I don't know where to start here, but here goes...
As some of you know, I have been "bringing up" my son (Oliver), alone for the past 4 years. He has always been a happy go lucky child. He has had a few medical conditions in his short life so far (Water Infection, Glue Ear, Speech difficulties due to the glue ear, ear infections and colds almost constantly)
A week or so ago he was diagnosed as having ADHD. This really upset me as I didn't want him to be labelled with this. It also meant that he would be put on yet another medecine, and one which I was a bit fearful of. I cannot argue with the diagnosis as I have had everybody I could think of, involved in trying to help with some of Olivers difficulties. (His teachers, paediatrician, school psychologist, family services and G.P.).
The school are in the process of "statementing" Oliver with a view to sending him to a special school which will cater directly for his needs. (He will not concentrate for more than a couple of minutes, though his knowledge and understanding is amazing) He needs 1 to 1 support in the classroom. I have accepted this, but been told I could be waiting months and months for this to happen. (Why can't it just be accepted that this help is needed? )
It is difficult for me, at times, to understand all that is going on. I have lived with him since he was born. I was with him during his times in hospital, during his vaccinations and every day at home. I see a very happy, lively little boy, and yet all this ADHD business is what everyone else sees from him. It is so, so hard for me to understand sometimes. I love my son more than anything in the world. I am willing to die for him, should the need ever arise. This is why I have sought help from every possible source, yet still ended up with the diagnosis I feared.
Everyone I have spoken to has told me what a great job I am doing and I should be proud of myself as it is such a hard job raising a child. Why do I always feel that I should be doing more for him and am underachieving and afraid of failing him? I am so confused.
I really don't know why I wrote all this. I should be grateful that he is intelligent, happy, funny, relatively healthy and absolutely adores me. It is just another obstacle of life put in our way.
Oh, Nigel, I am very sorry to hear this about your son. Not really for him, but you. I know you don't want to hear this right now, but a lot of kids have this, and with medication and proper schooling, your son should not have a hard time with it. Some kids out-grow it eventually. It's hard to come to terms with, I know, but listen to the doctors, don't treat him any differently, and don't let this get you. He will be ok. It's a lot harder on a parent.."what did I do wrong", "could I have changed this?", so many questions floating around in your head, it makes you crazy. My oldest son, who is now 20, was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 1996. It's a form of Autism. He graduated school, now goes to college (getting there and back on his own) and he has a job. All this, and when he was diagnosed, there was nothing medically they could do for it. Not sure about now, I'm sure they have some way to treat it. So all they did really, was put him in the special needs classes, which helped immensely. Other than that, just let him be who he is. He doesn't like confusion and crowds, so basically stays to himself. He doesn't talk much, so me or his brothers will engage him in conversation every once in a while, because I do feel bad for him. But, he's doing ok. (See Nigel, now you're making me weepy ) Just follow what the doctors say. Watch him if he does get medicated, if something seems wrong, tell the doctor right away, any drastic change in personality, be aware. And the special classes do help, hope it doesn't take them too long to fit him in. And don't worry, it will be ok, Nigel. He'll adapt, you'll adapt, he's still the same son as he always was.
Debbie, thank you too. You seem to understand my worries and concerns and offer good advice on how to manage. This is not something I would normally post, it is far too personal and something I would usually just get on with quietly. I was just feeling alone and down at the time and just needed some support. So thank you.
Nigel, I understand it is personal, and you were brave to post it. But we are your friends here, and would help you through anything. Sometimes its good just to vent. If there's anything you need help with, we're here for ya. It's going to be ok.
Thanks Neil. In answer to the above question. Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder
Children with ADHD show signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity in specific ways. These children:
Are in constant motion. Squirm and fidget. Do not seem to listen. Have difficulty playing quietly. Often talk excessively. Interrupt or intrude on others. Are easily distracted. Do not finish tasks.
On the face of it, you might think "well that is a typical 4 yr old". But these symptoms (in some cases) are taken to the extreme. Without medication Oliver cannot sit still and concentrate on anything for any more than a minute if there are distractions (i.e. other children in a classroom)
Nigel, firstly 'statementing' can take a long time but it appears your doing very well getting all those 'professionals' involved so far. Keep making your voice heard, pursue people dont wait around for them to get back to you. From what you've written you accept Oliver for the person he is. IMO you should not force him to conform with what other people consider to be the standard way of behaving/ acting.
Thank you for all the info Aviator. I had a chat with Olivers teacher this morning to see what progress is being made with the statementing, but there is still a couple of forms need filling in and I will be asked to attend school on Wednesday to read and sign the paperwork.
I have been a member of netmums since I took full custody of Oliver (though not been on site for a year or so) so will have a look in again and have a look at the ADHD link you posted for me.
Oliver has a spoonful of Boots Smart Omega 3 every day now, but have noticed very little change so far, if any. Checking the label it is actually a higher Omega 3 concentrate than eyeQ (which I cannot afford at the moment anyway, Though did have it for 2 months)
I haven't heard of Home-start (except for vehicle breakdown cover) Unfortunately for me, they only offer support for the under 5s (Oliver is 5 on 17th March), however, I have offered myself as a volunteer for them, and they are sending an information pack out to me. I will have to wait til after Easter to get on their training course though.
