Monday, May 16, 2011

Living with ADD

This has been quite a journey to get to where we are today. We've had quite a stressful Spring.
Our main stress has come from the many ups and downs of Peep3's life over the last few months.

First off, let me say that I have just read my first book on Understanding ADHD. Why?...oh...Why have I waited so long? I guess I've been so focused on how Dyslexia has affected all three of my older Peeps, that ADD has been pushed aside. But no longer. It is great to read a book and have those "ahhaa" moments that you are not alone. That the battles we sometimes fight have to be reached in a different way because...guess what?...Kids with ADD are wired differently! Big news flash...I know.

Second, although the book I mentioned above tells us that society (doctors, teachers, etc.) have realized that the behaviors of said children are no longer blamed on bad parenting skills, I would have to disagree. Last month I sat in an IEP meeting and when discussing Peep3's lack of attention, both the remedial teacher and her main teacher sat back, arms crossed, and looked at me for a solution. They mentioned their concern about what is going on in our home to make this child so emotional. I uncrossed my arms, sitting forward with my arms on the table and stared back at them. I said that I'd like to know what WE are going to do about it and that I want to know what is going on at school all day that causes my child to have complete and total meltdowns when she comes home to me. Not to mention the tummy aches and not wanting to get out of bed  moments. (That happened for about 2 months) Then they wanted to know if she was still on her original medication. I told them yes and that we are not willing to put her on an additional medication for ADD. Which by the way is a blood pressure medication.

I will not go any further to discuss how our Spring has gone with this teacher. If you caught the post about Peep3's teacher intruding on our decisions to homeschool, before I deleted it, you know some of what we're going through. I know there has been some "she said. she said" going on between Peep3 and the teacher. So I'm calling a truce for now.

Third, the ADD child has quite a concoction of social issues. I believe that Peep3's issues have mainly come from her dyslexia. When a child has learning issues their peers  pick up on it. An easy target. When that child is taken out of the classroom for over 1/2 of her learning day for remedial classes and then is expected to reenter w/o disruption, this causes alot of stress and lowers self esteem. Kids feed off of this. So in her defense she does what she does best and that's being chatty and social or gets emotional, embarrassed and gets teary. Which is the last thing you want to have happen in a classroom. Then the sweet girl who gets picked on, now fights back and takes her frustrations (with words) out on younger children at school or in the neighborhood. She's done that so that she feels some control over her situation, which by the way, is not her nature. We've dealt with the loss of a best friend and then the making up of that best friend (which left both Moms in tears).Oh, the pettiness of 5th grade girls!!! But ADD plays into relationships in the form of impulsivity. She does pretty well but that doesn't help in these matters. Emotional tween+dyslexia+impulsiveness=Migraines for Parents!

So how does ADD affect our home? It does not help with sibling rivalry, at all. We've all had to work on our communication skills. Mainly how to communicate with the child with ADD. For me it's how to realize I need a break from the constant need/noise and to find a place for her to go (mainly upstairs), or a project for her to do so I can breathe and focus. I need to be better at realizing my needs before I escalate the situation. We all need to pick our battles. And there are some that I let slide and some I won't. There has to be an evaluation of each situation, mood, and need. While in a battle, now matter what happens between point A and point B, keep the focus on the original offense and stay firm. There are times that she would be grounded for a month just getting her to go up the stairs to her room for a timeout. I need to stay focused during that time and not escalate the problem. But that doesn't mean I tolerate disrespect. It's very hard when I have three little ones in the home and they are there to watch the outbursts. I try desperately to move the conversation upstairs so we can talk away from the chickies.

All of this put together with her learning needs and social needs has made us search for the right path for her for next year. God has led us to homeschool her, you can read about that here. And we have to have a successful learning environment for her that addresses her learning, social and emotional needs. We want a healthy, happy future for her. We found out that it looks like Peep3 will be able to get into the same program as her brother at their middle school. It has been a great program for Peep2. She will be able to get a block of Language Arts/World History and Math with the same remedial teachers. And that will all take place in the first three periods. If that is how the schedule comes out, we feel giving her this academic opportunity is what we should do. Then she will come home and  we will do Science and her electives together in the afternoon. We are very excited as we believe this will give her the best of both schools. God is good and my fleece is out that if this is what He wants for next year, that the school schedule and classes will still look like this come fall.

Enough about me. If you have an ADD/ADHD child, what is your biggest challenge? And how do you cope? I'd love to here from YOU!