My Kate, Your Advice.

I have hesitated to write this. In fact I have started it and then stopped about five times. It’s hard to ask for help when you feel like you are putting yourself in a position where you could be scrutinized, and I know too well how that goes down.

So. I’m appealing to you all as my sisters and I’m asking that you show respect to me and to anyone who comments here. I know that some of this could trigger a debate, which is not what I want (in fact, I welcome your respectful opinions but will feel completely comfortable deleting anything I don’t think fits within the “loving advice” approach). Can we just show people that we can have civilized conversations as Christians without being ugly to each other?

Okay, with that said, here’s the deal.

I had a great conversation with Kate’s teacher (she goes one day to a tutorial program) and it confirmed what I have known to be true for a long while. She has a really hard time concentrating and it has gotten to the point where she’s super frustrated all the time (and we are too) because she cannot stay on track. It’s more than that, though, and it’s really, really hard. All that to say, we have a doctor’s appt tomorrow to have an ADD evaluation, and I’m pretty certain that she will be diagnosed with it. My question is this:

For all of you with kids like my Kate, what has worked for you? Have you had experience with medication that you would feel comfortable passing along? I want to do what is best for her and while I absolutely trust my pediatrician, I would love to hear from other mommas who are in this boat.

I’m kind of an emotional wreck right now over this. Can I get some sisters to speak wisdom to me in love about all of this? Anything you can contribute is so appreciated. Oh mercy, I’m crying. It’s hard being a mommy sometimes.

Thank you in advance. I can’t tell you how much your advice (and prayers…please, prayers…) mean to me.

With love,

Angie


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  • Cathy

    Angie, I don’t have any advice, but I feel like I know you and your girls, having followed your story so long. I just wanted to let you know that I’m praying! I know that every single thing about our children weighs so heavily on our hearts. Praying that this journey you take with Kate will be smooth and that strong and supportive people will come alongside you on the way.

  • Franmthomas

    You are such a fabulous momma, Angie. I don’t have anything to offer you from experience, but I know this…and you do as well…the good Lord will speak loud and clear to you and I am asking  Him to give you the insight, wisdom and discernment you need as you find your way with your sweet girl. xoxo

  • http://www.girlwithblog.com/ Anna {girlwithblog}

    Oh Angie, your heart is so transparent in your words. I am a brand new mama to a sweet 5 month old boy, so I don’t have the ADD experience with him or as a mommy. However, my little brother was diagnosed with ADHD when he was quite young. Once he began medication, his life changed for the better – he was able to focus much better and was more successful with schooling. It wasn’t a magic pill, though, and there were still behavioral issues for him to work on, but the meds sure did help. I’ll be praying for your appointment, doctor, and sweet Kate tomorrow!

  • http://twitter.com/dianila Diana

    My son has ADD, We didnt let our son take any kind of medication and we are working with a therapist. there is a lot of games that really can help. Battleship as an example is a great game for them.
    There is nothing wrong with your daughter or my son, they are a blessing

    • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

      I need to get that game! And yes, you’re right…she’s amazing:) thanks so much!

      • http://twitter.com/dianila Diana

        she is homeschooled, right? there is a lot of studies that show that the majority of kids with ADD need medication if they are in the regular school system. The homeschool kids need less or any medication.

        I have some references at home, I will look and send you the info

  • Jenn

    Praying for wisdom for you and the doctor Angie. Thanks for stepping out past your fear and sharing.

  • Pennygep

    Hi Angie,
    Our son also is being tested for ADD. We have decided not to medicate if he is diagnosed with it. His teacher right now, because he’s in a small private school has him working in a room by himself which really seems to be working. He enjoys it and is getting all his work done and he does not feel like he’s being isolated from his class at all. He has plenty of interaction with his classmates and teacher during the day. We feel what’s best for our child is to try every possible solution before we even discuss medication. Diet can play a huge role in ADD as well.
    I hope this helps. I’ll be praying that the Lord would help you and your husband make the best decision for your daughter.
    Blessings,
    Penny

  • Desha

    I am anxiously waiting to hear what others suggest, as my 6 year old son seems to have the same struggles. Medication makes me nervous, but my husband has. ADD and doesn’t want my son to suffer through school like he did, completely frustrated and never doing well. Praying God’s wisdom for both of us!

  • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

    I have heard that about diet, and I absolutely see a difference when we are working one-on-one with her. Any books or anything you recommend?

  • Stephanie Reed

    Love you. Have not experienced this as a parent, but as a Latchkey teacher I’ve seen kids who ran across tabletops or banged their heads against the walls in frustration without medication. On medication, they come in and give us hugs and play with the other kids–in short, they are regular kids again. It’s rough getting the medication adjusted, but once that happens, there’s no stopping these kids. The difference is night and day. I used to feel like medication was a shame, but now that I’ve seen both sides, I know better. Have faith and courage.

  • Erin

    I don’t have first hand experience with this. However an old coworker of mine told me that her son was diagnosed with add. She got him on a vitamin program that really seemed to help. Unfortunately I don’t know what it was. Perhaps you could talk with your doctor, go to a vitamin store, or find a more natural doctor that could offer more guidance.
    Regardless of what you decide, just remember that you know your child best and are just wanting the best and that may mean medicine. But that is your decision and don’t let anyone make you feel judged or bad for your decision.

  • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

    Sorry-this was for penny but it flew to a weird spot!!!! Would love book recs from anyone:)

  • leslieruth

    I’m not a mom, but I was an elementary teacher who, over the years, walked several students through ADD/ADHD diagnosis, treatment and strategies. I can say that each boy and girl was completely unique in what worked for them. However, the common ground that they did have is that some sort of medication seemed to greatly assist them. In each case, it took time and patience to find what medication and what dosage was just right for them. Like someone else has already said, it wasn’t a magic pill. In addition, the parents and I worked together to come up with creative strategies that would allow each boy or girl to be their vibrant, creative self while helping them to remain focused on the task at hand. Patience was required in abundance, but it was a gift to see these kids thrive and succeed in ways they hadn’t experienced before their diagnosis. Your Kate is darling and I know that this doesn’t have to be what defines her, but you will love and serve her greatly by tackling it head on (I know it’s so scary!) in the awesome way that you do other challenges. Many blessings to y’all!

  • Coby

    Oh Angie, I don’t have experience with this with my own children, but know you have my prayers!  I was once speaking with my pediatrician – who I absolutely love and trust – about ADD, and she recommended regular doses of Omega 3s in the form of flaxseed oil (mixed in with oatmeal or other foods that it could be easily hidden in); she said she had seen it really help kids calm down and be able to focus.  If it DIDN’T work, then it wouldn’t hurt – it’s really good for you!

    The Lord trusts you with Kate – I know He’ll speak to you about what decision is best for your daughter!  I am praying for wisdom and discernment for you and Todd, as well as the specialist you see tomorrow!

  • Kellyskornerblog

    Love you. Love Kate. Praying for you both!

  • Aishavandy

    Angie,

    I’m not a mother and I’m not familiar with any of the medications for ADD. Therefore, I can’t give much advice but I will pray and pray for her, your fam and her doctor!

    Blessings,
    Aisha

  • http://helenw13.wordpress.com/ Helen

    Praying for you for wisdom and peace as you walk through this. It is great to ask for advice and so needed during times of walking down a new road. Remember that you and your husband know Kate better than anyone else and what works for someone else may or may not be right for her. You will know what feels best for your daughter. I say that a mom who walked through our daughter’s depression when she was in her teens. Some questioned our faith that we chose medication but we trusted that God would reveal what was right for her. She is no longer on meds but for that time frame…it saved her life. I do pray that this will be a place of comfort and support for you as you walk through this time with Kate.
    Bless you Angie!

  • The Hill Hangout

    My children don’t struggle with ADD, but my sister-in-law did. (She is 13 years younger than my husband and was 9 when we met.) She struggled terribly with school work, made marginal grades even after hours if studying, and had lots of self-acceptance issues that caused her to have trouble making friends. It wasn’t until high school that she was put on medication for it. We all saw a drastic change immediately in her ability to focus, her grades, and how she felt about herself. It made my mother-in-law sad that she hadn’t known to do it sooner, although relieved that it helped so much. I realize that medication isn’t for everybody, but for her it was such a big help.

  • http://www.sixbrickshigh.com/ Jamie

    Oh, this mama gig can be so hard – taking the time to pray for you and your girl today. 

  • http://www.stuchel.com/ Kim

    Angie,  I feel for you!! I don’t remember how old Kate is.  So I will
    tell you our story.  Alex is 9 (will be 10 next month).  I noticed by
    the age of 3 or 4 that he was a little more excitable than other kids. 
    Really not overly hyper but once he got excited or locked onto something
    he couldn’t calm down or let it go on his own.  At this point we
    eliminated artificial color from his diet.  It really help even out his
    behavior.   We made it through Kindergarten no real issues.  He had a
    very difficult time learning to read but it was brushed off as he was
    just a boy.  By the end of First grade he was caught up in reading but
    still seem to lag behind in other things but we were assured it was a
    maturity issue and he would catch up.  By the beginning of 3rd grade I
    knew there was something else going on.  We started the testing
    process.  All this time he has been color free so ADHD was not what I
    thought was going on.  I was sure he had a learning disability his
    teacher was sure it was ADHD.  Turns out he had both.  I was against
    medication at first.  So I wanted to try everything else first.  We
    started a gluten free diet to see if it helped with the ADHD symptoms. 
    It did ALOT!  His moods and behavior was like night and day.  This was
    towards the end of the 3rd grade.  We stuck with the Gluten free diet
    all summer and into the start of 4th grade.  His teachers said the diet
    helped with his mood and attitude but wasn’t enough for focus and
    staying on track with his work.  I was still not loving the idea of
    medication for my 9 year old son.  So I took the wait and see attitude
    praying things would get better.  But as the work load increased into
    4th grade his learning disability (written expression Disorder) was
    really becoming a problem.  Getting ideas from his head onto paper is
    very difficult for him and the focus issues with ADHD made it almost
    impossible for him so in Early December we decided to discuss medication
    with his Pediatrician.  We decided on the Daytrana patch because it
    gave us the most flexibility and he was only on it while at school but
    also something we could use during the weekend for a couple of hours
    only if he had a project to work on.   He is on the lowest dose and
    still doing the Gluten free and no Artificial Color diet.  If we weren’t
    doing the diet he would need to be on a higher does of meds and need
    them all the time not just at school.  If we didn’t have the learning
    disability to deal with I might not have agreed to the medication.  But I
    had to ask myself if I was doing a disservice to him because he wasn’t
    able to reach his potential just because I didn’t like the idea of
    medication.  And I still really don’t but it is working for us. 

    Hugs to you and Kate. 

  • Noel

    Angie,

    The best advice I can give is to go with your gut. We have a 12 year who was diagnosed 6 years ago. We have done EVERYTHING we could think of and were “told” we should do. Gluten free diets, behavior therapy (to teach focus skills), medicines, no meds, herbal supplements, etc. I am beyond grateful that we had a very supportive school system that was patient with us. We found that he works best when he takes his medication. I still control his diet to a point (no sugar excess) but for the most part he is free to be.

    With meds we tried a few different ones. Some did not work, caused tics or made him sluggish. Praise God we finally found one that didn’t affect his appetite, moods or cause any health scares.

    I know you are scared, but have an open mind. Pray A LOT! :-) . It was a hard road for our guy but he has risen above. So proud of him.

  • http://holycamp09.wordpress.com/ Deborah Boutwell

    No advice….but lots of prayer!

  • Mommy123

    I taught special education before I started homeschooling my kids. Medication worked for one of my students, though many were on it. I would personally use medication as a last resort, but would try it if nothing helped. Things that have worked for my (undiagnosed) kids and kids I taught include a lot of effort. Some chew gum, play with a pen in the other hand from writing, stand up, take frequent breaks, do harder work alone in another room, have a checklist for steps to an assignment, and others. Basically I try to watch them and see where the specific problem is and give them a coping mechanism. If the tap the desk, let them. If it is a distraction, give them something small to play with in their hand instead. It is hard for both student and teacher, but it is worth it. It is also important to remember small successes are huge! If they normally get distracted and take an hour to do something that should take fifteen minutes, but today it only took fifty minutes, celebrate the victory! It is hard not to compare to others, but reality is we are made the way God made us and we don’t all have to be the same good students or quiet listeners. Some people learn differently and that is ok. Bless your heart, just love her and do your best to help her.

  • Sharonkastles

    Hi Angie…..my 13 year old son Cameron was diagnosed with ADHD 2 years ago when he started failing classes and school and his teacher caught him several times “dreamily staring out the window”…..lol  We consulted with our pediatrician, who put Cameron on the medicine Metadate once daily.  We began to notice an improvement within the first week.  He was much more focused, much less hyperactive, and at our 90 day evaluation with the pediatrician, he was almost at honor roll in school.  This was very encouraging to me as his mom.

    There are downsides to all ADHD meds.  There were two negative side effects that I noticed from the Metadate.  First, Cameron had loss of appetite.  He was already small, but he would not want to eat and became skinny.  The pediatrician was never concerned enough to have him stop the meds, but I certainly was considering it. 

    Secondly, the medication changed his personality to some extent.  My once bubbly, silly, quirky little boy was more reserved, and quiet.  He was not depressed, I made sure of that by talking with him regularly about his feelings, etc.  He was just “subdued”.  I guess that is what the point of the meds is but after raising him for 11 years, it was difficult to not have my “wild and crazy” boy around anymore.  Hope that makes sense. 

    After careful consideration and conversation with his father, we took Cameron off of the medication for this past school year.  His grades dropped significantly and we are considering putting him back on the medication next school year.

    Here’s some info you may find helpful:  http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_medications.htm

    Feel free to ask me any questions.  My email is sharonkastles@gmail.com.

    Thanks,
    Sharon

  • Lyndsey

    First of all, big hug and prayers to you:) And I am not a mom and I don’t know if this would be helpful, but Dr. Daniel Amen has a lot of really interesting books on the brain and ADD. His books like Making a Good Brain Great and so many more. I have gotten some great tools from his research on the brain and anxiety. I really like how hopeful and positive his research is. Maybe it would have some tools for your toolbox. Just wanted to share but praying, praying, praying for you. God created Kate in His image and has a plan and purpose for her life and He will give you and Todd the wisdom and guidance to parent her and watch her grow and blossom in the gifts God has given her. 

  • mrschangstein

    I have several friends who have children with an ADD diagnosis.  One of them did so much research, and came to this site: http://www.swingleandassociates.com/conditions/add-adhd-and-learning-disorders.  She took her son there, and after 1 treatment, he was so much improved.  I gave this link to another friend, who, along with her son, was feeling a little desperate.  They both said that the neurotherapy road was so right for them.  I think it’s worth a read….and hopefully, if you feel it’s something you’d be interested in in exploring, you can find something in your corner of the world.  (We’re in Vancouver, BC.)  I do know that what works for one isn’t always the right thing for someone else (if it’s not your train, don’t get on it!), but I think that it’s always good to explore as much as you can.  Be blessed!!

  • Christine Ramseyer

    My daughter is 9 and we are still in the process of sorting things out with her.  It sounds to me like she and Kate are similar in many ways.  One really important thing I discovered with my Alyssa is that she has fairly significant sleep apnea.  She always was a horrible sleeper and I did report it over the years to every doctor and specialist we saw.  No one seemed to know what to do until I learned about sleep clinics that assess children.  There is alot of literature (good medical research) to indicate that there are many children who show signs of ADHD/ADD who have underlying sleep problems.  Many of these children appear to be good sleepers, and this is why it goes on undetected.  In Ontario, Canada all you need is a dr’s order for a sleep study and the cost of it is covered.  I’m not sure how it is in the states.  I would strongly suggest checking it.  Not too long ago the journal of pediatric medicine came our with an entire issue on children and sleep challenges.   All it takes is one night’s stay in a sleep clinic (with mom or dad in the same bed or one beside them), which could potentially reveal some significant findings.  Good luck and I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.  Christine R

  • Kristenplamondon

    Hi there.  I never comment, just stalk:) Our daughter has ADD, and a slew of other stuff related to adoption and fetal alcohol syndrome.  But, specifically for her ADD, we’ve been doing Neuro Bio Feedback.  I’m awful at explaining it, so google may be more of a friend for you here, but we go in twice a week and they put just two probes on her head.  Then she plays a video game that they use to help “re” connect some of the “wires” in her brain.  It trains the brain to focus and in our daughter’s situation, stay calm.  There has been  huge success in this area with ADD and focus.  It is costly if your insurance doesn’t cover it, but we just see it as a huge investment into our daughter’s future and perhaps eternity.  We wanted to try this before medication, and we are seeing results! Look into it, I’m sure there are many clinics near you.  

  • Jenny

    Hi Angie, I just wanted to say that I totally understand!  I am a mother of 3.  My oldest daughter who is turning 10, was just diagnosed last year with ADD.   She should have been diagnosed in kindergarten… but the school thought she would mature as she got older, and I was certain that we’d just have to deal with it on our own as I was completely set against medicating her.  But after realizing that it was best for her… we had her tested and diagnosed and it has made a world of difference.  There are so many different kinds of medications, it’s just finding the one that works best with each kid.  We tried 3 different medications before we found one that made a difference.  We are so thankful though that it helps with her attention, and that she has shown no side effects.  She’s still my same sweet girl, she can just focus better. One of my biggest regrets was that I feel the school and us as her parents let her down by waiting so long.  Now she is trying to play ‘catch up’ at school and home, trying to relearn all the things that she didn’t nail down in the previous years at school.  But she’s getting it… :)

    I will be praying for you all. 

    Blessings,
    Jenny

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=763523310 Julie Gumm

    My 12-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6 (along with Sensory Integration Disorder). The psychologist who did his testing recommended a book called “Medicating Young Minds” by Glenn Elliot. (It’s out of print but you can get it used on Amazon.) It was wonderful in talking through the pros and cons of medication, the different types of drugs etc. My husband (a former teacher) was hesitant to use medication because he’d seen too many kids that were over medicated. Me? I was about to lose my mind and DESPERATE to get him help. The first med we tried was Adderall XR (extended so it lasts through the school day) and the difference was IMMEDIATE and AMAZING. I kicked myself that it took us so long to help him. We saw huge improvement in his self-esteem, focus, and social skills. 

    It took us a little while to find the right dosage for him that would last through the school day. We’ve continued to make periodic adjustments since then as he grows. (At different points we’ve tried a couple other meds but none worked as well for us as the Adderall so we keep going back to it. It can sometimes take awhile to find the med that works best for your kid w/o side effects.)

    Two years ago we started looking at what else we could do to help him. We added some supplements to his morning routine (Omega 3/6/9 pills, Gingko, Magnesium). We also made some pretty drastic dietary changes. We eliminated all food dyes, high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. Again we saw a HUGE difference. We actually dropped his medication level 15 mg (from 40 down to 25). We can tell when he’s cheated on his diet – his friends are so nice about sharing food at lunch :-( He’ll be more hyper and more emotional. 

    After six months on that diet we decided to go gluten free and see if that would make any more difference. We did it for about 6 months but didn’t see enough difference to continue. 

    The dietary changes were hard on him and it took us awhile to find good substitutes for a lot of the stuff he likes to eat – school snack foods are the hardest but we’ve got a good handle on it now.

    Here’s a few diet related books that might be helpful. I’m more than happy to answer questions, give you all our favorite foods etc.

    The Autism & ADHD Diet: A Step-by-Step Guide to Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) and Other InterventionsThe A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. Diet! A Comprehensive Look at Contributing Factors and Natural Treatments for Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity
    The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook, Updated and Revised: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet

  • Teresa Parr

    Angie,
    I’m not a mom, but I work in a Chiropractic Neurologist’s office (in NC).  We see a lot of little ones with ADD, ADHD, Autism, etc.  Obviously, we don’t push medication here.  I have seen/heard that diet (gluten/dairy, red dye #40, sugar etc), adding Fish Oil (Omega 3) can make a difference.  Also, the doctor I work for is a huge supporter of Brain Balance Music (Dr. Robert Melillo).  http://www.i-waveonline.com/  You can find a lot of information about Dr. Melillo and his approach all over the internet.  He also has a great book, Disconnected Kids.  I’m not sure your thoughts on chiropractic, but there are certain techniques which can help “balance the brain” so to speak (
    http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=54568 ).  You can go to http://acnb.org/doctor-locator-2/ to locate Chiropractic Neurologist near you…I’m not sure if they have any knowledge about the things I mentioned above, but I’d say it’s work a shot if you are trying to not medicate.  I threw a lot out there…I hope some of it is helpful. :)  

  • Marina Bromley

    My nephew responded GREAT to bio-feedback training…he went from meds (he had other issues when on them) to a straight A student!! God bless you as you walk this journey!! Praying His wisdom over you, and encourage you to follow His lead (your gut), as no one loves her as much as you, momma (and dad)!

  • Liz

     Do you know Elizabeth Ester’s blog?  She writes about this issue with her son and her own diagnosis.  http://www.elizabethesther.com/

    Good luck!

  • Kathy

    Praying for wisdom for y’all & the doctor! I used to teach school, and I had some kids who were definitely helped by medication. I think it’s sort of like giving insulin to a diabetic — if there is something physical causing the problem, then it’s not wrong to treat the problem. (I also had kids who really DID NOT need to be put on medication & they were not helped by it). 

  • Lorraine

    Dear Angie,
    First of all, I love your blog and how you are so vunerable to all of us. God is using you as an example to all of us.
    Second, I have twins who are special needs and who were diagnosed with ADD years ago (they are 21 now). I wrestled with the medication issue and whether or not I should or should not. Basically, I came to the conclusion that if my child was diagnosed with diabetes or something like that, I wouldn’t deny him insulin.
    ADD medications are not a cure all but they do help with calming the brain down so they can concentrate with learning and thinking. It may take awhile to figure out which medication works for your daughter but you and your doctor will figure that out. If you ever in doubt if the medication is really helping, you can always wean your daughter off the medication temporarily and see if her behavior changes. We would give the twins a medication vacation in the summer when there was no school just to see if it was really helping (under a doctor’s supervision). There was no doubt the medication really helped their behavior!
    Third, you are the expert on your child and know your child best. If you feel that this would help your daughter, go with it.
    Will pray for you.

    Lorraine

  • Bgilgour

    I don’t have any children with ADD (that I know of – way too young to tell at this point!) but my sister has ADHD.  She has been on medication since she was a child.  She’s been taking Focalin forever, but they tried a number of medications before they found the right one.  Some of them kept her from sleeping well, etc.  I know she very much prefers the way she feels when she has taken the medication.  In elementary school if my mom forgot to give it to her, she would tell her teacher that she couldn’t concentrate and needed her medicine.  There are definitely challenges – the medicine keeps her from being hungry at lunch time, so she eats lunch pretty late in the day.  In middle school, she was pretty embarrassed by this.  So there are definitely obstacles, but I know she would say with 100% certainty that she is glad she uses the medication and feels that it helps her out very much.  They did try changing her diet when she was younger, and it just didn’t help.

    That being said, I have a friend with a daughter who is ADD, and they have chosen to adhere to strict diet changes and it seems to work for them.  (I don’t know the specifics – I do remember they cut out red dye.)

    I don’t at all agree that there is one right answer.  I don’t think parents ever take medicating their children lightly, so I think it’s just a matter of consulting with doctors you trust and spending a lot of time in prayer.  (My sister was evaluated by her pediatrician and a child psychologist.)  I don’t think that parents should ever feel guilty about choosing to (or not to) medicate.  I know we automatically feel guilty about all kinds of things as parents, but just an encouragement – people will ALWAYS have an opinion about whether you are doing it right or wrong (just like they do about everything else).  So just remember, the Lord saw this coming and he already knows how it will play out.  Whether you choose medication or not, you’re the mom and you can rest knowing that between you and God, you’ll figure it out.  And Kate will be just fine, just like the tons and tons of other kids who deal with ADD!

  • RAM

    Already many great comments posted. I hope this reminds you that you are not alone! I am a school social worker for 5-8 grade kids. Medications certainly have there place. And I have seen them
    Work wonders for inattention especially non hyper active kids. Still I would start with diet and go from there. There is a lot of great research about the positive effects of a gluten free diet for kids with ADHD thought it does not work for all. Also, getting rid of high fructose corn syrup is a must. Limiting TV, video games, and iphones has also shown signs of improving attention . Lastly, work closely with the school social worker or psychologist to support your daughter in the classroom. I am not sure how greatly this is impacting her education but a 504 plan might be a great way to get her some extra support in the classroom without changing her classroom
    Setting.

  • Elizabeth Dalton

    My son is in 3rd grade & has been recommended to test for ADD. He is really behind. I’m trying to avoid medication. I’d rather change his diet & try natural ways to treat his ADD. They have “ADD” vitamins at health food stores. That’s where I am at right now. The only downside is the scrutiny that I get from some of the school staff. I’ve had teachers practically give up on him because I’m not doing what they want me to do. Regardless, I’m sticking with what my heart is telling me to do. We have tutors and learning disability programs working with him. Medication is our last resort. I say do whatever your heart tells you to do. Good luck!

  • Julie Price

    Dear Angie,

    I can relate to your situation 100%. We tried everything with our son – now nine. He was a pretty busy little guy when he turned one . . . and grew into a kiddo that seemed to be bouncing off the walls at every breath. We tried and tried to figure out what was setting him off and my Mom suggested that he may have ADHD/ADD. I was terrified my little guy would be on medication all of his life! I made it my mission to search out . . . research, research, research. Then I stumbled upon . . . I say that believing full well it was not by chance, but God’s direction that I “stumbled upon” a website full of information. Feingold.org. I read the information online and then ordered their package. I read everything cover to cover and began our son’s transformation. We began by using an elimination diet . . . we fed our son ONLY what the program suggested. We read every label. Within three days time, our son seemed to calm down. My husband was VERY reluctant to believe food could be the culprit to all of the behavior . . . until about a month into the program. I lay down for a nap and my husband played and watched our two year old. He wanted a snack so my hubs gave him a banana . . . no problem. Our son wanted more “snack” so he gave him a Nutrigrain bar. Within minutes our son was again bouncing off of the walls! My husband came to me in a panic and asked What in the world was going on!?!? I simply asked him . . . what did you feed him? When he told me the nutrigrain bar, I asked him to look at the ingredients on the package . . . any color with a number was what we were looking for. There it was . . . yellow #5 and yellow #6. Well . . . apparently, our little guy is sensitive to artificial food coloring . . . red #40 is another big one. We removed all artificial color from his diet and he remained much calmer!

    I have a friend whose children have autism . . . they too watch all food additives and gluten. 

    Angie, I know what I am writing is not believed by many people . . . my Dad was a skeptic, until he witnessed my son eating a snow cone – RED ~ after a ball game ~ the entire team was treated and we let our son have the snowcone. My Mom and Dad then took him for dinner and an over night stay . . . he called me a bit later and told me ~ “I never thought there was much to this “food color” thing . . . until tonight! Don’t ever allow him to have artificial color and send him with me again.” My Dad saw first hand how quickly a child that is sensitive to food coloring can be affected.

    Even if the professionals deem your little one ADHD/ADD . . . I would certainly give the Feingold program a try.

    If you have any questions, please contact me . . . 

    (I do not have any affiliation or receive any monies from Feingold.org . . . I have simply experienced the positive changes in my child.)

    • Mandy

      I am thinking of doing this diet as well. Reading about it now. I need this encouragement though because it is overwhelming as a mommy of 3. ;)

      • Stephanie

        Mandy, as a mom of 3 myself, I can tell you it is not as overwhelming as it may seem. I heard about Feingold a couple years ago but hesitated ordering the program materials because of the cost and because I thought it might be too difficult. I finally ordered it last year, and what a great help it has been in identifying “trigger” foods for my ADHD son. It is an elimination-type diet so at first (during Stage 1) the choices are more limited, but there are still lots of common food items that are okay. The program includes a manual and Shopping Guide that makes it so much easier to figure out what’s acceptable for both Stage 1 and Stage 2. There is also a fast food guide that has some options on what are better choices for when you can avoid eating outside of home, as well as an online forum for members that is very helpful when you have questions.

        Incorporating Feingold has never been overwhelming or felt overly restrictive. Instead, it’s been rewarding to see our family work together to read ingredient labels, talk about healthy vs. unhealthy foods, and see my son avoid “triggers” and choose better options that help him feel and behave better.

  • Brandy C

    Hi, Angie!  I never comment, just read (hanging my head in shame) but I just wanted to share with you about my husband.  He is 33 years old now and when he was a young child (kindergarten or 1st grade), teachers and doctors suggested to my in-laws that he was ADD or ADHD and needed medication.  After much thought and prayer they decided against it because he was already on a lot of other medicine and steroids related to his severe asthma and didn’t want to add more to his little system.  They didn’t change his diet or do other things, they just had to really work with him and it was hard.  My MIL has told me homework issues and teacher issues and principle issues that I pray I don’t have to face one day.  Anyway, my husband did graduate HS — was a C student like many other non ADD kids.  He chose not to go on to college but not because he couldn’t.  He just didn’t want to.  He is one of the most loving and fun and social people I’ve ever met.  I’m not sure what his story would be if his parents had chosen medicine.  I don’t know if their decision was the right one, I don’t know if they know.  But he turned out okay! Kate will too.  I think you should do what my in laws did, pray and go with your gut.  Each child and situation is different.  

  • http://themeandminebook.blogspot.com/ Christa

    Angie,
      Praying for you and yours. Remember that nothing is new or unexpected to the Father and He has a victorious path for your little girl.  
    I have four children and have been a mom for over 20 years, and while we haven’t faced this particular situation, we have faced our fair share of situations that seemed to welcome a large amount of advice/criticism.  One thing that helps me is to remember that in His Word, Jesus approached individual circumstances in very individual ways, and it seems that anytime His touch was needed, you could count on Him to be creative.
    Sometimes just a word.
    Other times a home visit.
    Dinner with 5,000 plus.
    A fireside meal with friends.
    Mud to open blind eyes.
    Touch to heal the untouchable.
    Fish carrying gold.
    Nets overflowing.
    Feet washing.
    Temple cleansing.
    Story telling.
    And walking on water.

    He’s creative to say the very least.
    And never boring.
    His path for some is not necessarily His path for others.
    Some may need medicine.
    Others may need to change their diet.
    And still others might require both.
    Rest in knowing that He has a very individual and very successful plan for you and yours.
    And because you know Him, He will keep you in the secret place where He dwells and will show you the great and unsearchable things you would otherwise not know.
    (Ps 91; Jer 33)
    And relax, honey.
    Even if you mess up.
    Even if you get it wrong.
    He’ll help you fix it.
    Nothing is beyond redemption.

    Much love & ((hugs)).
    Christa

  • Julie Jordao

    I am a teacher, and I urge you to take this easy. GREAT teachers should be able to adapt their content to children’s needs, and depending on Kate’s level of attention span, it could be enough. I have seen a handfull of children on Ritalin or Conserta to become ZOMBIES. Not cool. It takes a lot to get the dosage right, and things like lack of appetite and mood changes can comealong. On the other hand, if she is utterly frustrated, it can be a blessing for her to understand she is capable of doing stuff. Praying for you to make a wise decision!

  • Sarah

    Angie, I’m a doctor (Family Practice), and I have 3 comments–1) the first line treatment for ADHD is always behavioral modification, so definitely try this first; a lot of the meds have side effects that can alter your child’s personality  2) If she does end up needing, meds, no shame, there are a ton of good ones, so make use of them!  and 3) make sure she has a sensory evaluation by an Occupational Therapist to rule out a sensory processing deficit, my son just had this and he was acting like he had attention issues, and it turned out he just had a sensory issue that could be tended to.  Hand in there!  You’re a great momma!

    • http://thepartythatneverquits.blogspot.com Jen

      Yes!! Agree completely to these :)

    • Glyniss

      Amen, Amen, Amen… from personal experience, my own and my children and from a occupational standpoint I would insist on the sensory eval above all else if you have not already done so!!

  • http://www.aquiltingsheep.com/ Redeemedsheep

    My son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder when he was about 7. We were already homeschooling, for me, it was a reaffirmation that homeschooling was the best path for him. He was a (and still is at 16) a talker (non stop, people!) Sitting still was next to impossible. I am fairy certain ADD was also a part of who he was and is. That said, we were able to avoid medication because I could tailer his schooling needs to his learning style. I am NOT, NOT, NOT anti medication. I am on anti-depressants. I have to be and that’s all there is to it. 

    My encouragement to you…Katie will be fine. She is loved well by you and her daddy. You will get through this. 

  • Melanie Palmer

    Angie, just know that you are brave to confront an issue with your child that you know will not get better. At about 18 months old, I knew my son was different. I will save the story, but just say that when it got to where he was in the principal’s office more than the classroom, something had to change. The school had a “specialist” look at him for a full 20 minutes and said to medicate him. So, after visiting with our pediatrician, I pulled him out of that school and homeschooled him for a semester while figuring out what to do. 

    Because I just didn’t want to medicate my kid, at the recommendation of our therapist, I put him in occupational therapy to see if that could help, but it didn’t. Additionally, I got a recommendation to have a full scale behavioral testing done on him. This went on over the course of 6 weeks, and it was a blessing. Not only did I find out he has an IQ in the top 99%, but so much more about him – including an ADHD/anxiety/nervous tic diagnosis that was not a shock. Because I was not okay with just giving him meds after that, I took him to a pediatric neurologist who (shock!) recommended meds. After a med trial where we tried a new drug every week for 12 weeks, we found one that worked best and he has been on it and doing well for about a year. Additionally, we searched and searched and found a Montessori school for him that has answered every prayer I’ve ever had about his education. Their philosophy is very individual and personal for the child, and the kid is allowed to move at his or her own pace, and in an environment that works best for the child (i.e. working at a table, on the floor, on a bunk bed, etc.). However, I still was not happy with medicating him. After all that I had read I worried that when he became an adult and no longer took daily medicine he would find a way to self-medicate since the meds only help while you take them. Because of this, I was led to a naturopathic doctor who ran a series of tests on him (blood, hair, fecal) to determine if anything was out of whack. We found that (despite a very natural, healthy, organic diet) he had a very high level of aluminum (which lands in the soft tissue of the brain) that he presumably got somewhere between the womb and age 2, but we can’t know for sure. Reading up on it, I learned that aluminum toxicity can have serious effects on the behavior and psychology of children and adults, so we began a very conservative heavy metal detox on him that we are still doing. It will take months to get the aluminum to a manageable number, but whatever it takes we will do. It is difficult because the aluminum has to go back through his system in order to be expelled from the body, so his behavior is definitely worse than when he was just on the meds, but if it works in the long run it will be worth it.It is a long run, and there is no right or wrong answer to any of it. No one has a right to judge any mother for what she deems right for her child and family. We just do the best we can with what we have. For us, that meant striving to find a way to hopefully keep our son off meds for his young life, but if that doesn’t work then we will deal with that. Always remember that God created our children exactly as he meant for them to be, and sometimes we get to jump some hurdles in order help them be their best, to be better moms and also better teachers to moms around us. I cannot tell you how many other moms I’ve been able to help because of having to go through all of this, and I know that you were given this so that you could help women be better for themselves and their families. Also, I know my son much better and am able to speak with him about his mind and body so closely that we are forever bonded over this. He knows that we worked hard to do the best for him, and someday he will be grateful for that. Good luck and God bless you in your new journey with Kate!

    • mrschangstein

      Wow.  As much as your son is a blessing to you, you are a HUGE blessing to him.  What an example of love and perserverance!

  • http://www.cookingupfaith.com/ Cooking Up Faith

    From my grandma’s topical Bible for Mothers-
    When your child experiences personal hardship:

    - Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. Proverbs 8:34

    - For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. Isaiah 30:15

    - If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

    The only encouragement I have to offer is to seek Him.
    Much love and blessings,
    Cooking Up Faith

  • R. Mann

    A very good friend of mine has a son who was diagnosed with ADD. She tried him on the prescription medications, and while they did help some, the side effects were a bit too much for her. He lost his appetite and lost a bunch of weight. He would go days without eating if she let him. He also became very quiet, and kind of lethargic. She, with the help of her son’s doctor, decided on a different approach. She enrolled him onto something called “interactive metronome” therapy. It has worked WONDERS for him. I wish I had a link or something for it, but if you google it you can find a bunch of information on it. She removed all artificial color from his diet, and set up a plan with his teachers to allow him 5 minutes of jumping, running, etc (large muscle group movement) every hour. The physical activity helped him focus better for a little while. Hope this helps even just a little bit. Will pray for you and Kate.

