5 years today our Princess was officially diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 5.
The thought that there was something different about her was always there, while I saw other kids happily sit and watch a whole episode of Calliou or play independently in their room. She was always on the go, needed constant attention, jumping from one thing to another.
We were constantly struggling with drawing the line between Princess being a kid and Princess having a problem. It seemed everyone and their momma had an input on how to control her or what we were doing wrong or what we could do better. But no one was there when she had her multiple daily outbursts. When she would throw stuff, kick holes in her bedroom door. When I would lock myself and Monkey in my room until she decided to calm down rather than feed into her outburst and to keep Monkey from seeing it.
The day we went in to see the Dr. it was clear what he saw. “She has ADHD”
I felt a wave of relief when I heard that. All those times that I thought I was doing something wrong as a parent. Not being able to control my child in public. I was not making it up that she was harder to control, I could stop blaming myself for the fact that I was a young mom and she was my first child, therefore I had no idea what I was doing. All those breakdowns, arguments….they had a diagnosis. It was not me. I finally had an answer and we could begin to move forward.
Then, the questions of how we wanted to proceed began. We started with a behavior coach coming twice a week to our house, a behavior therapist coming once a week. Hubby and I took parenting classes, changed her diet, set up schedules for her and charts with stickers. We exhausted every option out there before we had to finally surrender to the idea that medicine might bethe best thing for her. But medicine only seemed to help for a bit, it was enough to get thru the school day but the problems continued.
Teachers had begun to point out that she was becoming harder to control in class. She would not sit still, she would have outbursts, one year during parent teacher conferences we were nicely informed that she would stand up on her desk and dance. She was struggling to make and keep friends. And her grades began to slowly drop.
As I sit here today 5 years later, I can say that a lot has changed. Things are not perfect but they are much, much better.
She has been taken off the medicine. We decided to transfer her to another school; there she is constantly being challenged and kept busy. No time to get bored and act out. She has even made Honor Roll! We put her in after school activities, she has taken up violin, loves to draw and color and enjoys posting videos online with her brother. The outbursts have been few and far in-between.
Hubby and I have had to learn to have more patience with her, which is hard sometimes because we have been struggling with her for so long that we forget to step back and give her a chance to choose for herself before we jump in. We are slowly learning to see her thru new eyes and notice all the little things that she does as a 10 yr old now, to really see all that she has changed without noticing the bad firsts. One day at a time is how things go at our house.
We are her biggest fans and we celebrate all her accomplishments no matter how big or small. She is strong-willed and caring. She will do great things with the right guidance, that I am sure of.