Thursday, October 27, 2011

Parents Don't Have All the Answers

Three years ago our daughter was diagnosed with ADD. It made perfect sense and in fact we could look back over the years and see that the evidence had been there for years. You may or may not know that 3-5% of children are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD and that the actual percentage that have it are probably closer to 7%, meaning that 2-4% have it and are never diagnosed.

Many parents don't want their kids on medication, and I certainly understand where they come from. Who wants their child on a medication that they may have to take for the rest of their lives? There probably isn't a medication that exists that doesn't come with a warning about side effects and sometimes they're scary ones. The chances of your child having them may be slim, but do you really want to take that chance? In our case, it was not a matter of choice so much as one of necessity. She was so completely miserable and struggling to such a degree, that something had to be done.  She just couldn't take it and neither could we.

To spend 2-3 hours a night fighting to get homework done in the second grade? Got to be something wrong there. Unfortunately, I just thought she was not wanting to do it and was simply being difficult. After all, I certainly knew she was more than capable to do the work.  By the time her work was finished we were both completely exhausted, in tears usually and I was feeling like the worst mother in the world, and that she was lazy and what were we going to do with her?

Third grade was more of the same, then in 4th I started wondering if she could possibly have ADD/ADHD. I met with her teacher at his request and I mentioned it. He thought we should definitely speak to the pediatrician and explore the idea. Talk about feeling like a bad Mom when I found out why things were the way they were. To think of all the times I'd yelled at her for dawdling and just not getting down to it. Breaks my heart.

Since then we have tried a few different medications to find the one that works for Kaitlyn. Just as everyone is different, so is our chemical make up. Sometimes that means trying a few different things to find out what works best for the individual. Finally in December of 2010 after two years of different medications, we found one that seems to be doing what she needs it to.

With the correct medication in hand you would think it would be smooth sailing from then on, right? Wrong. We have a daily routine to make it easy for her to remember to do things, and we help her keep herself organized. Still she is struggling with anxiety, oppositional behavior, insisting on being alone most of the time, not seeming to have consideration for others' feelings, and a temper that goes off over seemingly nothing. So what are we doing wrong? Does she just enjoy being difficult? The answers to those questions are "I don't know", and "No"respectively. So what in the world is going on?
We're having her tested for special needs at school, although the people doing the testing and we both agree she'll probably blow those tests out of the water. She's highly functioning and seems to be able to compensate where she needs to at school, at least most of the time. The thing is, we know she's bright enough to do much better in school, and so do her teachers, so it seems like she's not trying her best, when in fact she is. They are accommodating her in several areas to help her out, but still she struggles. What can we/they do to help this child live up to her obvious potential?

Since the end of 4th grade, she has been in therapy to help talk about the things that bother her, and help her to learn how to handle her anger. This past summer she had to switch therapists because of a change in availability, and now we have recently found out that her current therapist isn't covered by our insurance. Ms. X is trying to get authorized to see Kaitlyn and we hope that she can. They have a good rapport so having to switch yet again would mean starting all over from the beginning relationship wise. Not exactly an optimal situation. For now, we wait. On a positive note, Ms. X was recommended that we have our daughter evaluated for language processing.

We are going to have a neurological psychological evaluation done next week. Hopefully this testing will answer some of our questions regarding language processing, and the other issues. Within the next month we're optimistic that we'll learn what tools she needs to equip herself for life. It would mean so much for her to have the "tools" to cope with her difficulties and overcome them.  Right now she's merely living with them and continuously struggling, feeling stupid, friendless, and self-conscious. I am excited to know that we don't have to continue on the way we have been and that we are going to have a happier, more self-confident child. She is truly amazing and we couldn't be more proud of her.

Little by little, step by step, I'm finding my way every day.



  1. really amazing heart felt blog. enjoyed reading abotu this journey and really wishing you the best of luck in finding the best possible help!! xo

  2. Thanks so much, Bailey! Hugs!!