ADHD Too Slow/Too Fast


#1

We have a son who is having some trouble in school. He is in the first grade at a Catholic school. In the first two semesters he had some trouble with acedemics. My wife has been working with him in the evening to keep him caught up and he has actually made some real improvement even though he is still behind others. He is still having issues with behavior/attention however. He finds it difficult to sit still and concentrate and it it causing his teacher some frustration.

We have decided that we want to handle this privately rather than working thru our Catholic school partnering with the local public school.

I think that we can error in two ways on our approach. We can either move to quickly or move too slowly. I see our culture moving too quickly towards a physiological cause (ADHD) and therefore treatment that usually means finding the right drug. I feel pretty uneasy about this especially knowing how young he is. He may just grow out of it. On the other hand I do not want to my dislike of a better-living-thru-chemistry culture to blind me or cause me to move to slowly towards a proper diagnosis and treatment to a real problem.

My wife and I are in agreement on taking the approach of moving slowly but moving forward.

We have asked the teacher to give us a score on how well he is paying attention on a daily basis. For two months she has done this. We have gotten a much better communication with Jake and have passed along a number of tactics that he has used successfully. This is not a quick thing and his teacher has started to use the score to write notes about everything that irritates her without much consistency. We are jumping from one thing to the next and loosing our effectiveness. We are stopping this because Jacob is becoming quite discouraged.

This is a very polarizing issue and I can only find info from skeptics or advocates. There is a real boy here and I do not want to play either game. The skeptics are largely abstract and give no tangible alternatives for correcting the behavior. The advocates seem to give concrete advise but it is in the form of “dealing with your ADHD child” and they are closed to alternatives.

I am looking for ideas and for people to ask for help. I want to find someone (family psychologist maybe?) who shares our faith and also looks at the ADHD issue from a sililiar perspective.

Any ideas on where to look?


#2

I’m dealing with this with two of my kids: in K and 2nd grade. I too don’t want to label them off the bat, and I tend to think that we are too quick to jump to medication. However, I also don’t want them to fall behind and have a miserable school experience just because I have a philosophical issue with medication.

My kids attend the parish school, and we have been working with the public school system to offer them services. My son (K) has had a speech delay and sensory issues since he was a toddler so he’s already been receiving speech and OT services. They are currently evaluating my daughter (2) for sensory issues, and they are telling me both appear ADHD.

I had a meeting with the OT, K teacher and School Psycologist about a month ago in which they laid out their case for medication. However, everyone was great, and I didn’t feel pressured. I told them that I wanted to do some more research and have done a lot of reading since that time. There is a lot of information out there on alternative treatments. I found the Everything ADD/ADHD book to be an easy read with a lot of suggestions. I know other people have linked food allergies with ADHD and recommend the book Is This Your Child?

For us, I am going to start everyone on Omega-3 supplements, and I have an appointment for DS to start neurofeedback. Depending on how that goes, I may try it with DD as well.

I hope some of this is helpful. Best wishes to you and your family!


#3

**I’ll come at this from a different angle as I was diagnosed with ADD at the age of 7 (before it was the popular thing to be diagnosed with!) . I had been having issues with paying attention, school work, etc…

I was on Ritalin for a couple of years after first being diagnosed then being a typical kid decided I didn’t want to take it because it made me feel “different”.

I didn’t start taking anything again till after I got academically dismissed from college because i had such a hard time focusing. So in 1999 I started taking a different drug, which immediately i could tell the difference. I went from a C and D grades to A and B grades. I could actually focus on what i was doing and organize myself to get things done

My personal opinion about medications for younger children is that parents have to realize that its not a fix all. You definitely should be teaching your child to learn focus techniques but the medicine (at least for me) helped me learn them quicker.

If your child doesn’t have ADD then the medicines won’t help and thats the problem that i see today with so many doctors rushing to prescribe these drugs.

From someone who has ADD the focusing is the hardest part to overcome…Imagine trying to watch 5,000 TV’s at once, thats what it feels like…**


#4

As the above poster said first check food issues. Hidden, dramatic food issues can be the culprit. For instance my body reacts to high fructos corn syrup. I know the consequences and occasinally I’ll, have soda or another processed food but i keep it minimized. I buy organic fruit snacks, not for the organic, but simply beucase I love gummie bears but can’t eat high fructos.

Also bleached white flour can be bad. I have no reaction to this, but my cousin had a severe reaction mentally…but it took them until he 14 to discover that he reacted to it, while another cousin who would get minor hives stopped eating bleached flour at three. (they are not in any way allergic to gluten, it was the bleached flour that their bodies couldn’t handle)

Some types of dairy can bug kids. Like a kid can be fine with milk and cheese but not yougurt…or yougart and cheese but not milk.

