Any advice: My son has been on concerta... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Any advice


My son has been on concerta since before the winter break. I don’t really see any improvement or difference other then he cries too much. His teacher says that he is doing fine in his math and science class. It’s only when he goes to reading and writing that his eip teacher says that he is not complying and isn’t doing any better. He always refuses to do work or doesn’t put all his effort she says. He really doesn’t like his reading teacher and he says she screams too much. He has really changed and doesn’t ever want to do any homework or read. Anything I ask him to do he argues and cries. It’s always a battle. He is always asking me to take him out of that readinging and writing class and he wants to be with his regular teacher. I thought with the medication he would be improving, but it doesn’t seem any better. He has an IEP, but I really don’t want him in special ed anymore. Ever since he has moved to those classes his behavior has changed for the worse. Should I go to his pediatrician? Is the meds probably not the right one? He always looks sick with dark circle around his eyes. He has no interest in anything anymore. He use to watch soccer and ask lots of curious questions. Now nothing. Any help would be great. Thank you all

16 Replies

Sweetkid- thanks for posting to the group. Many of us have been where you are on the medication journey. When we are trying to find what works best we tried a number of different medications. It sounds like your GP or pediatrician is helping you?

My first advice ( this really is a long term adventure becuase you will need to make adjustments in the future) is that you start to work with a pediatric psychiatrist. I know... you are saying not one more thing to do, but this is worth it. They Specialize in knowing what types of medication works best both dose and type.

Our son started out with his pediatrician and we didn't get anywhere with a single dose medication. Each medication plays a different role in his life. The stimulant helps to decrease his impulsivity. Then his second medication helps with focus. The two together make him "almost" normal and decrease many of the symptoms you talk about.

We also see a counselor to discuss all of the issues that come up.

We have had to increase his medication dose since we started and his has helped a lot.

I know this seems like a lot, but it really is amazing seeing the difference in him.

I would say if you don't see a big difference it's not the correct dose.

Best of luck with this journey, big hugs!

I send good thoughts for his well being to improve! My 7 year old has been on concerts for a year and a half. The 1st dosage prescribed was too low and it caused her experience to worsen. It was like a dosage that is too low irritated her and made her experience worse. I encourage you consider going back to the doctor immediately to consider a dosage change. You can also ask about a genetic test where through taking a blood sample, they can determine the kinds of medications that are most effective for him. They send the test off and the results are received in a couple of weeks. My daughter had one done and it helped tremendously for us to know which meds would work best with her body chemistry. Even then though, the dosage must be correct for it to offer support. I wish you the best!!!

Thank you so much for your response. We have done the genetic testing and it revealed that all the adhd meds are in the red zone. Which means reduced therapeutic response. So it didn’t single out any. This didn’t seem to phase my pediatrician. She said we will just have to try different meds. But when I called to get more detail, the genetic testing lady told me basically all these meds may have little effect on him. He may just see the side effects without the benefits. We have tried adderall and now concerta. He has become so defiant and argues over everything. I don’t know if this is from the meds or him. But my household is a lot worse since meds. I am going back to the doctor and I am going to see what she suggest. I am just hoping for the best. Maybe it is the dosage. I don’t know. I have 2 other children and it is hard to put all my energy into one child. Thanks

Wow, it sounds like you are doing an awesome job! Did the report address non-stimulant meds too? I trust all is well and you are doing and being all that is needed at this time. I send good thoughts for clarity and prosperity!

My daughter was agitated and argumentative on Concerta and Focalin. It could be the medication rather than the dosage. I would definitely report this to the pediatrician. I had not realized that this could be a side effect, until my daughters resource teacher suggested it and sure enough after I reported the agitation, our pediatrician changed medication. After a year of trial and error, and waiting 6 mos. to get an appointment, we've finally started seeing a pediatric psychologist. She suggested a different medication which we've seen improvement from - vyvanse. My daughter also showed reduced responsiveness from stimulants on the genetic test. However, we had already started vyvanse (a stimulant) before the genetic test results came back. We've seen a significant change in our daughter's focus and behavior so we've stayed on the medication. Crossing my fingers that it continues to be effective with limited side effects. Lastly, i would consider taking your son out of the special ed. reading and writing. My daughter is very sensitive to teachers with limited patience and she does really well with kind, caring and patient teachers. This just might not be the right teacher for him. My daughter really dislikes her gen ed teacher and I've been considering moving her. It's been better since starting Vyvanse but I am looking around for other options because I just don't think her gen ed teacher is a very good teacher. Wishing you all the best.

in reply to denak2

Thank you so much for your response. It sounds like we might be experiencing what you did. How do I go about getting him out of that class. Because I had a meeting before the break discussing that he is not doing good in her class. Because of the personality clashes. She said that she would make effort and change her ways with him. She let me know the 2nd day from break that he was not having a good day. I said I wanted him out of that class and they let me know that he won’t have an aid on the general classroom and that he isn’t going to do well in there. As if he is doing any better in there.

I would suggest a meeting with the teacher first before making the change. Sometimes teachers need to better understand the child from te he parent then they change their tune. We are also always advocating for other children with ADHD. I strongly feel most Gen. Ed teachers have no idea how to work with children with ADHD..

in reply to Sweetkid

I would talk to his regular teacher about the issues in special ed. Since she is not having any issues with him, she might agree to working w him in class. Is he behind in reading and writing? We have the opposite problem. My daughter prefers the special ed teacher over her gen. Ed teacher. But I have met other special ed teacher that I dont think my daughter would do well with. Is there a different special ed teacher they could try having him go to one on one with for reading and writing?

in reply to denak2

I think his reading level is where it needs to be. He was having trouble with the comprehension when he wasn’t on meds yet. I don’t see how he is going to improve if he doesn’t want to do any work with her. We have met with her several times and let her know that screaming or belittling, or demanding isn’t going to help. It makes him more resistant and embarrassed, so he would rather be in trouble then do his work. His behavior really changed this year. He doesn’t want to do anything or make much effort. He use to do his homework before we started meds, now it’s a battle. Studying is harder and just picking up a book and reading it.

in reply to Sweetkid

I do not think screaming at, belittling or shaming a child is ever appropriate and it is no effective. It seems to me there needs to be a meeting with the teacher and a guidance counselor or other expert, to design a different approach for this teacher to use.

