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ADHD Parents Together
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Looking for advice and support

Hello, this is my first time reaching out for help and I'm not sure why! My son is 8 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD about 18 months ago. He is taking 20mg (8 hr dose) of Ritalin on school days only. He is a sweet loving child who I love dearly but I am struggling to keep my patience daily. We have all our children in a Catholic school which is strong on academics and there is homework assigned nightly. This is where the main problem is right now.

My son hates reading! He struggles and it's a daily fight to get him to complete anything. I have tried many different things such as going to the library with him alone to complete work in a quiet place with no distractions but he is in tears and it breaks my heart. I have also become so angry with him and shout which obviously does not help but I can't help myself sometimes and then I feel awful.

Then there is my other 2 children who are bright kids and popular in school. They are suffering too. I'm trying to ensure they are happy but my time and emotions seem to be wrapped up with my son. BTW he is a twin and his brother is paying the price of not being invited on playdates etc because I think other parents see my son as being an odd child and a handful (I get it!!).

Does anybody have tips on tackling homework, handling siblings, any other treatment options????

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Thank you for joining our world! Please dont do this over reading.. has your child been assessed for any type of challanges, I remember as a child hating life becuase every other kid was out playing and I was forced to sit and read while crying because nothing I read made any sense.. Please make sure he doesn't have any reading issues. Often children with ADHD have other learning issues

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Thank you for your reply. He has been assessed and he apparently doesn't have any other issues, as yet. His speech is slow. He has always been amazing with regards to his issues in that he isn't shy and has never been afraid to speak up. I'm trying not to push the reading too much but as I said he is in a school that pushes the academics. Sometimes I think he may get more support in a public school but his doctor says a small school is the best place for him. He has just started 3rd grade and I have made an appointment to meet with his teacher and see how we can best handle his schooling this year.

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Welcome. I have a 13 yr old son also in Catholic school who hates to read. He does great in Math and Science so it’s just not his strength subject. It’s a common trait for ADHD kids especially boys. The trick is to find books they like - short books and ones that break up the long pages of text with some visuals, my son loves the Diary of a Whimp Kid books and comic books. Unfortunately with Catholic school they usually have a set group of books the kids have to read so there isn’t much flexibility. Please make sure your son truly isn’t behind in Reading. In 3rd grade my son was getting B’s in Reading but it turned out he was a year behind. I knew he was struggling when he read out loud to me so I had him tested by our public school district. He was diagnosed with a Reading & Writing disability and we ended up sending him to a special school for 3 yrs before transitioning him back to Catholic school last year. So my point is if your son is really fighting you on Reading it’s possible he needs more help, I also hired a tutor to help my son keep up with the Catholic curriculum. Public schools do give a lot more help to ADHD kids but most kids won’t be challenged. As long as your Catholic school is willing to work with you I would keep him there and just get him some extra help if you feel his meds are working for him. You may need a short acting dose of meds for homework after school if your son is having a hard time doing school work. More than likely the meds are gone at that point. My son doesnt do well on XR meds so we take several small doses of Focalin a couple times a day. He does great with the Catholic school structure but he does have to work hard to get good grades. Please try to stay patient with your son and realize it’s not his fault he has ADHD and you have to stop comparing him his siblings because they were not born with his disability. I know it’s hard but what works for them may not work for him. Good luck.

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My daughter does not like reading. She’s six and a half. Yesterday she asked me to watch a show on Netflix, and I said: if you read the title you can watch it. She started to cry and say: no, no, no! I don’t want to read, why do you ask me to read all the time?? There is so much anxiety and stress when she has to read, and write. I bought so many books, below her age level, and still, she cries, or gets really upset when I make her read.

I lose my patience too, and then I cry and feel awful. I also go through a phase in which I think this is temporary, and she will be fine, she will grow out of it..

I thought medication would fix this anxiety, but it has not.... How are you liking Ritalin extended release? Maybe this is not the right medication or dosage for your son? Have you talked to his doctor about it?

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Thanks for replying. We spent almost a year trying out different doses and time releases of Ritalin and this dose seems to work the best so far. His teacher last year said he did great in her class but she was very patient with him and was the best teacher ever! His Dad and I don't really see the effects of the drug on him as he only takes it on school days and the time release is 8 hours. Obviously it's an appetite suppressant so we never give it to him on weekends or school holidays. The problem we encounter is trying to get him to do his nightly homework.

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Thanks for making sure he doesn't have any issues with reading. Would you be interested in giving him another dose in the afternoon to help with homework time to see if this would help or you could give him support with reading. There are plenty of programs that help with auditory and visual as kids read so that they can listen to the story, clearly he is not saying the words but he is seeing and listening to the words as the book is reading.