Second, test for sensitory disorders and processing disorders. I have auditory processing disorder. I hear sound perfectly but “Take the cup, rinse it, put it in the dishwasher” to be as a kid once truly sounded like “Take the cup and rince the dishwasher” I struggle with similar sounding words. I called both my grandparents “Granda” until I was seven or eight “boards” lived in trees and ate seeds and worms. I pronounce words oddly…I know the"th" sound but I have to be mindful not to say “froat”.

Classes suck for me. I hear EVERYTHING. If someone drops a pencil, if someone shuffels…if a bird is singing outside. My brain can’t filter it out and focus.

I mostly appear ADD/ADHD becuase of this, but most of it is auditory processing.

I also have reading problems, and it shows in my writing. I’ve practiced writing for YEARS and years to be able to get to the point I am at now.

The last note- would I take meds…if it wasn’t food related or sensitory (which can’t be medicated) than without a doubt yes. School is about playing the game to sit and learn. If I was young I’d probably go off the meds during summer or find other coping techniquies as I grew older so I wouldn’t have to med forever.

If you med think about severe ADHD like astsma. Astsma is really a misfiring of the brain and allergic signals, a reacting to mere dust when it dosn’t need to. No one would say, don’t worry your kid can cough and be done, as astsma is a painful chronic deases with many triggers.
In the same way ADHD is painful and isolating mentally. Its hard to be normal when you want to jump around, its hard to keep a job when you can’t understand more than three commands at a time.


#5

Our 11 year old niece lives with us and she has a central auditory processing disorder and possible ADHD. The two are very difficult to tell apart.

She takes stimulant medication and says it helps her to focus better. As other posters said, medication alone will not fix everything.

We have worked with our niece to help her learn other coping mechanisms. She gets overwhelmed with all of the activity in class and misplaces or forgets homework assignments and has difficulty completing in-class assignments. She currently has a “study buddy” who is a girl in her class who is very organized. She is helping our niece to learn and practice better organizational skills.


#6

I forgot to mention too see if it helps your son to have music or something playing in the background while he works…I have the hardest time working in a silent room simply because i hear every noise (clock ticking, etc) so the music helps quite a bit…


#7

Well, I was put on Ritalin in Kindergarten and later in middle school on Concerta to control my ADHD. The medications worked well, but I did have side effects with the Concerta so I stopped taking in the 12th grade. Now, I’m in college and off medication, it gets very hard to deal with when I get stressed (which in college is all the time) but for the most part I can manage because I know how to cope.
However, your child is in 1st grade, they don’t have the ability to learn to cope with their problems. At least in the begining. One option to think about is having him tested for ADHD and starting medication and counceling to help control the behaviors. I say to use both because learning to control these problems is a very long and hard process and you don’t want your son get behind in school.
If he is put on medications be sure to assure him that he is not weird for needing the medication. I was never told that and I resented the medication untill i was old enough to fully understand the condition.

I wish you the best of luck.


#8

Does anyone know how to find a Catholic family psychologist. Where do I start looking?

I have personal experience with some pretty bad people in that profession and we are a little lost as to where to begin.


#9

catholictherapists.com/


#10

Thanks for the link Steve. I had looked for a Catholic therapist and didn’t have much luck. I’ll save the link for future reference. :slight_smile:


#11

Have you thought of the idea of homeschooling?
There may be less distractions to interfere with learning.
Also your relationship with him may improve because instead
of sending him away to a place that makes him feel frustrated
and discouraged every day, you will be giving him valuable knowledge and increasing his confidence.

I heard some parents say coffee helps their ADD child and
that made me wonder how many adult coffee drinkers
actually have ADD?


#12

There are many adults who self- medicate with coffee - count me in that ADHD self-medicating crowd.

Though the OP needs to keep an eye out for depression in his child. It’s a tight rope for children with ADHD to battle depression because they do often feel frustrated by teachers and classmates when performance slips or behavior issues flare.

Classmates correlate bad grades with lack of intelligence. That is a frustration for a child with ADHD - to risk being labeled the class dummy? Horrible and so sad - yet a real problem for those who have ADHD.

Just be careful, OP, and watch for depression as your child grows. It is very difficult to convince a child of his self worth and re-establish self esteem once it has been eroded early in life.

My child is a teen now with severe ADHD. I started off in Catholic schools and have been in your shoes. It’s a long adventure ahead of you but always, ALWAYS remember that YOU are your child’s best advocate. God Bless.


