Apryl shares the decision to medicate her son for ADD and how it’s been working so far.
This blog post is going to cause a lot of debate. There are going to be some who speak out and tell me I shouldn’t have done this. You may be thinking as you read this that there are going to be so many side effects and that he’s just a nine year-old boy and we should find more natural ways to help him cope.
I hear you! I was one of you. I said all of those things and fought against this decision for three years. But we got to the point that if we didn’t do something, it would be too late for him academically.
If you disagree with ADD medication, this post isn’t for you. I’m sorry. It’s for the many moms out there who are feeling the way I did when teachers kept telling me there’s something about Cooper I should know.
This post is for the Mom who is embarrassed to talk about it because of stigma.
It’s for the Moms who are apologizing for their kids’ behaviour when you know deep in your soul he’s a wonderful kid and he’s misunderstood.
Let’s get into it. For better or worse.
I shared with you Cooper’s struggles in grade 1, and honestly, I’ve felt like that one bad year has really cemented his reputation at school. I was told back then that he needed to be tested. They didn’t say what for, but I knew what they were after.
Since then, Cooper has worked so hard to improve his behaviour and work on anger management and has come a long way. My husband still felt like we were just buying time until the inevitable had to happen. Thankfully he respected me as a mom when I asked that we wait for when we were out of options.
That day came in grade three when his teacher called us into a meeting. She suggested we consider getting him assessed for ADD because he was having a hard time focusing on tasks at school. When we say that, we mean it was extreme. Work unfinished. Pages ripped. He was falling behind…..big time.
Three years of working on our own to try improving things academically hadn’t done anything. We tried really hard, guys. Really hard!
So, we made the appointment. We saw the pediatrician who talked to us as a family about symptoms and then decided to do a trial with the medication for a mild case of ADD.
I was afraid he’d be labeled, but even more so, I was really afraid of medicating him. I had heard so many stories from people that he’d be spaced out. I had people tell me not to do it under any circumstances. I was scared.
But I was more afraid of what would happen if I didn’t do it.
The doctor said some kids need glasses because the chalkboard is out of focus. For Cooper, it’s the same thing, but his brain needs the glasses.
We did the trial. We started on a weekend and watched closely.
Day one, he seemed the same. Only, more mature, if you can say that. We had family conversations that were interesting and not silly or all over the place.
He followed instructions and didn’t need a lot of reminding.
He still played and didn’t seem spaced out at all.
Ok, day one done! Not bad at all.
Then he went to school and I asked the teacher every day what she noticed, without telling her he was on medication.
Every day she said he’s listening more and not interrupting and respecting his friends. Ok, that’s progress.
As the weeks went on, we kept watch. He was the same kid, still funny and fun loving. He was active and happy.
The biggest difference we noticed was with school work. He had a couple of tests and two big projects due. Before we would have tears and yelling about studying or doing the work. It was a war zone every time we had to do school work.
Now we had a kid who got to business and finished the work without an incident. Homework takes half an hour instead of an hour and a half.
Before tests would come back ripped or unfinished. This month he came home and handed a test that wasn’t just completed and in perfect condition, but he got an A!
We discussed what has made a difference and he said he just knew all the answers. What he’s learning in class is being retained his brain.
Before the words on the page would make him so overwhelmed, he would rip the pages or refuse to do it.
Now he has confidence and he’s proud to be able to focus on the work.
He has great friendships and parents have said he’s so different now. He’s polite and fun.
He also was a star student for his school in January!!!!
Back at the doctor’s office, the doc is really happy with how it’s working. But, and here’s the best part: the medication is training wheels. He’s on the lowest dose and only needs it on school days, plus he’s certain he will grow out of it.
By doctor’s orders, Cooper has “glasses for his brain” that will help him focus on school and prevent him from falling behind in school. The doctor said kids that fall behind end up becoming the kids that hate school.
We decided to go this route because we didn’t want Cooper falling behind. He’s smart and not doing this would mean we are holding him back because we worry about what other people think.
If you’re wondering if you should have your child assessed, we say do it. Work with a doctor that cares deeply about your child’s well being. If medication freaks you out, tell the doctor and they will work with you. Ask questions, no matter how silly. I actually asked the doctor if Cooper was going to be suicidal or have stunted growth because someone told me that would be a side effect.
By the way, he said it’s completely untrue.
Please know that we did a lot of soul searching before we made the appointment. I’m very happy with the results. We have a happy kid who has a renewed sense of excitement for school that we haven’t seen since kindergarten.
All we want is a kid to reach their full potential and be happy. For us, this was the best thing we could ever do for Cooper, and believe me, it was a decision that didn’t come lightly. I’m glad we did it. Most importantly, he feels great, and that means everything to us!
Photos courtesy of AMP Studios