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ADHD Parents Together
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Child struggling/need med advice

Hello

My son has been struggling in school since kindergarten. He was diagnosed with ADHD in 1st and he is now in 4th. I have had teacher after teacher tell me he doesn’t complete his work and he doesn’t do well on testing. He struggles in reading assignments and scores low on diagnostic test even if he knows the info. He is a very bright child who loves learning about history and sports. Last year he had the worst teacher, who always discussed his inability to focus in front of the whole class daily. He had a miserable year with her. At the end of the school year I asked to have him tested by the school and he was eligible for special education because it was interfering with his learning. But this doesn’t seem to be any better. I thought that he would be doing better if he had some assistance from a specialist. But he is just hearing the same things from her. I have not tried any meds and I am scared to start. What would be the best med for him. How do the meds effect my sons personality and does it change who he is? Usually when he has homework he is willing to do it and he loves to read and research things he is interested in. If he begans meds when they wear off is he going to go back to how he usually acts or is it going to affect who he is outside of school too. His at home behavior is great. He is a good helper and very loving and sweet. I don’t want to lose who my child is, so he can advance academically. If the meds help more than harm, I am willing to try. I can use any advice from anyone who has gone through this. I want my child to succeed in school, but I want him to be healthy and learn to cope with his brain being wired differently. I don’t want him to lose his interest in what he enjoys to focus on answering some reading test. Any advice would be great

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My son was also diagnosed ADHD in 1st Grade, he just started 3rd Grade. His pediatrician is great and he recommended Ritalin. We worked for a long time to try and get the right dose. I also had the same fears you have right now. We started on the lowest dose with a 6 hour time release. This basically means the drug is completely out of his system after 6 hours. After a while and a few different doses, time releases etc he is now on 20mg of Ritalin with an 8 hour time release. He gets this at about 7AM on school days.

The upsides to the drug it really does help him focus in class and not be bouncing around wanting to wander and interfering with his fellow classmates. The downsides are it is an appetite suppressant so during the week he doesn't have much interest in his lunches or dinners. It can also interfere with his sleep. His doctor also warned that my son may become a little disconnected and not show interest in playing at recess and lunch with his classmates but I think he is still doing OK socially. At weekends and during school holidays he does not take it.

This is not a miracle drug! We are still adjusting to my sons issues and he still struggles with reading etc. But it has helped with his behavior and focus during school.

Talk to your childs doctor and see what they recommend. I believe that my son has benefitted from taking Ritalin. Things may change and we might take a different path as we go along.

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Thank you for your reply. It does help to know that there are people out there with the same feelings. My doctor immediately recommended Adderall XR 10mg. I only let him try it for a day and he was in a zone and quiet and not interested in his favorite sport and didn’t even want to watch it. That night he couldn’t sleep at all. After that he was exhausted for over 3 days straight. I wondered if it was from the meds. When I visited the doctor she acted like I was absurd and didn’t know what I was talking about. It might have been too high of a dose to start with. I will be taking him back to the doctor soon. I want to try something to help him, but it so hard to pass that point. He will be starting a soccer club team soon and he is very passionate about it. I don’t want him to lose his drive in things he enjoys.

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Welcome, I would recommend you find a child psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD. The journey to finding the right meds can be a long journey, it took us 3 years for my son. My son was also quiet on XR drugs and didn’t eat so we switched him to short acting drugs (4 hour doses) instead. He gets meds at breakfast, lunch and late in the afternoon to help with homework and he eats between meals because the concentration of meds is less, 10 ml generally isn’t a large dose of meds but the XR May be too much for your little guy, With the challenges you are describing in school, you definitely want to find the right meds to help him, School will continue to get harder and teachers will be less willing to help so you don’t want his self-esteem to be impacted as well as his academics, Don’t waste your time with a pedestrian as they are not specialized in ADHD. Good luck,

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I have to really agree about the child psychiatrist. We had 2 visits and our medications we settled. I have a question for Ldydy24, have you tried time release dose? That is what my son takes so that the medication on releases a small amount at certain times. Our son is very charismatic and we love this and it didn't change at all when he started taking medication.

Best of luck with your journey.