First thing Nigel, you aren't failing. It isn't your fault, and its very common, especially as it feels as though you're both labelled. Its an unfair assumption, and an unnecessary one. The key is keeping up with him, keeping him occupied which, as you no doubt know, is not very easy! I don't claim to know what its like for you both, or even to be able to help, but You really shouldn't think its anyones fault or even that there should be any sort of stigma attached. Many accept it nowadays, and theres a lot of help.
I don't know if you know, but I work for one of the CVS voluntary services in Wirral (UKonline is just a project they are funded for) and we soon will be Wirral Wide with the other CVS services, and I'm sure that we will have people within who can advise or even help, and if you want me to, I can ask within to see what is available? I can't promise greatness but at least its worth a shot.
Also, heed the advice given above (and privately). I have found over the last couple of years that the best advice come through experience. Good luck mate.
I do realise that Olivers condition is not my fault or anyone elses fault, but sometimes when you are feeling down, or alone, you have these stupid ideas going through your head. I have actually given advice like this to another single parent recently, my replies were clear, concise and made sense, but now I am in this position, things don't always seem as "black and white" and therefore start questioning "am I doing everything I can?" or "What if I did this or that?" etc
This is probably the reason I made this post in the first place, I just needed the reasssurance from friends that I am doing the right things. There are a broad spectrum of careers held by the members of this forum ( I am just an engineer by trade, not a childcare expert), and any help or support has been very welcome.
I actually got referred to Wirral-Inroads (who had a UKOnline poster in their offices), by my lone parent advisor at the job centre. This was to get help with filling out forms about Olivers condition. I have to say, that they did a very good job, as they specialise in this type of work.
So once again, to everyone who has offered help and/or support to me, a great big.........
He is now 3 weeks into a 6 week trial of the drug Ritalin ( the main drug used to help children with ADHD). Despite my worries about this drug, it does seem to be working. It is having a positive effect on his school life. He now sits still and listens, has concentrated on role play for 7minutes + ( you used to be lucky to get just 1 minute). He is now interacting and playing nicely with his classmates. The feedback coming back from his teachers is like music to the ears.
The statementing to getting him into a special school is still going ahead as planned, it is up to a higher authority to make the final decision. Oliver still has 3 weeks of his Ritalin trial left to see how much m,ore progress he makes with his concentration, because he is still behind the rest of the class.
On a big positive with his schoolwork, he is in the top 6 in his class when it comes to reading, understanding, general knowledge and vocabulary. Not bad when he is in a class of 30.
His teacher said he was scientifically minded. He wants to know about things, how they work and what they do. The thing is, he remembers all of it too, which is brilliant. One of his teachers said she is actually learning stuff from him too.
I'm very close to far away... The More I See You Dont touch me.. I may blow up
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Nigel, only just seen this thread. Let me reassure you that you are not alone! If you could talk to my mum and she told you what my little'un used to be like... well as I said you are not alone. We never got a label to go with it, but until she was 5 and a a half I couldn't leave her anywhere happily, by which I mean major, stop-breathing heeby-geebies that she could keep up for hours!! The only word to describe her was inconsolable if I had to be away for any reason... Her attention span then was only good if it was what she wanted to do. If I wanted/needed to do anything was was not focussed on her she was incredibly disruptive!
Thanks to Hannah's dad, I had to spend a lot of time in family court as he decided it was all my fault she was like that and thought the best idea was to take her away from me altogether... > Still makes my blood boil just to think of it.) Thanks to him and the courts, I had to drag my screaming child up the road to nursery school every day for over a year, knowing that she was just not ready for all that, but also under the threat that if I didn't force her to go she would be taken away from me for good... I had to spend the most important years of her life in and out of court and I can't tell you how stresful that was and what was going on when she was sent to her Dad's.
Main thing is, we got through it and we are very close still, but she is building more relationships now with others and basically blooming. Her bahviour is vastly improved. Her father has improved beyond all recognition. Neil has been a fantastic step-Dad to her and she gets on brilliantly with her new bothers and sister. They fight like all kids do but there is a real bond there which is lovely to see. She's very happy at school now she's 7 and academically doing really well too.
(BTW I was at parents' evening tonight. Couldn't help smiling when she wrote "If am am angry it helps to count to 10 and breathe out"! )
Nigel, we all worry about our kids, but for what it's worth in my view it is a problem with society that we expect such young kids to sit stil and learn. My nephew went to a Steiner school at Oliver's age where they only did half days, went out into the woods for an afternoon, learned cooking and learned to cut with sharp knives... he was very happy there! You don't have that option, but I would strongly advise get out and about as much as you can.
Mine loved being outside - used to even run with her round the block when she was being disruptive and couldn't settle at night. We were out most of the time at that age - one reason she hated nursery so much! I took her places like the science museum and art galleries where she could stretch her mind, we did singing gardening, painting, cooking, "washing up", is water play, went swimming a lot. All sorts.