  • http://twitter.com/amy_kay amy kay anderson

    i can’t speak to meds or how to handle that whole aspect… but i just want you to know, as a youth pastor who has so many kids on meds for so many different things… my kids with extra challenges are some of my very favorites. (oh wait, i don’t have favorites… shh don’t tell!) i never expected to feel this way, because it’s so easy to love the bright shiny straight-a well-behaved kids. but when i know how hard a kid is working towards growing and see how far they have come… my heart is just for them. i just fall in love with them. even when i am helping  our leaders and volunteers understand what challenges my kids are facing, their actual diagnosis is such a small part of it. it goes more like “well so he has adhd. but he is so funny and loves football and always grabs my hand when he’s talking to me and is the sweetest kid in the room!”

    i guess i just wanted to reassure you that no matter what challenges kate faces, she will still be loved. not just by you, but by so many people in her life. as a mama, i know it’s hard to pick up ‘labels’ like add for your kids… because they are so much more than that. but you aren’t the only one who sees how great she is! and when the road kids walk is harder, the joy is greater and the victories are worth celebrating. so strap on your party hat and get ready for an exciting ride. :) hang in there!

    • Rynhill

      Thank you for saying this! It brought me to tears! There are few things we want more, as parents, than to know our kids will be lovedand accepted!

  • http://twitter.com/TiffanyFortney Tiffany Fortney

    I’m sorry I don’t have any advice, but I just wanted you to know that I will be praying for wisdom for you and your husband and doctors as you decide what to do for your daughter.

  • Stephanie

    Angie, there has been evidence that ADD could be related to Celiac disease or even just a gluten intolerance. You might consider trying her on a gluten free diet for a little bit and see if you notice any improvements. I had to go gluten free a few years ago due to my health and I was amazed at how much it made a difference. If you would like any resources I would be happy to pass them along to you. Praying for you and your sweet girl!

  • http://thepartythatneverquits.blogspot.com Jen

    Troy has autism, and not ADD, so I think I’m in a different situation. We chose not to medicate Troy, bacause he has a hard enough time expressing himself appripriately as it is, so we disn’t want to put a block in front if that. And to be excruciatingly honest, if we had of medicated him, it would have been for
    US and our piece of mind, not his. Kate is different. The poor girl needs help. I do have friends who’s kids are on Ritalin though, and that medication is like magic beans. Totally different kids when on it. It can’t hurt to try. Remember… If she had diabetes, you wouldn’t hesitate to put her onto insulin, would you? Something in Kate isn’t working properly. Medication can help that. Keep an eye on her, it might take a few tweaks to get it right. It will make her life easier, as well as yours for a bonus. She is a good kid who tries hard, and knows the right way to behave. Praying for your heart, sweetie. It will all be ok.

  • http://twitter.com/kelleymcclure Kelley

    I got nothin’ but a prayer!
    So, I’ll send one up for you!  :)

  • Kristy

    Angie – I feel your pain.  My oldest son (now 10) was diagnosed with ADD when he was 7.  We were very hesitant to try the medication, but have found that it’s what works best for us.  He’s on Adderall XR 10 mg, which is a very small dose for his size.  He was taking 25 mg but found that it caused some tics or other unwanted activities.  He started playing with his hair, eventually pulling out enough hair to create a small bald spot!  We tried neurofeedback this fall, but I think that it seems to help the hyperactivity side of ADD than the inattentive side, which is what my son is dealing with.  I have fears as he is moving into 5th grade in the fall since the medication doesn’t seem to cut it on the focus side and the homework and projects increase.

  • Vickie

    Angie,

    I completely understand what you are going through.  My seventeen year old daughter had so many problems concentrating in school when she started.  I thought it might be that open concept schools were too distracting.  We tried everything: diet, vitamins, structure, change classrooms to try closed concept.  Nothing worked, her grades were definitely affected.  Her teachers, the principal and I were frustrated.  I finally broke down and had her tested for ADHD.  After several weeks and testing we found out that she was ADD.  Her doctor prescribed a very low dose of Concerta.  It broke my heart to try the medication, but I finally did.  It seemed that overnight my daughter was transformed into a different student.  Not only was she able to focus at school, she was able to flourish as well.  She was tested the next year for the gifted program and will graduate next year in the top 5% of her graduating class of 600+ students.

    The dosage on her medication has been changed over the years and this year she was changed to Vivance (not sure on the spelling).  I was very pleased with Concerta, it did NOT change her personality although it did change her eating habits.  I always make sure she has a good breakfast before taking the medication and that she has a good dinner.  Lunch time (at school) is always a problem because she doesn’t seem to be hungry.

    I pray that you are at peace with whatever decision you make.  I know how hard this can be.

  • Emily G Moore

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD at his four-year-old check up by a pediatrician who is also a close family friend. Against her advice, we decided not to medicate him then, and we have continued to decide against medication every time we’ve been presented with the choice (he’s almost eight now).  He spent about a year working one-on-one with a behavioral therapist, and that helped enormously.  Also, I’ve had to reevaluate every. single. thing. I. do. as his mother.  I have to pick my battles more carefully.  I constantly rethink my expectations and priorities for him.  I have to let go of the image I had of what my son would be like and instead see him for who he really is, and somehow not let the opinions of others (sometimes even others who genuinely love both of us!) color my thoughts about my precious little boy.

    Consistency and routine are key for him.  This summer he will be going to day camp while I’m home with his two sisters.  Day camp gives him a structure that I simply cannot provide in our day at home.  I could beat myself up about that, or I can get over myself and send him to a place that will give him what he needs (and be sure to give him lots of love and undivided attention every evening).  I had to quit homeschooling him last fall for that very reason.  I hated it (still do), but I can’t deny that a brick-and-mortar school with its highly regimented days has done wonders for him.

    Finding his “currency” also helped enormously.  It changes, though, so I have to stay on my toes.  Right now, it’s swim lessons.  He has to earn them through controlling his behavior.  He’s earned four so far.

    We’re comfortable with our decision not to medicate thus far.  But I also know that our path hasn’t been easy and might not be feasible for everyone.  And, truthfully, I wonder all the time whether we’re doing the right thing. Whatever you decide to do with Kate, your love, support, and acceptance of her are more important than whether you do therapy, meds, or a combination of the two.  She’s a lucky girl to have you in her corner.

  • tlj

    My
    grandson is Autistic and severely ADHD. My daughter struggled with medication /
    no medication for a long time. But he got to the point of almost being expelled
    because his behavior was disruptive to his classroom. Family members and
    friends avoided contact with him because he was so disruptive in any setting
    (running away in the store, darting into traffic, picking up knives, screaming
    tantrums, and it goes on and on). Finally she started medication and it made a
    huge difference. They have switched medications until they found one that
    worked for him. For the most part it was a night and day difference in his
    ability to concentrate. Medication did not completely correct his issues but
    now he has a plan in place at the school to help him through the most stressful
    times. There are many days that are still a struggle for him and his teachers
    but he is vastly improved over the years (like almost a different child) with
    the help of medication. Try to get as much information as you can from your
    pediatrician about medications and options. But most of all…follow your heart.
    Many prayers for you, Kate and your family.

  • Iamtaxpayer

    Angie, praying for you and Kate. My son just graduated from college, dealing with distraction issues all those years and still made it w/o medication. Was he the star student, NO, but he did it by investing extra time and with an extra dose of perseverance. That said, I still believe in my heart that he would be so much better off even now, being gluten free. I didn’t catch that till way too late, and since he was a teenager and stubborn it wasn’t something we could agree on. One sign someone shared with me, is that if they do have an allergy to gluten they will want to eat it all the time, so pay attention to that. My son eats mostly carbs, and gains nothing. He will have to find his own way now, since he is 23. A friend of mine had a son who was allergic to gluten also, and when they changed his diet it made all the difference. He graduated with great grades from Notre Dame and is now in Law School at Emory. She thanks God every day that she kept searching till she found out what was causing this. There is great advice about many options in these comments, I wish you the best of luck in finding that perfect road to travel for Kate. And I am so hopeful because you are thinking about it all now while she is younger, and you can continue to try different solutions as she grows up. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Prayerfully, Debbie

    • Katyreitz

      Deb, my son is 12 and has been gluten free for 3 years.  he sticks to the diet because it makes him feel better. my son has grown leaps and bounds due to this diet change.  he’s a much more pleasant kid.  in his toddler years he was very agitated and moody and whined a lot.  with a wheat allergy or gluten allergy you can get fog brain which then gets diagnosed as adhd or add.  My son works so hard for every grade and it’s teaching him life skills.  

  • Patricia

    Hi Angie, I don’t have much experience in this area per se, but I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you & your family. I read through the comments & you got some great advice! Hang in there! Being a momma IS hard, but you are a great momma! Praying here!!

  • Kimberly

    I am so thankful you are sharing your heart about sweet Kate and her struggles today. We are going through something similar with our 6 year old son. I am reading all the responses and am thankful for you being so transparent. You are helping others without even realizing it. Thank you! And praying for your family, and especially Kate!

  • http://www.thecorkums.com misslissa

    As a parent to a child with a lot of unidentified special needs, I would highly recommend getting the opinion of an OT who specializing in sensory processing disorder (SPD).  I recently had a Doctor of Physcial Therapy tell me that the term ADD is going away in their industry.  SPD explains away pretty much all ADD /ADHD symptoms.  Basically people have trouble processing their environment in a variety of ways (tactile, auditory, occularly) that they can’t attend properly.  We recently got an specific SPD diagnosis for our son and it totally explains his sensory seeking behaviors (that look ADHD to most).  Our OT has given us a plan that will help our son work through his sensory needs which will in turn help his other developmental holes.  We’ll work through it all without medication at first.  Anyway, that’s my two cents…if it’s worth that much :)
    Melissa
    http://www.thecorkums.com

  • Brittany

    I will be a senior in college this fall, last year I was diagnosed with ADD. Looking back throughout my school years I can pick up and remember particular events where my behavior screamed ADD. I was never a “bad” kid, I was actually pretty well behaved until there was down time in the classroom and at that point I couldn’t keep from talking, etc. I finally went to the doctor and through visits it was determined I was indeed ADD. I honestly was hoping it was because I was so frustrated not being able to putting in the quality hours studying like I needed to (I’m in nursing school). Although I was glad to finally have answers, I still didn’t want to take medicine, I filled my prescription and didn’t take it until about two weeks later. The medicine helped but not as well as I was expecting. We bumped my dose up and it made me looney. I called my doctor, changed medicines, had to bump that dosage up, AMAZING! I saw a letter grade difference in my grades after getting the medicine adjusted to the appropriate dosage!! I now know for sure that I have ADD and medicine works for me! 

    My advice to you, is don’t be scared to try a small dose of medicine if you feel like you should in your heart. Also, if you do choose to take the medication route, don’t get frustrated if the medicine doesn’t show the expected effects the first time, there are so many different medicines out there for ADD and each one effects each child/adult differently. 

    I will be praying for you and Kate in this season! 

  • Laurie

    My daughter is ADD as well. We have tried both medication and a supplement. Right now we are only using 
    http://groovealicious.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/options/ (only way I knew how to show you a picture) and we are doing okay with it. We still have our not so perfect days but overall we are happy with it. We stopped prescription medication because of it aggravated a pre-existing problem with tachycardia.

  • Janet

    I had quite a struggle with one of my children. My doctor did not suggest medication at the time, although it has been effective for others. What we did is to agree with his teachers that he would keep a detailed assignment book so he would communicate what his daily work entailed. This was as hard for the teachers as it was for him, but that daily accountability was really key. He was made accountable for those short key steps and that helped him. Don’t panic! Just like any other area of parenting there are many ways to success and you will try many! You know your child best. Some things are forgetfulness and some are defiance and lying. You have to excuse the former and deal with the latter.
    He is 27 now, teaches at a center for autistic children and God has used his weaknesses to perfect His good plans! Be bold! God is molding her little life for His glory!

  • sadiemom

    Angie,
    My daughter at age 15 asked to be evaluated for ADD.  She was so frustrated because she couldn’t concentrate to read the books that are required reading for high school.  She also felt like her thoughts were just a jumble all the time. Our pediatrician did a checklist with her and I was surprised by how many of the criteria she met.  She was diagnosed with Adult ADD because of her age.  She asked to go no meds even when we explained all the possible side effects.  She was so frustrated and getting depressed because of her inability to do things she knew she should be able to do.A dear friend with an ADHD son suggested we go to a psychiatrist instead of our pediatrician because they are really trained in the different drugs for ADD.  I forget the first drug she tried, but it didn’t work and she didn’t like the way she felt on it. She went on Focalin XR and after adjusting the dose a little bit she has been a different kid.  She is homeschooled and I see a huge difference in her.  Her entire attitude and outlook is so much better.  She is on just enough medicine to help her concentrate for her school work.  It wears off by about 4 and she is a little extra  hyper for a bit, but the days of having a sullen teen are gone. She really doesn’t notice many side effects at all.  She has a little less appetite at lunch, but that is it.  She says the best decision she made was to try the meds.
    I will pray for you as you investigate all the options and decide what is best for Kate.

  • Jesisturgeon

    My son is 6, almost 7.  Last August he went through the same testing and was diagnosed with ADD and learning disability-NOS.  I chose not to medicate at this young age and instead worked closely with his teachers on what works for him.  Picture charts, so that he knows what he’s doing and what will be next help.  Lots of physical movement before I expect him to sit and focus is great.  Also, when working on school work there can be no distractions – no other noises or distractions.  Occupational therapists can be a great help in this area as well.  Things like weighted blankets or vests can help calm their body as well as busy objects – squishy balls, things they can move around in their hand while they are asked to focus too.  I’m also an educator, so have experienced all these things.  Let me know if I can be of any help, but most importantly know there’s nothing you did wrong and it’s a process.  You’ll find out what works for her and it’ll all be ok!

  • Rebecca

    I don’t have any advice, just wanted to say I said a prayer for your sweet Kate and your family after I read this. Know He will lead you to the best path for Kate and your family : )

  • http://twitter.com/ClimbingOutBlog Climbing Out Blog

    Angie …..no need for tears sweetie…..my husband is adhd, and although we’ve never gone for diagnosis i am quite sure that both of my sons are too (the oldest just graduated from college on the deans list)…..to medicate or not to medicate is something that you will have to pray about and decide what works for your daughter and for your family……for us, behavior modification and other non-medical interventions have made it manageable (FOR US)……my biggest advice is let go of the pressure you are feeling…….you do not have to make a decision right this second…..read, study, talk to other parents, and pray, pray, pray…..what was a ‘miracle’ for someone elses kid may not work for yours, surrender to the process of figuring out what will………and for what it’s worth, in the way of offering some encouragement, adhd has it’s draw backs and difficulties, but some truly brilliant, gifted people were adhd and would not have been the brilliant gifted people they were without it……http://www.add-adhd-treatments.com/Famous-People.html  

  • Nicole B

    Oh sweet Angie!! I have some great material and advice using a Chiropractor.  They change up their nutrition and diet without using medication.  I’m not “one of those” people, I use medicine and I see a chiro for regular health.  My sister is a chiropractor in Wisconsin and actually specializes in treatment of kids and has had several young patients that she treats for ADD and seen vast improvements with her regiment.  If you’re at all interested let me know!! nmburdess@gmail.com

  • jonbree keyes

    I cannot offer any advice on this as we’ve never experienced this.  But, I will say my husband was diagnosed with this as a child and his mom refused meds (now, on this note-he was a rambunctious boy so I might lean more toward this and not an actual diagnosis.)  A friend of mine had a daughter diagnosed with this and yes, there was a huge positive change in her daughter after meds.  Another friend went the diet route and had positive results.  Everyone is different.    What I can offer is prayers!  Prayers for you and your husband with wisdom, wisdom for doctors and those the Lord puts in your path- and God is faithful!  Praying with you.

  • http://twitter.com/BrandiWaldrep Brandi Waldrep

    I haven’t read the other comments, just wanted to share my world with you. My son is adhd. He’ll be 8 in a couple weeks and is finishing up 2nd grade (public school) today. He has always been that kid who doesn’t know limits, acts impulsively, has a hard time making friends, and drives teachers bonkers. When we were beginning to deal with the school and drs for Henry, I came across Nehemiah 4:14. Can I just say I pray this all the time? I am always fighting for my son.
    He is on meds, the lowest possible dose. We increased only due to his growth spurts. We are taking him next week to a new counseling center to help him with skills to better handle his issues. We also really monitor his foods. No dyes, as much fruits/veggies as possible. Lots of protein rich foods. When we are diligent about his food, we see improvement. When I slack and let him have whatever, his behavior always is worse.
    Henry is also gifted. Though, by looking at his handwriting, you wouldn’t think so. He knows how to do all his work, just  isn’t always interested in completing it in a timely manner. I have found that breaking down tasks helps tremendously. He can’t be told to clean his room. It’s too overwhelming for him. He can be told to pick up his books. Does that make sense? In class, Kate may need to have assignments and tasks given one at a time instead of all at once. Their brains get overwhelmed and have a hard time finding their starting point.
    Thank you for asking for help. Being an advocate for her is the best think you can do. Inform yourself. There is lots of info out there but very little from a Christian perspective. Good luck with your girlie. Do not be sad, this is just one more step to be taken. I have to tell myself all the time that God made Henry this way for a reason… I just have to help him find the reason. Hugs dear one!!

  • Andrea A

    Hi Angie-
    Love and prayers for you all as you sort this out. You may be interested in watching “Forks Over Knives” (available on hulu.com)…though the focus is on heart disease prevention, it’s a documentary which also talks about how a plant-based diet can help with other health-related issues – ADD among them. Just another option out there for you all to pray about if you get the diagnosis. 

  • Bree

    I cannot offer any advice on this as we’ve never experienced this.  But, I will say my husband was diagnosed with this as a child and his mom refused meds (now, on this note-he was a rambunctious boy so I might lean more toward this and not an actual diagnosis.)  A friend of mine had a daughter diagnosed with this and yes, there was a huge positive change in her daughter after meds.  Another friend went the diet route and had positive results.  Everyone is different.    What I can offer is prayers!  Prayers for you and your husband with wisdom, wisdom for doctors and those the Lord puts in your path- and God is faithful!  Praying with you.

  • Kristin

    Angie – just wanted you to know I will pray for you and Kate – I have never been in this situation so I have no advice but I can pray so I will!  HUGS!

  • Gretchen F

    I am a 23 year old who was diagnosed with ADHD-inattentive type at age 20. As someone who wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood and struggled through elementary, middle, and high school, I think it is awesome that you are making sure Kate gets necessary inteventions early. It sounds like you are a GREAT parent and are doing all the right things.I don’t necessarily have advice because each case is different. I have known people, especially children, for whom stimulants have done wonders. For me they didn’t work. I am on an SNRI now that helps me a lot with concentration, but those aren’t recommended for children Kate’s age. Finding ways to modify behaviors can be helpful. One thing that works for me now is to split tasks up into small chunks and take breaks in between, which gives my brain time to ”decompress”…trying to tackle large tasks all in one sitting feels overwhelming. Structure also makes a big difference…having balance in regular sleeping habits, nutritious eating, and exercise makes everything seem more manageable.Most of all, know that is DOES get better. Some people need medication, some people need lifestyle changes…it’s different for each individual. But whatever method God provides, Kate and your family can get through this with His help.
    Praying for you!!!

  • Elizabeth Smillie

    I’m sure you’ve gotten some good advice in the other comments, but I thought I’d pass along a product/supplement that some of my friends with borderline ADD/ADHD kids have had good results from.
    It’s called NEXT (can find it here http://jsmillie.vemma.com/next/) made by a company called Vemma. It works because it supplies the child with her lacking nutrients, allowing her brain to grow and adjust with her environment and so on. It’s worth a shot if you want to try something natural before medication! : )

    <3 love and prayers

  • Becky B

    I don’t have any ADD children, but one of my adult friends is. To help him learn things he put everything to music and it stuck with him. I have an energetic two year old daughter that is my heart, so I can only imagine the pain you are feeling. I’m praying for you in this, Fellow Mommy.

  • sl639

    Angie,
    I have been in your shoes. My daughter is 22. she ws rx at age 5. WE have been on so many differnt meds. I found a naturapoathic Dr about 6 yrs agao and she has helped so much. At times getting off meds. Diet is a big part. Unfortunatelu my daughter is very rebellious and won’t follow the diet. I wish I had known the things I know now when she was rx. I would love to share ideas with you and suggestions. You can contact me thru my email. I do not have a blog. Prayers for you as you go thru this. Be knowledgeable and ask questions.

  • Wendy484

    Hi Angie,
    I’m a Psychologist and my counsel to you is to simply obtain a full psychological battery, not just checklists. A full battery will assist in differentiating ADD from anything else that may be going on. It’s the most objective means for diagnosing. Also remember that no human brain could have created medication without God giving skill and smarts to them. It’s a choice…that’s all. It’s not good or bad. Some interesting reading: ADD: A Different Perception by Thom Hartmann.
    God’s blessings.

  • Jill_getman

    I have no answers for you but I can’t wait to read through the comments and read others advice for you.  I am in the same boat as you with my babe.   Much love to you!

  • Braggbunch4

    As a mother of an ADD/ADHD son who was diagnosed at 8, is now 14, and has never been in meds I can offer this advice. The meds scared me, plain and simple. I was diagnosed as a child, was put on meds and taken off 2 months later because the effect they had on me terrified my mom. I monitor Andrew’s diet during the school year. I also have introduced flax seed. Do some online research and speak with your doc about natural alternatives. Since you homeschool you will be better able to help her than children in public school. Sending prayers your way!

  • Susan

    Hi Angie -  I have a 16 year old son that was diagnosed in 8 years ago.  We ended up going the medication route, and have used a variety of meds.  This was one of the hardest decisions as a parent I had to make.  I talked to a lot of people, prayed and finally agreed with the doctor to do a “blind” test with medication – we put M on the med for 2 -4 weeks without informing his teacher.  Sometime during the 2-4 weeks, we were to talk with the teacher to see if there was any noticable differences.  About a week and half in, the teacher stopped me in the school hall to ask me what we were doing different, because M ws much more focused, his handwriting improved a thousand-fold (it was still hard to read, but at least it was readable), and his grades had improved.

    We opted to continue to medicate him.  We’ve not been able to take him off it yet – he still can’t manage his work while off the meds, but the medication does not affect him adversely.

    Someone once told me that “you would not think twice to put your child on medication for diabetes or heart problems; you shouldn’t feel bad about doing it for ADD/ADHD”.  There is some truth in that.  But that being said, medication is not the be all and end all to ADD/ADHD.  You need to research it, pray about it and decide what’s best for your Kate.  You might be able to do behavior modification or do some sort of therapy, that we weren’t able to do.

    Often times, doctors are very quick to “medicate, medicate, medicate”, and that was my concern with putting M on the meds. But with the fact the teacher noticed the change without us saying anything (and we noticed a change at home as well), we felt it was a good move on our part.

      We started out on Ritalin (yeah, I know), and moved on to another type of med, then to Adderall and finally he’s now on Strattera.  As he gains weight, the dosage has had to change.  But not always – he was way underdosed for a while, because he was able to manage on the dose he was on, even though he could take a larger dose based on his weight.  He’s now on a weight appropriate dose, but probably more because he’s in high school and has more responsiblities and work.

    We have struggled over the years with it – I’m not going to lie.  M still has problems, unfortunately.  We’ve fought with our school(s) to get him evaluated for a learning disability, but they’ve not followed through.  It has been frustrating.

    Good luck.  I will be praying for you and Todd and Kate during this time!

    Susan

  • Sorilea Aiel

    Angie, I don’t know how you feel about medications, vaccinations, and so on, but it is my belief that God has given us what we need more naturally than one can get in a lab. Will you prayerfully consider this as an alternative to medication?

    Here is a testimony, one of many, I have read concerning ADD/ADHD and using essential oils to combat it:

    “My first experience with essential oils was when my son was overwhelmed with ADHD. While visiting a friend my son could not sit still. He stayed in one place on the sofa but kept bouncing up and down. My friend suggested trying Peace and Calming Oil. We started using the oil at night in a diffuser. He slept so much better and started his day more focused. We put drops of the oil on a tissue and he kept it in his pocket when he went to school. We continued to use the Peace and Calming at night for many years. This was the beginning of successfully overcoming his ADHD.” (found here: http://www.oil-testimonials.com/essential-oils/2477)

    I have personally seen great differences in both my husband and children through the use of essential oils, and am so blessed in using them! IF you’re interested, I get my oils through Young Living, and enthusiastically recommend them. Their website is:  http://youngliving.com/ (My referral number is: 1207463.)

    Just in case you’re thinking it, this is not an attempt at “selling”, but a genuine concern and real experience with the oils. Good luck, and God bless!

  • Janet Morris Grimes

    Best advice ever given to us, regarding medication, was this: 

    If your child was low in Vitamin D, would you give that to her? 

    I struggled with medication as well, and felt as if we were treating the symptoms, rather than the problem. But before medicine, both my son and my daughter felt like bad children. Like failures. Afterward, they felt as if we were doing what we could to help and found methods of studying and staying on track that worked for them. My son had to stand in the back of the classroom. My daughter often makes flash cards, cutting her information into tiny, bite-sized pieces. 

    My daughter just graduated from high school. With honors. And my son has excelled in the workplace; able to multi-task like a beast. 

    For the record, we used a low dose Adderal extended release with no side effects. 

    Praying for you. Help her focus on her strengths. 

    We are all in this together. 

  • Tevans416

    Have you thought about going the homeopathic/holistic route?  We see someone who uses NAET and it has helped my son who has Asbergers.   he has done so well and feels so much better.  let me know if you want more information about it.  tevans416@gmail.com

  • beccarayle

    No advice, just lots of love and prayers for you and your precious family.

  • Daviska

    I would also have her checked for Sensory Processing Disorder. It’s much more common than most people are aware of and has many of the same symptoms as ADD/ADHD, but the treatment is different. Both my girls has SPD. I’ll be praying!

    • THEARTSYMOM

      ditto. Our daughter was d/x with ADD/ADHD combined type (like in the 95% range) and later was d/x with SPD. We chose not to do meds, we did OT and made lots of changes at home. We now think she really has an anxiety issue. Hugs, its SO hard to do what is best for your family when you dont know what the core issue is.

  • Amanda

    I have some pretty strong emotions about this issue, also.  I have an 8-year-old son who is no doubt within the criteria for ADD.  We haven’t had him officially diagnosed.  I wish I could sit with you over a glass of tea and share my thoughts with you because it is much too long to put here.  Here are the high points, though.

    1.  I am far from a perfect parent!  My personality doesn’t mix well with an ADD personality.  It stretches me.  It keeps me on my knees.  We adopted my son when he was 18-months old.  I often remind myself that God providentially brought him into our home just as he did our birth children.  God gave him to us for a reason.  So at the heart of it, God is working this for His glory.  Mason is a blessing… just the way he is (and even BECAUSE of the way he is).  Oh, I hope that makes sense.

    2.  I am a certified speech language pathologist and have worked with lots of kids who are called ADD or ADHD.  Some have been medicated and some have not.  I cannot think of one example of a student who has been a “medicated success.”  It seems the family trades some problem behaviors for others (which the doctors often attempt to medicate as well).  I have been on the brink of medication many times and have even talked myself into a formal evaluation a few times.  Every time, I realize that we are not praying as we should be.  I don’t say that to mean evaluations are wrong (ahem, I’m a speech pathologist), but that we parents often run to the “professionals” before we run to God.  So, in our experience so far, as long as we are petitioning to the Lord on behalf of our son and for wisdom as his parents, we seem to stay afloat of the issues.  Life isn’t easy, but we are in better dispositions about the struggles.

    3.  I may step on toes with this one and I do not intend to offend anyone.  I believe our culture is in love with labels.  I don’t need a piece of paper calling my son by a disorder.  I know people say that you would treat your child for any other illness with medication so why not ADD?  Well, that’s assuming ADD is an illness.  And that assuming the medication is actually KNOWN to improve the illness.  Both of which are questionable assumptions.  There is much debate here and lots to read.  I can give you a contact name of a doctor I recently listened to at a homeschool convention.  He provides weekly phone sessions for I think $10.  I will have to look through my papers and get his name and website.  Email me if you are interested (escue2007 at yahoo dot com).  I quote him here, “I am not certain there is such a thing as ADD or ADHD.”  His point was, and I already agreed, that we are all different creatures.  Yes, my son literally cannot help his lack of focus, impulsivity, decreased frustration tolerance, highly emotional, highly literal tendencies.  And if someone wants to put him into some category of other kids like that then fine, but what difference does that make?  Only one.  Funding.  Schools get more money and insurance companies provide coverage when there is a diagnosis.  Ok, I’ll leave that one there.

    As for the medication, there isn’t anything on the market I’m willing to give my son.  It is all so new and so little of the long-term affects are known.  It’s too risky when modifications to his lifestyle and environment are much less invasive.  There are some supplemental products that may be worth trying.  I’ve heard of fish oils being helpful.  Also, there are exercise techniques and the world of occupational therapy can be helpful to explore (specifically listening therapy and treatment for sensory issues).

    4.  Homeschool.  Mason is the reason we began homeschooling.  He is smart, gifted, unique, and has a great deal of difficulty functioning in large groups.  He has difficulty functioning one-on-one sometimes, but a classroom setting is nearly impossible at times.  I know him better than any teacher.  I care for him more than any teacher.  I have no other agenda but to raise him to be the godly young man God designed him to be.  But I don’t always respond as I should and I get frustrated by the repetition and the seemingly lack of progress at times.  Still, my husband and I realize that putting him in a classroom would only risk losing his strengths because of his weaknesses.  He is our oldest and we also have three daughters.  I don’t think we would have even considered homeschooling them if it had not been for our hesitation to put him in school.  I am so glad he brought that blessing into our lives.

    Not all kids are created for the same purpose and therefore not all kids are created to thrive in the same environment and setting.  I have to fight the urge to compare him to our oldest daughter who is two years his younger.  They aren’t the same when it comes to learning.  It’s hard for me and it is hard for him.  But it is who God created him to be.  We see it as our God-given responsibility to give him what he needs (not what he should need).  If he needs repetition and daily lists, then we need to do that.  If he needs extra time and multiple attempts, then we will do that.  But attempting to use a risky medication to make him more like other children seems more like my own lack of willingness to modify situations and be creative so that he can thrive.  We have never felt at peace about it.

    There is much more to say, but know that I will be praying for you in these decisions.  My heart is heavy for you.  I keep Galatians 6:9 in view for this reason.  “Let us not grow weary in doing good; for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  God’s harvest is so abundant and I speak that and Jeremiah 29:11 into my son’s ear often at the end of a tearful day. 

  • Csufbulldog93

    No kids, former teacher here (debatable if I ever return to the classroom lol). I have had students that had ADD. Make sure there is one on one time with them at some point when it comes to school work. I tutored one of my students with ADD on the side my first year of teaching (made extra money that way as I was a poor teacher working half a day in a private school). His mom later told me that year he spent tutoring with me helped tremendously. Also don’t ask me why, but giving them a cup of Mountain Dew can help with focusing. I have no idea why it works, but it does. Feel free to google it

    • Kathi Waddle

       It is me Kathi Waddle that posted the above. I will pass on to Heather the mountain dew info :)

  • http://twitter.com/JennyCHurst Jenny Hurst

    I am an adult now but was diagnosed with 

  • Jennifer

    I have a 6 year old who was diagnosed with the same thing early last fall.  After much consideration we did try several medications.  Unfortunately they made her so tired and changed her personality so we did not continue with it.  At this point it is not affecting her in the classroom too much so we have held off with any further treatment.  We know that we will have to address it again soon.  I am planning on taking her to our local chiropractor this summer.  He has some treatments and diet changes that I would like to look into and try.  Do not let anyone make you feel bad for any decision you make.  I completely believe each family needs to make a decision on what is best for them.  My husband is on medication for it and feels so much better.  We just believe she was too young and too small for the medication.  Thank you for being honest about your struggles!  It really does help others!

  • http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/ Traci Michele

    Hi sweet friend, I have no “right answer” for you.  I love all this advice you are being given here in this space.  I loved the way you wrote your post.  I am crying along with you!  It’s so hard seeing our children go through tough things.  Pray pray pray and continually ask the Lord what you and Todd should do.  I’m all for medications as a last resort.  If you have tried every other option, I would prayerfully consider medication on a trial basis.  Can’t hurt?  Love, Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

  • http://twitter.com/JennyCHurst Jenny Hurst

    I am an adult now but was diagnosed with ADD when I was in high school (20 years ago).  I will tell you that it is very different for girls than it is for boys.  Girls typically don’t have the issue with hyperactivity, but it’s more focus and concentration based.  I couldn’t get chores done at home, I couldn’t pay attention at school, and I had really difficulty forcing myself to sit down and complete homework or study for tests.  In the same regard, I would find myself hyperfocusing on things that I really liked.  I started taking Ritalin in high school, and switched to Adderal in college.  I will tell you that for me, it made a HUGE difference.  I was suddenly able to focus, to “self-motivate” to get things done and to keep my head in the game.  One advantage as well, was that I was able to take my college entrance exams untimed.  I had a small panic attack trying to take my ACT and SAT timed, and couldn’t focus on the test because I kept worrying about the time.  Schools typically make concessions to make it easier.  My advice – talk to her teachers and your friends.  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, as it is a medical condition.  The medicine makes all the difference in the world, and you will probably see a completely different child (but she’ll still have her “spunk”…I never lost that!).

  • Kathy Olson

    Our 12 yr. old has been having learning issues and we suspect dyslexia. He has been so frustrated in the learning process and so have we. I think it has made him act up at home. I will be praying for you, too. I know how hard this can be.

  • Theresa

    I am sure I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said. I am a high school special education teacher and several of my students have ADD & ADHD. Some of them take medications and some do not. Medication works for some, and some do fine without and find ways to cope with whatever issues they have. The point is you need to do what is right for you, and your family. Go in with an open mind and I think if you’re willing to try things out, you may be able to find a good way for your daughter to handle her particular issues. Pray about it! God will guide you!

  • Triplett Heather

    I have something that has worked FABULOUSLY for my oldest son. It’s non-traditional and involves NO drugs. But you have to be a little open minded. If you’d like me to explain it to you, I’ll happily give you my number. It’s been a life saver for us. :)

  • Katie

    Oh sweet Angie!  I love your honest heart!  I’ve never commented before, but my mom and I have both been touched by your heart for the Lord and your ministry.

    I don’t have kids, but am a former teacher and librarian with extremely fertile friends.  Three of the women in my family have been diagnosed and treated for anxiety disorders, so for all of these reasons I feel qualified to share what I know with you.

