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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The never-ending job of managing ADHD

Yesterday I took the boys to the pediatrician for check-up's.  Dante put on 7.5lbs in the last 3 months so we're all pleased.  Alex is doing well, growing like a weed and hitting all the necessary milestones.  We just mailed the sleep journal to the sleep study today and will wait to hear back from them about bringing him in. 

While I was there, I mentioned my concern over Dante's zombi-like behavior after he comes home from school.  He's just vacant from about 2:30pm to about 5:30-6pm, and after that he's fine.  We talked about giving him a low dose (5mg) to help taper the drop as the meds leave his system and I felt good about it at that time, but once I got home and we dropped off the prescriptions, I felt much less fine with it.  His prescription is for Ritalin, and after doing some questioning I found out that his current medication is a long-acting form or the same exact medication...so he's basically taking Ritalin right now.  He's doing well on it, but I'd really rather avoid adding more medicine if I don't need to.

I looked up some research articles from my school's library (which I'm in the process of reading) and I went onto the Remnants board on Ravelry and asked if anyone had any 1st or 2nd hand experience and could lend any advise.  I was really surprised at the amount of responses I got, all positive, and all with good ideas and insight.  Some of the posters had personal experience as people with ADD/ADHD, and others are parents dealing with it.  I really appreciated how sensitive they all were, how respectful and how much they all just tried to help without making any judgements.  I was afraid to ask for help there, but I got a wealth of information in a short amount of time.  So, after reading the boards, the ideas are as follows:

  1. check into getting the boys tested for gluten/dairy allergies.  makes sense...mom is allergic to both, and I'm allergic to milk.  The both showed sensitivities to milk as infants.  These allergies have symptoms that are exactly like ADHD.  This might be what's affecting Alexander's sleep too.
  2. look into behavioral therapy for Dante.  The schools just aren't teaching him the coping skills he needs to handle himself and stay focused.
  3. look into Neurofeedback.  In Providence we have the Neuro Development Center and they offer this type of therapy.  It basically trains the person on how to control their own brain and helps improve functioning.  I'll have to see if my limited medical insurance will cover this.
  4. Having Dante eat a snack first thing when he gets home.  Some of the posters mentioned that they have low blood sugar and their behavior was just like his.  The meds cause him to not feel hungry, so maybe he needs the boost.  He'll start this immediately. 
  5. He does better in the afternoons during the sports season.  This year he missed X-country and he doesn't play a Winter sport so it's been a little tougher.  Next year, we'll try sports all year and see if this helps.  He said he feels better in his body (physically) and his brain if more clear (mentally) when he comes home after practice.
  6. someone mentioned caffeine as an alternative stimulant.  I said that coffee and tea were out, but they did mention caffeine pills.  it's something to think about.  maybe when he's older and decides that he doesn't want to take the pills anymore
So, I've got a list of things to look into (per usual) and I'm just not sure how many of these I'll actually be able to follow up on before more things get piled into my lap.  At least we can try the food right now and I can make a few calls tomorrow, and see where to go from there (at least until I hear back from the sleep study on Alex).  I'm tired.  I'm going to do some reading for school, and knit something, and then crawl up the stairs and into bed.

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