Oh boy, I know exactly what you mean about that 1:1 time!! It may just mean he is very bright... My little un defeated a childminder with 10 years experience when she was only 8 months old - reduced the poor lady to tears and I had to quit my job... Glad I did though. You should see her now - an absolute star and doing really well. All the hard work paid off in the end, including a much - needed parenting course! I got the court make her Dad go on one too...
This is getting long, but I was given a lot of bad advice by various professionals when things were difficult. I was labelled as having "depression", whereas I defy anyone to go through all of the above PLUS the loss of my home, PLUS the death of my father and supporting my griving Mum all in one go - I defy anyone to go through that and not be affected... it wouldn't be human!
What I am getting at is sod the labels. Good that the medication is helping. Homoeopathy helped mine, glad we never got in the situation of getting labelled or medicated... He's your son in the end and you can listen to the advise but in the end you must do what you feel is right. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and you are so right to see the boy and not the "condition".
In our story the hard part for me was accepting that I could not keep letting a small child control my life... she got angry if I so much as walked across the room. Once I took back control, and set some boundaries, life got better for us all. My fear for you and Oliver is that all the hard work is expected to be done by the medicine wheras there is so much you can do as a parent, most of which is fun!
On my course, I learned to praise her more (I was constantly cristised myself so found this hard), set clear aims about what I wanted her to do better at, set up a clear reward scheme, and (most importantly) established the "two minutes of calm" rule. My hysterical child could not reason, so I learned to wait until she was calm and talk with her about what was wrong for her and also what I expected from her before she got rewards. The latter were mostly free things like play time with me, a trip to the park, painting, cooking and an elaborate puppet game through which she could express her feelings.
Nigel what works for your son and you may well be different, but whatever you do don't give up on him. He's got a lot of growing up to do and I'm sure he will do just fine!
Sandra, that is such an awful story, I am so pleased, for all of you that things have turned around and life is great again.
I have very rarely had any problems with Oliver at home. Any tantrums he has ever had have lasted no more than 2 minutes, have not had any problems getting him to nursery or to school (except the first week when he cried his eyes out when I left him, but that was only a couple of minutes too. My biggest issue with Oliver, was his constant desire to eat. I had to put a lock on the kitchen door because he used to raid the fridge and the food cupboards.
Olivers biggest issues were at school. Although he was"picking everything up" his concentration was non-existent. He is one of the brightest in his class, but he is disruptive and impulsive. Once he has learnt his "bit" he is bored and disrupts the learning of the other children.
We are blessed here on the Wirral, that there is such a lot that we can do at minimal cost. We have several museums, a couple of art galleries, numerous parks and woodland, a couple of beaches,an urban farm, local docks with shipping movement almost daily and public transport on the doorstep. So I have never had a problem keeping him occupied. If the weather is bad, we paint or do paper-craft, read books or he will get out his picture encyclopaedia and ask me questions about what and why. I also get down on the floor to play cars or trains with him. But he also realises that I need my time too. He is not always happy, but he does get on with it.
I wanted to go the homeopathy way with Oliver, even contacted somewhere to try and get help. But it was some distance away and the cost was beyond my meagre budget. He has a good diet (not the best he could get) but still very good. With a sweets/chocolate once a week, and fruit on a daily basis. I have got him eating fresh vegetables too (but only in a home-made vegetable soup). So I am doing everything that I can. Even the "professionals" that have spoken to me have said that I am doing everything I can and that there is little if anything more that I could do.
God bless you, Sandra and Nigel, and other parents like you! I understand quite well, through what are you going now, but, believe, the love and patience, you're putting into your kids, will turn them into happy and successful people very soon. Make them move and learn what they have to learn- that's really is the main key to the success. Well, sometimes you can lose your energy during it, but your kids certainly will be the winners. (In each class i teach, there are about 3 ADHD kids and 60% nervous or very active ones, so we jump, crawl and so on, and so on... Ohh, poor, poor, poor couple of calm and peaceful kids. Sometimes they look into my eyes sadly and there's only one question into their big eyes, "Teach, can we sit still at least one lesson? Please..." Then we play "Peace game" and i'm so happy to watch, how my grasshoppers are able to be still longer and longer.) To be honest, i don't trust experimental schools (seems such is Steiner school, Sandra had mentioned). We had Montesori school here. OK, they had a lot of fantastic things, but, in my opinion, their idea, "Children will learn, when they will be ready to. Simply trust their feelings." didn't work. For example, they could crochet during English lesson. Year by year, and my little neighbour, who was a student at that school, became as an excellent crocheter, but couldn't say any word into English and had to look for and pay for a private teacher... And one more time allow me to say, "God, bless you, Sandra and Nigel", cos i know, what happen with the ADHD kids, whose parents don't care and use to say to the teachers, "Your student- your problems."
How many times have feelings vanished in your head? How many times must they be lost before they're said?