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Hi there. Yes my son tried the XR which is the time release throughout the day. He has a very high metabolism and chewed through it in 4 hours. It really suppressed his appetite and made him sluggish and quiet with little to no appetite. He was also running cross country at the time and we switched to a new dr who put him on small short acting drugs and it made a world of difference,

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Hello

Thank you for replying. I can see from day one the teachers he had really didn’t want to help. They were quick to insult instead of understand. Can you please tell me the name of the medication, so I can look into it.

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Sweetkid- This really is a journey and you will find that everyone needs an education, but the we teach the less pain other families have to endore. I will be totally honest with you, Elementary grades are so much easier that middle school because there are few teachers you have to deal with. I am sure you don't want to hear this but you will have to deal with as many as 7 teachers in middle school and imagine they all can't stand you child.. Fun times.. So my advice is get everything stable and an 504 (do you know what this is?) plan set up for him, even if he only needs it for state testing, extra breaks, has a longer time tomdo assignments,etc..)

As far as medications, they are really personal especially the dose and amount. Mine needed a higher dose becuase he has a high metalolism, but slow release, and extended so he doesnt take another dose until later afternoon.

So working with a ped. Psch. Will help a lot.

Best of luck with getting things figured out.

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Hi my son takes Focalin but like many have said what works for one child may not work for another. It took us 3 yrs, 3 diff drs (starting with pedestrian) and 7 different combination of meds to arrive at Focalin. It really is a journey so don’t get discouraged if one med doesn’t work. Make note of the pros/cons of the meds you test and discuss with the dr if they don’t work - then move on to trying a new med. My son has been on Focalin for 5 years and it still works good for him. We’ve had to increase his dose as he’s gotten older because middle school is much harder especially at a Catholic school.

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Medication is such trial and error. I have two grandsons who live with me. Ritalin works well with some kids but for my boys they went ballistic

One has a lot of trouble with depression so he is on Wellbutrin and intuniv. The other one has lots of anger issues and we've had to have him on Strattera and Risperidone.

We recently tried to adjust the younger one's Strattera dose to help more with ADHD and he got so angry he punched a hole in the wall of his bedroom. So we lowered the dose again and he's back to his sweet self. We have an IEP for him so the teachers are just going to have to help him deal with his ADHD.

The oldest one is in a magnet school program that he got into because his ADHD medicine enabled him to excel in school instead of being the one who was always in trouble.

Good luck on your journey

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Thank you for your reply. Did these anger issues come out from the meds or is this something he was dealing with before. I want something to help him do well in school. He is such a sweet loving positive child at home. He is competitive and learns facts quickly. His memorization is amazing. Do these meds interfere with the talents he already has or makes them better. I do not get much behavior complaints from school. Mostly that he is not focusing and finishing his work. I can see that it is beginning to take a toll on him.

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The anger started around Age 3. Before he got on medication he would sometimes have 2-hour tantrums.

He has great artistic ability and some medications have made him lose his interest in that. So it is been the struggle to find something that helps him to succeed in school, keep his anger under control, but not lose himself.

He takes Taekwondo now and is a Blackbelt. Martial arts has helped him Focus and give him a sense of community. He also sees it behavioral counselor to work on anger issues. He is 12 now and and in 7th grade so this has been ongoing for a long time

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It’s going to be different for every child, and your pediatrician is the best person to ask this question of. But my story is this, my son was Dx’d with ADHD in 2nd grade and just started 4th grade. We started meds almost immediately with him and saw such a dramatic, positive, change. He started with 10 mg of Vyvanse and that’s slowly been upped to 50 mg. He also takes 5 mg of Adderral in the early afternoon so that he can focus on his chores and homework at home because the Vyvanse starts to wear off at about that time. His personality is the same goofy, sweet kid he’s always been, but he’s able to sit still and pay attention a lot better now. He says the meds make him feel “less crazy”. I hate that term, but it’s how he describes how his brain feels when he forgets his meds. He still fidgets a lot, and we have a 504 in place for some specific accommodations in class, but he’s doing really well academically. He still has some social issues, but we’re working through those right now.

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I also would agree you find a child psychiatrist. My son takes 7.5 mg of Ritalin (4hr release) 3 times a day and this schedule has worked really well for us. We see the psychiatrist every 3 months to touch base, make sure he is growing and gaining weight and talk about any issues we are having. It hasn’t changed his personality, if anything it just helps him to be an even better version of himself. Good luck and hope this helps!

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