Yahmir, the youngest among my two sons, now 11 years old was diagnosed having ADHD at age 7. We (My husband and I) began to notice his disorder during his Pre-school days. I thought he was just too stubborn like other kids at his age, but having another son older than him, who is far more behaved and easier to handle made me think that this is not normal anymore. There are times that I find it hard to handle him. All of the symptoms began to exhibit at age 6. It took us another year before we decided to ask for medical help.
He is having problems in concentrating and paying attention. He cannot keep still, kids usually will behave after telling them to sit properly, in his case when he sits down, in a few seconds he will start fidgeting, moving his hands or stamping his feet or wiggle around in his seat, he moves around a lot which makes me giddy most of the time. Sometimes he is disorganized, he is also easily distracted, or forgetful about daily activities too. He does not appear to be listening when someone is speaking, which is always his teacher’s complaint, while the teacher is discussing he is scribbling or drawing in his paper, but when the teacher calls him to recite he knows the topic very well and he tops his class too. During written examinations he always makes careless mistakes for he does not follow instructions and always in a hurry to finish tasks. He frequently loses things including personal items which makes me mad.
Before the medical specialist confirmed the diagnosis, Yahmir had undergone several battery tests, including a brain test, which I already forgot what do they call that procedure, all I remember is it was expensive. His behavioral assessment involved us, aside from the physician’s guidelines.
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a learning disorder characterized by difficulties that interfere with effective task-oriented in children. ADHD cannot be prevented or cured. We are so lucky that it was diagnosed early with Yahmir, for the physician informed us that it is difficult to diagnose ADHD once a child becomes a teenager.
His treatment is a combination of medications and behavioral therapy, I did not consider the medication part for the side effects it could be bringing to my son’s health, such medication will slow my son’s metabolism. We opted for the behavioral treatment .
The following are the guidelines given to us for his behavioral therapy:
1. Adjusting the environment to promote more successful social interactions, which includes a creation of more structure and encouraging routines by establishing schedules. Yahmir has the same routine everyday, from wake up to bedtime. The schedule includes homework and playtime.
2. It is more helpful to seek out and praise good behavior. My husband, me and his older brother as much as possible refrain from criticizing him.
3. Set up an effective discipline system that rewards appropriate behavior and responds to misbehavior with alternatives such as time out or loss of privileges.
4. Work together to improve behavior and functioning at home and school. We informed his school, the principal and his teachers regarding his disorder and gave them a copy of this list, so we can work hand in hand in my son’s condition.
5. Help the child in organizing things, that is organize the needed everyday items. The child should have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks and school supplies.
6. Stress the importance of having the child write down assignments and bring home needed books.
7. Learn behavioral management skills. An important component of behavior management is establishing natural and logical consequences for misbehavior.
8. Social skills training
9. Education and support for the parents can be an integral part of treating ADHD in children. Learn as much as you can about the condition and your child’s specific condition
In four years time, some of Yahmir’s ADHD symptoms diminish, by getting to know well about ADHD we were able to help him adjust in his disorder. Slowly, he learns to focus his attention, develop personal strengths, minimize disruptive behavior and hopefully become productive and successful in the years to come as he gets older.
For those mommies like me who are in the same boat, do not panic, we do not need to overact in this kind of situation for it will only aggravate things. I am not telling that it is easy for in my personal experience handling a kid with ADHD requires a great amount of patience and dedication.