#13

I was found to have ADD as when I was 5. Back then they didn’t know anything and basically put you in a special education class and put you on Riddulin. It’s was just called Hyperactivity then. Well neither worked and it wasn’t till I was 28 that I figured out how to handle it completely. I jumped jobs and barely made it through Business School all through my 20s. Here’s my advice. Don’t rely on the professionals, drugs or theropies. The two things that work best for me are diet and exercise. Avoid high sugar foods, anything with caffine and eat healthy. Exercise works wonders for the excess energy and puts it to good use. As far as focus and learning. Take notes, study in short spurts (I can only do 30 minutes at a time then my mind starts to wonder), try to make things interesting us color coding. Hope that helps :thumbsup: :cool:


#14

One of my daughters has “ADD”. She is not hyperactive, she has a difficult time staying focused on a task. We took her out of our parish school and moved her to the public school where they had a special class for children with similar problems. It was the best thing we did for her. Her teachers were excellent. She learned to read using the “Orton Gillingham” system and has a very strong foundation in math. She was in a class with 4 teachers and 10 children so she received a lot of one on one instruction.

When she began 2nd grade we “mainstreamed” her to the regular classroom and she goes to the resource room for reading and language arts. She shares an aide with another student during her regular classroom. She is in 4th grade now and reading a grade level above her peers.

We have been very pleased with her education. What helped her tremendously was the 1) smaller classroom and 2) teachers that were specialized in learning disabilities.

I’ve stopped worrying about her “self esteem” by being stigmatized by her classmates. So many children are in and out of the classroom for various reasons that it really is a non-issue these days. I’m grateful that there are people who can help her, and as much as I wish she could have a Catholic education, our parish school did not have the resources to help her.

Good luck to you -


#15

When you are getting distracted by the sound of the air conditioning homeschooling will not make a difference. At home homework was impossible they only way I can study is to go to an empty table in the back of the library, study rooms don’t work either because I feel confined. And coffee does not work it makes you relaxed, sleepy, and jittery, not focused and its because the brain is wired differently. From a personal stand point I was not diagnosed as a child, at times I wish I was, I could have been an A/B student vs a C student. On the other hand I know my limitations better now and part of me doing better is just understanding how my brain works differently. Medication is helpful (when you find the right one, don’t give up if the first or second or even third one doesn’t work diffferent meds work for different people) but only when it is in conjunction with finding the study techniques that work best for the individual. With someone who has ADHD you may find that what is a bad study technique for the average person may work best for you. Also be honest with your child don’t ask them if they have ADHD ask them what would help them to do better in school. Ask them what type of homework is easiest for them, is it when it is one big project or several broken up assignments. I found the SAT was easier to take than the ACT because the SAT was in shorter chucks and I could focus for 10 minutes at a time but not for 30-45 minutes at at time. It is important that your child knows their limitations because they want to do better (which we do ADHD often makes us feel lieke we don’t fit in and we can’t do other things that everyone else can do like study) not because you think they are not good enough and you think they need extra help, that will only give them a desire to rebel.


#16

The child is not oblivious to the problem, either. When nothing is done, the child suffers from thinking that their problem, which they feel first-hand, is their fault. They also fall behind at a time when they need to be building their academic foundation, not falling behind. I wouldn't present this to the child as a disease or disability that needs a cure but with more of a coaching attitude--you have to try hard to get good results at school, but we want you in the position of getting the most from your efforts. You're trying hard, but not getting the results that we all think you might be able to get, so we're going to look at that. This isn't about making you into a different kid, but rather about helping bring out all the school ability that you have inside you. I'd get on the stick about exploring his options, though. There are so many things to try, these brain patterns show so much variation, you won't find the answer in a day. Whatever the answer is, it will NOT be only remembering to take a pill, any more than depression is treated by just giving the patient a pill and sending them off to be happy. Your child will know right away, though, that you're on his side to find a way to succeed. When you and he find a way to school success, whether or not that involved medication, he's going to be a happier kid. Success feels good; anything less is hard.

This takes a combination of work, trying different things, and being faithful about doing what makes things go the most smoothly. That process is something that is an on-going effort. There is no once-and-done answer. Luckily, your child lives at a time when people don't expect every kid to learn the same way and when doctors understand more and more how your learning results depend on how your brain is running. Perhaps unluckily, he doesn't live in a time where a man can struggle through a few years of school and then escape to make a good living that doesn't require him to have learned much from books. Not trying to get the most out of school that his aptitude allows is not a good option. He has no academic time to waste.


#17

I would put my child in a public school for a time. They are much better equipped to handle this. Your child will also not feel singled out. 3 of my kids went to catholis school and are now in catholic HS. Our youngest is in public school and will remain until middle school .we chose this route after seeing that Catholic schools although very good, have a hard tiime relating to issues such as you describe.


#18

My suggestion is based on the books by Raymond and Dorothy Moore about home-schooling. Google them--it's hard to find their books anymore. I hope the OP will check out these books, because I sense that the OP and their child are exhausted and discouraged, and searching for a sane, natural course of action.

The Moores are reading specialists who have followed thousands of children over many years. They back up their theories with a LOT of research. It's almost tiring to read all their studies.