    1.  It is okay to be worried or scared, and most certainly you should follow up with a second opinion to your pediatrician just to confirm what you think is the case.
    2.  Don’t beat yourself up or think that you have somehow failed Kate.  If you chose to ignore the issue, that would be a problem.  But you love and care for her and want her to succeed.  What a blessing for her to have you as a mom!
    3.  Should you choose to go the medication route, Kate will still need direct instruction in regards to coping strategies.  When I began taking medication for depression it did not completely fix the issue, as I had to address the things that were triggering my depression.  The medication I take allows my brain to then process and utilize the coping strategies I’ve learned.  I don’t think you should feel any shame should you choose to utilize medicine as one of your interventions.  You wouldn’t deny your child insulin if she was diabetic.  At the same time, medicating children can be tricky because they are still growing and developing.  So approach the process with patience and find a doctor that you feel comfortable with and who has experience handling this issue.
    4.  I do have several friends who have seen a change in their child’s ADD/ADHD when they have modified the child’s diet and reduced or eliminated sugar and processed food.  I don’t know what Kate’s diet is like, but it certainly might be another strategy that could help.  I also don’t know what kind of exercise type activities she participates in, but having daily exercise-possibly before she starts her school work-could help calm her brain down enough to focus.
    5.  I am so glad that she is getting one on one tutoring!  Not all students with ADD/ADHD are bouncing off the walls in their classrooms-instead they just space out, and oftentimes are so smart that they can still be successful on assessments despite the fact that they aren’t paying attention.  It becomes a challenge for them when their intelligence no longer covers their gaps in attention.  So it is wise to have tutoring to make sure there are no gaps being created while you figure out a plan.  Additionally, I find that most children will thrive when given the opportunity to work one on one with a grown-up.  So tutoring not only benefits her academically, but gives her a positive experience with school, and allows the grown-up to make the appropriate modifications to allow her to be successful.
    6.  More than anything, pray and allow God to guide you.  Aren’t you glad to know that He is not surprised by this situation, that He made Kate, and that He will use this for His glory?

  • Melissa Irwin

    Well, sweetie.. .I can’t speak wisdom to you in love, but I can speak LOVE to you in wisdom.  ;-)  Hang in there… you are a great mother!  A friend of mine JUST told me this week that she has cut suger out of her child’s diet and it has changed everything.  His teachers are also amazed.  She cut juice out too…  if it has sugar in it… it’s gone!  I don’t know if that helps… just thought I’d pass it along.  I, on the other hand, think I have ADD.  For real!  

  • Musicgal_72653

    Angie, I have no advice either.  I just want to share my heart with you.  If your child had thyphoid, or Tourettes or pneumonia, etc., you wouldn’t hesitate to get medication for him.  I work for a very fine and caring doctor who is a Medical Doctor and Psychiatrist who deals with Mental Health.  I cannot tell you what I would do, but I can share that I’ve seen precious children come to us for the first time with symptoms as you’ve mentioned.  (And a Mental Health Doctor is really the only one that can really diagnosis and treat ADD and ADHD and other mental health problems.  A Primary Care Doctor can treat with medication), and seen them put on the right medication and within weeks and sometimes days, they come back for their follow-up visit and they are smiling, calm, have done great in school and are so proud of themselves.  Moms brag on their behavior at home, their ability to study and concentrate, etc.  Of course every child is different so there are a number of different meds available – such as Adderal, Daytrona patch, Intuniv which is fairly new and others.  I don’t know your precious daughter, but I can tell you that I love her.  I will pray for you and her that God will give you the answer best for her.  What other people think isn’t important, what is important is your little girl.

    From a 72 year old grandmother with 6 grandkids and two great grandkids who dearly loves children.

  • Yolanda McLean

    I have a girlfriend that started her son on Advocare Spark.  Her son was able to be taken off all medication, and he was unable to function when he didn’t take his medicine.  He is doing great on the Spark.  She is so thankful to have him off the medication.

  • Labancongo2

    Hey Ang, it’s Molly. I can’t believe I don’t have your cell# in my phone. Jack is gonna call Todd about it but Jackson is seeing Dr. Lile for similar reasons. She works out Grosse ile, Mi. and Nashville. She’s awesome so far. She an MD who uses a natural approach and she was a pharmacist for 12 years. A fellow dr. Basically begged her to come to Nashville so she got licensed there and goes backand forth.

  • Suzie Barbour

    Hey Angie,

    As a teacher, who also tends to be naturally minded, I say you try some different avenues before jumping right to medication, but don’t be closed off to the meds idea either. Work to embrace Kate’s giftings and bring those out.  She needs to know, and really know, that she has some beautiful and positive things to bring to the table even though she may be a little different in the way she learns or relates than others are. Helping her keep confidence is essential. Then, in the areas where she doesn’t excel, I would suggesst having a private teacher work with her one on one. Like a behavioral therapist. Just like students who struggle with speech learn unique tools to help them correct poor habits from speech therapists, the same can be said for children with ADD and behavioral therapists. She may just need to practice and hone in some more specific skills to help her focus better.  When we took my neice to speech therapy once a week, we actually learned as her guardians some games and different activities we could do with her at home to help her excel and she was always so excited to go. Adjusting her diet, keeping her on a very consistent routine, making sure she has lots of physical activity especially before sitting down for lessons, making sure you are doing homeschooling in a way that she gets more one on one learning time, and seeking some natural supplements/essential oils are all things you can do before jumping straight into medication.  Then, if none of those options are working, explore the medication option.  Start with small or half doses and if the side effects are too much, move on to the next type of medication until you find something that works.  I think so long as you are hands on, and work to be knowledgeable about your options- the answer will become clear as you walk down the path.  The Lord has given you this sweet child and He knows her strengths, weaknesses and ultimately her purposes. All of who she is, is adored by Him and He will empower you to love her and guide her through this. You know her best, so stick with your gut as you go. But explore and don’t be closed minded to any option- regardless of opinions. I’m sure it’s already been a long road and I’m sure you still have a road ahead, but your Kate is worth the daily fight and one day, you’ll truly see the fruits of your labors. I know it’s heart breaking to see our children struggle with anything, big or small but be encouraged- her future is bright!  The path to get there is just a little different than you expected it would be.  As you know, the paths less traveled tend to be filled with treasures.

    Prayers to you! No more tears- you can do this and so can Kate! God is in it! She is loved and healthy and her steps are ordered!

    Love,
    Suzie

    suzie.barbour@gmail.com 

  • http://notesfromamama.blogspot.com/ Kristy

    I have know wisdom to pass along, but I will pray for wisdom for the doctor and for your family as you navigate this path.  May you all be filled with the grace and patience you need as you find a solution that works for your girl.

  • Lacey Cummings

    I feel for you. It is hard. God is enough! I recommend diet change, and I don’t mean just sugar. See if she has any intolerances (different than allergies) towards things like gluten, red dye, eggs. When the gut is irritated, or the healthy flora in there are out of balance, it effects everything from mood to attention span to numerous other things. Praying for you now as I push “post.” 

  • Cheryl

    I agree with the others that are suggesting a change in diet.  It may or may not help but that is a pretty easy fix if it does indeed help her.  Also, remove as many distractions as possible when she is doing her homework.  Kids tend to stay on task better if there isn’t a lot of traffic around them such as a tv blaring in the next room.  I know this is harder to do in the school setting with a classroom full of kids, but a good, concerned teacher will go the extra mile to help her without making her feel singled out in front of everyone else.  Some teachers will just go stand by the desk of a child that has trouble staying on task, as she is giving instructions…maybe with her hand on the desk or the child’s arm.  Just enough attention from the teacher to make her pay attention. If she is the antsy type that can’t stay seated, I’ve seen a teacher put two desks together side by side and the child can move back and forth between the two without being a distraction to others by getting up and moving all over the room.  Above all, just pray!  This isn’t the end of the world as it may seem to be now.  Medications are readily available if it comes to that but do some research because sometimes it can be treated with behavior modifications instead. 

  • Kristy

    I’ve been researching a Feingold diet that we’re about to implement in our house. It cuts out all food dyes and preservatives. And cuts out salilcle acids for the first 6 weeks and then you add them back in to test for tolerance. Feingold.org We’re going at it his summer.

    • Hollyglogau

       I did something similar as an ADD adult with a auto-immune condition and genetic connective tissue disorder. It worked well and we quickly found that nightshades were a bit NO WAY and wheat was something that had to be reduced. Of course processed sugars are on the out and anti-inflamation foods are in. It has made a world of difference with all three conditions.

  • http://wearesoparents.blogspot.com/ Emily M.

    That is so hard.  We have a similar child, (we homeschool as well. :)  I am giving you a link to a book for you to look at (in all your spare time! ha ha!)  But it really did help us a lot.  We have done huge diet changes (eliminating gluten, food dyes, and high fructose corn syrup for starters), started supplements (cod liver oil is helpful with attention issues), and strictly limited electronics.  We had him tested for food allergies and intolerances to find out what to get rid of.  Wheat was off the charts!  We are seeing big great changes.  Sometimes these more natural approaches work, we are seeing it.  But sometimes they don’t.  I think you are wise to ask for advice because if she does need medication, then you will have other moms out there who can walk through what works and why.  But a word of caution, don’t make any decisions right away.  Listen to your doctor and go home in prayer to consider all your options. Praying that God gives you wisdom to what is best for your daughter, as I know in every family that can look different.  Here is the link for the book: 
    http://www.amazon.com/Healing-New-Childhood-Epidemics-Groundbreaking/dp/0345494512/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337802407&sr=8-1

  • Jacinda

    My son’s teachers called me in two months ago to start this conversation with me and we will likely start the various evaluations with him next school year. His teachers are also parents and wonderful, loving people. Their advice to me was to educate myself to the furthest degree possible as I am his best advocate; to be ready to try lots of different things to help him; to be ready to fight the school district to get him what he needs and that ultimately I am responsible for my child and his health is in my hands.

    I felt very empowered by these words because they were words to educate and that while I was advised to seek wisdom and guidance from various sources that I am within my right and was advised to push back also. This is an area of much debate as you said yourself. Personally, I believe we need to seek God and what his direction for our children is and then we new to be ready to try different things to find what works for our children and our family. I will seek to avoid medication for my son, until it is proven why this is the best option and until we have exhausted other means. With that being said, I think there is a time and place when that may be an option and so I do not say never. I’m on my knees in prayer, my arms around my son, my heart seeking, my nose in a book and my brain absorbing every big of information I can get and then my feet will step forward knowing that direction may change over time.

  • Tami

    My 10 year old son has been un-officially diagnosed with ADD and mild dyslexia. I say “unofficially” because he has a pediatrician that believes that when there is an official diagnosis and the child knows about it, it becomes a crutch for them all of their lives. It can change them. So… For the past 5 years or so, we treat him with everything EXCEPT medication. For example, when I was homeschooling him through kindergarten and he still wasn’t reading by the end of the school year, I held him back for another year of kindergarten and tried new approaches. He learned to read outside on a porch swing instead of inside at a desk or the dining rom table. When learning multiplication tables, we did electronic flash cards and computer games. We listened to CD’s in the car with the times tables. ANYTHING but the “normal” ways of learning that required him to sit still for long periods of time and stay focused on one thing. He’s in fourth grade this year at a private christian school (first year away from home). He is still learning his multiplication and his reading is still on the slow side, BUT…. His teacher adores him for his heart! He is thoughtful in every way and is a helper whenever given the opportunity. His teacher and we, as his parents USE his extra energy and point it in a positive direction. I’m SO glad that we haven’t medicated him or given him a “name” besides the one given him the day he was born. We feel blessed to have a pediatrician who has helped us with this. I realize that every case is different in severity and otherwise, so I am not here to judge what others decide to do for their child. I am just telling our story with hopes that you, and possibly others reading this will pray and consider other more creative options. In the long run, it’s a lot of work… My son is not changed though. He is who God made him to be, and for that I am grateful.

  • Laura

    how i know what you are feeling!! Been there w/ our almost 9 yr old daughter, who was diagnosed w/ ADHD around the same age as your kate. We hesitated to do meds at first, but knew down deep that was the only option for her & it has been amazing to see the difference it has made. When we forget to give her the medicine, you can TELL!! Even had teachers call and ask, “Did L have her medicine today?” :) We currently have our daughter on Focalin XR in the morning and a smaller dose of Focalin in the afternoon. We have tried Ritalin but it gave her migraine like headaches :( Hope this helps you. May God give you wisdom to do what is best.

    • Robyn (3girlsmom)

      We also have my 11 year old daughter on Focalin XR in the morning & Focalin (also a lower dose) in the afternoon. It has changed her life. She’s a competitive athlete (softball pitcher) and a straight A student. Both require lots of focus and attention. She’s happy and confident when on her medicine, because her focus equals her determination. We have her check yearly at the pediatrician for weight gain and consistent growth, as the medicine sometimes slows that down. We also work very hard on making sure she doesn’t think something’s wrong with her. Just like her sister takes Singulair and Claritin for allergies, she takes Focalin for focus.

      Praying for you and hugging you tight!

  • Anonymous

    As a teacher I have noticed that diet plays a HUGE role in managing conditions like ADD. Try to remove things like preservatives (especially the preserative Tartrazine) and food colouring (epecially red food colouring) and sugar.

    Now having said that, as a Mother, I know how difficult it is to completely overhaul a young child’s diet and cut out all the things that they really love!! I really do believe that these things help, so I wish you everything of the best with this.

    My daughter has many food alelrgies, and like Tevan416 said, we went the naturopathic route. We saw a practioner that used NAET too. It was the ONLY thing that helped our daughter. And now she is able to enjoy all the foods that she was severely allergic to as a baby!!

    Last bit of advice is to not feel bad about what is happening with Kate. It’s sooo easy to feel like you are a bad Mother and that you have or have not done something that cuased this. Please don’t!! Know that you have and always will do what is best for your children and that you are an AMAZING Mother!! With help and support from school, the doctors and God, things will get better and start to look up!! You are already on the right track being able to admit that there is a problem and that you and Kate need help. I ahve seen too many parents that live in denial and it does not help their child to find their path in life!!!!

    Good luck and God bless you through this scary journey!!!

  • Hookemlonghorn@gmail.com

    Angie-I am offering my advice from a teacher’s perspective. In my years of experience I only ever discussed medication if it was affecting the child’s ability to learn and their self-esteem. My students who were dealt with ADD often knew they was something going on with them and would become self-conscience about their inability to focus. In return, they would start to get down on themselves-often feeling stupid for not being able to grasp concepts quickly or having to have directions broken down. I will be praying for your family to find a solution that your comfortable with and will help Kate feel successful in her academic adventures.

  • Jamilynnkastner

    I have NO experience with this. I just wanted to say He has this too under control. Proceed forward trusting Him to lead. Don’t forget to trust your momma gut…. u know ur child best! May peace be draped over you like a shawl.

  • http://stillseekingsanity.blogspot.com Tiff_StillSeekingSanity

    I have not experienced this at all, but I will be praying for you and your family!  I know that changing diet can help a lot of kids with ADD, there seems to be a big link with gluten intolerance in children manifesting as ADD type symptoms.  I wish I had more advice for you, but all I can say is Kate is fearfully and wonderfully made, exactly as she is. :)  Big hugs to you!

  • Angie

    We have a little guy that was in need of intervention, but meds were our last desire. I waited on my hubby’s approval and then met with a dr. About an alternative diet. My hubby was very skeptical but was ready to try just about anything. Within one week of this diet (basically no sugars or carbs at all) my hubby saw a marked improvement. It has been one year and he is still doing well, and we’ve been able to ease a few things back into his diet.

  • Erin Visalli

    diet will not do too much. I’m a bio chemist, children at that age have such a metabolism, any toxins or processed ingredients are quickly flushed constantly, no major build up. Plus although parents swear that limiting sugar results in a calmer child, its scientifically dis-proven.  No correlation. (I know super shocking to me too, but it is true) though it is healthy for everyone to maintain blood sugar levels or at least prevent major daily drops/spikes.

    Anyways, I struggled through out grammar school. I had gotten tested and pretty much was told that I was too smart to get help or medicine. It was a struggle to get things done or have a good process. Kate sounds like me as a child a bit. I did well in school but it was SOO much work. I had tons of trouble retaining info, not being disruptive, asking too many questions etc.. It was hard especially because I was really misunderstood. My parents tried their best but when professionals say “she’s not hindered by her disabilities” (ps I hate that word disability). I really struggled, to the point where I would have panic attacks while taking tests and even just doing hw.

    My parents made a huge effort to allow me to explain my thoughts or frustrations (respectfully). They allowed me to express frustrations and ask why. As many times I needed until I had it organized in my own head. It took adjustments, especially since they are individuals that hate repeating themselves & got annoyed by the constant questions/answers. They even met w/ my teachers to explain, that I wasn’t trying to be disruptive but trying to organize my thoughts. It was a major adjustment, involved tons of prayers, patience & time. I stuck to a schedule and any changes or new things were discussed in advanced. We still did daily activities and went on w/ our lives but my parents learned that I needed time & came around when I came around. If pushed or pressured it equaled a major melt-down. It was hard to build any relationships friends, family, peers ANYONE. I played sports not necessarily for the sport but to learn new organization patterns & how to work on a team. Though, by no means was unacceptable behavior tolerated and was punished appropriately. I was horrid w/ change so preparation was key. 

    Finally after being tested 2 times, I got tested again by a specialist in 12th grade (my parents were concerned w/ me going off to college), diagnosed with ADHD & writing dyslexia. I got accommodations and due to having high anxiety was put on a small dose of medicine. I’m not saying its for everyone nor is it a miracle pill, but it took the edge off and it helped me organize things in my head. My parents were very very leery, did tons of research & timidly agreed. Relationships, school, work, it all became better. I was still rambunctious, outspoken vibrant me, but could accomplish tasks, follow certain procedures, work though problems without getting super upset or uncontrollably frustrated.  My parents really helped in making me stick to a schedule, being in social situations and playing sports. Consistency was key. Friends/school and life just got a bit easier to understand/survive. I got a BS in organic chemistry graduated cum laude, have a biochem master’s & working on a second in public health. 

    It is by no means easy, but patience, routine, consistency & going with your gut is my advice. Hope this helps. If you want any extra details or want to bounce ideas off of let me know.

    Blessings, Erin

  • Kathryn Chastain

    As others have already commented, there are lots of options besides medication . However, if medication is what Kate needs to help her focus and succeed in school, then give it to her and don’t feel guilty about it!  If she was diabetic you wouldn’t hesitate to give her insulin–equip your daughter with what she needs. Praying for your family as you make these decisions.

  • Hollyglogau

    I was diagnosed as ADD back when I was about 8. I’m now 34! I am also a teacher and could go on and on about the cases I’ve seen. First, please read up on proper diets for children with ADD/ADHD. High protien, low processed food is a MUST. If possible, keep things as natural and organic as possible. Also, if she and you are that frustrated, then medication may be your best option. Please do not think of it as a lifetime crutch. I tell the parents what mine were told. Medication may only be temporary. As she is on it, teach her ways to study, focus, work out her emotions. My parents and an educational therapist did this with me (and so many others). Make goals, tiny ones at first (like sitting and working for 3 minutes.) When she masters it, move up a notch. Use it for daily behavior too. As she grows, what you are teaching her and working her through will become second nature. I wasn’t put on medication until high school and I suffered greatly in the years leading up to it. I have seen many students who can be taken off before they graduate. I also recommend that the child is taken off during the summer to allow them to practice in real-time what you’ve been working on. It lets you know her strengths and weaknesses and gives you time to modify her behavior plan for the coming months. Hope this helps!

  • http://www.faithfullyyours1989.blogspot.com/ Faith

    Hey Angie,
    I don’t have a child, but am a teacher and a nanny to triplets who all have ADD.  First I will be praying for you, Kate, your family, and the doctors tomorrow.  My younger brother was diagnosed with ADD a few years ago, and I remember it being a scary and frustrating situation at the time.  What I have learned is that every child is different.  My brother started taking Adderall, and it did NOT help him one bit.  In fact, it made him sick and lose weight, which made him more frustrated.  I have had students take adderall, and have turned into totally different children overnight, and their grades have improved drastically.  Only you and Kate knows what’s best for her, not Kate, so it’s something that you will have to work on.  There’s not a standard medicine for every single case of ADD.  My brother has changed his sleeping patterns, and drinks a Mountain Dew when he wakes up early in the morning, and he is able to function in college classes without any type of medicine.  He also went to a certified nutritionist, which helped take a certain amount of sugar out of his diet, and that helped as well!  Now my triplets are a little different.  I have to stay on my toes with them.  I have to make sure that their day is structured and the discipline system I use for them is consistent, or it will throw everything out of whack for them.  Most of all, I try to make sure that they know that they are loved and created in God’s image every day.  People seem to think that ADD kids can’t be successful in life, but I think they most certainly can. I just want them to know that they aren’t failures.  There’s also a cute children’s book called, “Taking ADD to School”  which helped explain some things to them.  I hope this helps!

    Blessing and prayers for you guys.  I will be sending you an e-mail sometime soon about apartments!!

    Hugs,
    Faith P. 

  • Dani Thomas

    Angie,
    I know exactly how you are feeling right now.  I have been in your shoes and know the struggle.  I have twin girls who are almost 10.  Along about kindergarten I realized that while I could tell my 3 year old to go get her shoes, brush her teeth and come to the car that the twins (who are 2 years older) couldn’t even put their clothes on.  In fact, this is still a morning struggle at almost 10.  At that point I knew there was something going on.  Throughout kindergarten they struggled to learn to read and as a former teacher I knew they were falling behind.  I talked to our pediatrician and without testing, she felt we needed to try some things.  We drastically changed their diet (which did help some, but through first grade it just wasn’t enough).  My girls are not hyper or ill mannered.  They simply couldn’t pay attention and really struggle with memorization and writing.  Their eyes would dart all over the page when they were trying to read.  Homework in first grade would take us hours.  I finally decided that the diet was not helping enough and that we had to get to the bottom of it.  I began having them tested for learning disorders and ADHD.  This in itself was a trial.  My mother-in-law was furious at me that I thought something was “wrong” with them.  I struggled with them being “labeled” and what that would do to their self esteem and their opportunities.  I worried what medication would do to them in the long run.  When my youngest son was born our insurance company entered a battle with our healthcare system the week he was born and we were suddenly could not see our longtime pediatrician.  We had to find a new pediatrician the day we came home from the hospital.  Truthfully, this turned out to be a huge blessing to us.  The new pediatrician met with us and when I discussed the fact that we were trying to determine if the girls had learning problems, she said she did not hand out medication and then referred us to a neurologist.  Long story short, about 6 long months later, we determined that the girls did not have any learning disorders, in fact they were both very abstract thinkers but they both had ADHD and each had very different forms.  One of them is a “daydreamer”, she looks like she’s paying attention but really she’s miles away.  My other daughter is impulsive, she does the first thing that comes to mind and is easily frustrated.  The neurologist recommended a different medication for each and after much prayer we decided that if we didn’t at least try the medication we were being negligent to allow them to not be successful at school. (This was another battle with my MIL) The neurologist also helped us come up with some strategies that help them.  For example, they do best with a checklist for any set of tasks.  When they get hungry, their symptoms are worse and they need a very strict routine that is the same every day.  There are also times when I remind myself not to get frustrated, take a deep breath, and love them.  They are now getting ready to enter 5th grade and are both in the gifted and talented program.  They are both very talented at art and music and their teachers say they are “free thinkers.” We do have to make sure the school stays on top of doing their part to comply with their needs.  For example they still struggle with copying from the board, taking timed tests, and organizing their materials to rotate to different classes.  At home, they still struggle to get dressed in the morning, their room is a disaster and it takes much more thought to parent them than my other daughter.  Please know that I am praying peace and understanding for you.  Every child is different and what has worked for us may not work for you but God made your daughter the way she is for a purpose on this earth and He will use her for great things.

  • Linda

    My son Zach is 14 and was diagnosed in the fall of 2010 with ADD at age 12. It was obvious that Zach struggled earlier but he managed an I was in denial. My husband is in education, the principal at the Christian school my children attend, and he finally said Zach needs to be tested. I wish I had done it sooner- he often put himself down and felt that he didn’t measure up. After his diagnosis we spoke to his teachers and we implemented some “tools” for the home and classroom. This worked for quite a while but as he was starting the last quarter of his 7th grade year and looking at 8th grade things became more and more difficult and it was affecting our relationship. He went for his 13 yr. old checkup and the Dr. suggested medication. He takes 30mg of Vyvanse a day. I will thank God always for this answer to prayer- Zach is now on the honor roll, he completes his homework with out issue and he is so much more positive. He does not seem medicated or drugged. I know that medication is not the answer for all but it is the answer for us. I know the tears you are crying, I am crying them now. I cry for not helping my son sooner for the pain I know you feel and because as mommies all we want is for our children to be healthy and walk with God. I am praying for you and for Kate!!

  • foodie4healing

    Angie,
    I’m so very proud of you for putting yourself out there and asking for help. I don’t have a lot of advice, but I will say this much… in my humble opinion and experience with quite a few health issues (both between me and my child) it is better to go first to a Naturopathic Dr and try supplements and natural treatments before going to the western medical world for answers. The reason I say this is that I, personally, have had so much better luck with the natural methods and have been greatly disappointed with the western medicine methods. Typically (but not always) western medicine looks to treat symptoms instead of trying find the cause of the symptoms and treat that. Naturopathic medicine is the opposite. Medications can have wicked side effects, making the problem worse or creating new ones. With that said, in some cases (when all other resources have been exhausted) western medications are necessary. Anywho, that’s all I’ve got for you. If you have more questions about what I’m talking about, please feel free to email me at foodie4healing@gmail.com since I’m not the greatest at going back and checking comments I’ve left for responses. Know that I will be praying for you and your family. You are in a very tough spot. Hugs!

  • Shelly Elston

    Hi Angie,

    My responses keep getting lost so I’m going to try this again.

    I have been where you are…desperately seeking help for my child when something just seemed “off”. I researched, wept, prayed, read books and articles but nothing fit. Our son was dx’d with ADHD at 5 and we put him on medication. To be honest, and knowing more about his challenges now, I wish we would’ve waited. We didn’t know of his learning challenges and sensory issues. We hadn’t gotten him into an amazing Developmental Pediatrician or had any neuropsychological testing done. All of that would have shed some light on why he behaved the way he did and how frustrated simple tasks could make him. He processed information in a different way but we had no knowledge of that at the time. I was mainly concerned about him entering school and being unable to sit still for the teacher. So we medicated.

    I hope you know that you are an amazing Mom – whether you medicate or not. I hope you find great doctors and programs who can help you help your daughter. You’re doing the right thing by reaching out and getting information to help you make informed choices. You’ll find many people with many opinions but I hope you mostly find a lot of grace.

    I wish I could sit with you face-to-face and share with you my past 11 years of experience down the medical/educational path but you will find your support team and your own path. Your Kate is surrounded with love and that’s the main thing she needs. The rest will follow. I’ll be praying for you, for your husband, and your sweet girl. And if you have more questions, please email me. I’d be more than happy to share with you.

    Praying and Standing in the gap,

    Shelly Elston
    sselston89@comcast.net

  • Jen

    Our son was diagnosed with ADHD just three months ago at age 6 and he now uses a medication called Daytrana which is worn as a patch each day on his hip. We have been through many different diets over the years (vegan, gluten free, paleo, etc). Some helped, but not enough. It just seemed ridiculous to me to be a nazi about his diet when it wasnt helping that much. When he started on the medication it was like a switch had been flipped. I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until it wasn’t bad anymore. Our local Childrens Hospital has an ADHD clinic and they offer classes for parents so we could really understand what ADHD is and it also taught us tools to help manage our sons behaviors. Look for a local CHADD group. Support (as you’re seeing here) is very helpful. Prayers for you and your family!!

  • Candice Foldenauer

    Hi Angie- I’ll try to stay short and sweet!  My husband was in the same position at Kate’s age.  His mother did have him put of medication eventually (Adderall).  She was very nervous about it, but in the end it worked wonders.  He was such a smart child, and he was finally able to channel his smarts at appropriate times.  He has never felt like it has changed his true self, only enhanced it.  Just two weeks ago he graduated in the top 10 of his engineering class at Virginia Tech while balancing leading a small group at our church, a club sport, and marriage.  Before medication he literally could not even write down his homework assignment as much as he desired to do so.  All of that to say-obviously medication is not ideal, but don’t feel bad if that’s what you have to do.  That is just what some of us need.  The most important thing is to find a doctor who will work you thru each and every step till you find what makes your family happy and comfortable.

    Also- he pretty much never took it on weekends or school breaks.  Now he only takes it a few times a week and still at a small, small dosage even as a 6′ 3″ adult :-)   Prayers to you!

  • KyleeB

    Angie,
    I didn’t read the other comments, so maybe it’s been mentioned but they thought that maybe my daughter had it as well. But after looking at her symptoms, etc they think she might have auditory processing disorder. I guess they don’t test this until they are 9? I am not sure what age Kate is. Anyways, I just wanted to mention it in case. Good luck and prayers are with you. It’s hard to watch your child struggle with learning.

  • http://twitter.com/AmySullins amysullins

    Hey, Angie!  

    I want to start by saying…I’m praying!  I know this is a very emotional step.  I’ve been there.  We tried everything before entering the medical side of this world.  We changed diet, structure, even teachers.  Our sweet Caleb is such a gift from God but we KNEW there was a struggle that was beyond his control.  Being on staff at a church, we secretly began looking for options.  We didn’t want anyone to think we could control or help our child.  I slowly started to reach out and realized we were not alone!  Caleb barely survived the 2nd grade, between a horrible teacher who didn’t understand him and his lack of focus.  After much thought and prayer, we moved him on to 3rd grade.  Last summer, we contacted a doctor for help and it has CHANGED OUR LIVES!!!  Caleb was diagnosed with basic ADD (lack of focus/no hyperactivity) and severe dyslexia.  We were started on Strattera, once a day, with a low mg.  We slowly bumped him and noticed that everything was changing.  Grades were improving, he started enjoying school and reading.  As time went on, his teacher noticed that not only was Caleb very smart…her words were, “He’s brilliant!!!”  I cried!!!  In January, Caleb hit a growing spurt so we changed him to his new medicine, Focalin XR 15mg.  I love it even more.  He is doing great in school, nicer to his siblings, more focused and entertained, reads 2-3 books every couple of weeks, can sit still for a decent amount of time, doesn’t fidget, makes good grades, and the list goes on.  We also do not keep it a secret anymore.  Caleb knows exactly what is going on with him and is proud that something, including the grace of God, has changed his life.  It’s already helped several other parents.  I’m proud of the young man he is becoming and I am so thankful that someone created the medicines he would need, for this time.  I’ll be praying for you!!!  Kate is a beautiful girl and I’m sure you guys will do the right thing for her.  God’s got this!!!

    In Him,
    Amy Sullins

  • chelseap

    I haven’t read through the comments, so I don’t know if every other comment says the same as mine.  If so, sorry!  I am going to tell you about my son, Jackson.
    Jackson has always been high energy, easily distracted, strong-willed, and challenging.  (Of course, he is also kind, compassionate, and sometimes gentle but for this comment, I am focusing on the other characteristics.)  He is now six, but when he was 4 1/2, it got to the point where he was really out of control.  Often I could tell that he was trying to be obedient, but he just really didn’t have control over his body in order to make it comply.  There was a day that I had already been exasperated by his behavior at the store when his speech teacher mentioned that she thought he was at the point of needing medicinal help for ADD.  We hadn’t ever gotten an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, but her comment was not surprising to me.  It was late spring and school was almost done, so we decided we would try to deal with it better through the summer, and if there was no improvement, we would talk to our doctor before school began again.  (I actually homeschool but he does receive speech as a special service through public school.)
    That day I decided we would ditch artificial colors.  It seemed like a huge leap once I started looking through the pantry- healthy cereals had it, strawberry yogurt, even chocolate and vanilla puddings.  But from that day forward the kids didn’t get it (my husband and I finished off the grocery items left and I made sure I replaced them with something dye free).  Four days later he met with that same teacher again.  I didn’t say anything before his speech, but when they were done, she said, “I don’t know what you did, but it’s amazing!”.  I had thought I noticed a difference, but it was very validating to me that she had noticed.  It seemed like his behavior got better over the course of about two weeks, and then leveled out.  He’s is now much more capable of being self-controlled.
    Three weeks after we stopped dyes, we were visiting my in-laws and they gave the kids red kool-aid without my knowledge.  When I found out, I was angry, but later I was thankful because it was a great learning tool.  The kids were CRAZY.  Out of control.  After, we stopped by the grocery store to get pizza.  Two pizzas and that was it.  I asked them to wait while I decided which ones, and it was wild because they couldn’t stand still for five seconds.  Literally.  And they were 7, almost 5, and 4, so very capable of not falling down or wrestling each other.  When we got to the car, we talked about their behavior.  I asked if they stood still like I had requested.  They said they hadn’t.  I asked if they had tried.  They had and I knew it.  I told them that the only thing different about that visit and any day’s visit was that today they had food coloring.  I related it to them this way- if I set a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies in front of you and told you not to eat them, would I be tempting you to disobey?  Yes!  Well, for you guys, food coloring works that way.  If I give you food coloring and then ask you to obey, it makes it REALLY hard to be self controlled and obey.  Is it fair for me to give it to you then?  No!  And they got it and didn’t feel so deprived anymore.  So we decided that dyes would be on our “Things We Eat in Moderation” list.  Not that there is a physical list, but it includes things like doughnuts, french fries, candy, and later alcohol… things that aren’t bad, but aren’t healthy either.  We have splurge days that are planned when I am not expecting them to be still or quiet.
    Since then, we have kicked artificial flavors, sodium benzoate, and high fructose corn syrup out of our everyday diet.  These didn’t make as huge a difference as the colors, but they aren’t healthy anyway, so I don’t mind them being gone.
    We’ve been doing this a year and a half now.  It was hard in the beginning to figure out what to eat, but once you find good replacements, it gets easier.  I don’t know what you have in TN, but here in SC QT has a cherry slush that is clear for a summer treat.  Aldi has fruit snacks and lots of other color free and cheaper options.  Trader Joe’s is great, too.
    Jackson is still high energy and somewhat easily distracted.  One thing that I have noticed helps TREMENDOUSLY is to ‘run him’. :o )  It reminds me of what we did with our Golden Retriever when he was a puppy.  We will go early and play tennis for 45 minutes before swim lessons so that he has gotten rid of the excess energy and can pay better attention.  We go on long morning walks as a family before his speech therapy so that he sits, focuses better, and tries harder.  I make focused effort to give him an outlet for his energy before I expect him to be still and listen.  So if that means they run laps around the house (they’re boys- it’s a  fun competition) between school lessons, well that’s the blessing of homeschooling!
    I know that as he ages, he will grow more mature and gain more self discipline.  I realize that if that curve isn’t steep, we may still need to medicate him in the future.  But I am thankful that this is working for him right now.
    (Oh!  And just for reference sake, he is the reason we dropped the colors, but we do it across the board for our family because that seemed more realistic.  We can tell a little difference with the other two, but nothing drastic like it has been for him.)

  • Sorilea Aiel

  • Angie

    My daughter has Aspergers and ADD.  Currently we are treating the anxiety that comes with that combo of ‘disorder’.  We tried to treat the ADD portion however, we couldn’t find a medication that we felt comfortable with.  The medications that are stimulants brought out the obsessive side of her.  And the ones that were non-stimulant caused a quick and drastic weight gain.  My thoughts for you are this: if your child needs a medication to help her focus and concentrate – then you do what is best for your child.  Understand that much of the medication out there may require trial and error and some of the error have undesireable side effects.  The bottom line is you are her mother and you have her best interest at heart.  Seek the Lord and follow your instincts.  Will be praying for you!

  • Connie

    Twenty-five years ago, when my son was 8, he was diagnosed as ADD. He was in third grade and could not finish assignments or stay focused in class. He wandered around the room and created disturbances. He could not read. We knew he was smart, as did the school system and they refused to test him. We went to a psychologist and he did a whole day of testing on him. He also had some learning disabilities.

    We decided on medication. In just a day, we could see a difference in his behavior. We had him privately tutored in reading and math. He was put in a resource program at school and it gave him a quiet place to work and test that was free of any distractions. We were free of the evenings of his (and our) crying because he could not accomplish his homework. He was so happy that he could be like the other kids.

    He continued on meds all through school and the dosage never changed. In college, it was upped to a second, smaller dosage in the afternoon so that he could complete library and lab work.

    He has a degree in psychology. He counsels at risk children. That is what he wanted because he always wanted to help kids like himself. He has had Aaspergers, Downs, Gang, learning disabled, abused, neglected and just plain misbehaving kids. He likes to say he is saving the world one child at a time. He also says that they can’t get away with anything because he knows how they are feeling or what they are up to. He continues on meds because he has a huge amount of paperwork to accomplish for each child.

    He is finishing his Masters. He wants his doctorate. We never thought it would be possible..

