I remember when Loghan was about 18 months old I started to notice that his behaviour was somewhat different to the other kids of his age, he was my first child and I really didn’t know any better so I took it as a sign that he was just a really active inquisitive boy and that as he got older he would learn to control certain actions and reactions.
I know people are probably reading this thinking gosh but he wasn’t even 2 but I promise you and I have spoken to other moms of ADHD children there is something different it’s not overly obvious at first, subtle things like making the same mistake or doing something they’re not supposed to over and over again as if they hadn’t just done it 10 times before hand, the constant motion and need to be everywhere and into everything, the bad sleep patterns and lack of inhibition its starts off small and eventually one or two people start to notice, other moms and teachers start whispering about your child’s behaviour and then eventually someone decides to say something to you along the lines of uhm he’s really busy he struggles to get through even 2 minutes of a lesson and he is struggling to make friends don’t you think you should take him to see someone or I have seen this before you need to have him assessed etc…. and you look at your child and feel this tug between all the love and admiration that you have for him/her and your torn between that and the fact that you cannot deny what seemed so subtle beforehand…
With Loghan his behaviour became more apparent after Gabriel was born and we did not I repeat did not believe in ADHD at all, I in particular believed that ADHD was a made up excuse for poor parenting and badly behaved kids with lazy parents and that Ritalin was a disgusting excuse to drug your child into zombie like submission….I didn’t know any better I didn’t have access to any information and came from a generation where I was told these things were absolute hogwash.
So we put it down to the birth of his brother… and then the divorce… and then the school, any excuse we could find- I read up on and put into place everything from diets and routines to natural supplements, educational therapy, occupational therapy and play therapy…. Everything excuse in an effort to find a solution to what was now becoming and ever growing problem…
Then one day I looked over at Loghan, it was maybe the 10th time or so I had to collect him that term, we were at a new privately run creche that we paid a fortune for, I looked at him and I remember I was so angry I couldn’t understand why, why did this keep on happening what are we doing wrong and then I looked at Loghan and my hate turned to shame when he said: I’m sorry mommy, I really don’t why I do these things, I can’t help it, and the pain and anguish that resonated from my 5 year old that day broke my heart into a million pieces and I decided enough was enough, I was tired of seeing my child so unhappy and I was tired of seeing his peers avoid him and push him away, I was even tired of him being verbally attacked by moms who were at least quadruple his size and yelled at him like a piece of rubbish because their kids couldn’t be held accountable for bullying and teasing my son but my son could sure as hell be held accountable when he retaliated… I was done I was tired so incredibly tired and frustrated and that could not compare to how Loghan must have felt….
By this time I had already started looking into ADHD and my mind set started to change I looked at all the signs and the symptoms and decided that we needed to do something and in short thousands of rand’s, hours upon hours of therapy, diet changes, routine changes, school changes etc and we were eventually recommended to a Paed who specialized in children with learning issues, Loghan had already by this time been diagnosed but in order to get him further help we needed to see a doctor who could legally make a medical diagnosis and if need be prescribe something.
To say I was scared is an understatement all I could think of was please let there be another way other than meds please oh please I don’t make to make this choice, but as fate would have it the doctor did indeed suggest medication- she gave us a few options from cheaper to expensive long acting to short acting… and I was pretty much ready to tell her to forget it when she turned around to us and told us that we needed to think of Loghan and stop being selfish, that ADHD was like any other illness and that it needed to be treated with the appropriate medication in conjunction with everything else… and that was it for me… my ex wasn’t as convinced but eventually we started Loghan on the generic of Ritalin combined with something else made him so emotional we actually took him off it… the Ritalin however made a difference… a big difference.
For the first time in a long time Loghan wanted to attend school, he was enjoying his classes and able to socialise better with his peers, I for one sighed with relief and was now assured that we had made the right decision, that is not where it ended and the last 3 years has been a journey of note we have changed doctors we have seen many other specialists in between and changed from Ritalin to Concerta combined with Ambilify, his dosage has halved within the last year of working with new doctors and Loghan is doing incredibly well.
His teachers are proud of him, we are proud of him he is scoring well above average even on days he doesn’t try, he has friends and he is enjoying his childhood compared to the way he was treated before I stand by the decision we made three years ago…
It’s difficult for Loghan more than anyone else he still has a bad day every now and then, sometimes he still struggles to make the right choices when it comes to reacting in certain situations but he is improving every day and I am so incredibly proud of him and what he strives to be every day despite the way he can be treated by others.
He used to get a lot of flak from his peers and now everyone wants to be his friend he is class captain and he is just excited about things he never was before.
Gabriel has since been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, I can tell you that with Loghan we were told in the NICU that prem babies are more prone to learning disabilities whether this is the reason I cannot tell you but Gabriel was not prem although siblings do stand an increased change of having the same disorders as it is in their make- up, it is a slow or inability of development in a part of the frontal lobe of their brains which causes the neurons in the brain to misfire or fire out of sync of each other it CANNOT be helped it’s not something that you can wish away or ignore and if it isn’t seen to at a young age it can develop into ODD and the things such as depression, psychosis etc
As the mom of now 2 children with learning disabilities I cannot express the anger I sometimes feel towards other people when they look at your child and think he must be ill disciplined or you just took the easy way out even when they are shown the information to prove otherwise, when they tell you for the umpteenth time that it is simply a matter of diet and good exercise… yes all these things make a difference, yes they all help but they do not solve the issue if your child’s ADHD/ADD/ODD magically disappears overnight after you do one of these things then chances are your child either had a very mild case or was misdiagnosed and yes there are natural remedies available… try them if your child can do well on a natural supplement or in a private school or even home schooled with a good diet ect and that works for your child then great do it, try everything you can before going the chemical route but do not judge the parents or the children who do not fare as well on the same course of action…. Every child is different and you are not helping a child with a learning disorder by pointing out their differences and making fun of them or avoiding them you are hindering them, these kids are brilliant amazing kids that have the ability to shine brighter than all the stars you could ever fathom they just need patience and understanding they need time, time to learn we need to teach them the skills that will allow them to work with their disability not against it.
To end off I will say it again I am incredibly proud of my kids and what they do every day to function normally within their school and social groups, they are not lazy or stupid they are brilliant amazing kids as all children with any sort of disability are, so please if you are in the same boat we are or were don’t feel alone, there is so much information so many resources and supports available today that previously were not, make the right decisions for you and your child trust your instincts and know that you and your child can push through it with love and support.
If you are someone who like I did doesn’t believe there is such a thing, who mocks or sneers at the parents or are eventually forced to pursue this route as a last resort the only thing I have to say is keep it to yourself because you have no idea what that child and parent is going through or has gone through on a daily basis and they don’t need your judgement and criticism