For those of y’all who may not know, Aidan has been diagnosed with ADHD for about 4-5 months now. Her type of ADHD is primarily hyperactive/impulsive. She has no problem with inattentiveness and can concentrate on a given activity for hours, especially arts & crafts and cooking.
This past school year, when Aidan was in first grade, her new teacher in AZ was shocked to learn that she was on Concerta. She would call me to rave about how sweet she was & how she wished she’d had her all year long & would love a class full of Aidans. I felt like telling her, we’ve come a long way, baby!
The beginning of first grade at Randolph Elementary in San Antonio was pure hell. Between acting out violently towards me, inappropriate behavior in class, and Aidan being impulsive ALL.THE.TIME, her teacher, Ryan and I were about at the end of our ropes. We tried positive reinforcement, taking away toys, and just about everything else we could think of and nothing worked in the long term.
After Christmas when her behavior started to get atrocious, I removed the emotional element & approached the situation as an educator. If Aidan were one of my students and was acting like this, what would I do. So I started doing research into her impulsive behavior since that seemed to be the driving force behind everything she did, impulsivity. The more I dug, the more the compass needle started to point towards ADHD. I never thought of her as hyperactive, I just always figured she had two speeds: full throttle and off. Yup, that’s hyperactive! And hyperactivity goes hand-in-hand with impulsivity.
So off I went to school with a handful of research. We were very blessed to have two counselors at Aidan’s school who cared very much for her well-being and had a great rapport with her. I took the research to them and as soon as the words “I would like her assessed for ADHD” were out of my mouth, it was like light bulbs went on over their heads.
You’re probably thinking: “Why didn’t the counselors catch this? Isn’t this what they do?” The vast majority of (ADHD) studies have been conducted solely on boys, or, have included very few girls in the sample. As a result, the scientific literature on ADHD/ADD is almost exclusively based on male subjects. Among the girls who were diagnosed with ADHD/ADD…only 7% had the Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive type. (From here) Plus, Aidan has been tested as intellectually gifted (she was tested in kindergarten) so that makes it even harder to detect. So now, by being gifted and ADHD, she’s considered twice exceptional or 2E.
So now we have our assessment results from the school stating that yes, she is in fact ADHD, so off to BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center) we go to see the Child Psychologist to confirm the assessment and the pediatrician to get medication. Unfortunately getting meds from her pediatrician was like pulling teeth. She was what you might call a “Tiger Mother”, didn’t believe in ADHD or medicating children. We had to get her child psychologist involved to interpret the assessment results for her & explain that “Yes, she really does have ADHD” & we do need to try meds to see if they work for her in the classroom. Her ped actively tried to make me feel like I was trying to drug my child so I didn’t have to deal with her. This did not sit well with me. I had to explain to her that I did my research & wouldn’t put her on medication if it wasn’t warranted. Don’t tick off this educated Mama Bear!
Once we got her on Concerta it was like I got my baby girl back. No more impulsive behavior, no more violence towards me, nothing but my sweet girl.
We saw her new pediatrician here in Arizona yesterday for a new dosage (she’s grown & put on weight over the summer) and he was a dream…SO unlike the ped in San Antonio. (The “nurses” on the other hand, were a WHOLE different story…I don’t like to be talked down to, especially about things I know WAY more about than they do).
If you think your child, especially your girl, might have ADHD, advocate for her. You know her better than anyone else. Do your research. Check out quality website like the following for symptoms, check them against your child’s behavior & present your findings to the school counselor. Be clear about what you want. Tell them, “I want my child assessed for ADHD”