    Praying for Kate and your family. You will find the answer for your family. God and the doctors will help you. Do not feel guilty if you decide on meds. You are a good mom, no matter what!

  • Christa McJunkin

    Our oldest son is now 11.  From kindergarten through 4th grade, you could have just recorded a parent-teacher conference and replay it every year.  “Jacob is a sweet, bright boy, who doesn’t concentrate and finish his work.”  Every year his ability to focus would improve but he was never on par with his peers.  Homework was a constant struggle and led to too much yelling (from me :( ) and tears (from both of us).  In 4th grade his teacher said she could not advance him to 5th grade unless he impoved his focus and ability to complete assignments.  This conference was on the same day that he came home with 100% on a science test–so clearly it wasn’t a learning issue and keeping him back wasn’t going to help.  All along I resisted “labeling” him anything and really felt that ADD might be a real thing, but its over diagonsed and my kid doesn’t have it because he can focus when he wants to.  When he finds a book he loves, just try breaking his concentration.  Nothing doing.  But faced with being held back, we finally felt we had to have him evaluated.

    He was diagnosed with ADHD–Inattentive Type, meaning he doesn’t have the hyperactivity and implusiveness of ADHD, just the lack of attention and focus.  We started him on Vyvance 20 mg and the improvement was immediate.  He calls them his smart pills and was amazed that math that used to take him an hour to do, he could finish in 20 minutes.  His teachers noticed immediately, as well.  He’s about to finish up 5th grade and we have adjusted his dosage up to 40 mg, but none of the things I worried about have happened.  His personality is the same; he’s not some drugged up zombie (my fear).  His attitude is better because he knows what he can do.

    To be fair, its not a cure-all.  He still has trouble keeping track of details and is poorly organized.  I still get frustrated with him, but something his teacher told me keeps me on track.  There is a kid at Jacob’s school who is missing his arm from just below his shoulder.  She pointed out that me expecting Jacob to be able to stay organized is just like asking that kid to tie his shoes.  Jacob literally cannot do it.  So we have to figure out adaptations, much like the boy who is missing part of his arm.  That is the ongoing stuff that drugs don’t cure.  Jacob will need these coping tricks throughout life, but having a diagnosis has been great for him and our family.  Best of luck to you.

  • Sprinkles

    I don’t have any advice from a Mommy’s stand point. But when I was in the 3rd grade I was told I had ADD. I was on Ritalin once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I think I sorta outgrew it because when I was a sophomore in high school I stopped taking it and had no bad effects.

  • Shene Benton

    I only read a couple of comments, so I hope I’m not too repetitive.  I have had no personal experience with ADD and medication as a mother, but I have as a teacher.  I have seen it work WONDERS in children.  I taught 1st-3rd grade for seven years.  There are many success stories I could share, so I’ll try to be brief.  With most students, even though they are young, they know that they are having a hard time staying on task, concentrating, sitting still, etc.  There is crying and frustration (both at home and school), and they are exhausted because they stay up late trying to get homework done.  I have seen medication help with those problems tremendously, and then the best parts of the child (that were there all along) are able to come out because they can have better control.  I taught a 2nd grade little boy that came to me after repeating first grade.  When I met with the mom at the beginning of the year, I asked her about this, because I simply could not believe that he had repeated.  He was mature, creative, calm, and very smart.  He was not struggling at all, as I expected he would be.  She shared that they put him on medication during his second year in 1st grade, and that had made all the difference.  I really saw this myself when he came to school one day without medication by mistake…it took me about 10 minutes to realize that something was very different. It was a hard day and he expressed that he disliked how he couldn’t do better that day. 

    I am certainly not a doctor or expert, but I wanted to share that I have seen medication do good things.  I will be praying for you, because I know that it is a very personal (and hard!) decision.  I know you will do what is best for your precious Kate!

  • Diana

    I may be repreating others, but here’s my caution from a social worker’s perspective…You and Todd and your doctors will know what’s best.

    A few years back- it became trendy to not only put kids on Ritalin, but also on Clonadine (sp?).  This makes them completely manageable for the adults in their life, but it also totally zones them out – no highs, no lows, just even keel temperment all the time.

    I’ve seen too many kids loose their awesome personalities to this mix.  Others, especially parents will have help with suggestions of what works, but I’ve seen too many cases of what doesn’t. 

    Covering you in prayer as you walk this chapter…

  • http://www.fromourfrontporch.net Sherri

    Angie
    just wanted to add that it might be worth your while to have kate’s vision checked! a comprehensive eye exam can uncover subtle visual processing disorders that often manifest themselves as a.d.d. symptoms.
    my 6 yo son has a.d.h.d. & my 9 yo daughter, whom we thought had a.d.d., turned out to be suffering from a convergence insufficiency of the eyes.
    she’s been prescribed corrective lenses for her reading (which she’s struggled with from the beginning) & her schoolwork.
    good luck to you & you’ll be in my prayers as you seek answers & solutions!

    ~sherri

    • Beth

      I am way behind on blog reading. I am de lurking to chime in.

       I am so glad someone posted about this! One of my dear friends has two sons, both with convergence insufficieny and only a few doctors can find it. In Atlanta there is a great one who was able to help my friend’s sons. Both boys were thought to have ADD but it turned out to be convergence insufficiency. Neither could read at grade level and once they began the eye therapy, everything changed.

       To read more about it: http://www.convergenceinsufficiency.org/ Praying for sweet Kate and you!

  • mj

    You asked for opinions, opinions can hurt, so I hope you have put on your thickest skin, your most open mind and your most  tender heart, that you can sift through the opinions and your spirit will alight on the best matches for you and your Kate.

    Here is my opinion: 
     -medicate as a last, l.a.s.t. resort, very last resort
    -turn the tv off
    -limit to 30  minutes, or less, each day of computer time
    -get that girl outdoors, gardening, biking, hiking, sports, swimming, cloud watching, drawing, skipping, she needs the space and activity of God’s creation
    -the outdoor time needs to be the majority of her days, if you cannot do this hire somebody, neighborhood teens to be her outdoor guide(s)
    -get her eyes checked, there can be subtle eye issues, where the eyes are not tracking together that can cause issues, have her evaluated by a specially trained person, this is training beyond the opthamologist (MD)
    -I implore you not to destroy the creative gift that God made her, ask yourself if you are trying to mold her to fit your life, your family, your needs, just because she is different doesn’t mean she needs a diagnosis
    -one opinion is only one, she is worth more than one
    -look into waldorf education for her, where creativity and play is the approach
    -I’m sure you’ve prayed, but I also know that life is busy, life is too hectic to accomodate, but again I implore you to see her gifts and not “force” through medication her conforming to the convenient “norm”
    -I don’t know you, I’ve never met your precious Kate, so these are unbiased opinions
    -praying for your wisdom and for Kate’s protection that her light will shine exactly as God intends

    • mj

      couldn’t help noticing a bit of a theme when I visited Shaun Groves blog today http://shaungroves.com/2012/05/a-mystic-in-the-garden/

      There is something healing and godly about the outdoors. 

       I could also direct you to your friend Ann VosKamp’s life in the country. We were made to be in a garden and modern life has robbed our souls of this. 

  • Sheryl Blaise

    I know how  you feel. My 9 year old has ADD, based on tests through the pediatricians office. It had been apparent for several years that he was having trouble, but we didn’t want to medicate him. We tried Mt. Dew and some homeopathic things but they didn’t seem to work for us. This year he was getting frustrated in school because he couldn’t stay focused and it was starting to affect his grades and his self-esteem. He actually asked me if we could try the medicine. We decided at that point that we needed to give it a try. We tried the Daytrana patch and I hated it. It changed his personality and seemed to bring out some ADD symptoms that he did not exhibit before. We decided try another medication because I know you usually have to go through several to find the right one for your child. We are now on Vyvanse and it seems to be working well and has not changed his personality This is what is working for us right now however,  I am still open to other avenues because I don’t want to have him medicated for life. I am reading a book right now called Smart but Scattered, that seems to be very good.

    I know how hard this decision is, we have been praying about it for several years. You and Todd need to research and make the choice that is right for you. Unfortunately, one of the hardest things about this for my family has been that my mother and sisters have not been real supportive of our decision to try the medicine. Funny thing is, my mom actually said the other day that she thought he needed more because she can tell when it starts wearing off!

    I am so glad that you posted this because I think it is going to help many others who are dealing with this as well. I know I am going to be reading all the input you receive!

    You are in my prayers,
    Sheryl

  • Salty

    Have her tonsils checked.  A study came out a few years ago that showed children were sometimes labeled as ADD because of their symptoms caused by lack of proper sleep due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids.  Sorry for the run on.  Sorry for this cross Kate has to bear.  She is blessed to have her parents who will help her.

  • Janice

    We have had GREAT success without medication thanks to Dr. John Hicks. He is a leader in getting these kids healthy and it is all about getting their system healthy. It was a hard road. We had to go gluten and dairy free and we take a TON of supplements, but as he said would happen, after 6 diligent months, we have healthy children. His website is called http://www.elementalsliving.com. We do our appointments via Skype and he treats people all over the world. Could talk your ear off for an hour about all we have learned! On a side note, just finished What Women Fear – you are amazing! We’ll keep you in our prayers

  • Sarah

    Have a niece that was diagnosed as ADD and with a sleep disorder (snored like an old man, etc).  Took her tonsils and adenoids out and the sleep disorder is gone and the ADD is leaps and bounds better.  Get her eyes checked as well, hearing too.  Praying for you as you nnavigate this journey!

  • Janice

    Angie,

    When I read your blog it brought back so many memories.  When our son Jason was 9 years old he was diagnosed with a developmental disability (he is mentally retarded) along with ADD.   While it felt like our lives were turned upside down, we knew we had no choice but to put him on medication.  Although it was and still is controversial, we felt like he had so much to overcome that we choose medication to help him with his ADD.  I too was tired of the fighting over homework and staying on task.  It helped him tremendously.  Over the years, we’ve had to adjust to different medications but at 27 he is working full time and is the most loving, non judgmental, sweetest, hard working person I know.  He is still on medication to help him function at work and we notice a huge difference when he doesn’t take it.  I know your situation isn’t the same but I hope this helps you as you decide what to do for Kate.  I will be praying for you and Todd as you wrestle with this decision.  Do what you think is best for Kate!!  Do not feel guilty over whatever choice you make.

  • Janice

    Angie,

    When I read your blog it brought back so many memories.  When our son Jason was 9 years old he was diagnosed with a developmental disability (he is mentally retarded) along with ADD.   While it felt like our lives were turned upside down, we knew we had no choice but to put him on medication.  Although it was and still is controversial, we felt like he had so much to overcome that we choose medication to help him with his ADD.  I too was tired of the fighting over homework and staying on task.  It helped him tremendously.  Over the years, we’ve had to adjust to different medications but at 27 he is working full time and is the most loving, non judgmental, sweetest, hard working person I know.  He is still on medication to help him function at work and we notice a huge difference when he doesn’t take it.  I know your situation isn’t the same but I hope this helps you as you decide what to do for Kate.  I will be praying for you and Todd as you wrestle with this decision.  Do what you think is best for Kate!!  Do not feel guilty over whatever choice you make.

  • Lynn Worley

    Am sure you’ll get a lot better advice than I could give but wanted to say a few things. I have a daughter who has it and I truly believe that her brain is wired differently. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just different. One of the main problems is impulse control. She would do something wrong and would never, ever think of the consequences. How do you discipline someone like that? Don’t try to understand why she does what she does, it ain’t gonna happen. Doubt if you’ll remember this but when she gets older there’s a much greater chance of depression. I had no idea and it’s only by the grace of God that something tragic didn’t happen with my daughter. On the bright side, she is so amazing! She’s in her 20s now and I truly believe she could take over the world if she wanted to! She was offered a manager position at KFC at the age of 17. As for medication, never even considered it. But then I homeschooled (oh…and the reason I tried to figure out what was going on with her was because I’d teach her something one day and the very next day we’d go over it and she’d look at me like she’d never heard of it before!). You need to do what you think is best for your daughter. If medicine would help, then go for it. Don’t be talked into doing something you don’t feel is right to do. Don’t be talked out of doing something you feel is right to do! She’s YOUR daughter! The Lord gave her to YOU! You’re in for a grand adventure! Just keep showering her with love! I have a feeling she’s as much or more confused than you are about what’s going on inside her!

  • Lynn Worley

    Am sure you’ll get a lot better advice than I could give but wanted to say a few things. I have a daughter who has it and I truly believe that her brain is wired differently. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just different. One of the main problems is impulse control. She would do something wrong and would never, ever think of the consequences. How do you discipline someone like that? Don’t try to understand why she does what she does, it ain’t gonna happen. Doubt if you’ll remember this but when she gets older there’s a much greater chance of depression. I had no idea and it’s only by the grace of God that something tragic didn’t happen with my daughter. On the bright side, she is so amazing! She’s in her 20s now and I truly believe she could take over the world if she wanted to! She was offered a manager position at KFC at the age of 17. As for medication, never even considered it. But then I homeschooled (oh…and the reason I tried to figure out what was going on with her was because I’d teach her something one day and the very next day we’d go over it and she’d look at me like she’d never heard of it before!). You need to do what you think is best for your daughter. If medicine would help, then go for it. Don’t be talked into doing something you don’t feel is right to do. Don’t be talked out of doing something you feel is right to do! She’s YOUR daughter! The Lord gave her to YOU! You’re in for a grand adventure! Just keep showering her with love! I have a feeling she’s as much or more confused than you are about what’s going on inside her!

  • Brooke

    Angie –
    I haven’t had a chance to read the comments yet and I don’t have children. I just wanted to say that I can tell from your post (and your whole blog, really) that you are crazy about your children. It’s so obvious from this post that you adore Kate and want to find solutions to whatever is going on that will benefit her and the rest of your family. I also know from reading here that you and your husband are certainly asking God for wisdom in this matter. I pray you feel encouraged by your appointment with the doctor tomorrow, reading the comments/suggestions on this post, and just trusting that the Lord is going before you in all of this.

    Now that I’ve said the important things [wink], I do have one suggestion to offer. I used to teach children at church and had several who absolutely could not sit still. One of them said that he was allowed to stand up while he did his work at school, so I let him try it. It totally worked. He could sort of fidget on his feet without causing a major distraction to the other kids and actually would get his worksheet done or listen to the Bible story or whatever. Obviously, this is a really minor point, but it might be worth a shot – diagnosis or not.

    Praying for you, Todd, and Kate tomorrow …
    Brooke

  • Jenn Castro

    Angie, I’m not a parent and I don’t have ADD.  What I do have is a medical condition requiring medication that sometimes brings an unfortunate social stigma.  I’ve fought clinical depression for more than 30 years.  I’m a bright, strong-willed believer in Jesus who thought all it SHOULD take was for me to decide to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” and get on with life.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy, or I surely would have done it.  My brain simply does not processs/handle serotonin in the way it should.  Antidepressants are an absolute must for me.  I’ve been teased for being a “Prozac lifer,” criticized for not trusting God enough to heal me or help me handle my problems, and looked down upon because I choose medication instead of other alternatives.  While I’m grateful others are able to handle depression employing those means, I simply am not physically able to do that.  I struggled for years with not wanting to be “chemically dependent” and not wanting to acknowledge that I’ll need medicinal help the rest of my life.  One day, my beloved doctor said to me, “Jenn, if you had diabetes, you’d take insulin.  If you had high blood pressure, you’d take a beta-blocker or calcium channel blocker.  If you had heart disease, you might take ace-inhibitors or vasodilators.  If you had an infection, you’d take antibiotics.  Your brain doesn’t process serotonin properly, so you will take medication for that.”  That made so much sense, and it was so liberating!!  Now I happily share my experiences with others without fear of judgment because I know I’m doing what is right to help my body where it needs help.  Sharing helps others and affirms to me yet again that I’m on the right track. Generally people who are critical are either ignorant of the facts or overzealous in an ill-conceived but well-meaning attempt at help and encouragement.  I’m grateful I live in a day where medicinal options are available to me and choose to ignore any comments of those not directly involved in my care.

    Unfortunately many diseases, conditions and syndromes have wonderful treatment options that also carry social stigmas.  DON’T let that be your guide!  There is absolutely NO doubt you and Todd love ALL of your girls and desire to do what is best for them and raise them in a way that honors God.  The quartet of you, Todd, God and your doctor will come to a decision that is best for Kate, even if it does take some trial and error to find the right combination of things or dosage on meds, etc.  And while you journey toward that right combination, there are scores of Sundays and sisters n Christ who are covering you in prayer and trusting God to lead you to exactly what is right for Kate. 

    Blessings to you and your precious family.

  • http://twitter.com/momsmagic Mom’s Magic

    I have only read a few comments, but wanted to chime in as a mother of a child with ADD.  My son was diagnosed last fall – about 1/4 of the way into the school year.  We were having difficulties with homework, but his teacher shared that he was having trouble at school, too – and it was starting to affect him socially.  He was doing OK in school, but his teacher realized he could do better.  I agonized over what it could be – and what we could do besides medication – but we did opt for medication.  We have tweaked it a bit – tried one medication that was good, but when we upped to a dose that gave us an effect to last through homework time, he had a few behaviors that got worse.  We switched meds – now on the second level of dosage – and it seems to be working well.  We have noticed that red dye is an issue for him – not because we took it out of our diet, but because we noticed a huge difference in behavior when he ingested more than usual one day (it was behavior we have *never* seen – and haven’t seen since). 
    While I’m not thrilled about having him on meds (and it’s expensive…), he is so much more successful in school – which I think has benefited his self-esteem as well.  We do take breaks on Saturday (sometimes on Sunday) and school breaks – and those days take extra work on our part – but we want him to know 1) what it’s like to not take it, 2) that he can still have a good day without it, and 3) that the medicine does make good decisions for him (he still has to do that on his own).  Yes, he does focus better if he takes it, and because he knows the difference in taking it and not taking it, we sometimes let him weigh in on whether or not he thinks he needs it (on non-school days when we have special activities planned). 
    I’m not sure how summer will pan out – I’m sure he will take it on camp days, but not sure about long breaks yet (we took a break over the Christmas holidays and he spent a day with a headache when we started back on a regular medication schedule). 
    I’ll be thinking about you and your family!

  • Amyheckman23

    Angie, you truly one of my favorite people and I never even met you! :) thank you for your open-ness and being “real”! Best of luck tommorow! <3

  • Sue S from GA

    No opinions or advice. I have no experience with this. I just wanted you to know I love you and Todd and will be praying for y’all to have wisdom and discernment. I have always LOVED Kate stories. One of my favorites was when she told the lady in the grocery store that when she grew up she was going to wear a brawl and do Bible Study! She is precious and I love her spunk!

  • http://twitter.com/momsmagic Mom’s Magic

     I’ve already commented, but just wanted to add that it was this very reasoning that helped me get over my worry that medication would be the “bad” choice for my son.  Thanks, Jenn, for sharing your experience!

  • Lisa

    Angie,
    I’m not a mom, but as a 1st/2nd grader teacher for the past 15 years, I have had tons of experience with undiagnosed ADHD.  Unfortunately, they’re so young and symptoms are just beginning to rear their ugly heads.  I don’t get to see the “after” in most situations, but have had more than my share of “before” experiences!  So many parents are squeamish about medication, but these drugs aren’t new anymore.  There are several options, and they all have been widely tested.   If Kate’s body was wired differently, you wouldn’t think twice about giving her an inhaler for asthma, or insulin for diabetes.  Yet, when it comes to mental disorders, there’s a stigma that parents have a hard time getting over.  If you choose medication, it could be life changing.  If you don’t see the change, try a new one, or take her off.  It’s worth a shot, for all of your wellbeing – especially precious Kate.  You can also try the nutritional approach, but it’s hard core!  I think Kate would have an easier time taking a pill every morning than skipping that neon blue cupcake at a birthday party!!
    I love your Kate – all your girls are precious, but she’s just different, in a spectacularly wonderful way.  : )  I pray that God protects her sweet spirit and personality, while teaching her how to deal with her frustration, whichever path you take.

  • Nileteacher

    I cannot offer advice as a parent, but as an elementary school teacher.  If you trust your pediatrician, then listen to his advice.  As a teacher, I can say that there are many, many children who take medication for ADD or ADHD and it makes a WORLD of difference for them.  Taking medication does not necessarily steal a child’s personality, if it is administered and managed appropriately.  In fact, it can bring out a whole new side of their personality that they can finally channel because their brain can slow down enough to process information around them.  ADD is essentially a processing disorder…and a very real medical diagnosis.  I have seen medication misused and abused by parents of children who really need discipline and structure, but I have also seen children shine and excel because they genuinely need the medication.  There are of course other options…and I am a big believer that jumping to medication isn’t necessarily the best decision for every child.  However, I have often used this analogy: “If your child were diabetic, would you deny them insulin?”  Of course not.  Don’t let the stigma stop you from doing what is best for Kate and your family.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get answers from your doctor.  Good luck to you, and I’m praying you will make the decision that is right for all of you.

  • Cseehausen

    As an adult with ADD, let me say this: I was never put on meds. I have a mild enough case that I was not diagnosed until my senior year of high school. It still is hard some days, but I was old enough to learn to work around it. That being said, my best friend has 3 boys. 2 are on concerta for their ADHD and it makes a remarkable difference. They are now controllable and more successful in school. I think that it should be left to the parents and the doctors to decide. There is nothing wrong with being on meds for something like this. Look at it this way: it is a personal decision and what works for some doesn’t work for all. Good luck through this. It is not an easy road to walk.

  • Jodie

    My response will probably be too long, first let me tell you that mine is graduating from high school (homeschooled since 4th grade) this year. We learned of her ADD at age 6, though in hindsight it was obvious earlier. Interestingly, while we struggled to diagnose her, we learned that my husband also has it, again hindsight. We started with ritalin sort of us a test to confirm diagnosis and because it’s only in your system for 4 hours, it was clear immediately that it helped, but near the 4 hour mark she would melt down, rebound effect I think they called it. I was nervous to try anything else, but did try Concerta and she’s been on that ever since. Through the years we have asked her if she’d like to stop taking it and the answer is always no, this no is based on how she feels on days when the medicine is forgotten. We do not stop during summer like some people, not because the medicine builds up in your system (it does not), but your tolerance to any side effects does. As for side effects, the only one we have attributed to the concerta is increased sweating, but she comes from a family of women who have been known to have that issue sans medication, ahem, and the dr prescriped a helpful deoderant to help that. The number one thing for me was that I didn’t want her to be different or a zombie or whatever, on the Concerta, my daughter is still herself, just with a little more self control. We have always explained ADD by using a lightswitch metaphor if you will. If you are running toward a busy intersection, most people have a switch that flips that tells them to stop, this is not the case with our child, it’s not that the switch doesn’t flip, it is NOT there. We feel that with medication she has a switch, but we tell her the pill is not magic, it is still up to her to “use the switch.” We recently heard about coffee as a natural stimulant that helps people with ADD, and now both my husband and daughter are drinking a cup a day; I even have a friend whose son cannot take add meds so he has mt dew for breakfast and iced tea for lunch. It’s a difficult decision, it’s an individual decision, and what I claim above as fact may be innacurate, but it’s how I understand it. Also, ADD seems like a big deal, but it’s such an amazing blessing in so many ways, so many things that make my daughter her may not exsist without it.

  • Tiffany Van Zee

    I apologize that I do not have time to read other comments, so forgive me if my comment is repetitive or unhelpful. I have a 15-year-old son who has, like Kate, exhibited his strong will from the day he was born. He is a joy but has humbled and challenged me in pretty much every way! He has had wonderfully loving teachers, and his 2nd grade teacher finally suggested to us that perhaps he could use some help with his different way of thinking. It was a mental and emotional battle to consider medication–being fully aware of of the anti-medication, “there-is-no-such-thing-as-ADHD” opinions out there. And yes, just feeling a bit like a failure because we didn’t know how to help him by ourselves. 

    Anyway, we started him on Ritalin in 2nd grade, and we all almost instantly noticed a difference. He didn’t take it on the weekends, and at first he would ask when he could take it again because he could tell that it helped his mind and impulses. He was on medication for 3 years, until his amazing master of a 5th grade teacher decided he’d like to start the year without the meds and see how it went. I credit that teacher, the amazing Mr. B, with our son’s best year of attention and neat handwriting that he had ever had before (or since). 

    He has been without medication now for the last 5 years and has grown immensely in his ability to control himself, plan head, pay attention, etc. (He still likes to stand on his head to watch TV, tap constantly, etc., and other sensory issue-related behaviors. :) ) I firmly believe that those few years with the medication gave him confidence in himself and a greater awareness of his own ability to control himself that he could never have realized without the medication to help him focus. I still don’t tell just anyone that he was on medication, for the same reasons mentioned above, but in our situation, it was definitely the right choice and definitely a blessing for our entire family, especially our son. 

    Oh, and by the way, it was years before he knew he had “ADHD.” We and his teachers didn’t ever tell him that label; he just knew that he needed a little help focusing. He knows now and sometimes tries to use ADHD as an excuse but we don’t let him get by with it. :)

    And finally, one more note…Yes, I would guess that food may be an aggravator for him, but his strong will is such that we have never yet won the food battle with him, despite attempting every approach under the sun, so he pretty much eats what he wants. Choose your battles. :)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5HVMWYFNFGEQTCSJXWHXJ2JQXE JennA

    Angie, I have not read the comments at all but wanted to share that when I was in 3rd grade I was diagnosed with ADD.  I am currently a university professor with my PhD chemical engineering.  I share that to point out that ADD need not hold anyone back.  I do not know what options were presented to my parents 20+ years ago, but I was never put on medication. While every child is different, feel free to contact me if you should want any more details on what worked for me in school (and what I still do).

  • Frugal

    i’m not saying this is your answer, but i have some issues i deal with similar.  i was just at a homeschool conference and heard dianne craft speak.  wow.  she has some amazing, amazing things she talks about in regards to right brained kids (ie. think add, dyslexia, ect)  she is not anti medication…but she is also into alternative therapies and nutrition to aid with working with it.  her before and after cases were almost shocking.  anyway…she has a lot of years experience as an educator and as a homeschooler.  her site is http://www.diannecraft.org   she is very widely respective.  hope it helps.

  • Nancy Peacock

    Hi Angie, I’m praying for you, that the spirit of discouragement will lift and you’ll be able to step back and celebrate Kate’s strengths. I have two kids, both with attention difficulties. We treated my daughter from Grade One to Grade Seven with Ritalin. It helped immensely for her to stay on task and I think she was able to accomplish what the teachers wanted for her. It took away her appetite and she only ate a small breakfast and a big supper. We couldn’t get her to eat lunch at all. I also found it made her less carefree and sweet, and more focused and almost a little obsessive. We took her off when she was in Grade Eight, and she seemed to adjust fine to the class expectations. My daughter has developmental delay though, so the expectations put on her were considerably less than on a child without delays.
    My son was ADD too, and the school wanted him to go on Ritalin. We tried but it made him feel nauseated and upset and he begged me to home school. I home schooled him from Grade Three to end of Grade Six. We put him in a christian school and he had a rough year or two but he adapted and did very well academically, and fairly well socially for the duration of his school years.
    I hope you get lots of good advice and that you’re able to make the best decision for Kate. My kids are now 20 and 25 and though I remember that awful feeling of trying to do the right thing for both of them, it is now a distant memory and they are both such lovely people. I know it will be the same for you and Kate as well.
    Blessings on your family, as I’m sure this affects everyone in it!
    Nancy Peacock
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  • Lauren Alexander

    I just want to remind you that God picked you, out of the billions of women in all the world, to be Kate’s mama. He knows what He’s doing, and the A*Team is praying for you! I also have an extremely strong-willed child and when mixed with her background and her previous foster care experiences, make her prone to rage as well as attention struggles. The comfort I find in the Lord is that He is able to take her weaknesses and use them to glorify Himself. I don’t have a lot of suggestions for you as we have an appointment in June and will walk a similar road then.

  • Jennifer

    praying…

  • Amyliz74

    i don’t have time to read prior comments so forgive if this is a duplcate comment. while medication can be helpful, i’ve read that tweaking a childs diet can help as well. primarily going gluten free. but i would start with removing all “white” foods from her diet, if she curently eats them. basically anything processed. we all know that those foods break down as sugar which is not good. if she doesn’t eat this stuff, then i would look into removing gluten from her diet.

    both you and kate will be ok. your doctor will help you and your motherly insticnts will kick in and help too.

    my niece is almost 17 and was dx w/ADD as a small child. i will tell you that my sis has changed her meds umpteen times over the years (which is a necessary) but she thrived all through her childhood and is a bright and very creative girl.

    the good lord brought you to this and he will bring you through it. you seem to handle things with much grace and i have a feeling you will do just fine with this blip on your radar. no one ever said it was easy, but it is defintly worth it.

    bless you sister,
    a-

  • Ash

    Praying for you and Kate. If you are hesitant to use medication I would suggest you look up Nerocore. It is based in Michigan but has a program for people out of state. It is brain training that basically has you watch a movie while hooked up to the machine. Dr. will set the bars for your specific need. The brain does all the work, when your waves go above the line set by the dr. the movie will stop. They have had really good luck with this. They had one child on seven different medications for ADD and at the end of the program the child was on three. It supposedly is permanent. It might be something to look into? Just a suggestion. Good luck tomorrow.

  • Kristin Smith

    Ang
     I will start by sending you my love and prayers. I was in your place one day myself. Our 3 yr old at the time Gabriel was being threatened to be kicked out of daycare because of his “behavior”. They recommended he be tested (thought it was ADD) and he ended up on the Autism spectrum. He was very bright but didn’t transition well, didn’t focus well, had food issues. As a mother I just wanted the best for my son and I was sure that this “title” would forever alter his schooling and adulthood.  I was scared and didn’t know as a parent how to proceed.

      But we had a WONDERFUL school district who had Special Ed teachers that were trained in how best to work with Gabriel. He started behaving better, understanding boundaries, focusing and transitioning (with the help for a time of a transition timer…he just is a “schedule” kid. He needed to know what was coming next and when and he could deal with that), learning how to play well with others etc…

      As parents we learned how to adapt as well. Implemented some of the strategies that worked in preschool, at home. Today Gabriel is 8. Last year we moved to MN and because of that he had to be re-tested to “qualify” for services. And although he still has some social struggles…he tested at a typical level and doesn’t need extra help. He still likes to know the “rules”, still likes a schedule – but can adapt to change on his own and has thrived in his new school.

      All the fears I had early on have been proven false. He has friends, he does well in school and is a smart little cookie!  Whatever the “diagnosis” – get support from local people who have experience in whatever is Kate’s “ability”. I don’t like the word disability….it can make it seem like our kids are less than. My Gabriel has a special and unique ability to see the world in a different way than some. We encourage his strengths and encourage growth in his weakness and try and remember that the tough times pass and something beautiful often follows.

      I am getting long and I apologize…but I want to share a little bit of Gabriel’s beauty.  He has a very strong passion and interest in God. More than any other of my children. My husband taught him the ACTS prayer. Taught him what it meant and how to pray for each letter of the word. And he started encouraging Gabriel to do it.  You should hear, and see him when he prayers. It is at a level that even I don’t go to most days.

      Today at lunch Dominic said Gabriel you could be a preacher. You are just in tune with the Holy Spirit. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that is where God leads him.  In the thick of it…the unknown…fear told me lies that he would never measure up to what society says my boy should be. And my heart hurt for him that it might be true.  Today I am so grateful for the little miracles we have seen over the past 5 years.

      They will come for you and your Kate too. My boss’s 10 yr old son has ADHD and is on meds. If they forget to give it to him in the morning the school calls because they can see the difference in his behavior. It evens him out.  I don’t know what med he is on…but it does have a few side effects. One is he still has trouble at night with bed wetting….can’t remember what causes that..but it was related I think. And also it slows down his growth. He is a small, and shorter boy and they have decided to take him off the meds over the summer just to see if they can’t stimulate a growth spurt.  Again not sure that all meds have those side effects…but something you can research if it comes to that and weigh all the options. My boss said for him, it is worth it to stay on the meds during the school year.

      I am just praying over you and hopefully the wise, caring comments people will leave here and trusting God to bring beauty out of this too.

    Hugs, Kristin

  • Sheilarather

    Angie, I have a child that I feel will end up in the same boat as your Kate. But, I also have worked in childcare for many years and have had a few children who have really struggled with ADD and ADHD. A few years back I had a child in my room who was 5. I had never seen a child so unfocused. I felt for him deeply and tried many things to help and so did his mom. She finally took him to a great Dr and he suggested that she cut all red dye out of his diet as well as a few other things from his diet. But mostly the red dye. It truly worked a miracle! Literally a couple weeks later he was like a totally different kid. Before the change he could not even sit still long enough to do a color page or while I read a short book. After the change he would be the last kid at the table because he was so into his work and focused and would love story time! Don`t beat yourself up too much or be upset. You are an amazing mommy and that is obvious because you are doing everything you can to help her. Lots of doctors like to just throw medicine at the problem and hope for the best. Being in the medical field I know that drugs don`t have to be the end all be all treatment. I would for sure try changes in diet or other options first. Love reading your blog! Thank you so much for sharing and being so open. It is such a help to this mommy:) 

  • fern katz

    I have a son (now 22) with ADHD and I taught special education for a number of years.  Good for you for looking into this and talking with your doctor.  Some pediatricians do not like to diagnose and will refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist.  I think this is smart.  My ped told me he was not an expert in that area and wanted me to see someone who was.  For my son, medication plus other changes were the key.  It took us a while to find the right meds, and they have to be changed every once in a while (he also has bipolar, which complicates things). 

    I happen to be a big believer that medication alone is rarely the answer, it is just one tool.  Sometimes accommodations need to be made and sometimes you have to rethink how you do things.  For us, it meant not giving him too many instructions at one time, helping him try to stay organized (it never worked), convincing his high school teachers that it was okay for him to e-mail his papers and assignments to them–otherwise they magically disappeared on his way to school.  Honestly, I saw him put his papers in his backpack, but he would lose them by the time he had to turn them in. We made other changes and accommodations as needed.  Another one we did was give him plenty of time to adjust and prepare for any changes or transitions, and not to talk “at” him too much.  

    We learned that we had to raise our children the way they each needed to be raised–which was not the same as how we thought we would do things.  Also, remember that ADHD and ADD are not the child’s or your “fault.”  It is just something that is.  And, I am guessing that you would never deny your child a medication she needed.  Certainly not if she had diabetes or epilepsy.  And you wouldn’t deny your child any kind of therapy that might be needed.  We sort of likened our experience to my other child who had allergies–we gave her medication and also changed some things in her room like hypoallergenic mattress cover.  We made other changes as well–in order to help her breathe.  We do the same with my son in order to help him learn and function.

    Today–he is a college student who is (finally) getting great grades and studying what he loves.

    And…each of these challenges help us become better people and better parents.  I learned so much on this road, including how to adjust my own thinking.  

    Good Luck!

  • Tarena

    Hi Angie!
    I pray that the Lord continues to help you on this journey and find just what Kate needs.
    For our family (which I totally understand that each family is different!) we didn’t want to try medication first for his “issues”…we are doing a diet change called “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” (GAPS) for short. We have been blessed and amazed at the difference food makes in his life. Truly we are what we eat.
    We also do a lot of other things…trying to heal his body with detox baths, brain exersizes and even going to a therapist to help him also. 
    Each child is different and what works at one point may change later. 
    Blessings on the Lord healing your child…He is our Great Physician!
    tarena
    ps…feel free to email if you have questions!

    • KaraL

      I was going to suggest the same diet for you to look into.  We are getting ready to start the GAPS diet for our family.  It’s a really amazing healing diet (I’ve read so many incredible stories of healing from food allergies, skin problems, auto immune issues, and psychological issues, etc. )  I know you’ve been given a hundred different ideas here, but if you are interested in looking into it check out gutandpsychologysyndrome.com – or just google GAPS.
      I’ll be praying for peace for you in your decision making process!  By the way, are you guys doing Classical Conversations for homeschooling?  (I thought it might be since you said it was a once a week tutoring program).  We are getting ready to start this fall. 
      Blessings to you and your family!
      Kara

  • Volleynut

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. One thing you may want to consider is consulting a Nutritionist or a naturopathic doctor. There are considerable studies on food and the potential relationship to ADD. It might be a situation where, instead of medicines, just changing eating habits would make a huge difference. May God bless you, as you seek Him for answers… and may He give you comfort as well.