In brief, the Moores propose that many children, especially boys, simply aren't ready for school, often until they are ten years old.

Yes, this type of theory is shocking in 2012, in this era of "hurried children," when all of us want our children to be doing calculus and reading Goethe (auf Deutsch!) and writing Latin essays by the time they are freshmen in high school!

Many parents simply don't want to hear that their child isn't ready for school. They don't want to hear that their child is "immature." It seems to reflect badly on their early childhood rearing practices.

But the Moores present a lot of compelling evidence in their books that if parents would simply pull the child out of school, ALL school, including homeschool, and allow the child to just stay home with a parent (usually Mom) and spend their day close to mother and father (and grandparents) helping with the work of maintaining the home (cooking, gardening, cleaning, taking care of other children, taking care of pets, etc.), and of course, playing a lot, especially outdoors, that the child will naturally mature and eventually be more-than-ready for formal school, either homeschooling or traditional classroom school.

The Moores describe many cases where boys who had never had any formal schooling or instruction (home or traditional) spontaneously started to read AT GRADE LEVEL by the age of ten. It's really amazing and fascinating.

The Moores talk a lot about vision, and describe how many children need to develop their far-away vision through much outdoor play. (I don't think I'm using the correct scientific word for far-away vision--sorry! My daughters have been grown up for a decade now and I don't remember all the details of the Moores' excellent books).

Some Catholics will be surprised to learn that the Moores were first introduced by Dr. James Dobson! Yes, the old "spanker" himself! Surprise!--Dr. Dobson was and still is an enthusiastic advocate of the "readiness for school" theories, and teaches that many children would be better off if the parents would delay the start of formal school until the child is older and more mature.

Again, this is NOT something that many parents are willing to do. Most parents search and search for an "answer," and try many strategies to get a child up to grade level. In some cases, parents are hesitant to pull a child out of school because both Mom and Dad work or are incredibly busy with volunteer activities, and would prefer to have the child in school instead of with them.

I fully realize that if a child truly has a learning disability, or ADHD, or ADD, or sensory perception disorder, eventually the child will need testing and a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional, and probably require medication and perhaps cognitive therapy as well. I think the OP needs to keep this in mind and not deny a child the medical help that they need, IF they truly need it.

But even if the child does have a medical condition/learning disability, the child will not suffer by waiting a few years for the start of school, especially if those school-less years are spent in the peaceful company of their parents and grandparents doing the simple and homely work and play of everyday home life.

In my family, my nephews are struggling mightily with school (they're in 2nd and 4th grades), and it is my opinion that they would all benefit by leaving school for a few years and staying home with mother. However, mother works, and is not willing to implement this strategy. I feel for the little boys, and fear that eventually, their lack-of-readiness for learning will catch up and a major crisis will ensue. Sigh. If they were my boys, they would be home with me, doing a lot of outdoor play (and probably figure skating!), and yes, I would quit my job to stay home with them for a few years until they were actually READY for school.

I hope that the OP will ponder my suggestions, investigate the Moores' books and websites, and that they will make the best decision for their child and family.


#19

The Moores are definitely right about eyesight and outdoor play. A big news story in the last couple of months ( google "Massive rise in Asian eye damage") is the huge amount of children - up to 90% - in Asian nations: Singapore, China etc. who have developed short-sighted ness because they spend so much time studying indoors from a young age.


#20

[quote="abrookemaria, post:15, topic:66174"]
When you are getting distracted by the sound of the air conditioning homeschooling will not make a difference. At home homework was impossible they only way I can study is to go to an empty table in the back of the library, study rooms don't work either because I feel confined. And coffee does not work it makes you relaxed, sleepy, and jittery, not focused and its because the brain is wired differently. From a personal stand point I was not diagnosed as a child, at times I wish I was, I could have been an A/B student vs a C student. On the other hand I know my limitations better now and part of me doing better is just understanding how my brain works differently. Medication is helpful (when you find the right one, don't give up if the first or second or even third one doesn't work diffferent meds work for different people) but only when it is in conjunction with finding the study techniques that work best for the individual. With someone who has ADHD you may find that what is a bad study technique for the average person may work best for you. Also be honest with your child don't ask them if they have ADHD ask them what would help them to do better in school. Ask them what type of homework is easiest for them, is it when it is one big project or several broken up assignments. I found the SAT was easier to take than the ACT because the SAT was in shorter chucks and I could focus for 10 minutes at a time but not for 30-45 minutes at at time. It is important that your child knows their limitations because they want to do better (which we do ADHD often makes us feel lieke we don't fit in and we can't do other things that everyone else can do like study) not because you think they are not good enough and you think they need extra help, that will only give them a desire to rebel.

[/quote]

Why did you resurrect this VERY OLD thread?

The OP is from 2007.

:eek::shrug:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.