My oldest had therapy today, and I thought, “Why not share our story?”. Now is as good a time as any, and I always get questions about it when I write on the topic. So, if you have a bit of time, here we go…
Boogie was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of four. I had that gut feeling that she’d be diagnosed at an early age due to her biological father having it and seeing red flags. My teaching background helped with that. I tried supplements, diet change, oils, you name it. Nothing natural worked. Some did dull the effects of her behaviors, but not to the point where she could function like she needed to. And her behaviors were becoming a distraction to her classmates and teachers. This was when I decided to talk to her pediatrician.
We went for the typical screening and filled out all of the forms. The doctor looked at me and said, “Yep, classic case. She hits all of the key markers, even at this age”. This led us to a documented diagnosis and our journey with meds began.
All was fine and dandy for about two years. We didn’t have any medicine changes other than dosage. No other concerns were brought to my attention from her teachers and we didn’t see any at home. I guess we were all just kind of use to her being her.
Then we switched her school to the one where I work. And as luck would have it, I was her teacher. (Private school, only one second grade class.) I slowly started to notice some behaviors in class that just didn’t line up with only ADHD. I made notes, we changed up meds, tried new combinations of meds…nothing seemed to work long-term. Then the pandemic hit.
We contacted a behavioral specialist to help cover all bases and see if maybe it just was not the right medicine for her. He did extensive tests, met with us almost weekly, and referred us to a therapist. I’ll admit, we had two therapy fails before this, so I wasn’t too keen on it. I put the therapy off for a while. It wasn’t until her big explosive fit that I gave in.
This fit consisted of kicking car windows, screaming, blank eyes that were almost black, just not my Boogie. For a few months we were back and forth with the doctor trying to figure this all out. His suggestion was to stop all meds and start from a clean slate. To put it lightly, we had two weeks of hell in our home. I updated her doctor daily through email and scheduled an appointment for the following week.
Now we are sitting on a diagnosis of ADHD and a mood disorder. She’s on two medications daily, and is thriving again. We do have some days of fits, as well as some days of horrible sadness, and her anxiety gets pretty amped up from time to time. But we work through it. Her teachers are amazing, school administrators are on board with some behavioral interventions, and the guidance counselor is now her “aunt” because she loves her so much.
I know I jumped from beginning to end pretty quickly, but if I didn’t I’d have a book instead of a blog post. My advice to anyone going through a tough time with your child is to advocate and do what you feel is best for them. You are the only person who can help your child with big (and small) issues. If you feel something just isn’t right or is being pushed aside because “that’s just how they are”, make your voice be heard. We had a great experience from the beginning to now, and I hope it continues that way. But, not every parent is fortunate enough to have teachers and caregivers that get it. Speak up. Not only is your child’s well-being at stake, yours might be also. I’m a perfect example of that. Again, that’s a post for another day. 🙂