  • Brianne

    Hi, Angie,

    I am not a mom but after reading your post I wanted to share this thought with you.  It’s something God has been teaching me over the last few weeks (as in I heard this phrase 3 times in a week’s span…so I knew He was up to something!).  I can’t imagine what you are feeling and thinking and wondering for your little girl, but just know in the hands of our Redeemer, nothing is wasted.   God wastes nothing!  He can use anything and redeem everything.  So although there are a lot of uncertainties, He is still God, still good, and is still working!  Praying for peace and wisdom for you and your family.

    Love in Christ,
    Bri

  • Christi Schwalk

    Prayers being said for you and your sweet Kate…
    I am a teacher and I have watched many children become frustrated and discouraged because they know they cannot pay attention.  I have had a variety of solutions in the students that I have had.  For some, medicine works best.  Other parents have tried change of diet, creative solutions in the classroom and school (some with success, some not).  One of the things that has worked best for some of those students is a “patch med.”  They put it on in the morning, take it off around noon and it’s completely worn off by about 3-3:30.  It especially helps with appetite issues because as soon as it wears off, they are able to eat and have a great appetite. 

    One thing I want to encourage you with (and what I tell the parents of my students with these issues) is that my students with ADD are often the most personable, most creative and most imaginative!  It’s all about helping them get the focus to channel those things into a successful classroom and school experience.  You are doing the right thing to treat it now–before Kate starts feeling worse about herself.

    Also remember–you are her mommy and you will ultimately do what is best for her!  God entrusted her to you and He will give you the wisdom and discernment to do the best thing for Kate.  Also, God gave her this gift–and it will serve her well throughout her life.

  • jamie pennington

    Angie~
    My cousin has a child with ADD and she uses natural lavendar oil on the back of his neck and it helps alot to keep him focused.  If you have any questions please email me. j-pennington@live.com     Praying- Jamie

  • Laura

    Hello Angie.  My post doesn’t really have to do anything about medication or not.  However, it is something that REALLY helps!  I am actually not a parent but a teacher so I will tell you what has seemed to help with my students over the years that have a difficult time with attention/focusing.  I have them on an hourly focus chart divided up into 7 parts (subjects/hours).  Students get a happy face for each part of the day that they focused (whether it be participating, listening or finishing their work).  A “straight” face is given when they did an “okay” job focusing and a sad face is given if they had a difficult time focusing.  

    I make sure that when students begin this chart is in done as positive reinforcement and not negative.  I discuss an attainable goal with the parents such as 5out of 7 happy faces each day and ask that the parents check the chart each day and praise their child when the child comes home for working so hard at focusing.  I also ask parents to come up with some type of reward for meeting the goal.  The reward is totally up to the parents but doesn’t have to be “something” but can be earning time to play the DS, doing an activity with just their parents, staying up 15 minutes late on Fridays.  How often the child gets the reward is up to the parents, also.  For example, one of my previous students was earning a trip to a local water park once school was out for summer and another earned buying an ice cream cone on Fridays.  It’s whatever works best for you and your child. 

    The focus chart has been successful for EVERY child that I have ever used it with in my 7 years of teaching because of the following reasons:
    –it’s empowering for the child
    –it’s positive & makes the child feel successful 
    –it breaks down the day into chunks so that success is attainable
    –it’s a great visual to serve as a reminder to focus

    Once/if Kate is diagnosed with ADD, a daily focus chart can be put into her 504 or IEP so that the school gives her that accommodation.

    Laura 
    Kinder teacher/former 1st Grade teacher

  • Kmelissasmallwood

    My youngest (who is now 14) went through this when he was 5-9.  He took an amino acid called L-Tyrosine instead of prescription meds.  We also cut sugar and food coloring out of his diet and it made a huge difference.  Prayers that you find what works best for you and your child!!!

  • A Samsury

    Praying for you and believing that God will lead you to the decision that is best for you and your whole family. 

  • Julie_Myers

    Ok, so, not sure if anyone else has offered this suggestion in previous comments (come on, there are like 185 before mine, so I haven’t read them all!)…BUT, have you had Kate’s eyes tested?  And, I’m NOT talking about the traditional eye exam at the eye doctor.  I’m talking about an extensive comprehensive eye exam.  (Not all eye doctors do this.)  By Divine intervention, we heard about this test & “vision therapy”.  My daughter’s symptoms were short attention span, hated reading, & moodiness.  We had this extensive eye test done.  They do give a traditional eye exam, but they also have the child draw lots of pictures on dot graphs and so on.  While her VISION (like what we know as “20/20″) is perfect, we found that HER.EYES.WERE.MESSED.UP.!!  She has severe “accomodative insufficiency” AND “convergence insufficiency”.  We have been doing VISION THERAPY with her for the past 4 months & are just about finished.  THE RESULTS ARE AMAZING!!  She is a new kid!  Attention span=check!  Reading=check!  Moodiness=er, mostly check!  (She IS a preteen girl afterall! :) )  And, by the way, while reading some literature on this subject at the eye doctor, I was amazed to see that lots of the symptoms are the same symptoms of ADD or ADHD.  Just sayin’!

    Sorry to ramble on & on, but when we Divinely heard about this stuff when we were in such agony over what to do with our daughter, I vowed that I would shout this new found knowledge from the rooftops in hopes of helping even just one other child.

    Also, Angie, I stumbled upon your blog from a friend’s blogroll.  Although I have never commented before (thank goodness, eh, might have crashed your site with such lengthy posts!), I have been reading your blog since pretty much the beginning.  You have a wonderful heart & I appreciate you sharing it with us all!

    Hugs to you as you help little Kate!

  • Meg

    Bless your sweet momma heart!  I teach first grade and also have two littles of my own.  My oldest is 5 and will be in Kindergarten in the fall.  While I haven’t dealt with this as a momma I have seen is ALOT in school.  Much of it is developmental and they do tend to grow out of it as they mature but ADD is most certainly a real diagnosis but I have seen things work besides the traditional medication route.  In fact a very good friend of mine is dealing with this in her home with her own daughter.  They took her to our chiropractor who did some muscle testing on her only to find she had food allergies that were contributing to the problem.  She can’t have anything with corn syrup in it and once that was eliminated they did see huge improvements.  May be worth checking in to?  :)  Much love to you and yours!

  • http://www.scrappykitkat.blogspot.com Kathy

    WOW, this thread/ blog could not have come at a better time. We are currently going through the EXACT same thing with our 9 yo daughter and have just begun to discuss the whole ‘what should we do next’ step. I’m so afraid of doing the wrong thing and really intimidated to try meds – but not really sure where to start! I have read MANY of the comments and am SUPER encouraged by many of the responses. So good to know we’re not alone in this!! I’m not sure what the answer is as we’re still searching for that answer ourselves, but just know that I’m so glad you posted this and opened yourself up to us. And I wanna say THANK YOU to all the ppl who have responded already!
    Kathy  

  • Melissabozek

    My daughter struggles with lack of focus too. She is in constant motion and is always singing. When I see her in Sunday school twirling around the room and not able to sit still, it makes me upset. My husband keeps reminding me to love her the way she is and not to give her a complex – she is a happy kid and doesn’t seem to notice anything is wrong. I am right there with you, Angie. It is so hard to know what to do. We have never tested her yet and she does pretty well being homeschooled. Praying for your Kate!!

  • Zoie

    My niece was put on Vyvanse in 1st grade. It was a terrible experience. Already very thin, she began dropping pounds quickly. Worst, she was highly emotional and depressed. She was much calmer, yes, but so sad and morose, and so easily frustrated she would just start sobbing over the tiniest thing. We were devastated at the loss of our happy sunshiny girl and convinced my sister to take her off it. She’s been non-medicated ever since and she still gets in trouble all the time for singing or talking or not paying attention at school, but she just finished fourth grade as a straight A student. And she’s bright and creative and happy.  Sometimes I think these kids are just too creative to be able to fit into the box that schools want them to fit into. (Even homeschooling, if it follows traditional schooling styles, is that same box.) Meds may work for some kids; for us, it wasn’t worth the tradeoff. There are tons of alternative methods to try. Unless it is severely impacting her quality of life at this point, I personally would try some of those things before exploring meds. I’ve heard similar stories of depressed children on ADHD meds from friends.

    • http://www.unexpectedgrace.wordpress.com/ Read2kds

      I am so glad to hear you post this.  My son had EXACTLY the same experience on Vyvanse.  He was an emotional wreck, crying, raging, over nothing.  I know not every child has that reaction and that MANY children get a lot of benefits from medication, but I think the lesson here is do what is best for YOUR child Angie!   For my son what has worked best is working with lists and schedules as well as joining the cross country team once he got to middle school.  We have so few problems now.  We had heard that many children change chemically as they go through puberty so maybe that is where we are at this point.
      I am a teacher also and have seen children have their lives changed with medication.  One student I taught didn’t even have any friends because of so many behaviors that were viewed by others as ‘odd’.  Within weeks of going on medication he began intereacting more appropriately and the kids easily accepted him into their friendship circles.  Such a blessing for me to watch.
      Blessings to you all for your encouraging words to Angie.  Angie, trust your own instincts…God gave them to you!

      Amy

  • Mekf810

    Oh I can’t imagine. My girls are 3 and 4 now so we aren’t quite to that stage of childhood yet. I will be praying formGod to give you a specific word and peace for your sweet girl. Pray for some James 1:5-6 wisdom for your sweet girl and our Lord is sure to guide you.

    That being said, I worked in a Peds office several years and many families have amazing success avoiding medication by removing artificial food dyes and sweeteners and refined sugar. Like, crazy-awesome-totally-different kid results.

    I will be praying!!!!!!

  • Andrea Liddell

    Angie,  I am not only a mama, but also  a kindergarten teacher.  I have seen children with ADD and ADHD both on and off medication.  In my opinion, medication can be extremely helpful in a child’s ability to focus and be a  successful learner.  With that being said, you know your Kate best! I think it is really important to manage the dosage so a child’s personality is not lost or masked by the effects of the medication.  It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your pediatrician, so I trust that IF medication is the route that you go should your sweet Kate be “officially” diagnosed as ADD, then you will have the BEST advice for  managing dosing. { I think that was a run-on sentence} :)  Good Luck!!!  

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com/ Southern Gal

    I have no advice, but I can and will pray.

  • Jennifer Hackett U’Ren

    Angie, I, my dear sweet Momma Bear friend, have walked this road for the last 9 months. My 11 year old was diagnosed with ADHD, after I had known it for years and begged his teachers for referrals, this last November. We chose to go with medication and therapy and it has helped. With some caveats. My son is a willful boy and while he knows in his beautiful red headed mind, buried deep amongst the confusion and chaos that ADHD brings about, that the meds works, there are days that he struggles with the reality that this is his new normal. I struggle with it as well, wanting to give him the carefree world he deserves, but knowing that his mind simply works differently than others and he needs help organizing his thoughts and controlling the chaos. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with getting your Kate the help she needs, in what ever fashion you see fit for HER. You know your baby. But just know that there are other Momma Bears out here, praying-walking-supporting you in this path. Please know that if you would like to contact me and have a voice to vent to, I would be more than willing to be here. From one heart to another.
    In God’s most peaceful love,
    Jennifer Hackett U’Ren
    Willmar Minnesota

  • Amyspieg

    wow! i only read the first ten comments and am already feeling overwhelmed for you. will pray for you and your family as you make what i must imagine are difficult and agonizing decisions. God bless and keep.

  • Rlisen2001

    I thought from a very young age that my eldest son was ADD or ADHD.  I watched him closely and talked to his first grade teacher the week before school started so that she was aware of my suspicions and could evalueate him also.  Within the first 6 weeks of school we had him tested by the school Psychologist and his teacher and had an appointment with our family doctor.  The first medication, Ritalin, the dr put him on didn’t work well with him after a couple of years and they switched him to a sustained released medication, another form of Ritalin, and he only took 1 pill a day.  He remained on this same medication up until just after his 18th birthday when he was able to more control himself and had matured enough that he decided he no longer wanted to be on the medication.  Granted, the strength of the meds changed as his age and weight did but the sustained released medication worked best for him.  He is now 25 and no longer needs the meds to help him concentrate and the medication and added attention span over the years helped him in that manner.  You have to do what is best for your child and if one med doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to try another until you find what does.  Some people have had success with food changes also.  They kept track of what their child ate and their hyper/non hyper tensions after eating meals. If I remember right it was mostly red meats, dairy, wheat items that they kept track of.  Read up on it, research online.  You do that well.  When I first heard about ADHD/ADD, I said I would never put my child on medication to help them control their behavior.  After dealing with students first had on a school bus all day for 2 years before my son was diagnosed, that changed my mind and I wanted to do everything I could to make learning a success for him.  We then had him tested for learning disabilities and he was in fact struck with the dreaded comprehension problem (which he inherited from me) and we were able to have him put on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that he carried throughout school.  This gave him help from a tutor daily for 45 minutes through high school, extra time and sometimes a reader on state mandated tests, and other advantages that he would not have had if not for the IEP.  He was even able to do spelling tests orally since he had trouble comprehending spoken words to written ones.

  • Michelle

    Our daughter, Piper, turned 2 on January 8th!  We were her foster parents and met her at the hospital when she was 36hrs old!  She was born positive for opiates.  Our ped warned of symptoms like I’m reading about here.  THANK YOU for sharing this with us! I’m learning alot and plan to come back to this post tomorrow (during nap) to make some notes! I know your situation isn’t the same as ours, but I’m thankful to be learning along the way!

  • Russellbunch

    Angie, my oldest son was classic ADD.  A good friend who was a family counselor evaluated my son for me and he met all the requirements.  We did not put him on medication, but chose to work through the challenges.  As homeschoolers we felt we had more flexibility to do so.  Braden is 17 today, and while he still struggles to focus sometimes, it is usually because his incredibly creative mind is in action!  He has gifts in music and writing which astonish me.  I am not sure he would have been free to be creative like he has if he had been on medication.

    This may seem off topic but I want to share something with you.  Our children have grown up on Selah music.  In fact, my 15 year old would tell you Selah is his favorite group.  My 13 year old son wants to “sing like Todd” someday, and actually encouraged my husband to shave his head like “Todd”!   Braden loves music and has found that writing music has been a salve to his soul.  His first song was written while a dear friend of ours was in critical condition in the hospital.  The song Laiel’s Song speaks of healing rain which you may appreciate, in reference to your chosen blog banner title.  I had not seen your blog until today, but found that very interesting! 

    I want to share his song with you, not because it is particularly fantastic musically, but because I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  And let me tell you, I can totally relate to the feelings you expressed in your blog.  Braden was eating my lunch for a few years!!!  God is so good though.  He has allowed this ADD boy to grow into a man after His own heart, who is at this time in his life glorifying God in the gifts he has been given.  I hope this will encourage you. 

    Here’s the link to his first song. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCgRjm0fAtA  This one was for a friend
    whose father died of cancer. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tlo9p14TgA 

    Your Kate will be just fine!  You have some challenges ahead indeed.  Braden was not easy.  But give her boundaries, direct her creativity, and watch her blossom.  It’s like this delicate balance between being too structured and not enough!  I see Braden’s need for structure, and his need for time to create.  I read out loud A LOT to my children and allow them to keep their hands busy doing whatever they choose that isn’t too disturbing.  Add in some math and writing (handwriting, letters, copywork) and you have a homeschool curriculum!  The rest is good but can be flexible.  We also chose music lessons of course and time in the garden and working with animals.  Braden didn’t have to spend lots of time sitting.  BUT, he can sit for hours now focusing on writing or playing music.

    Braden is also interested in filmaking.  He and his brother work together to create comedic shorts.  Here is his channel if you also want to take a look at their creations!  Again, not to toot his horn, but I never dreamed he was would be capable of doing the things he is setting his mind to do.  http://www.youtube.com/user/brokenlensprductions  I imagine your little Kate has some big things in store as well!

    Many blessings to you and Todd.  Your music and testimony has richly blessed our lives.
    Maris Russell

  • http://whoop2006.blogspot.com/ Carissa

    I know others have said similar things, but know that each child dealing with ADD/ADHD is so unique in what they need (just as all children are – all children learn in different ways and have different needs & personalities – as I’m sure you’re well aware with 4 girls).  I do not currently have a child diagnosed with this (my son is only 17 months), but I taught kindergarten for 5 years before staying home with my son.  From my experiences as a teacher, it seems that being open to trying a variety of things is most important when helping kiddos with ADD/ADHD.  I used to be against meds until I had one student that it drastically changed his behavior in a positive way.  I think the key is knowing that if something isn’t working, not to give up, but to find another option whether it be dietary, teaching coping mechanisms, medication (you may have to try different kinds & different doses), or a combination of multiple things.

    • Carissa Todd

       Oh and it won’t be an easy road, there will likely be tears from you and Kate, but you are a wonderful mom and I know that you will help her to learn to deal with these issues and to be successful in all that she does :)

  • millicent

    We removed ALL food dyes from the diet…a world of difference.  Also, pricey but The Listening Program has amazing reviews. 
    Good Luck!

  • Meg

    I think i would have her tested to see if there were any vitamin deficiencies first or food sensitivities..and I would put her on a really good fish oil. There are a lot of studies out about the benefits of fish oils with kids that present ADD.  If she is like my daughter she needs to be moving.. outside time for at least 1/2 hour a day of  good running and jumping and hard play. Also, when she is doing her school work if she could sit on one of those huge exercise balls where she could bounce a little… it may help her to focus and this might sound  weird…but taking a little baby brush with the soft bristles and brushing her arm while she does her school work may also help to calm her…sometimes the extra sensory input really helps…   Oh one more thing.. and i’m sure you are going to think I am crazy but giving her a little caffeine in the morning might help.   I think ADD can be frustrating at times but it can also be somewhat of a blessing.. My husband suffers with ADHD ..he really does struggle to focus and at times he forgets thing…but the amount of stuff he can get done in a day and his multitasking skills are incredible…  Just my 2 cents..HTH.. I will remember her and you in my prayers… Have a great day!

  • Amy

    Not my personal experience (I only have a 1 1/2 year-old and one on the way at this point), but what has been shared with me by other moms at church . . . is to also avoid all artificial flavors and colors if at all possible. I’ve heard several of them say those had been linked to ADD and ADHD symptoms, and even seizures, in their children.. Once they figured out those changes (with time for their systems/bodies to adjust) no medication was needed. I’ve also heard the suggestions that Meg shared in the most recent comment that I can see below :) I know this must be hard, and I will pray for your family as you come to mind!!

  • Emily

    Hi Angie, Thanks so much for your bravery, grace, and beauty in how you love your children.
    Some close friends of mine who are awesome parents to two beautiful children made the difficult decision after years of frustration on everyone’s parts (def including their son!!) to seek medication for their him. The mom wrote it up here:
    http://www.flexibledreams.com/2011/11/our-adhd-journey.html

  • Aishavandy

    Prayed for Kate and your family today and thought I would mention this. I see a Naturopathic doctor for my illness ,absolutely nothing against regular doctors, I just prefer the natural route. My ND mentioned to me when I first started seeing her that she treats adults and many children with ADD & ADHD.  She uses personalized and comprehensive natural approaches to their healthcare needs. Since the naturopathic route has become VERY popular, I am sure there are a few in your area!! It is definitely worth checking it out! Hope this helps a little. 

    Blessings!
    Aisha

  • Lizreeves2

    You’re going to get all sorts of comments, but here’s mine…for whatever 1 more is worth.  :)

    If the doctor & diagnostician say she’s got ADD/ADHD, treat it.  Just like if she had diabetes, you’d treat it.  Or if she had (God forbid!) cancer, you’d treat it.  Somehow, we as Christians, have got this crazy idea that we should be strong enough or have enough faith to get through things like this, but the truth is, I believe, that God provides us with doctors & medical science & technology to deal with illnesses—whether physical, emotional, mental, chemical…whatever.

    We have several family members, including my son, with ADHD. Medicine has done wonders for all of them!  My son takes Concerta & it has been a miracle for him.  Give it a shot, if she needs it.  If it gives her weird side effects or you feel uncomfortable with it, you can always take her off it later.

  • http://www.timberlaketales.blogspot.com/ Sharen

    Hi Angie. I have spent the last number of years working in a mainstram school, but working with the kids that are either on the Autistic spectrum or have ADD/ADHD. As hard as it might be to go the medical route I have seen it do incredible things for kids with everything from their classroom concentration to social interactions. Once the correct dosages and medications are figured out it can be an incredible change in the child and for the child.
    I have also recently begun to work along side an Occupational Therapist who is a very strong advocate for the Interactive Metronome program. According to her there are around 15,000 therapists (Occupational and Speech and more) using this program who are seeing incredible results in terms of the children, adolecents and adults attention, spatial awareness, impulsivity and a whole range of other areas. This is there website http://www.interactivemetronome.com/ it really might be worth looking into this as well as medication or as an ulternative to medication.
    I hope that is helpful for you.
    P.S. my most important advice. Love them hard and keep looking for solutions. No two kids are the same and what works for one won’t work for another. Trial and error, and bucket loads of patience and perseverance (and prayer!) are essential xx

  • Buchanansc

    Oh can I ever sympathize! Right there with you! (Only about five years ahead of you) I will be interested to read the comments too. I have a 11 year old daughter that was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD at 6. I was so against meds. I had even mocked those who use them in the past . . . you know before I had children and was the perfect parent? Yeah. Then. So, I switched our eating habits to cut out food colorings and preservatives/chemicals as best as I could, put her on vitamin D, almost a Tbsp. of fish oil, zinc, magnesium and several other natural supplements. I can honestly say those things help. BUT, it all works best with her little Vyvanse pill. I swallowed my pride . . . it was crushed anyway. She, bless her wild little heart, had a way of taking everything I knew to be true about parenting and stomping on it. I was trying to homeschool, had 3 other children younger than her AND was pregnant. I needed help. She needed help. Meds truly help. It’s not without side effects though. She has a very hard time falling asleep at nigh so she takes another pill called clonodine (or something) and it relaxes her. I HATED trying different meds. to find the right one. I HATE the side effect and what might be happening to her little brain/body that research hasn’t found yet or that we just don’t know . . . . your mind can go crazy. It ends up being a huge guilt trip. Especially when people tell you things like “I just don’t believe in ADD.” I still pray that the Lord will show me something different if what we’re doing is harming her. I have to trust Him with what I don’t know. I have to trust Him with what I DO know. And, I know we were struggling big time. It doesn’t fix everything. Still discipline faithfully! That’s huge as well as your husbands involvement in her life. They respond well to men. Go figure. Nice that we’re the ones dealing with them most, huh? Praying for you!!!

  • Karen

    Kate, I am a retired first grade teacher.  Throughout my 20 years in the classroom, I had many children with ADD/ADHD, both with and without medications.  As a mom, I always encouraged the parents to try “everything else” before meds simply because immaturity was sometimes the issue, but parents often failed to recognize it.  I used timers, checklists, reduced assignments, squeeze toys, a jumping/jogging space, etc. to modify their behavior.  Balance balls are now available and seem to have quite a following.  Having said all of that, Kate is your child.  God gave her to you, and along with that special and unique gift, He gave you the desire to do what is best for her.  Some children need medication. It is definitely a trial and error process to find which medication works and then to get the dosage just right.  I had one child that did great with a patch, when nothing else had worked for him.  Many of us will be praying for wisdom for you and your doctor as you process test results and character traits, habits, etc., as well as for Kate and the challenges that she is facing.    As a  teacher, I know how important it is for children to have a firm foundation upon which to build the rest of their learning.  You don’t want Kate’s foundation to have holes in it because she missed important information that is essential to her understanding of basic concepts.  There are lots of options; one of them will be just perfect for Kate!

  • Amy K

    Vulnerability – I struggle with that as well. Applauding you for putting yourself out there.
    Our oldest was very much like Kate back in her early elementary years.  We would literally spend hours; painful hours, at the kitchen table battling over homework.  We did all the suggested forms of behavior modification, redirecting, psychiatry, etc. for a few years. While some methods were effective, we just weren’t seeing academic improvements, so after many tears, discussions, therapy sessions, and recommendations, we opted to try meds.   I beat myself up daily over this decision, because (shamefully) I had always privately harshly criticized others’ decisions to medicate their children. Clearly, I had no idea, until I had to walk in those shoes.  At any rate, it took quite a long time to find the right medication and the right dosage (with tweaks throughout), but ultimately the meds were the right decision in her case.
    I can proudly say that she is now almost 19 years old, just finished her first year of college with a 3.8 gpa.  And, you know what, those extremely difficult years almost seem a distant memory now.
    God knows exactly what Kate needs.  I am praying for all of you, and I am trusting that He will guide you, Todd, and Kate’s doctors, and grant you the wisdom to make the best decisions for sweet Kate.
    Blessings…

  • Jenny

    Hey Angie- so sorry to hear you’re going through this!  We have a 13 yr-old son that was diagnosed when he was just 7, and there’s NO doubt he has ADD.  I think the “mom” in me knew something wasn’t right when he would wander from his preschool classroom and out into the parking lot!  We also had a very hard time with potty training….just some of the earlier signs.  Anyway, I’m not going to try to give you lots of advice, but the one thing I will say is that we’ve tried it all….the therapy-only-no-drugs approach, non-stimulants (Straterra) and finally stimulants (Vyvanse).  The latter has been like night and day, and we feel like such a weight has been lifted as it’s working so amazingly well!!  We were so concerned about the potential side-effects of a stimulant, but we finally decided that controlling the disease for the sake of our son’s own self-esteem was worth the risk the stimulants presented.  I would simply say that if you’re not controlling the problem adequately, your child will begin to get VERY frustrated and will think he or she is “stupid” and “worthless.”  I don’t know what will work best for you, but I can tell you that even when we thought we were helping our son and that he was being well-controlled, it still wasn’t enough.  I firmly believe you need complete control over this disease and that will set the foundation for them to be successful adults!  Prayers for you all!

  • Melissa Middlebrook

    I would encourage you to research the Feingold Diet.  Our oldest (age 9) is on the spectrum, and I realized when he was very young that a lot of the dyes and such were causing emotional outbursts and inattentiveness.  We try to stick to a very whole diet, and it really does make a difference in how well he can concentrate (we homeschool).   I know some that have had great success with this diet and some that haven’t.  Praying you’ll find what works.  :)

  • Abby I.

    I am not yet a Momma yet, but hope to be someday [just have to get married first LOL] :) . A friend of our family made a comment once about an herb that’s used to treat ADD. She’s an herbalist and likes to tell me all about what I can do with the stuff in my garden! Anywho, she said that Lemon Balm is used to treat people who have ADD/ADHD. I don’t know how they use it; I drink it in tea and it is super relaxing; the stuff grows like a weed – and you can add it to salads, too. Plus it tastes really good. I pray that everything works out for you and Kate.
    <3 Abby I.

  • http://www.darkchocolateisbest.blogspot.com Scubagirl

    Angie, as a mother of 4, one with ADD (and a husband with it), AND as a School Psychologist, I feel a little qualified to speak to this.  We lived in denial with our son, never wanting to medicate him (it wasn’t “natural”), and as a result, he never learned to focus on school work or projects to completion.  He’s now almost 22 – VERY intelligent – but trying to find his niche in life.  He’d be a brilliant scientist; an amazing engineer; but, no focus.  We put him on medicine about 3 years ago – it was like a light bulb went off!  BUT, he’s choosing not to take it right now.

    My husband was never diagnosed with it until our son was, so he didn’t get the benefit of medical options.  I can tell you, every 5 years, he’s off on a new career because the last one wasn’t working for him.  As a woman who desires financial security (don’t we all?), this sucks.

    I am NOT trying to scare you – please believe me – but medicine can make the difference between night and day for these kids.  They can learn to focus while on it; they can learn what it feels like to finish something.  It sets up positive patterns for adulthood – this is CRITICAL.  ADD never goes away, but they can learn coping skills to work with it – just like dyslexia.  I hope this helps.

  • Chris P.

     Hi! It is so hard when one of your kids face a tough situation – isn’t it?  I haven’t read through all of the comments, but I just wanted to offer something else to consider. My daughter (now 13) was also a hyper, talkative, impulsive, drive her teachers nuts kind of kid. It turns out she was/is gifted – which is different than just being “smart” – and she was bored to tears which drove some of her behavior.  Do some reading on gifted kids too  http://www.hoagiesgifted.org. There are gifted kids who are also ADD/ADHD (twice exceptional they call them). If she is gifted too, it may help when trying to figure out the best course of action for your sweet Kate.

  • http://profiles.google.com/teagibson Amanda Gibson

    Get hold of Dr Caroline Leaf – http://drleaf.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/drleaf – she is a Christian, & has some great stuff on how the brain works & learning challenges.

  • stephaniem

    First of all let me say that I have a very strong-willed, independent, and outspoken three year old daughter. I also have two daughters (Identical twins) in heaven dancing with Audrey and all the others gone too soon. I said all that so you know that I am not in the same boat with you as far as the ADD goes. I also know you have a background in psychology. My education and professional expertise lies in nursing. Having said all that, I took a lot of child psychology (went to school for three years to be an elementary teacher) and I understand one thing, when it comes to diagnosis like ADD/ADHD, you should not just trust your MD but also have an eval done by a licensed psychologist/psychiatrist. I am sure you are well aware of this. In my experience, MD’s will not always take the time and just prescribe meds. So my advice, go to your pediatrician but if something doesn’t sit right, seek out another opinion. You will be in my prayers and I appreciate you being so open. I hope others respect this quality as well…

  • Amaya42

    I, like every other comment I’m reading, have a strong willed, independent child.  That said, my advice is that I would do every other thing before seeking medication.  Kate is pretty young to be definitive about an ADD diagnosis; in my opinion.  There are ways to engage her -for example, if she gets bored with paper-work, try teaching those things with hands on activities instead; things that keep her interest sparked.  I would do every other thing before going to medication.  I’ve had the medication talk and even tried it for a month or so.  It was too much and I ended up with a child who stared into space all day -she was NOT herself.  So, medication would be a last resort.  Not only that, but I’m old school -when I was a kid, ADD was almost unheard of.  Discipline was enforced.  (I’m not saying ADD doesn’t exist nor that you don’t discipline your child appropriately).  I just know there are “creative” ways to teach normal things to children such as Kate.  I’d exhaust those avenues first.

  • Susan

    Angie, I don’t have personal experience with ADD or ADHD, but I do know the struggle of being a mom agonizing over what the right choice is for our kids. I have a 6 year old daughter with autism and I still wrestle daily with what I should or could be doing to make her life richer and fuller. There are many good suggestions already posted for you to consider, so I’m making it my prayer to ask God to be with all who are involved in Kate’s care, that He personally guide every decision and have his hand in each step.
    Susan (aka themommamango)

  • Erin

    Love your heart, Angie.  Being a momma is so hard sometimes, but so worth it!  :)   I do not have a child with an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, but I do have a child with developmental delays and sensory issues…yikes.  Trying to weed through the load of information has been overwhelming!  My son has benefitted from Occupational Therapy with an emphasis on listening therapy.  A change in our diet has also shows some significant results.  It really is finding what works best for your precious Kate and your family.  As a former school therapist, I know medications have shown results, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and work closely with your pediatrician to find one that is right for Kate. I will pray that you find some answers through her testing and peace in the choices you make. 
    ~Erin

  • Gabrielle Erway

    I do not have experience or any advice to give you regarding this issue, but I admire your courage in putting your struggles out there to seek advice and to be an encouragement to others in the process. As a fellow mom, I can say that you should follow your instincts and your heart as only you & Todd can make the decision you feel is right for Kate and your family. Trust that you are doing the best for her no matter what your decisions may be. You ARE a GREAT mom…don’t doubt yourself!

  • Kaye

    Angie, Please know I am praying for you, Kate, and your entire family. Praying also for wisdom and discernment for her Dr.
    Hugs, prayers and much love,
    Kaye
    Psalm 46:10

  • Fayziedaisy

    I have a daughter with ADD traits.  For our family we though that changing some of our ways to help her was our first step.    We took her off of wheat first.  This helped so much! Wheat is a known to increase behaviour problems.  Second in out homeschool class room I took down all posters and projects that are over stimulating.  I replaced them by making  posters and flash cards with soft colours and black and white.   We worked at one big table and my younger daughter would distract her by just picking up a crayon.  So a trip to Ikea getting separate desks was a HUGE help.  We also found a chair there that she can’t rock in or tip over and it is made of solid plastic so she can’t put her arms though any part of it.  I also changed the place in the room she sits.  She is not directly looking out a window or at the bulletin board.  The last thing that I did was making little signs to place on her desk for each subject with the steps to help her remember to stay focused.  ie in math I made a little sign that sits up right and it says LOOK, CHECK SYMBOLS, THINK, ANSWER this was another HUGE help!!!  It was right in front of her so she couldn’t help buy look at it. I was a great reminder.   I also tossed up lessons by making things a little more hands on.  In math I cut out number and symbols in felt and let her use a small flannel graph to build her equations on instead of her watching me teach on a chalk board.   These are just a few examples that I did.  The bottom line is pray! You know your daughter best.  Build of her strengths.  But be encouraged because there are lots of family out there that have made it though this and they have children who have grown up into wonderful young people.  Blessing to you and your family. 
    Faye 

  • Shawna V.

    I have not had this experience (yet anyway), but know others who have and have heard excellent things about treating with diet or a combination of diets and medicine. I have seen others mention diet here as well and have always thought if I were facing such a diagnosis with my child, I would check into it. I do know too though, that the “jury’s still out” so to speak on the diet issue and it is very controversial. The one person I know that has had great success with changing diet (which for them was removing wheat and dairy), swears by it though. Whatever you decide/are advised, just remember that you are loved and she is loved by our Heavenly Father and he is with you through all of this. I will add my name to the long list of others here who will be praying for your family — for Kate, and for you, the doctor’s, and teacher’s who are assisting Kate. With Him everything and anything is possible, doable, and perfectly used in His plan. I know you know this and I know this can bring peace as you struggle with where to go from here. That doesn’t make this situation any less stressful for you, but it at least gives you support.

    On a completely separate note, I have never been to Women of Faith before and have, honestly, not had much interest in the past, but when I heard you would be at the Spokane, WA WOF this year, I decided I had to go (and am excited to do so). I am excited to hear you speak and hear the amazing words God has in store for you to share. Thank you for letting Him use you to reach others and encourage them in their struggles even as you face so many struggles of your own.

  • Kara

    I have just recently discovered your blog and Selah’s music. Both have been such a huge blessing to me, thank you for your willingness to live such an open and vulnerable life- a Christ life, because I believe that’s how He calls us to live. Our son has been “spunky and energetic” since birth. We had him assessed and his ADHD is quite “severe”. The pediatrician gave me a wonderful tool to help me assess our needs (and it is “our” because you must meet the needs of the whole family, not just Kate’s) that I will share with you. She asked me to mentally assess his  performance (school) and his relationships (on an ongoing basis). If either or both were significantly impaired or challenging, we needed to consider more/other options. We tried most of the “natural” methods, with the exception of gluten free diet and nothing helped those two spheres. So we began him on Strattera (a non-stimulant) with good results. We’ve also added a small dose of Adderall to give him some extra help with focus. Before meds, I was not coping well. The traits that everyone else found so cute and charning out in public were overwhelming, exhausting and discouraging at home. He was constantly in trouble for his impulsive choices and his siblings didn’t want to be around him because of the constant noises and whole body “fidgeting”. Since he has gained more self-control on meds, we are a much happier family. We pray for and extend grace to those who feel ADHD is just sin and that meds are a cop out. The interesting thing about this tool is that only your family can truly assess those two spheres (with input from teachers or other caretakers) and therefore only you, with God’s direction, can decide what is best. Kate, and my son, are not perfect but they are perfectly them, exactly as God intended them to be.

