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ADHD/ Behavior Issues

Maytimouse profile image


I’m new to this community and seeking help.

My son is 11 yrs old and has ADHD. He is struggling with behavior issues at school. He has tried Adderall 10mg and 20 mg and didn't do well with it. He is now on Metadate 10 mg and Ritalin 5 mg and I'm not sure if it's helping him. He is getting into problems at school. Academically there's no problem, it's just his aggression, throwing things at teacher and kids, yelling at the teachers/peers, hitting other kids when not being heard or ignored, etc.... What else can we do to help my son? Also looking for a child psychiatrist in San Francisco, Daly City, Burlingame, Millbrae,CA area. Some one who can help and meet with my son on a weekly basis, to help him cope with his emotions. He attends a private school and is now on a "Behavior Contract" at school. I don't want my child getting kicked out of school because the staff/administration don't know or don't want to deal with him. They are willing to work with us, but it's getting to the point where they are fed up and loosing hope. Any help/suggestions would help us. Thank you in advance. :O)

12 Replies

Welcome to the group! I am here to tell you with the right medication, some type of counseling and educational support her will do amazing! We and many other families is living proof that they can do amazing. Please try to he patient with finding the right medication, dose and timing, these are complicated little bodies that need this medication to thrive.

Most public schools write a "service plan" which is similar to an IEP (individual educational plan) but provides limited services. You would need to speak to the Special Education office of your local school dept.

Even with the service plan it will be really important that you find someone at the school that you guys can connect with and can assists your son in gaining confidence ( this is very important for kids with ADHD, especially to establish peer relationships)

Lastly can you find something he enjoys outside of school, if it's not sports, acting, photography or art.

We are here for you. Sending you big warm hugs!! We are always here to dry those tears, many of us have been there.

Take care and keep us updated on things.

This is very similar to my situation. I don't have much to suggest beyond what you are doing except to look into possible comorbids. When we looked at underlying anxiety and treated for that first, we did see some improvements.

Just try to celebrate the good days and push past the bad ones. Keep searching and trying. HUGS!


I read the other responses and I agree, my son is 13 and has the same thing going on at school. He takes anxiety/ depression meds to deal with his anger and also a mood stabilizer. As for the school my son was on a "behavior contract" also. The school did not offer him testing for an IEP because he is smart. I have since learned an IEP can help give resources for social/emotional issues. The school is required to provide him services he needs. And they are not quick to tell you that which is unfortunate. We ended up moving to a different school with more funding to give him what he needs... saying prayers for you, it's so hard as a parent and scary.. one day at a time.

I agree with everyone else your son should have an IEP or a 504 plan at school that protects him from being expelled when his behavioral referrals are due to his disability. A psychiatrist it's probably not going to be willing to meet with you more than once a month and even then for a 15 minute med check. What I would highly recommend is a therapist which is usually a master level counselor or PhD psychologist. I would specifically look for one that works with DBT therapy methods. That's helped us a lot. my son sounds just like your son and he is now at a special program in our district for children with emotional disabilities. We're still struggling to find a medication that works and we are on number 12 at this point. Some kids just don't respond to medication as well as others. I would also really really recommend looking into an educational advocate especially if you're getting resistance from the school. There are a lot of organizations that also take on cases for free.

I empathize with you. Our psychiatrist recommended broad spectrum micronutrients. There re two companies, Hardy Nutritionals and True Hope. I highly encourage you to look into them. They have helped tremendously with emotional regulation and aggression for our son and a number of other people. We use the Hardy DEN. Hardy does have a list of psychiatrists that are familiar with their use along with medications as sometimes prescribed medications need to be reduced or eliminated when the micronutrients are effective. Wishing you the best!!! BTW my son was moved to a different special school last year after his home school said they didn’t have services, for the last quarter he has been back in a general education class half a day while on the micronutrients. When they work, they work, and I encourage everyone to at least give them a shot!!!

Please give serious attention to treating the anxiety and depression as a starting point because how kids act out when they have these conditions look different than adults. This is what I’ve learned from a child psychologist and then the child psychiatrist my 8yr old now sees. My child had a lot of aggression (but turned inward, hating himself) and out of control behavior for a year and half before we figured this out. We had assumed ADHD since it runs in the family, and yes, now that he’s taken the anxiety meds for 3 months we’d say he does have some ADHD, but it’s the anxiety meds that have made a HUGE difference.

