6 year old starting Focasin - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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6 year old starting Focasin

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Hoping others can share their experiences. My 6 yr old was recently diagnosed with ADHD. She’s very smart academically but has had problems behaviorally at school and other extracurricular activities. For the diagnosis, my husband and I filled out a questionnaire (one for pediatrician, one for a psychiatrist) and based off these this questionnaire and a questionnaire given to her teacher, she was diagnosed with ADHD. We only have one child so we do not always know what is “normal” for her age. The psychiatrist was quick to jump on meds based on the questionnaires. This whole diagnosis seems very subjective. How do we know our daughter doesn’t have another disorder like a sensory disorder? We thought this might be the problem based off some of her other behaviors. The psychiatrist said that ADHD and ODD is her specialty and she does not do assessments for sensory disorders. We tried to call the academic center in our city (CHOP) and I was never able to reach anyone and no one ever called me back. We are not sure whether to get another assessment at another local clinic or move forward with trying this medication (Focasin). We are going to go forward with behavioral therapy because hopefully regardless of what she might have, it will be useful. Has anyone else had an experience like this for their child’s diagnosis? Any advice would be appreciated.

13 Replies

Well, if your daughter meets all the criteria for ADHD, she has ADHD. Sensory disorders often coexist with ADHD, so there might be more to sort out. Sometimes I think no one can give you an answer. Our son has speech issues that are really stubborn and no one involved in his care wants to tell us how that might be related to his ADHD. But the reason they go to the med recommendation quickly these days is that data shows the kids untreated by meds have worse outcomes scholastically, in the criminal justice system, and in accidental mortality rates. That’s based on two large meta-studies. So I guess it’s irresponsible not to pass that on to parents. It’s still your choice and there are reasons to make any choice, but don’t think they’re just trying to rush you into something dangerous. We did behavior therapy for two years then moved on to meds. Our pediatrician was cool with that—her take is that “pills don’t teach skills”, so now he does both.

If you’re interested in seeking an assessment for sensory issues, you would want to find an occupational therapist. I’m assuming the medication being prescribed is Focalin (there is no such thing as Focasin), which is a very commonly used stimulant medication for ADHD.

Thank you both for your responses! Yes, Focasin (my phone keeps autocorrecting!). We are starting behavioral therapy next week and we are going to try the meds this week while at home. I will look for an occupational therapist as well for an assessment. Someone also told me a pediatric neurologist may be able to do a full assessment for everything as well so I’m looking into this too.

Can people tell me their experience with Focasin xr and how long it lasts? The psychiatrist said 6 hours but from the prescribing information it looks like it is supposed to last 12 hours. Trying to figure out what time we should start the medication...thanks again all!

My son takes 5 mg xr and it lasts him about 6 hours. He gets a short acting at the end of the school day as well. Focalin has done wonders. Was on ritalin before with some bad side affects. But with this focalin he can focus at school, have less impulsive behaviors around his baby soter at home and still eats and sleeps great.

JChien profile image
JChien in reply to DrJason33

Different drugs work best for different kids. We had a terrible experience with Focalin, our ADD child actually kicked a hole in the wall while on it. I love the idea that you are trying behavioral therapy first. I am not sure if I was right to wait u til 8th grade to try meds, but I come from an asian family and I have had a hard time not believing that my daughter’s behavior was not just a maturity problem. She is now 14 and is doing well in school.

My son started Focalin XR right before his 6th birthday. It works well for him. The daily calls from school have now turned in to a couple per month. How long the medication lasts depends on how quickly your child metabolizes it. Monitor her and see what you observe. My son had a short acting dose added last week which he takes at noon. Things seem to be going well. He also takes Guanfacine which is a non-stimulant. We have also been to behavioral therapy, social skills, and occupational therapy. A lot of it will be geared toward you and how to deal with the ADHD. I still recommend people look into the Nurtured Heart Approach which helps parents with their “high energy” children. Good luck!!