  • Sara Nicole

    My son is only 2 so we haven’t encountered these kinds of issues yet, but my godson was just recently officially diagnosed with ADD.  He has been getting frustrated at school and at home for a couple years now, he has had some discipline problems as well…but he is one of the most charismatic and creative kids I have ever met.  God stitched his little brain together like this for a reason and Kate’s too.  She will be just fine because she has a mom who loves her enough to cry over this.  You guys will be in my prayers, I know how hard this can be. 

  • Dale

    My older son is 8 and has been diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger’s and ODD.  We work with a great team of teachers and doctors to help us through.  He is on Concerta and has been for over a year.  We have tried several different medications trying to find the best one for him.  Be aware it is a matter of trial and error to find the right medicine and dosage, but it can help tremendously.  He still struggles, but is able to go to a mainstream school and gets special accommodations such as extra time and one-on-one help.  Lean on God and He WILL help you through.

  • Jen

    Hi Angie,  I have been reading your blog for years but have never posted however this post pulled at my heartstrings because I know how you feel.  Our sweet daughter Olivia suffers from inattentive ADD.  We struggled for 2 years frustrated, worried, heartbroken and truly at a loss on what was going on with Olivia.  She didn’t display the true symptoms of ADHD so diagnosing this was difficult.  I would watch her try to work a math problem and she would just stare at the paper and then get distracted so easily.  It wasn’t until we were at our peds office and we met up with one of the peds there we hadn’t seen in awhile.  I explained our frustration and worry and she asked Olivia several questions and then had her leave the room.  She explained what Inattentative ADD was- and like you, I was devasted.  So many emotions ran through my mind.  I was angry at myself because I know my frustraion was present many times when trying to do homework with her- Sad that my sweet little girl has been struggling but didn’t even know how to vocalize it.  Worry; how can we help her – Can we help her?  My ped was so wonderful.  She explained that her son has the same disorder and he is now a Doctor at a University.

    We explored nature ways of treating – diet modification however the way the doctor explained to me was that ADD is a neurologic disorder and like any other disease it requires medication for the symptoms to settle. I was VERY resistant to medication.   However, at that point in time I wanted relief for her. I wanted her to feel success and accomplishment for once.  I wanted to see her get off the bus and proud of the days work she put so much effort (there was never an issue of effort – in fact she tried harder than most kids)

    Through pray and much consideration we went the medication route.  Our first try was a pill form.  Since she was to little we had to find ways to get her to take it – Yogart, appplesauce, juice however this form just didn’t work for her.  She is now on a patch called Daytrana. This has been our miracle. Honestly!!!  She has come leeps and bounds in just a few months.  She went from a 1 year 7 month reading level to a 3 grade reading level in just a few months.  This came with a lot of extra help from school but seeing her succeed when after so long “just not getting it” was all the affirmation we needed. In fact, Olivia asks for her patch because she knows

    My advise is if you go the medication route, be patient, and know it may take a couple different meds to find the right fit for your sweet Kate.  Look at the side effects: we dealt with some emotional issues in the very beginning but once her body accepted the meds she was fine.  The only thing we are dealing with is some sleep problem but nothing severe.

    Bless you and  your sweet Kate. 

    If you have any other questions please feel free to reach out zachjendan@yahoo.
    @yahoo-5HVMWYFNFGEQTCSJXWHXJ2JQXE:disqus 
    Good Bless you,
    Jen Scalfaro

  • Christy

    Transcendental Meditation is a great way to help with ADD/ADHD, It is an all natural way to bring balance to the hormones in the brain as it helps to reduce the stress hormones cortisol and increase the serotonin hormone levels in the brain. When the hormones in the brain are balanced this helps to create a sense of calmness, ability to focus better, and less stress for both children and adults. There is website http://www.tm.org that gives lots of information on how this helps children with ADD/ADHD. My family and I have been doing TM daily for the past 2 months and it has
    been a huge blessing for all of us.

    There is also a book,  Transcendence by Dr. Norman E. Ronsenthal that is a great resource.

    Praying for you and your family.

  • Lovebearsall

    Angie…my heart hurts for you.  I was recently in a position like this.  I sense that you are a mom who doesn’t want to resort to drugs but seek an alternative natural approach.  I’ve heard good things about VAXA Attend.  It is all natural and targets exactly what you have described.  I’ll be praying for your family as you sift through these suggestions and  God’s direction.  Blessings

  • willybunch

    Hi Angie,
    I also noticed this year signs of ADD or ADHD in my 9 yr. old son Zach. I am a true believer in Natural Herb remedies and wanted to try that route first before we put him on prescription drugs. Zach is taking a 1/2 chewable tablet in the morning of GABA and if needed aother 1/2 tablet in the afternoon, right before its time for homework. It has help him so much with focusing and concentration, that I really wish I would have given it to him sooner. It’s just enough to calm him down to where we can have a conversation with him, he will listen, he will think things through, and he will get controll of his actions. If you have a herb store in your area, I recommend you go in and talk to them or buy a herb book, or research it on-line. There is also a homeopathic medicine I  sometimes use called Hypercalm-Mental Focus. A few drops under his tongue and he is quickly calmed down. Best of luck with your decision, you will know what is best for Kate and your family.
    In Christ Love
    Cammie

  • Rabbitridgegal

    Like others have said here, trying different medications to get the right dosage with little side effects is a NIGHTMARE!!  I thought it would be wonderful to put my 7 year old son on medication because I thought it would make everything wonderful.  We tried different ones and ALL of them changed him for the WORSE!!  He became withdrawn and VERY ANGRY.  I hated it!!  His personality changed and it was worse to deal with than his lack of focus and attention.  Goody luck and realize that this a REAL possiblity.

  • christine

    Hi Angie, I am a special education teacher.  Over the years I have see both significantly positive and negative effects to medication.  There are some great strategies to try that could help your child and minimize the need for medication.  First I recommend starting her on Omega-3 supplements.  This has minimal side effects and at my school we have seen many children respond well.  Other have not been impacted in the slightest.  Second, make sure she is getting some really really good protein every morning with minimal sugar, eggs and whole grain toast (personally love Dave’s Killer Bread brand for this) as opposed to cereal or fruit or juice.  Third, have her try doing her work from a ball chair.  Individuals with ADD and ADHD typically feel as if their mind is essentially in a washing machine and constantly tumbling.  If you try and get someone to sit still, then everything else goes out the window.  The effort is on trying to fight the body to be calm instead of focusing on the task at hand.  Often it is painful to try and get the body to be calm.  Fidgets (little squeezy balls, ect) can really assist.  Let her fiddle with one in her hands (in her lap, so not distracting others) while listening.  Another great fidget is to put a bungie cord around the outside of a desk so she can bounce her feet.  Chewing gum can also help fill this need to move and wiggle.  Medication has it’s place and many children need it.  The battle to get the rid med and dose is very hard and frustrating.  Even more disheartening is knowing that with growth spurts and puberty it messes with dosing requirements too.  The goal should be that if she needs meds great, use them, but also have her attend some therapies to learn coping and calming strategies so that eventually she may be able to get off of the medication.  I really hope this helps.

  • Kendra Perry

    My son has ADHD and sensory integration issues (that might be something else worth screening for, by the way).  He has just finished a year of occupational therapy which has helped him IMMENSELY with learning strategies to calm himself, focus, etc.  

    I see you have gotten some good nutritional advice below.   Omega-3s will help.   There are many other things you can do naturally to strengthen the frontal lobe of the brain such as playing Baroque music (like Bach) which is shown to activate the frontal lobe.

    We are also using the Accountable Kids parenting plan to help strengthen self-control and self-directed behavior instead of him needing to rely on us to prompt him to do things.

    Also, having predictable routines and expectations is VERY important both at home and in the classroom.  Talk with the teacher to see about classroom modifications such as sitting near the front, having space around the desk, putting a “carrel” around the desk, or sitting on an exercise ball or inflated seat cushion.

    We had a brief trial of medication but found that the other strategies worked as well or better.  There are lots of things you can do, and it is very manageable.  Email me if you want!

  • Bradshaws5

    A wise Christian doctor told us when my nephew was diagnosised with ADHD, (although, like you, we already knew) that he DESERVED a quality life!  He deserved to have friends that enjoyed being around him and adults who could see the sweet child he was inside.  He DESERVED the same opportunities the other children had to learn and play and have fun.  Simply put, he said if your child were diabetic, would you consider withholding insulin from him or her?   Of course not!  Their bodies and brains are lacking something and although you may have to try many meds to find the right one for her, she will thank you for giving her the opportunities she DESERVES! 

  • Mandy

    Angie, I have no idea if this would apply in this case, but I have a friend who has figured out that food allergies can manifest themselves in behavior–such as the inability to concentrate, hyperactivity, sluggishness, bed wetting….  Her daughter was tested and stopped wetting the bed after eliminating dairy.  Her concentration improved after eliminating various other foods.  It is different for every child, but the common culprits are dairy, corn (think high fructose corn syrup), soy, yeast, wheat, and gluten. –I’m not sure I quite have this “post as” information right, so if you want more information, I can find out more. You can reach me at mandy.mianecki@gmail.com or hissongtomeshalom,blogspot.com

  • April

    Angie,
    I am a middle school teacher, and in college I majored in Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise (I’m also a mama :) ).  I just wanted to encourage you to keep asking for advice and exploring your options.  As my culminating research project I did A TON of research on treating ADD and ADHD using diet modifications.  I can honestly tell you that I think this would be worth a shot.  I found loads of scientific studies that proved this to be true.  My particular study was done on the effects of omega-3 (good fats) and omega-6 fatty acids (bad fats).  I have recommended trying some of these diet modifications to my aunt whose son (now in 5th grade) has ADHD, and she has noticed a huge difference.  I do also know that this requires a HUGE life change for an entire family because your family obviously eats the same things.  I would also tell you that I did find in my research that while most children got results from the diet changes, there were some who did not.  As others here have encouraged you, don’t hesitate to do what YOU and your husband think is right for YOUR family.  You are a wise praying momma, and I know the Lord will show you what is right for your Kate.  Don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions about some of the specific diet modifications I researched: aprilfcollins@gmail.com.

  • Alexandra

    Hi Angie, I´ve been there and it hurts… I remember all the overwhelming emotion of wondering how my son would cope, whether we should give him meds or therapy or both. It was so hard for me to cope with.  We were blessed to have great teachers who worked with him to teach him strategies that helped him to focus and stay on task, and now he is doing really well.  You know, you do whatever is best for your little girl.  And keep praying for the Lord to heal her… and give you the patience to keep loving her well :)

  • Kayla Becker

    Angie,
    I have not dealt with this with my children (my oldest is 2).  However, I am a teacher so I have seen a lot of it.  I know different medications work for different children so I don’t have any specific recommendations.  However, as far as learning/schooling/etc goes I have a few suggestions:
    Lots of movement, frequent breaks from activities that require a lot of concentration, and an environment that isn’t over stimulating.   I know you homeschool so there probably aren’t a lot of other children distracting her. However, things as simple as too many directions, too much n the walls, etc.
    Also, get rid of food wise which could be a stimulant).  I know this is hard but I’ve really seen it make a difference. 

    Honestly, I am very middle of the road and have seen kids that are medicated and it doesn’t help but makes them “out of it” and I have seen meds really help a child.  Sometimes, it’s a matter of trying a few.  Be patient with yourself and with Kate :)   There is no perfect way to walk this road. 

    Kayla Becker

  • marlen816

    My 17 year old stepson was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in 3rd grade. It was a hard diagnosis for my husband to hear and he was against any kind of medication at first. We worked with our pediatrician and were able to find a medicine that worked for him when he was in 9th grade. It seemed like a lot of hit or miss with him for several years, but he was also diagnosed with ODD in 9th grade and that had been the missing piece to all the medicine adjustments and changes. We were also very blessed to find a doctor that did not just medicate him, but recommended counseling (individual and family). It also helped a lot. He even thanked us for having him in counseling and on medication because he said he felt like himself finally, that he could focus and cope with things. He has since stopped taking his medicine (he moved to TX last summer to live with his mother and refused to continue to take it), but continues to attend counseling. He has struggled the whole year in school and has not been able to focus and keep his grades above a C average (he was an A-B student before his move). Now, I said all that to say that medicine really helped my stepson, but that each child is different. My husband and I prayed about the decision to medicate him before we did so and agreed that if we didn’t ever feel comfortable with it we’d stop. For us and my stepson it was the right thing and for a child that is indeed ADD/ADHD there is a chemical deficiency that medication will help. Praying for you and sweet Kate!     

  • bestillandknow2

    Awe Angie,
    I understand. When you talk about Kate it totally reminds me of my baby girl. She is a (good) mess but reallly…how boring we would all be without her bright personality. Praying for your mommy heart as you move forward with best helping sweet Kate.
    Love and prayers,
    Shonna

  • Amy V.

    Dear Angie,

    I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that I am reading your post tonight. I rarely read blogs anymore, so it’s by a Divine appointment that I am here. First, I want you to know that it’s very apparent that you are an incredible mother. Next, I want to share the testimony of my son, Thomas. He is 15 and he’s been home-schooled for 10 years. He was once a very rambunctious and challenging little boy. Now he is the most respectful, kind, Jesus-loving young man that I have ever been around. Without going into all of the details, we chose not to ever give him any medication. We changed his diet by removing all dairy and refined sugars. But what I know was the key factor in his transformation was the PRAYER! I began keeping a prayer journal for him and immediately I saw changes in him and his behavior. He began to focus better and eventually all symptoms of ADD left. I truly believe that prayer coupled with faith works better than any medication or counseling, etc. Only the Lord can guide you to do what is best for Kate. I pray that Jesus will cover you in His perfect peace and that He will guide you in your decisions. I pray that Kate will be given a calm and peaceful spirit and that Jesus will heal any imbalances in her body. May you see radical changes in Kate’s behavior and have a powerful testimony to share about her transformation.

    God bless you and your family!

    Amy V.
    liveabundantly.john1010@gmail.com

  • Emily Ventura

    Just wanted to remind you that God sent Kate to you because He knew you’d be the parents she needs.   And whatever  decision you prayerfully come to is the road He wants her on.
    In Christ,
    Emily

  • Shayne

    Dear Angie, I’m sure I can’t add anything meaningful here that you haven’t already heard.  My thoughts when I read this post mostly centered around you and your husband.  I’ve never had to deal with this particular issue, but I from the stuff I have had to deal with through my kids my first thought is usually, “God why my baby?” which is then followed by a cocktail of emotions heavy on fear and guilt with maybe a little splash of doubt thrown in.  Or a lot.  Depending on what time of month it is. :)

    I guess the heart of what I want to say is, if you’re ok, Kate will be ok.  Meaning if you and your husband can band together and fight off the fear and remain calm…it will be easier for Kate.  Easier said than done trust me, I know.  So today Father, I pray for Your peace over this precious family.  Trusting that You already knew about this, and for all the times when Mommy and Daddy didn’t understand or couldn’t see…You were there and had that precious girl right in Your hands.  You have revealed this in Your timing and I thank You for Your grace, and in the name of Your son Jesus we stand against the lies of the enemy and proclaim that You are God in this situation, and You do all things well.  Thank you, Abba.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   

  • Amylouisek430

    I am an Adult with ADHD and the mother of two boys who also have ADHD. What I have found is that it is a dance of adjustment. Find a good doctor who works with families with children who have ADHD.  It’s really about finding what works for Kate. It may be diet, it may be herbs, or it may be medication. There isn’t a “right” way to manage her symptoms  except   the way that works  best for Kate. I recommend subscribing to Additude Magazine. Please read All Kinds of Minds by Dr. Mel Levine and I’m not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid by Kate Kelley. I want you to know ADHD is a gift.  Enjoy the blessing. I once read someone describing ADHD as having a pet dragon,” Once you manage the side effects all of that magic is yours to keep forever.” I have had a good life. I have a Master’s degree in Education. My parents helped me harness the symptoms and enjoy the magic. I know you will do the same for Kate. God Bless.

  • Christy

    For the last two years, I kept hoping that my son would “grow out of” his frustrations at everything that required more than 2 minutes of concentration.  Just recently we put him on medicine and after fighting through headaches and stomacheaches (side effects), his report card shows that all the struggle with everything has been worth it.  Keep fighting for what you think is right and best for your family because it is so worth it in the end. 

  • BKINAthomas

    Thank you for taking the risk of sharing a vulnerable spot in your parenting life right now.  Our middle daughter is our easily distracted, low and really slow girl.  It takes her 3 to 4 times longer to get stuff done because she just can’t focus.  Our latest discovery to help her has led us to vision therapy.  She has 20/20 vision but when tested on her vision skills (eyes tracking, eyes working together, tracking up and down and side to side, eyes pointing in when trying to read, etc) she scored very low.  This therapy doesn’t work for everyone but studies have shown it can be helpful for kids with ADD and ADHD.  We were willing to try it.  It is not for the faint in heart bc it requires time to do the activities but if it helps our girl then it is worth it!  Praying God shows you what is His best for you, for Kate and for your family.
    Katie T.

  • Marcian

    My dear, Angie;  I am a kindergarten teacher and Grammy to six incredible grandchildren and I have ADD.  The comments made by all of the bloggers below are “spot on”!  Also, please go to http://www.diannecraft.org.  Dianne is a retired Special Ed. teacher who specialized in working with “Gifted Kids with a Glitch”.  I have recommended her website to many parents of my students and to my grown ADHD daughter.  Those who have followed Dianne’s advise have had much success – some are great victories.  Her nutritional protocol, recommended by an M.D., is very, very helpful and sane.  Now I must hurry off to school…….Good luck with Kate!  She is a lucky little girl to have a mom and dad like you!

  • Hawkinsbag

    ((((((Angie))))))))))), here is my experience, strength, and hope with ADD.  I am the mother of 3 grown and homeschooled sons. Our oldest son has ADD and has taken various medications.  I struggled with his distractions and taking him to a neurologist for a l-o-n-g time. The telling thing for me was when my best friend (who is also a therapist) loaned me a book.  Something that stuck with me from the book was the fact that many undiagnosed/unmedicated adults with ADD self-medicate with cocaine, of all things. So, at age 12, I took our son to a pediatric neurologist who was a God-send. Though Will is a grown man of 29, he still sees the same doctor and has a good relationship with him.  My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  • http://www.differentparent.com/ Wick Anderson

    Wow. I cannot imagine I could add much to the 250 comments you’ve received already.  Praying with everyone here for God’s heart for our children to beat strong.  They each have struggles, just as the generations before them…but He is Lord, and as we anchor our children in Him…nothing else can claim itself as Lord over their life. :)   Peace be with you.

  • Lilgrebs4

    I have never commented before but I feel a need to mention ‘Maximized Living’.  A friend of mine recently became a chiropractor for Maximized Living and I heard one of his speeches for the first time the other night.  Now, let me preface by saying that I am a HUGE skeptic when it comes to these types of things but EVERYTHING he said made TOTAL sense.   The main thing about Maximized Living is they look at the individual as a whole (they just don’t jump into chiropractic care), and really dive into how nutrition and what we are feeding our bodies plays a huge part in how we feel.  The Dr. I heard speak has a special focus on kids in particular ( I live in IL).  There are quite a few Maximized Living Drs in the Nashville area, you can find one by going to their website http://www.maximizedliving.com  I’m always looking for other alternatives before medicating my children and if you find that you can  make some simple dietary changes and see positive results then that would be awesome, and if Kate ends up needing medication then at least you know you tried every avenue possible.  Worth a shot!  Prayers for you, Kate, and the rest of your family as you navigate these difficult decisions!

  • Sarah

    Keep in mind that nothing has changed about Kate; she will only be enhanced with a new understanding of why she feels/behaves/acts the way she does.  You are doing your research now so that you can equip her with tools for success in life.

    If diagnosed, realise that up until this point, you have been treating her ADD–and been successful!  Yes, that’s right, the most effective ‘treatment’ is love, patience and guidance…as well as knowledge.  As you become familiar with the terminology and options for treatment, never ever feel pressured into a decision that your gut doesn’t feel right about. 

    You know your child best, and you always will…how the ADD manifests within her will look different than any other child.  Be confident in your Mommy skills. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/X6LKOOTTRFL34J4EAW3SACG3GU Janet Boyden

    Y’all are in my prayers! I had the chance to be a nanny for a boy  with ADD. He is now 23. on a scale from 1-10 David rates a 11 on compassion and empathy for people. He is very musically talented. He does have a time staying focused sometimes. BUT, He has brought alot of joy to people at the soup kitchen where he helps when he can. I told him today that I was gonna write you about him. He was surprised. Janet

  • Joy

    Angie, I know you are drowning in comments so I’ll keep this to the point.  Three out of my four kids have the diagnosis of ADD.  The other one builds 300 piece lego sets in 30 minutes.  I can tell you to get a full evaluation.  If you have a Center for Disabilities and Development near you, go there first.  They can assess to make sure nothing else is going on like a language development delay or processing disorder or hearing issue.  I do medicate but only during the week during the school year.  The medicines do help but they also have their side effects, long and short term.  
    I just wrote an update about my daughter today.  Maybe it will encourage you. http://mamasatthebeach.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/when-your-child-surprises-you/
    Thanks for always being real.  
    joy

  • http://kthighfield.blogspot.com/ Katie Kanzler

    I am a 5th grade teacher, and I am so glad you posted this!  While I don’t have experience with my own children, I have had so many kids that I call my own who have come through my classroom!

    When I first started teaching, I was on the fence about medicating kids for ADD.  However, as the years have passed, my position has changed.  I have seen kids go from struggling through school….to being SO successful after proper medication.  

    When a kid needs glasses, we get them so they can see.  If they need insulin, we administer it so that they can function.  I think the same things is true with medication for ADD.  If it can improve their quality of life, and help them to be and FEEL successful, it is worth it. 

    About 8 years ago, Shelia Walsh spoke at a WOF event, and said how THANKFUL she was that God had created human who knew enough about science to create medication that could help her and keep her ‘even’.  

    I think as long as you have a Dr. you trust, find the correct dosage, and then monitor and adjust as needed, and re-evaluate when needed….if it can help Kate to be successful, then go for it.  I would love to hear what happens with your sweet Kate!  

    P.S. Most of my students who are medicated are on Concerta (or the generic version), and I have seen some FABULOUS results from that, with limited side effects.  

    Katie

  • Kellye

    http://www.littlegiantsteps.com/

    Have had great experiences with these folks. Blessings to you and your family!

  • Sara

    Angie, I’ve never commented but been so blessed by your blog! I have to tell you my son is 10, just finished 4th grade. He struggled in school K-2 with completing his work and homework was always difficult. In 2nd grade possible ADD crossed my mind but my husband was very against even discussing it with a doctor. In 3rd grade the homework load became much larger and much more intense. We spent at least 2 hours working on homework every night after school and we would both be in tears by the time he finished. He also was struggling with concepts that I knew he had learned in 1st grade. I also had gone back to work as a 1st grade teacher during that time and it really opened my eyes to ADD and how much it affected children at school. Our speech language pathologist at school who is very well educated in many disabilities, told me she worked with many adults who have ADD (she had no idea I was struggling with this personally) and she said they all have in common that they just can’t start whatever it is they are supposed to be doing. Then of course, once they do start they get distracted, stop working, and have to try to start again! I felt this was God speaking to me, this was exactly what I saw with my son. My husband and I took him to a psychiatrist, he explained all about brain development and offered medicine as an option. We had both agreed if they doctor felt this could help we would try it. We use Concerts and since my son started on it he has had straight A’s in school, for 6 quarters in a row. He is happy, confident, and successful at school! It did not change anything about him, it just helped his brain work the way it is meant to work. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this medicine and the impact it has had on my family and especially my son. The only side effect we saw was loss of appetite at lunch. There are other side effects some of my students’ have encountered, but they do go away in time. The benefits of the medicine definitely out way the side effects. I hope my “little” story helps you and encourages you. 

  • Steph

    If you are worried about giving Kate medication, there is a therapy called neurobiofeedback which basically helps to alter certain brainwaves associated with ADD. As you have likely been told by the doctor, there are 8 different subsections of ADD which can affect individuals. By using the biofeedback which uses positive stimuli (like a bunny who jumps when the brainwaves are within a certain frequency), this therapy can teach Kates brain to produce the correct frequencies which will offer her the exact same results as medication, but with permanent, nonreversable changes.  I am attaching a link for basic information from a Vancouver, Canada sight, although I am 10000% certain that it would be available in your area if it interested you. Wishing you all the best with your little princess!

    http://swingleandassociates.com/about/how-does-neurotherapy-work

  • Lindseymh215

    I teach special Ed in a very small district and many of my students are diagnosed with ADHD. Teachers can and will do a lot to help her focus in school (such as frequent breaks, moving around, etc). Medicine works, yes. I had students on meds that were great when they took them but then the parents would feel like they were zombies and losing weight. I would say try any alternative to medicine first and if all else fails, talk to your pediatrician about meds.
    Also, keep in mind that around middle school, many kids learn to manage ADHD without medicine. They learn different strategies that help them focus when need be. Good luck!

  • Shiloh6

    Angie, I have not read the comments, but has anyone mentioned going to http://www.feingold.org? You must read their info!

  • Smasee

    hi Angie…please read this book from henry w wright..loads of good info…prayin for u

  • Laurin Beardsley

    Hello Angie, I have read for a couple of years on your blog…we have other things in common…  I have not read the other comments and so may be repeating information.  I have taught all elementary grades for 15 years or so. I had many students with ADD/ADHD.   I homeschooled for the first time this last year.  My almost 12 year old son has Sensory Processing Disorder and had a medical issue (now resolved!) last year.  An interesting intervention that I personally witnessed the success of in four different children (2 girls/2 boys) was caffeine.  It seems counterintuitive, but two drank a cup of coffee with milk in the morning, one had  a caffeinated juice drink to sip during the day, and the last chewed caffeinated gum!  This calmed those four students down.  I had one other student, a boy, that it did not work for – but it seems like it might be an easy thing to try first?  

    I also have found that being able to move around the classroom is very helpful – just getting up to stand or sit at a different table etc. every 15 minutes or so.  At home, (and I have seen it in two classrooms, we have him sit on a big exercise ball so he can move.  This is one of the best things we have used!!  

    Thank you for all you have given to us…God made your little girl perfectly!
    Laurin

  • T Collins726

    I have a now 25 year old son who was kicked out of the private christian school because they could not deal with a child “like him”. He was diagnosed with ADHD by 2 prominate child phsycologists. He was put on serveral medications, all of which had side effects he could not handle. It was one of the scariest times for me as his mom, but together we learned little ways to help him when he was taken off all medication. A few of them are making the teacher aware and the teacher agree to letting him sharpen his pencil when he needed to get up and move so that he could come sit back down and re-focus. At home while he was young, I would read to him. That helped him retain better. He did eventually learn ways of helping himself as he matured.
    Medications today have greatly improved I’m sure. I suggest you read all you can about ADD from experts and be well informed about the med the doctor suggests if that be the case. Trust in what your Kate says in how best to help her. Our kids are not “mainstream” and public schools have a hard time meeting the needs of a child who isn’t.
    I will pray for your family, your doctor and for Kate. I pray that God will show you his wisdom and that He will prepare the way for you. You are a good mom and never, ever put blame on yourself. She is God’s girl and He will see her through this.

    All my best,
    Tina Collins

  • https://aftermath1014.wordpress.com/ Andrea

    Angie – there is so much to say, not just from the standpoint of the mommy to a girl who struggled with this but also as a professional who has worked with countless families and adolescents dealing with this.  If you go to my blog, you’ll find my email and I’d be happy to continue a conversation as this all doesn’t get solved overnight and you’ll continue to have questions in the years to come.  I can start by saying that there are a number of solutions here and your mommy intuition/Holy Spirit connection will lead you to the right one, even as you seek wise counsel.  I homeschooled as a way to allow her to work around her challenges (and I can give you details on teaching/learning strategies later) but when it came time for her to dual-enroll in college, I strongly suggested she consider medication which she tried and took for periods of time when she felt it necessary.  She would have taken it all the time were it not for some consequences that interfered with her other health condition.  All this to say that I tried to structure life to play to her strengths (and ADD comes with many :) , but when I couldn’t I remained open to whatever solutions would help her function in her challenges as best as possible, thanking God all the while for His gifts of medical knowledge and in full and open conversation with her each step of the way.  This resource was the most helpful to me along the way:  http://www.additudemag.com/index.html  Go first to the “About ADD” tab/Printables/What to Love About ADD.  Again – I am here if you want to discuss more, there are so many things to consider at each stage of development…most of all, you are in my prayers! 

  • Jenn Becker

    I almost feel silly leaving a comment since there are so many others…but here goes anyways.;)  My nephew was diagnosed with this over 18months ago.  Before they started him on medications they gave him large doses of magnesium and it has made a world of difference.  He still takes it to this day and it has helped him tremendously.  The nice thing is that because it’s just a vitamin you can start it at any time even before all of the dr conclusions and see if it helps.  It might be worth checking out.

    The most difficult part of it all with my nephew was how hard he was/is on himself.  He desperately wanted to do the right thing and cope the right ways, but just couldn’t seem to regulate his body, his thoughts or his emotions.  18 months later he is so much happier and has come so far.  

    God is gracious and good to reveal that Kate needs help.  This will be another tool in the arsenal against the enemy for both her and you someday.  Praying for you and sweet Kate.  

  • Kasey Krawiec

    I just wanted to leave you with encouragment, regardless of what method you may take. My son battled infant leukemia when he was 11 weeks old. I was horribly torn over all of the necessary (and very harsh!) medications he had to endure to save his life. I was told over and over the long term side effects of the chemo/radiation/medications, etc that my heart ached and my head hurt. I finally asked the medical staff to simply stop telling me the side effect information… since it was all necessary to save his life anyway, I simply could no longer handle the information overload of worry. The Lord lead me to this passage and it has made all of the difference. Especiallly verse 7 “the Lord shall preserve you from all evil…” My prayer was that the Lord would keep my son save from the harm of the medications and only provide his body the benefits of them. He is now 4 years old, perfectly healthy (joy-filled and super lively!) and the Lord is still protecting him. Whatever you have to do for your sweet Kate, and pray these verses of protection over her…

    Psalm 121:5-8
    [KATE] The Lord is your keeper;The Lord is your shade at your right hand.6 The sun shall not strike you by day,Nor the moon by night.
    7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil, [KATE];He shall preserve your soul.8   [KATE] The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming inFrom this time forth, and even forevermore.

  • Iliveforjesus7

    Hi Angie! :)   I just wanted to say that Jesus did NOT make ANY mistakes when he knit Kate together in your womb….Remember that we are ALL created for HIS glory each in a VERY unique way!  Just because she does not fit the regiment and mold that they require in some institution DOES NOT mean that there is something “wrong” with her!  She just requires a different approach.  Having said that, I am an adult who was diagnosed with ADHD, I believe if I didn’t homeschool both of my boys would be labeled as such also.   Personally I am not a big drug advocate. I do not condemn those who do, however, we serve an AWESOME God and I personnally have seen HIM answer too many of my medical/physical queries without having to seek any other intervention to not put my faith and trust in Jesus first.  It might mean that she be brought home exclusively, I don’t know, but God does…she is HIS after all and He gave her to you not the tutors, or anyone else, but to your family….because your family was perfect for her training and equipping to become the witness of GOD’s glory that HE intends her to be!!!  :)  

    Sincerely a sister in Jesus Christ,
    Sarah T

  • Julia

    Angie, My son who is now 9 has been on Adderall XR 5 (at the beginning) or 10 (now) since Jan. 2011.  Our school did the Conners 3 test (with input from teachers and us) and he was off the chart for ADHD.  After exhausting almost all the other non-medication remedies, our pediatrician (old school dr by the way) said that he recommended the Adderall.  We tried it and we were blessed.  Almost within 2 weeks, we saw a change in our son’s behavior and more importantly his schoolwork.  He was unfocused, distracted, struggling even though he was considered highly intelligent and his grades had been slipping.  After the meds, he was an all A student with minor if any behaviorial problems at school.  This past year, he had gained (yay!) over 3 lbs. and his teacher noticed some of his old habits coming back behaviorally.  We talked to his doctor who recommended a higher dose (hence the Adderall XR 10 now) and this past quarter at school he has absolutely blown our minds… passing his EOG’s with high scores and a great report card and learning to do/attempt things we’ve been trying to get him to do for a while… he’s maturing, yes, but also the medicine REALLY helps.  He is carefully monitored (weight gain/health issues) by us and his pediatrician all the time and we go in for “Med checks” every 3 months.  I was like you… afraid of the medicine.  Afraid of any and all side effects.  BUT, God has used this medicine to change our life and our son’s for the better.  So don’t be afraid of it.  It might take a few tweaks here and there to get the right dosage but if you’ve tried everything else, don’t feel like that’s failure.  God has blessed us with our son and I consider him very special… before, during and after his diagnosis.  And God will use this challenge for good. 

  • Hellerccrn

    My youngest son was diagnosed ADHD and then Asperger’s Syndrome.   We kept him on some form of Ritalin from second grade until junior year in high school.  He began having mood swings, and was put on Abilify to even those out.  Within 18 months he was off the Abilify and able to concentrate well enough to finish high school (although due to our circumstances we’ve had a hard time supporting him for college).  If I had to do it over again I’d concentrate more on mind-focusing exercises like Brain Gym in the book “Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head” by Carla Hannaford and less on Ritalin.  He is now 23 and a delightful young man. Hope this helps!

  • BB

    I’m not a parent so I’m sorry that I can’t offer any assistance from the perspective of a mother, but as a 26 yr old with ADHD I thought I’d speak up from the side of the child in this case. I went undiagnosed until I was 15 and struggled for many years knowing that school and every day life didn’t seem so hard for everyone else. But it was for me. My parents were very reluctant to have me tested but I finally insisted and they were shocked to be told, after 2 days of intense testing, that I am in fact what the doctor called “significantly ADHD.” That was one of the most validating days of my life. Having an answer brought so much hope…things didn’t always have to be so difficult. And they haven’t been since that day my sophomore year of high school.

    What I would encourage you to do is read. Research. Ask (like you have!). Educate yourself. Also, know that, if she was diagnosed, it’s not a sentence for a lifetime of struggling but in fact is very treatable both with medicine and/or a number of other options. 

    Personally, I have had really great success on medicine (just got my Vyvanse refilled this morning) and have seen enormous benefits. If you choose to try her on meds I’d just want to let you know that you that you often have to try a few before finding the one that works best for the individual. Give each one a fair try for a few weeks but if it’s not right, seek a different type. Many have side effects (head-ache, dry mouth) that only last the first week or two but that almost always will subside quickly. On the right medicine she should be totally her upbeat and happy self while the every day struggles are minimized or eliminated. Hope this helps a little. I’ll be praying for your family!!

  • Jakesmommy

    I have an eleven y/o son diagnosed with ADD (daydreamer type). We have been on 3 different medications and the last one we tried seem to do the trick. He only takes the medicine when he’s at school as behavior problems are not an issue. One other thing to consider when having her tested, 30% of children with ADD are also dyslexic. Which can also bring on frustration. Only you and your husband can decide what is best for Kate. In one of the books that I read it stated that life with a child with ADD/ADHD is like living out the movie “Ground Hog Day”. You’ll know in your heart what’s best for her.

  • Abigail r

    Angie, 
    I am not a mom, but I am a childcare worker and my mom was a teacher for 25 years. One of the things that is natural and has been shown to be very helpful was mentioned by someone else as well. Caffeine. It is counter intuitive, true, but a small amount of caffeine (not sugary caffeine like soda, but just caffeine) is shown to be rather effective with concentration. My friend mom was a teacher as well and she would give some of her students who had trouble concentrating (ADD/ADHD) a coffee bean to suck on for a few minutes and it helped before they had tests, etc…

    In my personal childcare experience, the greatest assistance that I have seen is to 1)give her a way to be helpful and involved (knowing that it will make things longer and most likely messier and more complex) and 2)give lots of opportunity for movement and getting out energy. A boy in the weekly 2nd grade class that I teach would just need to run around outside for a good 10 minutes every hour or two, and he was great! That helped him to be able to sit and be with us in class without having to constantly correct him or be frustrated by his challenge. 