We've started seeing a pediatric psychiatrist not psychologist -

My daughter has been on Concerta for about two months now and it IS better. She also takes Ability for bi-polar. We have experience an increase in mania and some sleep disturbances so we will be increasing the abilify this week. She has an IEP and thank God she loves her special ed teacher. it is really such a hard thing to go through the med changes and try to figure out which is which. Is it the meds? Is it the changes at school? Is it hormones? I say this ALL the time here so forgive me but therapy, therapy, therapy. Therapy is where I started to be able to tell whether she was manipulating or not. Therapy is where I started to learn who she was as a person and where the pain was coming from and how I AFFECTED her and what I needed to do to change. In therapy we cry together and figure out how we can figure out how to do her life together.

I just can't say it enough. YES, it SUCKS. Noone wants to get uncomfortable and change and change throughout the hormones and the depression and the ADHD, but I honestly believe that with the medications it is the single most important thing that we have done.

HUGS, you are in the right place. We all understand and are here for you!

Neither of my grand kids could take concerta or any stimulant ADHD medication. It made them so angry. One is on Intuniv In the other one takes Straterra. They are both also on mood stabilizers and one is an anti-depressant.

I have run into many teachers who don't understand ADHD and are not the right fit. One thing I have tried to do is listen to them, say tell me what it is that you're having trouble with, without reacting in anger. If they feel they are being heard they will work with you better. A good behavioral specialist you can both vent to helps also.

Re: medication, every brain, every kid is different. Having said that, I have 2 13-year olds w/ADHD. We are in the process of trying to figure out a med for my daughter (combined type) and have a psychiatrist appt. this afternoon. Aug 31, we put her on Concerta. Teachers said they saw a difference in her focus (less drumming/tapping). She said it helped a little. Major depression set in. Withdrawal and suicidal ideation. Took her off. Did the genetic test. A month later we tried Vyvanse. Major irritability. Took her off. (The test is may or may not help. It was helpful w/my son). She's been med-free for about 2.5 mos. She is very anti-med (VERY stubborn person) but says she's willing to try again - shows her desire to be able to focus. Re: your son, sounds a bit like my son. He is on Straterra and doing better (not terrific - still forgets things but focus is a little better) and Cymbalta for anxiety. It sounds like your son has anxiety as well. For some reason, Literacy - reading and writing - really stresses my son out as well. Although he is getting through it and usually my husband or I have to sit with him - not for content (he gets very upset if we make suggestions or try to edit), but just to remind him when he is off task (afterall, why not, the internet is a very interesting place - better than schoolwork - don't get me started!!) My son (who has an IEP) is also in an additional school program call Effective School Solutions. It is an intense school counseling program. He started it late last spring and it has helped very much. The counselor is terrific and really understands these kids and very well balances requiring accountability and responsibility with providing coping skills and discussion of behavior. Also, praise and positive reinforcement when you can is so important to self-esteem to a kid who is already feeling very down about himself! Antoher piece of the puzzle is maturity. It is a very slow process and I find with my twins, they are behind their peers, which often happens with kids with ADHD (it adds insult to injurry). It is not easy by any means!! I so feel your frustration and desire to help your kid. Keep trying....thoughts and prayers are with you!

PS. My son also had an issue with his aid. We (mom& dad, aid and ESS counselor and my son) had a sit down. In there, he was given he opportunity to tell the aid what was bothering him (he practice beforehand so he would be ready). I was so very proud of him. He did it very-adult like and I think she really understood why he reacted (meltdowns, etc.) the way he did. He told her he feels overwhelmed by her hurried instructions. He needs things broken down into to smaller pieces of information and needs her to slow down when speaking - he couldn't process her instructions very quickly. His teacher (gen ed) also has been really good in caring about him and his differences, getting to know him, and understand he is a really smart kid that needs some special "handling." Less work, extended deadlines, etc. My son also has the benefit of a study skills class (part of the ESS package and he lost social studies, and his language to get this plan) and the teacher has really been tremendous - she's really the "glue" and the 50,000 ft viewpoint of his needs. It's important let the spec ed teacher know (in a nice way) that his (emotional) needs aren't being met and therefore he has a hard time functioning to where she wants him to be. Also, the medication part is a PROCESS and it takes time to get it right. As hard and demanding as it is, she needs to be more understanding and patient and work with him! It is her job!

Hi, the medication your son is on is probably affecting his mood. You can let the pediatrician now about his low moods and ask to try a different medication.

I would also schedule a meeting with the special education teacher and advise the teacher of the comments your son makes - not interested in special ed classes, struggles with reading and writing and the yelling that goes on in the special ed room. It's no wonder he doesn't want to be there. Bring this to the principals attention. The kids need to be supported in the special ed room, not brought down by a teacher.

Lastly I would advise against canceling your son's IEP. This would be a HUGE mistake on your part. You want to make sure that all his educational needs are being met and they need to be held to what is outlined in the plan.

Good luck. Everything will iron itself out but it will take some time.

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