July 19, 2009

What does it say...?

What does it say about you or about your child(ren) when your copy of The Discipline Book is scribbled on and chewed up?? Pretty embarrassing huh? I must say, for the most part Grace is a well behaved child. Until Lily came along she was a non-violent child but sibling rivalry or jealousy can bring out the worst in even saint. Her biggest issues are with listening and I suppose in part that has a lot to do with being two years old, but the bigger concern is ADD or worse still, ADHD...

My girls come from a family filled with ADD and a few cases of ADHD. To say that they are going to be non-ADD children is a hope beyond all hope. The odds, I am well aware, are stacked against them. Thankfully I was diagnosed at a very young age and long before ADD was the most over diagnosed childhood issue. I am aware of what it takes to parent and teach a child with ADD/ADHD. My parents started the process of getting me diagnosed with whatever it might have been when I was in the first grade. That would be way back in 1982. They spent the next six and a half years shuttling me back and forth from Western Massachusetts to Boston Children's and to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Psychology departments for testing. At the end of six years and after more tests than I think even a lab rat goes through, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. In 1988 Attention Deficit was not something that too many people knew about. It was not widely tested for and Ritalin was a fairly new drug. It was determined that I would be put on Ritalin but should be monitored very closely since the side effects of the drug were not clear. Funny huh? Now a days more children are on Ritalin than not; most misdiagnosed, and ADD/ADHD are so over diagnosed it it not funny.

Not long after my diagnosis, my brothers Rory and Sean were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD respectively. Then my mother was diagnosed with ADD and we were all on a Ritalin. It happened, for my family to be a miracle drug. School became less of a nightmare for me. My brothers were able to focus and calm down, home life improved, it was all around a good thing. That is until I outgrew Ritalin. There chemical in the ADD brain that is not produced (sounds a lot like diabetes of the brain) this missing chemical is what helps you to focus, that is where Ritalin comes in. But the adolescent and adult brain changes and Ritalin is no longer effective. Which is why there is now three or four other drugs out there for ADD/ADHD. Ritalin is effectively a form of speed, and while this form of speed can calm a hyperactive child it acts just like plain old speed to an adult or adolescent. Taking Ritalin in college was a nightmare. I was jittery and had no appetite, it no longer helped me focus, since I could not sit still in class... In short... it sucked.

I know from living with ADD on a personal level, as well as living with a parent and siblings with ADD/ADHD what it looks like and I can say with near certainty that Grace has ADD... Here's the crappy part, even knowing this there is nothing at the moment that I can do. It will take every ounce of patience that Brian and I can muster to make it through until she is three to tell her doctor we need to begin testing. If I were to walk into my Pediatrician now and say "Hey Doc, Grace has ADD where do we start?" He'd laugh me out of his office. So I will bite my tongue, and try very hard not to lose my cool when I have to say "Stop..." "Go..." "Get..." Don't....again" a million times before she actually gets it.

It is what it is, my girls do or don't have it, it's not a 'disability'. It will only determine how we parent and how we get them through school. I would just prefer to know sooner than later so they don't have to waste time spinning their wheels. For now I will keep reading the discipline books and hoping to find a way to get through to Grace faster than telling her to do or stop something a million times. At the very least I better find myself a doctor and get back on Adderall. It's going to take every ounce of my attention for to keep my girls on task. Hey if nothing else, my house might be better organized!!

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