    This is definitely not easy but you two will have peace about what is right for your girl. After all, you know her best! 

    Blessings! 
    Abigail 

  • Cheryl Plourde

    Precious Angie, 

    I have been reading your blog for years and so enjoying your heart for your husband, your children and for the Lord. 
    Your faith in Him has taken you to many places and I have been so blessed to be able to watch part of your journey. 

    I have 10 children and I am now pregnant with twins. I home school also. My sister was diagnosed with ADD when she was around 12 and honestly all the medications made things worse for her. The caffeine did help. I would just offer this advice. Out of my 10 children, I could easily say 3 of them could have ADD but really I’d rather look at the fact that they are all very different and so I started reading and learning about different developmental and learning styles.

     Intelligence and development are 2 very different things. Some of the best doctors didn’t even read until they were 13 years old. The movie Gifted Hands about Ben Carson is an awesome story about a boy that may also been told he had ADD  but he became the top pediatric neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Hospital. I would avoid medication or ‘diagnosis’ from a doctor that does not know your child like you do. Maybe she doesn’t need a tutor right now, maybe a sport to help develop her focus. Focus takes time. It may never come but it doesn’t mean she has ADD or anything thing else for that matter. I know very intelligent people who seem to not be able to focus, but they do focus on what is truly important and interesting to them. 

    I would say please drag your feet and pray for a long time before giving her medication. One of the things we did was we took away all TV (but a couple videos on the weekends) we got our child who would have been told he was ADD, in a karate class and now he is almost a black belt. You can’t have ADD and memorize all of those forms and moves. 
    I honestly wouldn’t put my child on medication for ADD. My husband has a masters degree in Psychology and has told me not to worry about our children who don’t seem to focus because they will grow out of ADD if they have it. 

    I know some will strongly disagree with me because we live in a society where people trust their doctor sometimes over their own discernment and our quick to use medications.  Maybe drop the tutor, go back to the basics of reading, baking, gardening and waiting on the Lord. I know you are a godly woman who is desperately in love with her children and you will know the right thing to do. I have never commented on your blog before, but felt compelled today. I hope this helps. 

    God bless you and keep you. 
    Cheryl 

  • Tami

    The best advice anyone has ever given me to do what you feel is right for your child.  DO NOT worry about what others might say or do.  You will know if your heart what is right :)   Trust the doctors, your hubby and most important the direction the Lord is leading.  :)   Tami

  • http://bl8tn.blogspot.com/ bl8tn

    We knew very early on, ~ age 2, that our son would likely one day be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. He was diagnosed with sensory integration dysfunction at 15 mos and was in OT for 2 years. He’s always been “spirited” and most of the time was just active more than acting out. As he grew older however, things that had worked previously stopped working and we were on a multi-year cycle of trying new tactics. We tried homeopathy, supplements, therapy, etc. but avoided the diagnosis and medication. I’m not one to put a lot of energy in regret, but I do wish we had take action earlier. It would have been better for us and him. We were so concerned about losing the best parts of him, altering his personality, or creating chemical dependency. Our son is now 12 years old and was diagnosed a year ago with ADD (focus, not behavioral) and has been on Adderall XR since the beginning of the school year. Our experience has been nothing but positive, he’s like a different kid … a better version of himself during the school day and he likes that he can focus when he needs and then be his “crazy” self when he’s not required to focus. He went from having issues with other kids and mostly Cs to being very popular and straight As in 9 months! I agree with many posters that every situation / child is different and there is no one right way. Be Kate’s advocate, take in everything and then go with your heart. God Bless!

  • Kellycalkins

    Hi Angie! So one thing- very very VERY frequently, kids are misdiagnosed with ADD when they instead have hypoglycemia- low blood sugar issues. I would highly recommend looking into that as that will just be a diet change-eating more frequently- instead of medication. Hypoglycemics just have to snack all day instead of the normal amount of eating, if that makes sense.

  • Lauri

    I was not diagnosed until I was an adult. So wish Id had known alot earlier on. Sure wouldve helped with school. Prayers!

  • Jen

    As a mother and teacher, I have seen many students who struggle with focus and attention. When medicine has been needed, it has always helped. Prayers for you and your sweet girl! 

  • Weezj

    I don’t know if you’re still Reading responses on this post, but I wanted to share a little about what God has taught me over the past seven months. . . My son has struggled with his behavior since he turned about 2 1/2. He’s now 4 1/2 and last summer we decided it was time to seek help from a developmental pediatrician. This dr gave him a diagnosis that we disagreed with and had removed from his chart. But, more than that, she painted a picture of who our son would become based on this diagnosis. It was heartbreaking to hear what his future looked like. But, God clearly spoke to me and reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11 and that His plan is for good and not harm. He also reminded me that each of us are to identify ourselves with Christ and who God says we are in His Word. My son has come so far in the past 7 months and a lot of it is because we’ve been able to get him the type of intervention he really needs, but it’s mainly due to the fact that God has used what Satan intended for evil (us identifying our son with a diagnosis) for good. He has drawn our son to Himself in a way I never could have imagined and has shown our son that He is always with him. Please understand that we are 100% in favor of intervention (medicine, therapy, minerals, etc) when a parent believes its necessary. I just wanted to encourage you in case you are give a bleak outlook for your sweet girl’s future. She has been fearfully and wonderfully made by Christ and only He knows her future and He holds it in His hands.

  • Chrystal Hurst

    Hey Angie, I have two of those kiddos. We chose not to medicate. Helping children learn coping mechanisms is hard work but doable. That was and still is our choice…but only YOU know what works for your family. God gave u an excellent “mom-o-meter”. Trust it. You and your husband will know what to do. Go ahead and cry. It’s fine to feel cuz your her mom! Then…get up, wipe your tears and fight for her :)

  • Ottszoo5

    My precious middle boy was diagnosed with ADHD as a first grader.  We tried various medications and had some success with adderall.  He had severe side affects.  He lost so much weight and was pretty much a zombie.  As a 5th grader, I got to witness his behavior first hand.  I worked at the same school he was attending.  I watched him everyday in the cafeteria just sit and stare into space.  He didn’t eat.  He didn’t make friends.  It was heart wrenching.  About that same time we felt a call from the Lord to homeschool.  We ignored it.  He went on to middle school.  Six weeks in to middle school a teacher-friend called to tell me that she saw him wondering around all alone at lunch everyday.  I prayed.  My hubby prayed.  My mom prayed.  She was very against homeschooling.  One night, crystal clear I heard these words from the Lord, “pull him out”.  My mom called at the crack of dawn the next morning.  Do you know what her exact words were?  ”Pull him out!”  I immediately withdrew him from school and started homeschooling.  He stayed on medication for 3 months.  After we got used to the schedule and one another we took him off medication.  He gained 25 pounds and we got to experience his wicked sense of humor that we hadn’t seen in such a long time.  It isn’t easy homeschooling this ADHD boy.  If he has trouble sitting still I let him roam around the house or go outside for a while.  We do school work a few subjects at a time, then take a break.  I have learned to take deep breaths and go with the flow.  This wild ADHD boy is now 6’2″ and almost 16 years old.  He is brilliant in science and loves to read.  I do give him some tests orally when he’s having trouble.  He has always hated writing, but has started to really find his niche.  
    I have never been one of those moms who believes medication is wrong.  In fact, if we see that our boy is having trouble when it’s time to start driving we may look at medication again.  An ADHD boy with a car is dangerous.  But for now, we are medication free and loving it!

  • Happystamper33

    After 4 years of suspecting that my (now10) son had ADHD, and as many years of struggling at school, lots of frustration, and the whole family coming to the end of our ropes, we finally met with both a family counselor AND a child psychiatrist just a few months ago. I have always leaned towards avoiding medications, but agreed to give Concerta a try. WHAT AN AMAZING change it has made in our lives! He is so much calmer, focused and HAPPY. After about a week on the medication, my son came home from school one day in tears. When I asked him what was wrong, he said he was crying because he was so much happier and felt better about himself. He felt like he was in control of himself! At that moment, I knew we had done the right thing. My only regret is not having done it 4 years ago. It truly has changed our family life, and his teacher and counselor say it is a “night and day” difference. I realize now that my original stance of not medicating was only cheating him.

    On an interesting note, a few days ago, after he had come home from school, he was angry, moody, lashing out and frustrated. We realized that my husband had forgotten to give him the Concerta that morning!! I couldn’t believe the difference.

    I know that through prayer, God will show you the right path for your family!

  • Heidimarieevans

    Hi Angie, my son has ADD as well and we tried medicine, but for us it was not the right choice. So we started using Spark by AdvoCare. It has worked wonders, and it is natural. Plus I was sold, when Texas A&M did there own study on it and it outperformed most medications. You can look at it here: http://www.onlyadvocare.com  Since we discovered Spark, we have helped 100′s of other families get on Spark as well. My son loves it. And his behavior was night and day!  But also with all that said, I think you have to decide what is best for your family. You seem like a really good mom, who cares about what is best, so the Lord will give you the wisdom as to what the right choice is!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/OUFDCOSA4IGD6IZ6HSRWMJJH3I Mary Fitzpatrick

      I clicked on the link you provided. By Spark are you referring to the AdvoCare Spark® Energy Drink? That’s the only Spark thing that came up when I searched it on the site.

  • Guest

    I don’t have any personal experience with ADD, and I’m not a mom, but I have heard from several psychologist friends that there are a lot of kids that are misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Having that in mind, I think I would try less drastic means first (diet changes, exercise plans etc) before looking into medication. I’ve also heard of children becoming frustrated and acting out because of undiagnosed dyslexia, food allergies etc, but I’m sure your pediatrician knows to check for things like that.

    I’ll pray that you have the strenght to do what is best for your daughter, even if it means a lifestyle change, or even harder – medication.

  • http://www.newbabygiftboxes.co.uk/ Lisa

    My son was diagnosed last year.  We tried Ritalin but it didn’t work for us.  You can only try as no 2 kids react the same way.  You know your child and will establish what works best for her and your family.  We are now on Spark and it is working wonders.

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Hi Angie.  I have an 8 yo son who is currently taking low does Ritalin for ADHD.  He takes one pill in the morning and another at school during lunch.  Before the medication, he was unable to sit and focus in the classroom.  He had outburts and could not concentrate. Now, with medication, he is doing so much better.  I give him the weekends off and that is the beauty of the medication now days.  Once you find the right dose, it’s in the system and out.  You can decide when to give it (just during school days, etc.)  It did take us 3-4 rounds of different meds and doses until we found what worked.  My oldest son, now 18, had similar problems in school but I just thought he was just being a boy.  He is not struggling to finish school  I wish I knew then what I know now. 

    Praying and asking for wisdom and what God would have for your daughter.

  • Richelle Lynn Wright

    angie – my heart breaks for you. so hard to see something in one of our precious kids that we know they will have to battle and struggle with all of their lives – and then to wonder if it is the result of some sort of failure on our part – or if we will have the resources and the knowledge to disciple our child in and through this difficulty.

    as a partial home schooling mama of 8, at least 3 of whom have different types of learning difficulties (one struggles with ADD type issues, but we are on the back side of the desert in W. Africa, so there will be no immediate diagnosis), but also as a special educator who works/has worked with many kids with learning difficulties in several different settings, can i encourage you with a few thoughts?

    1. you’ve got to discern what is the way your individual child should go. getting advice and suggestions is an awesome place to start, but God gave that precious girlie to you because you and todd are the ones He’s chosen to walk this path with her for all sorts of reasons, some probably you’ll never know in this lifetime. so try different things, don’t throw all your eggs into one basket or figure you’ve found some sort of magic cure, expect hard work, diligently journal/chart results and ask the Lord to point out the things you should see.
    2. medication can be a wonderful tool – but it is only that, and it is not the most effective tool for all kids. it can be a tool to help children learn more self-control. its effectiveness can also decrease with time as the body habituates to it. in my experience, there is a window of opportunity where it is most effective and helps children learn strategies to best cope with their uniqueness before dosages must be adjusted, a new med tried, etc. sometimes a coke (or other caffeinated drink) 45 minutes before sustained focus is required is just as effective.
    3. investigate and learn about different learning styles. i, personally, am not concerned if kids are not reading fluently until 3rd grade, especially active, more kinesthetic type learners, and generally follow much more of an unschooling approach. kathy koch does some amazing work with multiple intelligences, also with a biblical worldview and i’d recommend exploring her webpage (celebratekids.com). but googling learning styles or multiple intelligences will get you started among a whole host of good resources.
    4. determine if structure and consistency provides the boundaries kate needs – or if her impulsivity/creativity is the gift and learn to take advantage of the teachable moments in learning directed by her and her natural style and interests.
    5. celebrate every success - particularly small, daily ones.
    6. don’t assume a failure to follow directions/instructions or that something which looks like disobedience is willful and/or sinful. often it is fatigue, cluelessness, misunderstanding… in other words, a mistake and requires correction, not discipline. don’t remove consequences, but cushion them, at least until she starts experiencing some success.
    7. accept and value all effort – even if success is not achieved. you don’t want her to give up and stop trying just because she doesn’t achieve. sometimes success is best defined as continual effort and persistence in moving towards a goal, little by little… inch by inch.
    8. listen and pray for ears and a spirit open to hear what she is saying, particularly as she grows and matures- she’ll give you amazing insight into what she needs and how she best learns.
    9. keep on  keeping on your knees, seeking daily discernment.

    prayers as you walk yet another adventure in parenting. i so appreciate you, your family and your blog as i’ve followed over the past few years.

  • Talley

    Dr. Beurneui in Hendersonville is amazing! I highly recommend him. He is a Christian natural doctor and has worked with many children and he has nine of his own. Praying!

  • Rkdavisiii

    All I can say is we’re trying to figure out the same with our young guy. So stressful and we feel like we’re grasping for some kind of answer (?) constantly. It’s frustrating. He doesn’t “fall into” characteristic ADD signs but something’s waging battle inside his body. We just want to find that majic cure/answer/help so badly.

    • Kerry @ Made For Real

      Sorry, accidental click. Meant to put Kerry! (for last post)

    • Kerry @ madeforreal.com

      And magic, not majic… Oh my goodness it’s going to be one of those days!

  • Tanya

    Hey Angie, my cousin has an 8 year old son with ADD and she has found instant-amazing results by changing his diet.  He is a smart boy but could not concentrate.   She took away 2 big ones, gluten and dairy.  These are difficult habits to change, but we are in a period of time when there are so many wonderful substitutes.    I hope this helps.  These are just a few easy things to try out.  It honestly gave her drastic results and everyone saw a difference in him.  Praying for you all.  You are such an amazing mother and she is so fortunate to have you!  xoxo Tanya

  • Kimberly Reisinger

    Angie, our oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD 8 years ago.  I have an education background, and wanted to be sure he saw the right people.  ADD/ADHD is commonly misdiagnosed. So I had him evaluated by a family therapist, an educational psychologist, and our pediatrician.  They all said the same thing, ADHD.  We also had him tested for dyslexia, and Aspergers.  And…we had his eyes tested…and discovered he was cross-eyed.  He couldn’t focus his eyes properly, so simple thing like reading, writing, and tracing were very hard for him.  6 months with reading glasses solved that problem.  We tried dietary changes, no red dye, gluten free, etc.  None of that really seemed to make a difference, so we tried Ritalin.  Immediately, his 1st grade teacher said, “He’s a completely different child.” I would honestly used meds as a last resort.  Ritalin and other similar meds are good to start with first.  Our peds has worked with ADD/ADHD for 25 years, and said the newer meds (like Focalin, Adderall, etc) potentially have worse side effects, (weight loss, depression, anxiety, etc).  Our son is now 13, and while he’s quirky, he says he can tell he concentrates better with medication.  He is seen every 3-6 months for weight checks and med adjustments if necessary.  He only takes it M-F, not on weeknds. Keep in mind meds don’t solve everything.  Our son still has trouble socializing, he makes very few friends, and needed speech therapy for years.  You really have to decide what’s best for your sweet girl.  Anything I say, or anything anyone else says here really doesn’t matter.  We can all tell you what WE do, but in the end, you do what’s best for your family.  Be patient, and get more than one evaluation…it could be something else. 

  • Megan

    I know this might be a tad late.. When I was 8 years old I was diagnosed with ADD, I had an extremely hard time concentrating..I would notice every little noise (buzzing of lights, crinkling of paper, etc), I struggled a lot in school.. My dad just happen to be a pediatrician, who had been doing research and later became a spokes person for ADD/ADHD, this was years and years ago when it was still HIGHLY controversial.. My parents then started me on Ritalin and it was like night and day to me.. Reading was actually fun and pleasurable, instead of hours of me crying because it would take me like a hour just to finish one chapter…I just graduated from Dental School with Honors AND I did it WITHOUT medication..As I got older I decided along with talking with my parents that I didn’t want to depend on any medication and I was slowly winged off..That was my own choice and yes, it was a struggle, but I did it…I highly recommend having the testing done and medication as Katie gets older she might be able to teach herself good study habits and recognize ways to help her concentrate.. The only side effect that I would say that I did notice is my low appetite, but my parents did a great job of making sure I had a well rounded diet 

  • Cyndi

    Angie,
    I firmly believe in doing what we need to do for our children in order to help them succeed, and if that means medication, so be it.  I would, however, suggest trying some dietary changes first.  I would begin with gluten and dairy, and eliminate anything with artificial food dye in it–especially red.  My third child spent the first three years of her life bouncing off the walls.  We figured we were headed for medication, and then my aunt told us to eliminate the food dyes.  Within a week she was a different child.  I can recommend a great book for food allergies that helped us tremendously.  It’s called “Is This Your Child?” by Doris Rapp.  Here is a link to her website.  http://www.drrapp.com/

    Good luck, and remember–The Lord created that baby and He will give you what you need to help her succeed.

  • Christine

    Hi Angie.  I know what a difficult struggle this is for you.  It is so hard when it comes to our kids!  And we all want what is best for them.  The Lord knows Kate’s heart and her struggles and He will guide you in this process. 

    That being said, I have seen tremendous results from removing dyes from my daughter’s diet.  In speaking to friends who have similar experiences, the dyes in many of our foods (Red #40 especially but all dyes) have a significant impact on their behavior – particularly hyperactivity and their ability to focus.  I didn’t even realize how many foods have these in them, but there are alternate choices that don’t require going to a health food store for everything.  We still eat wheat and dairy and all the other typical foods, but just make better choices when it comes to artificial coloring (no Gogurts, Icees, Otter Pops / Popsicles, Fruit Punches, Colored sprinkles / frosting, etc.).

    My daughter is high functioning Aspbergers and we decided to move forward with medication for anxiety issues (OCD medication), based on the Neurologists’s recommendations and have seen good progress without any negative side affects.  She is not ADD, but she did display many of the same behaviors, which is why I mention this.  And overall it has been a good experience.  It does sometimes take several medications to get the right fit for your child, so be prepared for that.  And we still have very difficult days if we happen to consume anything with the dyes in them. 

    Prayers for your precious little girl and for this decision. 

    • MAM2222

       I just wanted to add that we avoid artificial dyes as well (among other additives).  I do let my boys have treats outside of our home if we’re at a party or something special but I try to never buy it for in our home.  I’m not saying that these are health foods or are to be considered extremely healthy in some cases but it has gotten a lot easier to avoid dyes in the past year or two….you can buy the “simply” gogurt, no artificial dye Popsicle (or even the all natural fruit alternatives like Edys), even the multi-color goldfish are colored with fruits and vegetables now.  It’s kind of nice to be able to “splurge” once in a while on these types of treats, my kids think it’s great.  Just thought I’d add that, again, I’m not saying these are the choices we make all the time but it’s nice to have the options.  It’s sad that all this artificial stuff is LOADED into foods, especially foods marketed to children.  But, I do think the food industry is starting to take notice a little.  Thanks!

  • Carol

    I found your blog through my daughter’s prayer for you.  I listened to your story and song for Audrey Caroline and was touched.  We were on a similar journey last year, but were blessed with our miracle, baby Isaac.   He was born with OEIS, and has undergone 2 surgeries.  Your can read his story at Isaacsinspiration@blogspot.com.  I have worked with developmentally disabled individuals for 21 years.  Many have ADD.  Please know that through the frustration and trials, just as you did with Audrey Caroline, you just have to love them exactly how they are.  Our prayers are with you. 

  • Kelacey08

    Hi ANgie! I am actually currently dating someone who is 32 and suffers from ADHD since childhood. I have seen firsthand how frustrating it can be for someone to be unable to focus. His 2 saving graces are:

    1. medication (I don’t know what is prescribed to kids these days, but he is off-the-walls when he forgets to take it. The difference is huge and helpful, and it doesn’t make him a “zombie” or anything unwanted like that. His mom is a huge holistic health nut and she has told me it was really hard for her to succumb to meds when diets/fads didn’t help when he was a kid, but she looked at it like he had a more physical disease like diabetes – she wouldn’t have deprived him of insulin!

     2. ROUTINE! He has the same bedtime/wakeup routine every day (including weekends). Try making a chart for Kate with a list of things she has to do each day. (IE 7AM: wake up, brush teeth, make bed, eat breakfast 8AM: change into school clothes, put dirty clothes in hamper 9AM: snacktime, put away toys 10AM:tutor etc )etc…even the tiniest things, when written down and made obvious, can be a huge help! Physically looking at the organization ofher  day will help organize her head a bit. The things that you and I and the twins do without thinking can be hard for her to remember…When the “routine” things aren’t frustrating for her, it will make the rest of the smaller things (like focusing in class) easier for her to deal with.

    Keep working with her doctors, it is not something to take lightly and I know a lot of people will say “oh all kids have ADD” or “they just need discipline” – let your mama heart guide you :)

  • MAM2222

    http://brainbalancechicago.com/  Not sure if this is regional or nationwide but a person that works for this organization came to speak at our home school group a month or two ago.  It was very very interesting.  I will say that the “treatment” they offer is very expensive.  But, they do offer phone consultations (free I think) and a few books that you can read.  I am not saying that I know a whole lot about this approach but would definitely look into it more if the need arises.  It basically has to do with the right/left sides of the brains developing at different rates and strengthening the “weaker” side.  This is a majorly simplified explanation but just thought I’d pass it along.  And also, I didn’t check to see if there were other locations.

  • http://twitter.com/BobJoGus Bobbie Jo Gustafson

    You will know what you need to know when you need to know it.  I understand how a Momma wants to be big (for lack of a better word) for her babies.  God sometimes has other plans.  He meets their needs,  especially beyond our knowledge and limitations.  Our desperate hearts pound for passionate, relentless faith.  I pray corrective knowledge is yours and Kate’s relief, but I know He is up to something good even if this stays mysterious.  Faith that God’s awesome, lovely purpose is present in every second of the mystery is our way!  He is present.  He is awesome.  There is glory here.  Our poor babies…it’s so hard witnessing them human.  Passionate, relentless faith is the only way.    

  • Guest

    My younger brother has ADD/HD but wasn’t officially diagnosed until high school.  My parents were able to help him mostly through having a very predictable routine.It honestly made life so much easier. He does take an Rx (Adderall) even now as an adult  (23) because as he says, “it takes away all the distractions and makes me want to work on what I am supposed to be doing”.  An alternate diet and a strong routine are a great starting point, but if meds are the route you take please don’t let your child take a “vacation from them” during the summer. I have worked in various summer children’s programs and encountered that attitude and it just overwhelmed me with sadness to see kids struggle to conform with rules/maintain good relationships with friends because they are in a sense “detoxing” (a bit scary of a term,  but it fits). Don’t feel guilty regardless of what you choose in the coming days. You get to decide what is best for your daughter. 

  • Jessica

    My son is almost nine and was diagnosed with ADHD in his kindergarten year. It was so hard on us because of the stereotypes and opinions of others about medicating our child. I finally came to the conclusion that God makes us all specifically and purposefully. That being said we all have struggles and thank heavens he also created doctors who came up with medications that can help these struggles. After a week of being on the medication Elliot said I feel like a new boy:). That’s when I knew we had made the right decision. God made you the mom of your little girl and in that he gave you all the insight you need. Do what you feel is best but don’t let the stereotypes and others opinions run your decision.
    My son has been on his meds for four years and is the top student in his class I believe the help of the medication helps him to be his best. Each person has to make the decision that works best for them and their family. After much prayer I realized this.

    We will be praying for you and your little girl.

    Jessica

  • cristin heard

    My son is 3 1/2 years old. He was diagnosed last year with mild autism, apraxia of speech and add. I was nervous, like you, about medications. I decided to do the medication. In my mind, what was it going to hurt? If it didn’t work, we could always take him off.

    He gets so much more out of school now. He goes to a special needs preschool and he is doing fabulous. Besides his speech, he’s up to speed with the average child his age. Something I didn’t think would be possible right now.

    I did have to try several meds. Every child is different. The bottom line for me was would the medicine decrease his quality of life or increase.

    If you’re worried about long term side effects, my advice is to go with your gut. Yes, there are side effects, but they come with every medicine out there. The medicine my son is on hasn’t been tested on any child younger than 5 and he started taking it at 2 1/2. But logically speaking, Benedryl, Tylenol, ect.ect. have never been tested on younger children either and we give them to our children at young ages. Why? because they needed it. No mother wants their child in pain during teething…so Tylenol it is. Allergy season? Benedryl. That was my logic for choosing meds.

  • Melody

    Oh sweet mama, hang in there.  I am walking a very similar road with my 6 year old son.  He meets the criteria for ADHD along with an anxiety disorder, mixed with many other challenges.  He has always been a challenging child, but at the beginning of the year things went down hill really fast, and we have yet to regain our footing. 

    We tried the natural route for three months, with very little success.  So a month ago we had to make the very same tough decision that you are having to make.  We have been through two medications so far (Adderall and Focalin).  Neither have worked for our son.  I expect we will start up a new one this week after we see his psychiatrist.  As far as advice on meds, all I can say is be patient.  And don’t get too discouraged if the first one doesn’t work.

    This is such a hard road to walk.  Know that you are not alone.  Thank you for being brave and sharing! 

  • http://Inklingwrites.blogspot.com/ Inkling

    I’m late to the table with this.  I’m a girl with ADD and a former teacher.  In fact, I’m a former teacher who worked with kids who dealt with ADD passionately  advocating for them while serving under a principal who didn’t believe it existed.  So all that’s to say that I’ve got a heart for this.

    A really, really, really good book to check out is Dr. Daniel Amen’s Healing ADD.  Dr. Amen is a psychiatrist in California, and he’s written a few books and put out some really interesting videos/cds.  Interestingly enough, he knows Jesus, which is kind of a fun bonus for people like me who found that the church kind of made dealing with things like ADD or depression difficult.  (And p.s.  when I treated my ADD, my depression magically disappeared.)  Dr. Amen has some really great things to say, and he helps one figure out what types of treatment work best for each type of ADD, instead of treating it like a one-size-fits-all deal.  My brother-in-law is a family therapist, and he’s the one who told me about Dr. Amen, because he has had him travel up here to speak.   Reading the book and trying some of his suggestions has been super helpful for me.

    I wasn’t diagnosed until college, which meant that I had years of feeling like a failure taking up room in my heart and head.  It is awesome that you are talking about it now, while Kate is still so young and has years of getting to experience success and hope ahead of her.

    It sounds like you guys might already be at a great place where she can find support in the classroom, but if you ever need recommendations for tutorial type places in the Franklin area, please feel free to email.  I have a few I really like in the Franklin/Nashville area, and they cater to homeschoolers as well as offer unique ways of learning that are perfect for those of us who need something a little outside the box.

    I hope you find exactly the help Kate needs so that she can thrive and see exactly how amazing she is.

  • Cindy

    Hi Angie, My son was also exibiting ADD behaviours, but it turned out it was neurodevelopment issues.  We worked with a wonderful Neurodevelopmentalist who assessed him and designed a treatment plan of exercises (for the brain) and sensory input work.  After 2 years, he is a new child!  A completely different boy…and NO meds.  He likely would have been mis-diagnosed put on medication had we not discovered this link.  Please look into other options for medication may not be needed for your little one!
    http://www.icando.org/ican-members/ican-members-list
    Blessings, and may God’s revelation be swift…
    Cindy 

  • Mollyvoth

    Sweet one. HUGE suggestion. Have the ALCAT food allergy panels run and eliminate the foods that come back in her “red zone” and “yellow zone”. We had the same issue with our son. A doc diagnosis of ADD, etc, getting ready to put him on meds. We were all frustrated. Come to find out, he is very sensitive to corn. Pulled corn out of his diet, and we had a new kid. He got tested and entered the gifted program this year. It is so difficult and I totally understand your concerns. Can’t hurt to try a natural alternative before meds. Just my experience:) hugs and prayers for clear answers, my friend.

  • Land Salmon

    I am not yet a momma (though i will be in 5 months!) but I know that my momma has had some experience with ADD in herself and with me and my sister.

     I was put on mediation, ritalin and then concerta, and it severely changed my personality. I had no personality. I was on it for years and it really affected me in school and looking back at my childhood years I can’t remember enjoying much of it. I was just too numb. It didn’t work for me my body and mind were too sensitive to it. 

    My little sister on the other hand has thrived on the same medications that I was taking. She is doing well in school and is a joy to be around. She even takes it without being reminded because she sees a difference! Although she claims that if she takes it too late in the day it just makes her grumpy. It also takes away her appetite so she has to make sure to eat before taking it or it adds to the moodiness.

    Being aware of how it changes her mood is really important. My mom didn’t know to look for those side effects and I went on taking it for far to long and it wasn’t healthy for me but it could be really good for Kate. 

    Praying for you as you make these hard decisions.  

  • Land Salmon

    Oh man, I posted this under my husbands name… I hope you can take this seriously with such a ridiculous name as Land Salmon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1064291667 Dara Hope Gates

    I was a school nurse for a year and it was a real eye opener.  I’m going to skip the drama and details, but I was really impressed with 1 male teacher who used to take his kids out on the playground and involve them physically in the learning process.  Boys especially, have a hard time sitting still in a classroom.  He told me it made a difference not only in classroom management, but in the kids attention.  I know for myself, if you give me a piece of paper and tell me to write about x, y or z, I can’t wrap my mind around it.  But, give me a keyboard and my mind engages.  It’s a hard decision to make about medicating your child.

  • Ann a

    I was diagnosed with ADD without the hyperactivity when I was in high school, and started medication then. It made a huge difference just knowing what was up. I felt more confident as a student, and my teachers were very supportive. College, on the other hand, was a different story at first. My first year was a flop. But really I think it was b/c I didn’t have the schedule anymore or my dad banging on my door well before dawn telling me to finish my homework. In other words, it took me a few years to learn the organizational and study skills that seemed to come naturally to others. That said, here are the things that helped me finally be successful on school and in work: my dad’s best advice was “go to class every time it meets, and do all your assignments, and you’ll make As.”. That really worked (see what I mean about things that came naturally to other people? And I did make a couple of bs and cs). Also, I fasted from screen time for a forty day period once while I was on college. It wasn’t to improve my study skills–it was to focus on God–but I noticed a huge improvement in my ability to focus in that time. Lastly, I will say that as helpful as medication was while I was in high school, first learning to study, living with my parents and only going to school, in college I found myself not eating nearly enough (not eating every day!!) and getting over emotional when I was in social situations sometimes… basically, getting intensely focused when I sidn’t need to be. So I stopped taking medicine and started using caffeine for completing assignments (knocking out an essay in 6 hours, or cramming for a final, etc) and now I drink a moderate amount of caffeine steadily throughout my work day. In summary, I would say, try to see the world through her eyes ( does she need some perspective on the morning routine… Someone to spell out the basics to help her stay on track?), defend her to her teachers (my mom and my high school guidance counselor had to do this a little at first), and just keep being the loving, God-seeking parents that you are.

  • Erin

    I don’t have time to read everything right now but the one point I want to make is that artificial color can do some bad things to kids (and adults??)  Perhaps this is not part of Kate’s diet but if it is, (think, Jello, colored candy, drinks and many other foods that you wouldn’t suspect,) please, please get rid of it.  

  • Angela

    I’m late in commenting and haven’t read through all the comments to see if someone else has mentioned it, but the GAPS diet can be very beneficial in ADD/ADHD. Praying as the right decisions and therapies are being chosen.

  • Fancydelights

    Angie, I don’t have time to read through the comments right now but I saw your post and wanted to mention a few things that have helped our family.  Please disregard them if they have already been mentioned. 

    My son is not officially ADD/ADHD, but he is HIGHLY distractible and has major impulse control issues!!!  I am an elementary teacher so the first thing I did was have him complete some tests on learning styles (I really like “Discover your child’s learning style” by Mariaemma Willis & Victoria Kindle Hodson) and as suspected, he was almost exclusively performing (high movement!) and inventing (takes thing apart – fun!).  A combination of the two is pretty interesting as you can imagine.  :)   So that was step one for us, figuring out how he learns specifically so we can cater his education to fit him (we are also homeschoolers). 

    Step two was to see if we could find more information / guidance on his busy learning disposition.  I found many books on the subject, but my favorite (and most helpful) are by the same author:  Carol Barnier.  They are:  “How to get your child off the refrigerator and on to learning” and “The big WHAT NOW book of learning styles”.  Both of these have wonderful, specific instructions and advice on how to help an active learner.  A short synopsis:  Carol has an active learning child and could find lots of information on the subject, but struggled finding out specific help on how to teach that style of learner.  Her book was created from her experiences in this area. 

    All 3 books mentioned above have been nothing but Godsends to us.  Now my son can learn in the way that fits him best without me (“Perfect patty teacher – total type A personality”) being an obstacle for him and expecting him to “just sit still and learn already!”.  Ha!  God is definitely using this experience to work out some major imperfections in me. 

    Many blessings, Michelle

  • Jennifer N.

    My teenage daughter has ADHD and has been on medication since she was in 1st grade. We have changed medicines over the years as she has grown, and I think it all depends on what works best for that particular child.  Right now, she is on Vyvanse and we love it! The downside of almost all of ADD/ADHD meds is that they decrease appetite, which we’ve had to monitor. We have seen the least side effects with Vyvanse. The best advice I have is for both of you to see a counselor familiar with ADD if she is diagnosed.  We went years before that was suggested to us and I wish we had known sooner. It helped us understand what was going on in her brain and the things we could do to encourage her to focus. It also helped her become more aware of what she can do to increase her ability to focus.

  • Carrie

     Rather than use medication, why not fix the problem. It worked for us! Google “Dianne Craft Brain Integration Therapy”. Dianne’s website will show you simple things you can do at home to help the right brain communicate with the left brain…which will eliminate most, if not all, of your ADD/ADHD symptoms. It’s a lot cheaper than medication, and much more effective. Kids these days are suffering so much. I wish more people understood that this condition is treatable without the use of medication. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

    • http://whatilearnedfromthewordtoday.blogspot.com/ Jes

      I have several friends who have used Dianne and she has done WONDERS for them. They also changed their diet, removing all corn syrup, wheat, (all gluten grains in some cases) MSG, etc.

      They have new kids…kids that are excelling and without medication.

      I’m praying for you, Angie.

  • Whitneywise

    Sometimes an early ADHD diagnosis can really be mild Non learning verbal disorder, aka, NLD. That’s what happened with my son. At 4 we thought, teachers thought ADD/ADHD but its more NLD. Just in case! Also my son is social to a degree so it’s a version. There’s also executive functioning disorder a sub form. All I know is I’m a mom with 4 under 6 and it’s not easy nor has it been to navigate my sons issues this year. Only prayer, faith, hope and love have had the best results for us. You know what’s best. Follow your heart and the Lord will show you. It’s a different sort of sacrifice to offer up the realization that your child needs help.

