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Mother of a Child with ADHD/Learning Disabilities

Echrista profile image
6 Replies

Hello to all here. My 8 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD/anxiety as well as dyslexia and severe dysgraphia. Working on advocating for him to get academic support in school. Wonderful boy at home; becomes easily enraged and engages in rituals at home that make any transition a nightmare (e.g. rolling clothes up into a ball on bunk bed; having to get dressed in exactly the right order...or else).

He goes to play therapy 2x a week and we are not medicating yet. My questions are:

1. What would you tell me about meds. because I am deeply concerned about giving any to him. He is sorely behind grade level but you could argue that is more his learning disabilities and not the ADHD or a potent combination of both.

2. Does 2x a week of play therapy sound like a lot? The stress of commuting twice a week is starting to wear on me on top of home/work/school life. How often do you take your child to therapy?

THANKS

6 Replies
BigMama06 profile image
BigMama06

Hi Echrista. Your son is so lucky to have you for a mom. All of us understand and applaud you for reaching out for help so quickly. The description of your son reminds me of one of my daughters. She was diagnosed at age 8 also with ADHD and dyslexia. She had fallen significantly behind in school. We chose to medicate her for a couple of reasons. First was that we had already seen the results of her schooling without meds and it wasn’t great. Second, I knew we could try it and make it as Long term or as brief as we wanted - The meds we were considering are out of your system within 24 hours. Medication is a personal decision and I respect that. For my daughter, turned out that the combination of ADHD and dyslexia significantly impaired her ability to learn to read. When we put her on meds, she made six months of progress in her reading fluency in just six weeks. Apparently her ADHD was so bad that she could barely get through decoding a word before losing her attention. In general, I think meds had a significant positive impact on my daughters learning. She’s now in eighth grade and doing very well.

As for your second question, I hear you on the commute. I’ve taken my kids for all kinds of therapies: speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy. I think it depends on what your son is working on and how severe the situation is. Sometimes once a week isn’t enough therapy to make progress on a goal. I would encourage you to trust your gut on this. You know your son better than anyone else.

Hang in there! You were obviously already a great parent and you are surrounded by a group of parents who have shared and similar experiences.

Echrista profile image
Echrista in reply to BigMama06

Thank you so very much for your kind words and quick outreach BigMama06! So much to take in. So many decisions to make. Thank you thank you!

compasnet profile image
compasnet in reply to Echrista

It definitely sounds like he's entitled to a full scale IEP with measurable goals, direct service from teachers, etc. etc. etc. ...not just accommodation s which is all he'll receive with the 59 4 plan. Don't settle for the 504 plan.

Mumrm profile image
Mumrm

I second the trial of meds ( sometimes you have to try a few to see what works), to assist in concentration. I wish we'd started earlier, but my son balked after side effects a couple of years ago and we have only now (2021) convinced him to try again at 13.We also had a previously undiagnosed vision problem. The pediatrician testing was so cursory we didn't pick up on it until maybe 11. Glasses have made a great improvement, when he wears them! Now at 13 he admits he does need them and so is wearing them more often than not.

Good Luck.

Aloysia profile image
Aloysia

My daughter also has ADHD, anxiety, dyslexia, and dysgraphia. When we finally started medication (4th grade), she said that she was able to get through the whole day at school without getting super distracted. Also, she said that she was less angry - which was interesting and unexpected (but appreciated). I would also highly recommend Occupational therapy for dysgraphia. If your child qualifies for an IEP, then insist that the school provide the Occupational therapy. If your child only qualifies for a 504 plan (like mine), then you'll have to pay for it out of pocket, but it is so worth it. Pick your battles - focus on the top 3 problems until they improve, then focus on the next 3 problems, repeat. I don't actually know what play therapy is, so I can't advise you there. Age 8 is also old enough to be involved in choosing the top 3 problems - pick a time when he is normally calm and ask for his opinion. You may have to play 20 questions to get him to participate at first. But keep at it, this is something he needs to participate in for the rest of his life, so start now with small steps. I wish you the best!!

BVBV profile image
BVBV

My 9 year old son has dysgraphia but didn’t qualify for help through his IEP and we’ve been struggling at home. He does the “handwriting without tears” books which I do think help somewhat. He also tried OT previously but with no improvement. Unfortunately, the side effects from stimulant medications were too great so he had to stop after 2 years. His grades were the same on or off meds. I would look in to ADHD Dude on YouTube for solid, practical, and HELPFUL advice. He also points out that therapy (esp talk therapy) for ADHD children generally doesn’t work, they need to build their executive functioning skills and that’s most often done through action. He’s helped us in many areas, such as social skills, etc.

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