps him in school, homework etc.

All the best to you. We are all here to help you. I do recommend. Going private to a pediatric nerologist.

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I am a few months from 46 and feel exactly the same way. If ADHD had been a thing when I was 9 I would have been in a Ritalin haze... My son is rambunctious... but the school doesn’t allow for that. So, I only give him the meds for school and I deal the rest of the time. Keep the faith, sister, his older brother grew out of if so there is hope. Most importantly, love him and hug him and don’t give up!

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Hi! You're right to question doctors and therapists. They don't know everything. There is no approved, objective diagnostic yet for ADHD. So, they use this somewhat silly questionnare I believe for this reason: All kids exhibit ADHD behaviors at times, but calling it a disorder is a matter of extremes. Kids with ADHD have issues so severe that it hampers their ability to function socially. Now, as an old school person, it's tempting to say, well that's just kids. Some are better than others. Deal with it. But you know, prisons are filled with people who grew up in healthy homes, great parents, but for 'some reason' chronically made bad choices their whole life. Do we write them off as being bad eggs when we KNOW there's a biological root cause that can be improved with treatment? Untreated ADHD can result in comorbid disorders like oppositional defiance, depression, substance abuse and addiction, and finally conduct disorders that result in a spiral toward worse and more extreme behaviors that eventually can hurt themselves or others. That said, if you don't think your son's issues rises even close to these levels, I suggest trying new behavior modification tactics that we learn from experts. There's great special needs parenting classes to take! See how that goes. If a doctor, or worse, a therapist, is pressuring you to medicate, RUN! You should never feel pressured, especially if you're feeling like it's mild behaviors. Go with your intuition on this! Good luck!

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Welcome. I agree with the other parents that suggest getting a pediatric neurologist to evaluate your son. My son is 15 and we finally had him tested about a year ago. For my son's evaluation, he had neuropsychological testing that was very thorough. We had to fill out several pages of a questionnaire, that asked about my pregnancy with him, and then checking off yes or no boxes that asked about certain ADHD and other behaviors. Over a few days he had an IQ test, and worked on programs through the computer that tested his ability to focus, impulse control, memory, and some other ones I can't recall. After testing, we got an 11 page report that showed he has Moderate ADHD.

It may be difficult to compare your son to others with ADHD because there are different levels, different symptoms, and sometime those classified only as ADHD but should actually have multiple diagnosis'.

With my son, I knew since he was little that he had ADHD. I knew because he had a hard time paying attention in class, he would fidget, he would hyper focus on tv and video games, he would constantly forget things, and lose more jackets than any other kid I know. ( I was the exactly the same) I informed the office and he had ADHD marked on his school records since elementary school.

My son is well behaved, has tons of friends and has no signs of hyperactivity, aggression, or depression, He is also very intelligent so through elementary school he was able to "space out" and still do well in school. In junior high his math teacher told me that in all of her 20 years of teaching he was the only one that didn't do homework but got A's on the tests.

When he was younger, I decided not to medicate my son. Some of his grades suffered but he understands the material and still does very well on tests. Now that he is in high school, he has accommodations through a 504 plan. ( By law a school has to make reasonable accommodations for those with ADHD) My son's accommodations are: 1. He can take tests in the library if he needs a quiet place. 2. He gets a copy of all notes at the beginning of class. 3. He can take a picture of homework if the teacher writes it on the board. 4. He can have an extra day to finish homework if he makes arrangements.

I hope my input helps you. If later down the road your son has challenges in school, be sure to have conferences right away with his teachers and get a 504 plan if necessary.

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I understand. I asked the same questions from kindergarten til 3rd grade. Every school year the teacher would say the same thing. We tried every non medication option we could find and nothing changed. His grades were fine so I thought well the teacher will just have to deal with him talking too much and fidgeting. I didn’t realize how disruptive his behavior really was for the rest of the class. Anyway, he started 3rd grade the same way, but this time he was failing math. He would get distracted during timed quizzes and fail to even finish. He knew them orally. I did a practice test at home and watched him answer a few then get distracted by his thumb!! Started drawing on it. Completely zoned out. I believed it at that moment. I reluctantly started medication. He didn’t change his personality or activity level, he was just more focused and in control. He finished 3rd grade on principal’s list and scored through the roof on TCAP. I hope that helps.

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Thank you for this story. Sounds a lot like our guy (now 8). He starts 3rd grade this year. He’s very smart so he’s always done well, but the behavior issues, once every week or two we’d keep getting those calls. This last year it just barely started sneaking into his report card, unsatisfactory grades here and there, incomplete work coming home, not turning in homework. (We didn’t know he ever had it). His dad has always taken the “all kids are like this” line, but this year he started to change his mind. After watching him for a few hours on a vacation with his cousins, he decided he needs to maybe move from counseling to adding meds. He is like other kids and he can be sweet, but also socially a PITA. He hogs toys, demands things always be his way, breaks things often and gets physical with other kids when disagreements happen. For us it’s time.

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My son has mild form of ADHD he has problems with focusing and dealing with his emotions and difficulty in social situations. His teachers always say he is so quiet and does not have any problems with him. He holds his emotions in all day and when he gets home he expldes with meltdowns.He also has other issues like learning disabilities, speech, and epilepsy

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I definitely agree - the diagnosis part felt very “fly by the seat of their pants” to me. And I’m the parent who agreed with it, so I know it’s been extra concerning to my husband & other caregivers. And all the questions I feel need an answer of “maybe” or “sometimes” or “depends on the situation.”

Developmental disabilities are just really tricky. There’s no mutated gene or anything. They are in fact normal behaviors - just the extreme end of the behavior. Whether the child qualifies for the diagnosis really just depends on the degree of the symptom and if it invokes impairment. So, diagnosing practioners generally rely heavily on what parents / teachers report. I guess they figure if we didn’t think it was severe or impairing, we wouldn’t be there?

I also agree that some parents could benefit from letting kids make there own mistakes & learning from it, instead of jumping in all the time. It’s soemthing we’re working on at our home.

That being said, it still doesn’t change the fact that my son has a problem. ADHD typically has coexisting conditions (right now we have TS, and possibly OCD and anxiety.)

We recently went through neuropsychological testing for my son - hopefully it will give us more satisfying conclusions.

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Hi OldMomof46. I have been diagnosed with ADD since I was in 2nd grade. I am now 42 yrs old. So it didnt come as a shock when my son now 10 yr s old was diagnosed at age 5. I prayed he wouldn't have all the struggles I still have to this day. I remember how the ritalin ( basically speed) made me feel so tired and my mom had to cut the dosage down smaller and smaller till the dosage fit me. My Dr.s told me that if I wasnt adhd that it would do the opposite and make me hyper and not sleep. I guess that is the reason so many college kids take it to get there work done. So this my be why your son is doing better in school on the meds. But also I am very different then my son. I was a dreamer off in lala land. I didnt get in trouble for violence I just never got anything done or obtained any information. However the stimulants work the same way on my son as they did me. I am not saying your son does have adhd....but keep all your options open. You sound like a great parent concerned for your child and his struggles all around or you wouldn't have taken the time to register to this forum. Pat's on your back for being a great mom. Keep your head up and I hope you find all the answers you need to help you child.

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