I know it's hard to start medication- I second guessed myself a million times. But he's really been so much happier on it when it comes to school. If she's mis-diagnosed, the meds will not harm her, but just wont help with the symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to try it. We started on Methylphenidate last year and recently the generic of Focalin XR- i'ts been better than the Methylphenidate- his appetite has been way better.

Look into Neurofeedback therapy (non invasive) and get a brain nap done. Our kids statistically have high IQ’s - what they struggle with is how their brains are wired in terms of transmitting neurons and neuron receptors. Brain maps show you where there they struggle specifically and there are treatments you can do to help build focused and impulse control skills. We are not medicating due to the vast amount of side effects & the lack of long term research for how this affects children overall, towards adulthood, and retirement age.

My son is 6 and wears his emotions, hyper active, defiant and incredibly intelligent and charming - we have our hands full lol BUT he has an IEP, an aid for behavioral support and this year he gets 100 % on every test, and he is learning himself. He is starting to self regulate and I attribute this to no sugar in his diet, loads of physical activities, supplements for focus and brain support & concentrated play; reading book, legos, coloring etc. we also work a lot on talking about what he is feeling and we give him tools and options for managing anxiety, anger and stress (he takes a lot of deep breaths).

Every child psychologist thought he was “fine” and the others suggested focus groups for behavior support. My husband and I are just diving into his personality and the challenges with ADHD. We spend more time doing what he loves and building him up which is making for a happier more ‘understood’ child. There is also a lot of structure and clear expectations for behavior and we have had to become better at sticking to everything we put in place (that’s been the hardest part). I spend so much time being upset and destroying his confidence when I fought against who is was. I learned the hard way, but I am happy it only took two years for me to get it together and Be His Mom, enjoy him always and remember that he is MINE to raise into an extraordinary human.

Every family is different and our children with ADHD are all so unique. You will find what works best for you.

Best of luck to you♥️ Hang in there!

I understand exactly how you feel - I think many of us have the same experience at diagnosis. It seems fast, and mostly just presented with medication options. But the longer I’ve been dealing with my son’s ADHD & researching, the more I see that though it feels rushed to us, it really is a no brainer from a medical perspective. The treatments medical professionals are primarily experienced in is medication.

We later did a full 6 hour neuropsychological evaluation - with basically the same results (though very helpful for getting school accommodations.)

The great thing about stimulant medications is you can tell fairly quickly if they are going to work for your child. And if not, you can also stop right away without any problems. So, it might be easier to just consider this a trial to see if it truly helps your child.

I’m 18, starting college, and I was Diagnosed with ADD in fourth grade. My first med was Focalin and that did pretty well until I got into high school where I switched to Adderall. Within that time period my prescription kept increasing dosage since I kept building tolerances for it. When I started taking it the difference was like night and day. I was able to focus and stay on track. With my experience it worked great but do note that your daughter might be subject to dosage increases depending on how much she grows. From the sounds of it you are on the right path, wishing you and your daughter good luck with the lifelong adventure you have in front of you!

Thank you all for the amazing advice! The psychiatrist did say that we could do a trial for a few days and see how it goes. As far as supplements, we have been trying fish oil and very rarely melatonin to help her sleep and I’m not sure we’ve seen a significant improvement. We also cut a lot of the sugar out of her diet (Halloween was an exception!). I’m going to look into a neuropsychological evaluation but in the meantime start with the low dose of Focasin XR and see how it goes. I did read the two studies that supported the FDA approval and I’m feeling a bit better about giving it a try.

I love hearing about all the success stories so I cannot thank you all enough for the feedback and advice! THis is all new to us so we are treading water right now. Happy TG all!

This video was very helpful to me when my 6 year old son was first diagnosed earlier this year. We’ve also had the book Smart But Scattered by Peg Dawson recommended to us by three separate mental health professionals.


Thank you!

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