All I know is I struggle with reading and as other kids were out playing I sat reading ( saying the word but not understanding what I was reading, until I heard the words) and it was horriable. I would not want that on anyone.

Both would be easy to try and might help a lot. I guess what I wanted to add to the discussion is when you live in the world of ADHD it is important to find a way to work to find a solution that take blame out if the equation. In your situation, he is getting lots of reading in school in the very academic program so he is not missing anything by just supplementing the afterschool reading with auditory/visual and it could be a win/win. If the issue is that he struggles to focus or do work at that time of day ( which I think about 99% of kids with ADHD struggle with) the you could go the medication route. For our kids just getting through the school day is a lot.

Hope this makes sense.

Good luck

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Ritalin is not an anxiety medicine. Please talk to a psychiatrist to determine the correct medications for your daughter.

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Well maybe the intent of the comment was a hope that if the ADHD was treated the child wouldn’t feel so anxious about school. Probably that works in some cases but not others. We don’t want to be too snappy in judging other people’s comments.

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All of our kids started reading towards the end of second grade / summer and now they are all voracious readers . IMO the right age to start reading is when the child shows interest. 6,7 even 8 is way too early for some. My brother started reading at 8 1/2 and graduated top of his class on college and became a VP at age 37 - I always thought of him when others were telling me that my kids “should be reading by now”. I do realize that it would be hard to go with the Child’s pace if the school is highly academic ...hugs to you and your boy.

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Also our pediatrician recommended daily homework tutor for our kid with ADHD - not only to help him but to take me out of the equation because tempers flare a lot faster between mom/son ...and it gives me a break. And I totally hear you about the other kids suffering the consequences...same here unfortunately

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Hi, hold your head up, it will get better! My son goes to a Catholic school as well so I know what you mean. We had the same issues starting in Kindergarten, he's going to gr 4 now. He was bringing books home from school and it was always a fight to get him to do his homework (reading daily and a summary of what he read). Then we found books that he loved and he actually started reading so maybe it is the books that he has? We used the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. They are about 50 pages each but are super funny and only have a few words on each page so it does not feel overwhelming seeing so many words on one page. Also, omega 3 (dha) and vitamin D3 help with focus so give him 1000mg of dha (make sure it is pure like from a brand like nordic naturals or platinum naturals) and 400iu of vd3.

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Hope it helps, good luck! My son is still not at the reading level of his classmates but he does enjoy reading a lot more, we also read to him for fun so that he enjoys reading. Sometimes on the rare occasion, I catch him reading on his own which is such a treat

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Hi, my son just turned 7 and he is going to grade 2 in a couple of weeks. He goes to catholic school, strong in academics too.... Actually, we might change school to public school if this year doesn't work again.

My son also takes Ritalin (long release) and top up (short release) on school days. I have also experienced with struggling with my son do reading.... I was SO stressed and I thought that reading is supposed to be a fun, bonding time with my son but it is stressing both of us. So I took a way step back from reading with him. My husband took over. Because my son knew that mom makes reading not fun (I probably put pressure on him...) but dad doesn't put pressure on him, instead, dad just read to him. Then, he gradually became more open to read with me. But it took time...

I'm not sure if your son struggles because of the lots of sentences on single page or actually struggling reading words.

With my experience, just make reading more fun was the key to my son. Sometimes we have to take a long road to get where we want to go.

I hope you will find what you are looking for in this post. My son's reading is below his grade level but he likes reading now.

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My daughter's all went to Catholic School to and my youngest one struggles all the way through. I was always in the school face. I would have talks with the assistant principal, the teachers. And I know it's hard when you have more kids but I sat with my daughter and helped her through home work.

Does she understand it if you read it with her? Obviously what she reads is not getting to her brain in the process.

My daughter now has a good job with an insurance agency so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Her son who lives with me also has horrible time with reading. I got a retired teacher last year to tutor him with wonderful results. He really liked her and she was able to help him with comprehension

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Thank you for joining and you are doing what you can for your child. Do not neglect your other children cause they will need you also. it is difficult and see what options you have by looking at resources available within and outside of your school. Stay strong your are your child's biggest advocate.

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My son is 12, and also hates reading. But a teacher a few years ago, talked to us about audio books. Kids learn different ways, and watching the words in a book while someone is reading it to you is the same thing to the brain. So, we started doing that with our son. He listens to audio books, and follows with his finger through the books. He is much happier, and can now understand books in a whole different way. Try it out! It was amazing in our situation!!! He is now able to read much longer books such as the Harry Potter series, and can relate to other kids which also helps him socially. He has it on an ipad, with the kindle app. We check out most of the books through the public library, but sometimes we have to purchase them. No big deal for us to get 30 minutes of no fighting over his homework!!!!