  • Eyeholler

    Just stumbled on your site and had to add my two thoughts. The book Super Parenting for ADD by Edward M. Hallowell, MD (a professional with ADHD) is an excellent book. It’s all about how LOVE is the foundation and he goes in depth on becoming an expert at seeing the good in the bad. Ie. Negative trait: distractible but the mirror trait of that is curious. I bet your Kate has a curious mind! Celebrate it.  Is she impulsive…that’s great, because most CREATIVE thoughts are impulsive thoughts. Is she intrusive, the mirror to that is EAGER. 
    So, we aren’t going to white wash the fact that the negative traits still need to be worked on and we need to be constantly learning how to not interrupt when people are talking or intrude on other activities….but a huge part of ADD/ADHD is perspective. Is this the worst thing that you could learn about your child…or is this a chance to unwrap the gift that God’s given you.

    That being said, it sounds like you are about to embark on an incredible journey leaning about the brain. there is a lot to learn. There are many things that can help your child’s brain–physical exercise, different strategies, diet and medication. 
    And guess what? God’s got a route for you that is going to be the right route for your family. Learn all you can. Trust God with the step He puts in front of you and know that He will lead you to the best place for Kate. I’m sure you know this, but it bears repeating :)

    I strongly urge you to see ADD not as a doom and gloom sentence, but an actual door that is opening up into an exciting opportunity to focus on the unique strengths of your child.

    God bless you on your journey.

  • Kate

    I realize that this might be a stretch, but I thought I would put it out there anyway.  My son is currently in vision therapy.  He has “convergence insufficiency”, in which both eyes are not working together correctly.  It causes him to use only one eye (at times), and when his brain DOES use both eyes, he sometimes sees double.  This, of course, makes learning (in his case writing and learning to read, as he is only in Kindergarten) very difficult.  In addition, he has a hard time concentrating on such activities, and therefore it appears as if he has just lost interest or isn’t paying attention.  If we had not had this issue diagnosed, there is a good chance that he too would have been diagnosed with ADD.  In fact, according to statistics, many children with this issue are often mislabeled.  Our regular eye doctor did not catch this issue, but I *knew* there was something going on with his vision (various signs clued us in…turning his head to look at things, or shutting one eye to point out something in the distance), and fortunately God put me in the right place at the right time to overhear a conversation about another child in vision therapy.  We made an appointment with an eye doctor that specializes in vision therapy, and he has been going to therapy two days a week since December.  We are noticing improvement in all of these areas and hope to complete his therapy over the summer.  I just thought I would share.  Best wishes as you figure out the best way to help your daughter. 

  • Kat

    I treated my son with diet, coping skills, and numerous other things but we did have to put him on medication to get through school. He still takes it for work so he can concentrate. There are books that give teaching strategies and skills to teach Katie  to help her through school.

  • Anonymous

    I would also be sure to have her speak with an educational psychologist (if she isn’t already about the ADD/ADHD). There may be some more underlying cognitive or developmental issues that could be shown if you choose to proceed with additional testing. There is now quick fix or magic pill but, the involvement of the school and the special education department can do wonders- I know it worked for me!

    I was diagnosed as gifted in Reading, English, and Art from an early age but, I always struggled remarkably hard in Math and despite the efforts of my teachers and tutoring… I still was always on the brink of failure even though I was making A-Bs in other subjects.  I remember my parents trying to help me only to have me burst into tears because, I didn’t understand the material- no matter how hard they tried. It wasn’t till I was in college that I was diagnosed with a cognitive learning disorder that is affected by auditory processing… since I was naturally bright in other areas no one considered that I was learning disabled.

    Thankfully, my college was remarkably supportive… and they made some considerable accommodations including giving me a free recorder to use in my lectures, access to my professor’s notes, a note taker, and extended time on exams… all of those resources and the support of additional tutors for Math and Science- helped me remarkably. I’m happy to say I’m now a college graduate and serving in the US Peace Corps.As an educator I know a lot of parents are usually scared of  a special needs child diagnosis.  But really ‘special needs’ isn’t what you typically associate with it– it doesn’t mean that your child is failing to thrive… it simply means that your child has additional accommodations that need to be taken into consideration. I’ve learned over the years that fairness isn’t always about every student being treated the same way– it’s really about every student getting what they need.And having the special needs department at you school draw up an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)- which will fit your daughter’s needs and the way in which she learns can do wonders for her self-esteem, make her more confident in her natural abilities, and have a much more enriching school experience. 
    Good luck & God Bless!

  • http://twitter.com/NadiaCornier Nadia Cornier

    I had a really hard time with my son Nate (9) being given medicine for ADD, too.  We tried everything else first – from diet & fitness corrections, therapy… even feng shui. When all that didn’t work, he and I sat down to discuss it. He just cried and said he didn’t know what to do. We talked to an educational psychologist that recommended (in conjunction with his pediatrician, teachers, play therapists) that he start taking medication. In her words, “If he needed glasses to do well in school, would you fell as guilty about getting him glasses?”
    In mine, it took a while for me to let go of mommy-guilt and realize that medicine isn’t forever. We’ve already been able to cut back his dosage by practicing other great techniques at home (supported by his teachers & a psychiatrist) – but until he doesn’t need it at all, I’m really happy we have it as assistance. 

  • Cheryl

    Dear Angie, 

    I commented only once before on your blog (concerning this same topic) but I have read your blog for a while have come to see how precious you are.

    You have really been on my heart this week and I had a few more thoughts for you to pray about. I know you have had so many sweet ladies give you things to consider and I know the Lord will lead you to the right path. 

    My husband is the lead pastor at our church and when we started the church many years ago, I taught the women every chance I got. I loved encouraging them  from God’s Word as often as possible, along with planning luncheon’s and retreats. We love Beth Moore and have done countless studies by her. 

    But then we had a child, then another, then another (we have 10 children now with twins due in the fall). I noticed some behavior issues in my children and I had to stop and look at my schedule. Was this causing the stress? Did God call me to do it all? We home school also. My husband being the lead pastor of a growing church also had his plate full so we started looking and praying about our family schedule. We learned something called ‘couch time’ which means that our children see my husband and I spending time together in our home, with them observing but not adding to the conversation, but just ‘watching us be a couple’.  This can take place anywhere really, but the point is they see us communicating and making each other the priority. 

    This has proven to increase their confidence in our marriage and has greatly reduced conflict, bed wetting, and many other challenges. As simple as it sounds, kids feel safe when they know that mom and dad are 100% secure and in love with each other and that their relationship is strong. But they need to see us engaged together apart from the day to day. See, we were spending time together alone talking, but after they were in bed for the most part. We learned they needed to see us engaged with each other only with them quietly observing. This is why they would get out of bed countless times to ask us ‘one more question’ because they just wanted to see us spending time alone together. (along with other things such as protecting family time, days’ off, etc.) 

    Without making this into a book I just wanted to encourage you to pray over your schedule. Is this the time to be speaking so often? I now speak at ladies events only 3-4 times per year, and as much as I love it and miss it, I know God has called me to focus on my children 110% right now. 

    Again, you were on my heart all week and I am not quick to assume things or judge others callings or stick my nose in their business where there are countless details that I do not see. So, again, I only write this because you were so strong on my heart, that I felt compelled to write you again. 
     
    Just wanted to toss this out to say maybe Kate’s focus has nothing to do with what’s going on inside but what’s going on around her. 

    May the Lord bless you now and always. 
    Much love and respect, 
    Cheryl 

  • http://twitter.com/suzinbk Suzin Brenton-Kelly

    I had a son the exact same and diagnosed by my great doctor with ADD. We changed his diet considerably, lots of structure and sleep and medication-Ritalin, as Concerta numbed him a little too much for our liking, although Ritalin had to be given twice a day….anyway, two years leader, we had a full psychological assessment-and guess what, the boy DOES NOT have ADD. In fact, he tested better on attention tests without his meds than with his meds. It turns out he has some crazy wicked fast processing speed and the meds were almost slowing him down too much, causing what LOOKED like distraction and not focusing…..we also discovered that he has a LOT of sensitivities to his senses, in fact what he was diagnosed with as Sensory Processing Disorder…. over the changes in diet, the meds, the structure-NOTHING worked as good as him having weekly Sensory therapy with a trained Occupational Therapist. I don’t know if she has any sensory issues-touch, smell, taste, the feel of certain things, sounds…. if she does, I HIGHLY recommend a sensory therapy. We were medicating him for two years for the wrong thing and something that was actually hindering his progress. We are so thankful we did the whole assessment and not just the ADD portion because anxiety, sensory issues, super processing-that all LOOKS LIKE ADD! And to think I am a social worker who works with kids with these EXACT issues everyday and I could not even see it in my own…heap on the mommy guilt!!!! I will be praying

    • Drmomjoyce

      I just commented similar – guess I should have read your post first.
      I too have a child with SPD and have found OT the most amazing and helpful people,. All the best with your son

  • Jenn

    Hi, I have followed your blog for a long time and love your heart, your ministry, your faith and your approach to life.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Lord, faith, etc. with us.  

    I would never comment on your life choices one way or the other, because even though you put it out there, I still don’t think that is appropriate.  And besides, I would usually just be agreeing :)  I did just want to say though, that this post struck me a little funny since it was so personal about one of your daughters….and then reading the comments where over 300 people are chiming in about what to do.   It seems like issues like this, where they involve someone else’s life/health may be best kept in your family or just your close/in-real-life friends.  I try to think about how a child would feel later on to read about their lives like a book on the internet for the whole world to see and discuss.  I think about this often with many of the parenting blogs that are kept documenting everything from first steps to first potty experiences.  And honestly, I would not like it.  I would feel like my privacy had been violated and the whole world knew me already…whether or not I wanted them to….or not.

    I know it’s a little thing, and right now she is not old enough to know one way or the other, but I would think about how she will feel later, especially in teen and young adult years. 

    Anyway, I hope this does not cause you stress in any way, it just struck me weird and I wanted to share this perspective.  I wish you the very best in all you do.
    Jenn

    • Jenn

      That should have read ”
      whether I wanted them to….or not.”  Please excuse the typo.

  • Gibbonsgoirish

    It was a few years ago now that I was in your position.  Its kind of scary because of all the unknown.  We had a super nice christian doctor who explained that we could try the medication and if we did not see improvement with in a couple days that we could stop and it would be out of his system in 8-10 hours.  We tried and with in a week his teachers were amazed at the change.  They had no idea that we had put him on medication so it was really fun to tell them and hear how it had changed his life.  He has been on Concerta for 7 years and he is now in college currently persuing a broadcasting career.

  • Julie

    Our daughter, now a freshman in high school had struggled for years.  She was unfocused, had great difficulty following through with tasks at school and at home.  She would even complete homework assignments and truly believe she handed them in, but they would still be in her backpack.  She also had very sneaky behaviors that we later learned were just her way of covering up her struggles.  She lacked confidence and had a terrible attitude with her teachers and at home.  She was finally diagnosed as a 7th grader with ADD.  As a former teacher, I felt I should have recognized it, but I learned after immersing myself in research that girls are WAY more likely to be undiagnosed because they are generally more quiet and less disruptive in the classroom than boys.  They are seen as lazy, which unfortunately often leads to a severely damaged self-esteem and struggle with confidence issues throughout life.  She started on Adderall immediately, and once the dosage was tweaked several times, she has completely turned things around.  She is finishing finals for her freshman year this week and has mostly B’s.  We have never in all her 15 years seen so her so confident, happy, and driven to succeed.  School still doesn’t come as easily to her as it does her brother, but she is learning study skills and is proud of her accomplishments.  She even found her sport this year…girls rugby, which scares me to death, but I just have to give it to God after a broken thumb and dislocated elbow in one season!  In a nutshell, my girl is blossoming.  She is growing into a beautiful human being.  She is going to Young Life camp in a couple weeks, and I can’t tell you how delighted we are.  I feel your pain and frustration with this.  I can only encourage you to try medication and see what happens.  Like you, I have struggled with fear and anxiety, and I don’t want her crippled by any of these challenges as she makes her way in the world.  

    This morning, I finished your book What Women Fear.  I laughed and cried through the whole thing and often wondered how you got in my head.  :) You are such an inspiration and a gift to us all.  I look forward to hearing you speak in Portland this fall.  

    Blessings…
    Julie

    • Sarah

      I read this blog post of Angie’s several days after it was written. I am not a regular commentor, but did this time.  I also haven’t read many comments, but did read yours.  My comment is one of the most recent.  But our story is similiar to yours, only our daughter was diagnosed in 2nd grade–but has also been on adderall with amazing response.  You are so right, girls often present differently and we, too, thought our daughter was just lazy! Yikes.  Just wanted you know another mama understands and shares in joy and wonderment of watching little bloom into young, confident women.  What a priviledge is ours!

  • Linsey Hasenbank

    Would love to chat about this with you in person. Married to someone with ADD/ADHD. My oldest would be diagnosed ADD and my youngest ADHD. The Feingold Diet was a game changer for my youngest (and benefited all of us in unexpected ways). Also discovered Irlen Syndrome (light sensitivity which makes it hard to focus) and did a little Occupational Therapy. I just kept praying through all the options and God kept directing our steps.

  • Drmomjoyce

    HI Ang
    Not sure if you are still reading comments on this post and I havent read any of these comments either, so perhaps this is already said.
    My son (adopted from foster care at 4yo and then we moved countries a year after adoption) also looked ADHD. Couldnt stop moving, always wanting more, he would run until he hit a wall literally, couldnt focus in a classroom… I could go on, but he too looked this way, But I didnt want him labelled with something that would only give a solution of drugs (and given his heart condiion, we couldnt even try meds). I sent him to a term of kindy with a wonderful teacher who loved him and did her best for him and he was ok, then a term of PP which didnt work as the teacher was not wonderful… so I homeschooled him for 9 months and in that time, I finally realized that he had something different. I did a check list and he fit on the list for Sensory processing disorder (a condition which is strongly associated with autism , although he is far from autistic.) The diagnosis was such a relief, but it also meant lots of work. And we are now 2 years later and the work and maturity has paid off. It is a not a condition that anyone wants to consider, even if its appears to be in about 1 in 20 kids. Most paeds are more familiar with labelling add and adhd, but I strongly suggest for Kate and yourself as a family to look in SPD. Sorry if that wasnt what you were asking in this post, but it was something I never would have considered, as I had not even heard of it (even though I am both a teacher and nurse). If you want to contact me my email is drmomjoyce@gmail.com

    • Megan Edney

      This is what they are saying my son has also.  He did everything you mentioned and THEN some lol.  Violent fits and banging his head were my biggest worries.  The doctors kept saying it was normal until I recorded him and showed them.  UGH.  If they would just listen!

    • Kat

       This diagnosis wasn’t even out there when my son was diagnosed but I am sure he has/had a sensory processing disorder.  The key is to test thoroughly.

  • Megan Edney

    Angie,

    My middle son Andrew is going to be 4 next month and he has taken us for a ride.  He is crazy.  The ped doctor is amazing and always wants to try things with out medicin first but when it comes to Andrew she wanted him to see specialists and shrinks (only used that word because its late and I can’t spell the real one lol).  I was telling my friends about it all and I was at the end of my rope.  I do NOT want my children poked and proded just because someone don’t know what is wrong.  My friends are really big into natural things.  At their urging I went to see a nurse that started her own practice because of many health issues within her adopted children and herself and husband.  She practices

    Nutrition Response Testing (NRT).  I had never heard of it before.  Andrew enjoyed his visit, I learned a TON of information, some is sickening to know what we put in our kids bodies and have no clue about.  But anyways.  This lady uses Standard Process suppliments and they are all natural and food based.  Andrew has been on her program for him for only a month and he is a totally TOTALLY different child.  He is retaining information, singing songs again, using big words and using them right.  Mainly his gut is sick and its affecting his brain.  If your gut is sick your are all off balance.  We had to cut Wheat, Corn, Dairy and processed sugar out of his diet and while there are times that he hates that he can’t have cheese (HE LOVES CHEESE) he understands that he feels better for not having it.
    My kitchen cabinets are color coded with post it notes.  Like a traffic light.  Green ones mean he is safe and can GO eat anything in them.  Yellow is caution and he has to ask because good and bad are in there for him, and Pink (red) means STOP there is nothing in there for him.  He loves it because its a game that is making him healthy.  My other 3 kids have an appointment soon and so does my dad.  As soon as we get some extra money my husband and I will go to.  Here is the website http://nutritionalhealthrestoration.com/  but they are based here in Michigan so if its something you want to try you may be able to find info on their site or call and talk to them to see if they know anyone in Nashville.

    If anything read her testimonial.  Its amazing.

    Love you guys!
    Megan

  • Clplourde

    ADHD: Misdiagnosed and overmedicated
    Monday, June 04, 2012 by: Craig Stellpflug2,723(NaturalNews) In one school in San Diego, 65 percent of fifth graders had been diagnosed with ADD and put on medications. Even “normal” kids are subject to random drugging so they act like the adults in charge of them want them to… dull, placid, and compliant.The fact is that up to 20% of American school-aged children are now on behavioral medications, according to child neurologist, Fred Baughman, Jr. MD. Parents are told to place their children on poisonous medications or their child will be refused attendance at school and have even been threatened with charges of “medical neglect.”But ADD and ADHD are not medical conditions. There is no X-ray, brain scan, blood test, or any other medical test that a doctor can look at and say”yep, that’s ADHD alright. Just look at this X-ray. ADHD, right there, plain as the nose on my face.”The fact is that ADD/ADHD are neurodevelopmental disorders and not medical or psychological disorders. But with just 5 minutes at the right doctor’s office a parent can walk out with a deadly schedule I or II pharmaceutical prescription and a permanent medical record of ADD/ADHD diagnosis for their child.What you get for drugging your child* According to the USA Today and the New York Times, ADD/ADHD medications initially raise math test scores of a child with ADD/ADHD by less than 3 points after 1 year.* After three years on ADD/ADHD medications, the child is academically back to where they would have been if the child was never put on drugs in the first place.* USA Today, April 2009: After three years on an ADD/ADHD medication the dosage has been raised an average of 41% because the body builds tolerance to and “tunes down” the effects.* After three years on ADD/ADHD medications the child is on average 0.79 inches shorter and 6 lbs lighter than children with no medications.* Children and teens taking ADHD stimulant medications are seven times more likely to die suddenly than their peers.* A child that has been on ADD/ADHD medications is impacted permanently on career choices and can be outright disqualified for opportunities such as a commercial airline pilot, certain law enforcement positions, and may be disqualified from military service and military officer eligibility.ADD/ADHD medications work by causing malfunction in the brain. When used long term these medications physically alter the brain, causing brain atrophy and gross malfunctions in the brain of the child.ADD/ADHD: a disorder of the brainThe causes of ADD/ADHD as a spectrum disorder lie in incomplete developmental levels, brain disorganization, under-developed sequential processing skills, brain maturation abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, allergenic responses, sub-clinical health issues, or other bio-medical issues. It is a criminal act against the health and safety of a child to classify any of these causes as a “spectrum disorder” for the purpose of categorically medicating them to sweep the symptoms under the carpet.ADD/ADHD is a “disorder of the brain.” A disorder by definition is a condition where the normal order of things is disrupted. Drugs do not cause order; they only cause more disorder. It takes order to overcome disorder. In other words, you cannot expect organized function from a disorganized brain, no more than a tornado can assemble a working school bus by running through a salvage yard.It’s high time to take this disorder out of the hands of the medical specialists, who have not only outright failed to treat this non-medical condition but have caused much harm to our children. Let’s place it in the rightful hands of developmental specialists and nutritionists. But keep in mind that raising healthy children is ultimately the responsibility of the parents and not the professionals.Sources for this article:Dr. Fred A Bauman Jr., M.D. http://www.adhdfraud.org/commentary/070104-1.htmhttp://www.planetc1.comhttp://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-04-27-adhd-tests_N.htmhttp://www.washingtonpost.comDiSano, Dave (2005). Holistic Mental Health. p 60.http://www.bio-medicine.orgAbout the author:Craig Stellpflug is a Cancer Nutrition Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Neuro Development Consultant at Healing Pathways Medical Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. http://www.healingpathwayscancerclinic.com/ With 17 years of clinical experience working with both brain disorders and cancer, Craig has seen first-hand the devastating effects of vaccines and pharmaceuticals on the human body and has come to the conclusion that a natural lifestyle and natural remedies are the true answers to health and vibrant living. You can find his daily health blog at www.blog.realhealthtalk.com and his articles and radio show archives at www.realhealthtalk.comLearn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036056_ADHD_overmedication_children.html#ixzz1yGOVF6Tf

  • Sarah

    Oh Angie, I don’t know you and yet in this circumstance,I feel like a kindred spirit.  I have walked this path with our daughter.  She was born marching to a different drummer than me, my husband and our first born (read very compliant)  son.  She thrilled me and scared me all at the same time.  As toddler and preschooler, she played differently than others and couldn’t even then, seem to focus and follow-through ( as compared to ‘other’ preschoolers.)  I was scared because she was different and wonderful. 
    When she went to public school kindergarten, our beloved and experienced teacher said we would never make it in middle school–yikes!  Half way through first grade we moved to a different state.  She loved going to school but staying on task was tough and her reading was suffering.  Her second grade teacher, I will forever believe, was God sent.  She was patient and experienced but hinted that there might be a learning disability and lack of foucs.  We followed up with our pediatrician.  I cried in his office as I clutched my list of all the ‘symptons’ that had mentioned or noticed.   We left that day with a recommendation for meds and I promised my husband and I would consider prayfully.  And we prayed and considered and then we chose meds.  (Our peds dr. reminded me that if she didn’t have ADD that the meds wouldn’t work and we wouldn’t continue)  The medicine is a gift from God for us.  We have never allowed the meds or diagnosis to be an excuse.  We have said the medicine allows her to be her.  She is still delightful, quirky and challenging.  All things I love about her.  She turns 16 in a couple of weeks and is amazing.  She makes straight A’s, is kind and thoughtful of others and has amazing creative abilities.  All of these things are available, I believe, because the med allows her to be in control of herself.  I know others have had bad experiences with meds but for us we will always be grateful that medicine is available and we can afford to provide it.  It has been a gift!

  • http://www.nahuli.blogspot.com cjcris23

    My father-in-law is a sleep specialist and has a theory on ADHD that many kids with it actually have sleep apnea and other sleep issues. A sleep study is simple and would either offer that as a clue or rule it out.
    It makes a lot of sense to me — picture a two year old who’s tired but fighting it. They start moving around more and can’t focus. And why would ADHD be treated with a stimulant medicinally? It seems it would require a depressant….unless they actually are tired and need to be stimulated. The suggestions of caffeine helping made me think of this as well.
    Anyway, it is just one doctor’s opinion, and I know many people who have been helped with medication as well. I don’t think there is any one answer for this, but I am intrigued by doing a sleep study just to see if it is a part of the cause of what is going on.

  • Emily Tilsen

    My eldest (8 yr old boy) is ADHD. I resisted for years.  Only bad moms or people with lacking faith medicate their kids right?! (no) I challenged schools, changed diets, disciplined mercilessly. Then, thanks to some encouragement for loving friends, and years of frustration at home and at school we finally decided to seek medical help. The first meds worked, but had bad side effects. They made him sad and agry. We are on our third medication, but for the last six months life has been so. much. better. He is happier. We are happier. He ended up testing into the Texas gifted and talented program and has had straight a’s for the year. He made friends, something he has always struggled with. And also, interestingly… after the medication we were able to start having deeper conversations, about everything. With discipline and grades not being an issue we realized that he has acepted Christ! He was baptized in April. I’m of course not giving credit to the meds. God called my sweet boy, but the medcine certaily helped clear the storm clouds that were hiding that fact from us. Blessings to yall. Hope you find a system that helps soon. Be patient and remember that its a combination of behavior and medical therapy, and that it can take a while to figure out what works best…

  • Terri Cote

     I have 4 boys and it’s very obvious our 7 year old is ADD. I am not a fan of prescriptions meds especially for children so I did tons of research and have noticed major changes since I started giving him fish oil. It’s called Omega Swirl. It’s made for adults but I give him half the dose. He’s 42 lbs and he takes 1 tsp.

    http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/en/browse/sku_detail.jsp?id=QX-1024

    He likes the way it tastes and even asks for it. It’s liquid and refrigerated. You can find it online or in vitamin/health food stores. In kindergarten he was scribbling so much and not writing sentences at all. After a week on fish oil he was writing and drawing so much clearer.  I read somewhere online that ADD is like “cloudy” thinking. They are in a fog and can’t focus because its blurry.

    I know this was a month ago when you posted but I just wanted to share my story and hope it helps.

    http://www.jaronalexander.blogspot.com

    Terri Cote

  • http://www.20somethingjacksonian.blogspot.com/ Katy

    I’m a little late to this discussion Angie.  I do not have kids so I cannot give advice from a parent’s perspective, but I am a 28 year old with ADD.  I  was not hyperactive, just struggled to concentrate — the key to functioning with ADD is to limit distraction.  Its not that Kate can’t concentrate, its that she often has several things to do at once.  I became very disciplined with my studies.  I approached life in a one task at a time type of way – and still do.

    I would do my homework and have 4 assignments that week and jump between the 4 and at the end of the night have 50 percent of each one done.  I learned how to focus on one assignment. I told myself not to look at the others til the first one was done.  I am an attorney now and do the same thing. Obviously, sometimes I will have a conference or call or emergency task I have to do and stop my one thing at a time method, BUT I stick to that one thing concpet 75 percent of the time.  Even in cleaning, I get overwhelmed by organizing. I literally start on one wall of my room and work around.  Or pick one task to do at a time…clean the dishes, vaccum, etc.  The only task I can multitask with is laundry and something else.

    I also became a listmaker — my mom made fun of me for this (jokingly), said it was wasting my time, but if I make a list, I won’t finish 100%, I will finish 80 % though and actually accomplish a lot.

    So thats the trick with ADD- one task at a time. This can’t be controlled at school, but it can be controlled at home.  You can do homework that way or even when cleaning room, you can say Kate, I need you put your clothes away, then Kate I need you to make your bed.  Eventually she will learn to think that way too.

    Also a little encouragement….I have ADD and no longer medicate myself. I may eventually have to go on a small dosage, but I learned to control my attention and discipline my routine enough to make it without meds.  So you never know, Kate may not be medicated forever!  Also, I did well in school, was in the Honors College at Auburn, and went on to law school. Kate can be just as successful! She has trouble focusing on one thing, not trouble thinking or trouble with class. Luckilly trouble concentrating can be combatted…especially as she gets older.

    Also, With meds, start on a small dosage because it can make you feel a little funny. Good luck, I am sure she will do well with supportive parents like y’all!

  • Julia

    A little late to this post, but I do want to comment.  I am an adult with what I now know is ADD.  I was a straight ! student with bad marks in conduct for talking. I was the kid who shouted out the answer instead of raising my hand because I couldn’t wait for the others to come up with the answer.  I am a horrible listener and interupter.  Because I am 54 and on cholesterol, high blood pressure and estrogen meds, the last thing I need is another med.  I did try something for 10 days for ADD but it made me angry and growl like a bear.  ha.  I now use a lot of prayer and self control. My ADD shows up in “not listening, interrupting, talking over others.” 

    I worked as a preschool teacher for 5 years and a kindergarten teacher’s aide for 7 years.  I know kids.  I love kids.  And I can spot the kids with ADD in a heartbeat.  For many it’s not a bad thing.  They are just full of energy, can’t sit still and usually are very smart and creative. When it’s a problem in the classroom is when they have no impulse control and it results in them pushing someone or hitting someone….not out of meanness as much as they are irritated by them.

    Most kids were not treated with meds until first or second grade…so kindergarten was a year of observation and note taking.  If it were my child, I would wait as long as possible to begin the meds…and would try pulling sugar and processed foods out of their diet first.  I can’t help but believe this runs in families and that some of it is worsened by diet triggers. 

    I bet Kate is extremely smart, learns from doing not listening and is very creative.  ADD in itself is not a bad thing…but in a classroom with 20 others, it can be bothersome to the teacher. I know you will do what is best for Kate…and now you are covered in prayer.

    xoxo, Julia

  • Angela Cooke

    Angie,
    Your Kate sounds so much like my son. I found myself in tears knowing we were going to have to try and do book work. He would cry at the thought of trying to read. One day he would get it, the next he looked like I was trying to get him to read Greek! I too had him tested for ADD and was told it was too mild to place him on medication. I know a lot of kids that have to have this medication to concentrate and know that it works for them, but I couldn’t help but feel there was something more I could do. I felt homeschooling him I just needed the tools to keep his attention. We were told he could possibly have dyslexia and to be quite honest, I just didn’t see how we could put formal testing for dyslexia in our budget at the time.  At our next eye doctor appointment I mentioned that he had been informally diagnosed with dyslexia. He gave me the name of a pediatric opthamologist stating he felt something was going on, just not sure. We go to Dr Heather McBryar and find out that he not only has dyslexia but a whole list of issues. Know what was odd? The list of issues he has mimmicks ADD! We did 24 visits of vision therapy and he went from a low 5 yr old level to an age appropriate reader. Not saying that is what is going on with Kate, but it might be worth checking. Dr McBryar can be googled and I know she would be happy to refer you to someone in your area.

  • Yelena Kislyuk

    All gave you wonderful advise, its hard to decide what to do when its your little child. I would stay away from meds as long as possible, if not forever. A more natural diet can help, natural suplements from the natural store, and lots of prayer. I hope it goes well for you. God bless you and your little ones.

  • Lmlarrison786

    God bless you girl!!! We (dr, teachers, my hubs and I) are considering an auditory processing disorder with my son.any kids can be misdiagnosed with add/ADHD and it really be an auditory processing disorder. Might check into that too. Lindsey

  • Cristin

    I have a little boy who is super duper ULTRA energized. I love him to death! (My MIL is probably convinced he is ADD…).but I’m just not convinced. I honestly feel like drs and teachers are so quick to diagnose a child to medication. 

    I have read about CHANGING THE DIET …..taking out sugars being a main thing. I really don’t know much about this diet but I am going to try it. I honestly suggest you try natural anything before giving a small child medication. 
    As every child is different, he did have some delays in speech and some behaviour issues (which continue) and it was thought that maybe he has a SENSORY DISORDER. We will likely ask for him to be re-evaluated regarding the sensory disorder…because from what I have found, if you are able to address that, it is helpful for the child and can help change the behaviour. Of course, there are lists under the many diff types of processing disorders…and it doesn’t mean your child has that if they display one or more of the ‘signs’, etc. and…if they don’t display it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. 
    I know you are….but PRAY for wisdom for you and her doctor, etc.  :)

  • Donna

    Diet!! 
    http://www.amazon.com/Bobs-Guide-Stop-ADHD-Days/dp/0972890718….check it out. Adding  flax and Omega 3′s into her diet helped my daughter somewhat. 

  • Jill_dwagner

    I would highly reccommend trying a nutritional beverage called Monavie.  I have heard so many favorable results in childrens behavior since starting this.  You have to get it through a distributor as it is not something that is advertised or sold off any health food store.  I know some states are more familiar with Monavie so I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it around there.   The great thing is it tastes yummy and can be mixed in with juice for children! 

  • Jennifer

    I have a Kate but he is a boy!  We really stressed over what to do but ultimately decided to medicate.  He was put on a time release Concerta and it was great for two years. Then we started noticing some problems.  He began having Turrets type symptoms.  I made an appt. with our Ped. and she confirmed that the medication would cause this.  We took him off and they began going away and are all completely  gone now.  We changed him to Focalin but is did not really work for him.  So my hubbie and I made the decision to take him off all together.  This was during the time we were pregnant with Eli, our Potter’s baby, and his teacher would not tell us how he was really doing.  Turns out he was struggling in a big way and we thought no news was good news.  We went in for a conference about two weeks after Eli’s funeral and she dropped the bomb on us.  She told us, “Now that your horrible nightmare is over she could tell us what things had really been like.  Because you know, now you can focus on your other children.” I left that conference in sobs and made the decision right then and there to homeschool.  Jay has outgrown a great deal of is ADHD!  He is 10 now.  He still has diffuculty focusing.  He just has to work in short spurts with frequent breaks. It takes him longer to finish but he is super smart.  He is learning to deal and overcome.  He needs to keep his hands busy and very little distraction.  That is the beauty of homeschooling.  Praying for your sweet Kate and her mommy and daddy too!

  • Savannahrhardage

    i have add and im only 13 i have had it since i was 6 im on foclin it is great i have to see a mental doc well really a pchysiatrest

  • Jamie

    I am a mom of two (adopted) children, both diagnosed with ADHD.  Two books that I recommend are:  Of Different Minds:  Seeing Your AD/HD Child Through the Eyes of God (Maren Angelotti) and ADHD Doesn’t Mean Disaster (by Dennis Swanberg and Diane Passno - is a Focus on the Family Resource).  Our son takes medication for his heart and for an overactive bladder.  Giving him medication for his ADHD isn’t any different in my eyes.  ADHD is a medical problem that makes it difficult for them to control their behavior and attention.  He has made much progress in school now that he can focus on what the teacher is saying and complete his work.  Kate is blessed to have you and your husband as her parents!

  • Kaceykorting

    I just saw this and I know you have been inundated with alot of thoughts about this. I have a 13 year old who is extreme ADHD. She has been on medication for years. It is not a cure all, but does help with the focus in school. My girl was the one who didnt sit in circle time, always interupted in class, could not sit and do writing journals for 10 minutes, and still has trouble fitting in. SHe is also brilliant and creative and fearless. So many great and exhausting things rolled into one. Soo many people will try to give you advice and tell you exactly what to do. What I will say is do what you can making the best choices you can at the time. Give yourself grace and try to silence all the well intentioned advice.

  • Fill

    Just saw this too Angie…  I have 3 children.. our youngest (now 25) was extremely ‘high energy’ (couldn’t even sit still on the toilet.  Would take a bobby pin and carve her name in the wall.. and LITERALLY climbed the curtains).  WAS diagnosed as ADHD (by her teachers who wanted her ‘handled’ though they loved her vivacious charm and beauty).  We decided to go a different route.  You want to keep her serotonin level high NATURALLY and because she probably has a lot of extra energy (which is frustrating her.. and likely YOU!! lol.. as her parents.. I TOTALLY GET THAT)  if you channel it, the sense of satisfaction, FOCUS and well-being will carry over to other areas of her life (such as her studies).  We put our daughter in BALLET from the age of two (remember.. she was already climbing the curtains.. to her siblings bewilderment).  Of course a child that age couldn’t go to ballet class daily (more’s the shame) so she also attended gymnastics (she was a natural), tap classes etc etc (as she grew.. she literally had a class every day of the week except Sundays and loved and excelled in all forms of dance).  I think the discipline of the ballet barre was a sacred experience for her (in the best possible sense..  I remember choir being that for me after school as a child.. the light streaming through the stained glass and the holy hush after the chaotic day).  For someone with ADHD and all the thundering emotions and excess energy (which is actually really a GIFT.. as I’m sure Michael Phelps mother could attest to.. though I have no idea if he was ever diagnosed with this.. IMO.. most high-achieving athletes likely have this ‘attribute’.. it just needs to be channelled)  and NOT medicated (IMO).   The medication intends to ‘normalize’ them.. but WHY??  they truly are special and just need outlets that gives them the tools to focus  

    BIG HUGSSome kind of ‘kinetic’ schooling really suits these children as well.  … tactile mathematics etc

  • jenspears

    Angie,
    My daughters diagnosis of anxiety 5 years ago was a “gift” that brought out the momma bear in me. It was a gift in that I was broken and determined to help my daughter. The Lord softened me and taught me to seek him to help her. Every book, scripture, medication, was directed from Him. We thought she had a from of ADD at first, but tests determined “anxiety”.

    The discussions and prayer time between myself and my daughter were priceless! I shared scriptures, we prayed, we cried….and we healed. My daughter learned to relinquish fears and lean on Him. We did medicine for 4 years and then weaned her off them as a trial. She has grown into a beautiful, Jesus leaning on, girl. God brought people and teachers and camp counselors that prayed with her and for her. One camp counselor gave my daughter ” Battlefield of the mind” for teens. I often find my daughter laying in her bed reading it. Blesses my heart! My daughters name is Kate as well……she and I will pray for your Kate! God Bless your mothers heart!
    Jennifer