Regarding the question about seeing a mental health provider (counselor, etc) or a psychologist or psychiatrist, my son is seeing a child psychiatrist every 2 wks while we’re establishing his meds. This person is so good at what he does and how he’s able to connect with our son that it’s worth the $300/session for his therapy services too. We had used a counselor for 3 months (only $100/session) before finding the psychiatrist but it wasn’t a good match up. He wouldn’t open up to her much. It’s all about finding the right personality/style connection. It was wasting our time to go to the less expensive counselor (unfortunately) and causing frustration.

Another help: the sweet puppy we brought home last January as an emotional support pet is now calming down as she enters her adult dog years and is a daily source of comfort for our son. The dog is there when he wakes up, there after school and there when he goes to sleep. Its super soft hair (not fur) is so relaxing to stroke and she’s always ready to have fun and play too. Our son has always had some responsibilities for the dog’s care (not primary of course) which has been really great for his self esteem too. If this might work for your family, here’s my tips.

- choose the right breed and size for an emotional support dog (ours is a small-medium sized Australian Labradoodle, like a large lapdog), not a highly active one that needs to run a lot!

- plan for 2 months of intense puppy training until 4 months old, Lessening each month after and by 12mo old they’re much more calm and mellow.

Good luck to you!

Happle profile image
Happle in reply to bdhb96

I agree with investigating treatment for anxiety and depression, along with the adhd. It really helped us.

in reply to bdhb96

we are on the plan to get a dog for our kid. And, anxiety seems to be the driver that has tipped the apple cart over. He was always hyperactive, but this year something flipped and his anxiety started running the show. This has made his ADHD a lot more challenging I think. At the end of the day, the sleep, activity, structured day will both of those things behaviorally. Med approach is important to distinguish...

bdhb96 profile image
bdhb96 in reply to

For my 18 yr old with inattentive ADHD and generalized anxiety, the only things that made a big difference over the years is the anxiety meds, her IEPs at public schools with (most) teachers that supported her, and 4 yrs with her therapist weekly to help unpack yrs of anxiety and poor classroom performance despite her above average IQ and strong testing scores (but those were just short intense periods of time, not daily assignments.) I’m not convinced the ADHD meds did much of anything for her even though we really really wanted that to be the simple solution. It helps to remember that her executive functions are About three years younger than her age.

Some medications can cause aggression. When we tried Adderall for my son it made him so touchy that he would blow up at the tiniest things. He does better on the Metadate for his ADHD symptoms but unfortunately I think it might be giving him anxiety. Have you tried some supplements to help offset the behaviors? We have had to use L-Theanine at night to help our son settle down to sleep and can be used during the day for calming. It doesn't make you drowsy just calms you down.

Hello- I am so sorry your son is struggling. Just wanted to note that private schools do not provide IEPs. However, you can request an IEP evaluation through the public school (the one he would attend if he wasn't in private school). They will convene a meeting to review any evaluation results you have and the concerns about him and decide whether he is eligible for an IEP or 504 plan or whether he needs additional evaluation (which they will provide). A private school can benefit from the recommendations provided in an IEP or 504 plan and your son may still be eligible for services through the public school even though he is in private school.

Thank you all for your helpful advice. I am in the process of looking for a therapist that specializes in ADHD and may help him. He is also scared, for the past month+ he is scared to go into a room by himself. Now he is wanting to sleep with us at nights. I don’t know if this is a medication side effect? Our kaiser plan sucks. We have seen a psychiatrist twice and the appointments are one month apart for 15 mins and she doesn’t address any issues or tools to help my son. Ridiculous, another therapist has called me once and hasn’t even met with my son. They keep pushing for us to take Parent Classes.

Meanwhile my son is keeps getting in trouble at school. He has a 504 plan but the school isn’t really following it. Some teachers don’t allow fidget toys in their classrooms, others just want to deal with my son and report everything to administration. So should I go through the school district and file a complaint?

My son is a super picky eater and vitamins are really hard to administer him. I look for things that come in liquid form. We have two eng. bulldogs as pets. We thought it might help my son also give him some responsibility with picking up poop, help feeding them, walking and playing with them.... no luck, he does play with them for a little bit each day. I am not sure if we have found the correct medications/ dosage for my son that can help him as well. He needs someone to talk too and open up and teach him the tools he needs to calm down when he is feeling overwhelmed and before he snaps. Last Friday he got in trouble again.... he was asking another boy in his class for help and the boy kept ignoring him so my son smacked the boys back of the head. I know that was wrong, but even the teacher wasn’t there to assist, teacher was helping another boy.

Again many thanks for all the love and support everyone has shown me.

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