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Hi, my daughter is 8 and starting 3rd grade. She is diagnosed with ADHD and has a twin sister who does not have ADHD. They both go to public school. My daughter with ADHD also hates to read and struggles reading. My daughter without ADHD excels at everything and gets less of my attention and has to deal with the struggles of having a sister with ADHD. My ADHD daughter almost never gets invited to parties and never any playdates and no one at school will play with her. It breaks my heart. But she is incredibly resilient and I know that someday she will meet the right girl and make a good friend for life - I have to have hope. Fortunately, her sister is at school and she can always be with her sister. In regard to her struggle with read, I let her pick the book and the place for reading and i have her read aloud and when she needs a break, I read a few pages, then she reads a few pages and seems to be showing some improvement. I don't put too much pressure on her. Reading and writing are not her thing. She excels at math but hates reading and writing. It's not for everyone. I have considered tutor but not sure how to find someone with the patience to deal with an ADHD child. I'm waiting until 1st quarter grades to see how she's doing and may need to do more. We do not take Ritalin because stimulants seems to cause a nervous tic but when my daughter was on Ritalin, we did give her a short dose after school and homework time was so much better. Everything was better except she could not fall asleep. So, unfortunately, there aren't any easy answers. I have found the Additude magazine webinars to be very informative and useful for understanding ADHD and tips on how to deal with the struggles and ways relieve some of the stresses associate with ADHD. Just wanted to say welcome and let you know that you are not alone.

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Thank you. That was like reading my life story except you have girl twins 😀! I’m looking into getting audio/visual books for my son to try. After getting some great advice here we’ve decided to stop the pressure on reading for a while and focus on things he enjoys, like math too! Thanks again.

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My son is also 8 and in 3rd grade. He attends public school and does not have reading issues, but we can relate with behavioral issues and peer relationships. We luckily have a school wide no homework policy, with 20 minutes of nightly reading and interactive math. Does your son have something that he can hyper focus on? My son loves marine life and will read any books that pertain to that topic. My son can also hyper focus with legos so any books with LEGO characters he will read.

In regards to the meds, he takes Ritalin 4 hr release and takes it 3 times daily. We have found that 7am, 11 am and 3 pm works really well for us. We haven’t had any issues with weight loss and he is doctor is always pleased with his weight gain.

Hang in there and don’t be too hard on yourself. We have taken our son to therapy as well and then I go on my own to be able to talk through our daily struggles and get an outsiders perspective. It has really helped us to navigate parenting a child with ADHD.

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Lizwho930 This comment resonates with me as it describes my 8yo son in grade 3 in public school. He, however, is not on medication yet. Anyway, thank you for the info about his weight gain. Our son is tiny and rather insecure about it since he gets picked on a bit about it, which is one reason why we have held off.

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Yeah that is why the short acting has worked really well for us. It’s out of his system and then he is ready for lunch. We tried supplements and didn’t notice much of a difference. I know some who have tried essential oils and had some success with them, in bath water, on wrists and behind ears. Might be worth trying if you don’t want to go the medication route.

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MissUK I have an 8yo inattentive son in 3rd grade with no reading issues but seems to have math issues since he hates it. His school also has a no homework policy right now, which is great. What I am commenting on is the fact that I am a Catholic school teacher (high school). Academics are rigorous, yes, but I know support systems are always there. Is there a learning specialist at the school, and are they aware of his ADHD?

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My son didn’t like to read either. What has worked for me is to read with him. I tell him that I know that he doesn’t like to read so I will read a paragraph and he will read the next one. So far, that has worked for me. Hope this works

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Hi! I work in Youth Services for our public library - and unless the school has specific books they want read, I would find books that he enjoys at a good reading level (rule of thumb is if they struggle with @3 words per page, it’s a good level) regardless of their academic quality. Graphic novels are actually TERRIFIC for reluctant / struggling readers.

If you contact / head to your local library, thy should be able to help you find some titles he will enjoy.

I visit elementary schools for work, and right now author Dav Pilkey is pretty huge (Dog Man, Captain Underpants). He actually has ADHD himself, so you’ll see it referenced here & there in his works.

For other homework- he may need help breaking it down into manageable chunks. And maybe set a timer for mini break periods to recharge his mental batteries.

Though I will say, my son is 7 - and honestly, if his homework doesn’t involve turning anything in, and it’s not a subject he struggles in, I frequently let him skip it at this age. Free play, family dinner and early bedtime are currently more important to me.

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