Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I've been having some ADHD days.

For some people that means that they've been forgetful.  Distracted. Unable to focus.

For me, it means I've been obsessed with my son's condition. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, we were on a good path.  While Dylan's grades didn't quite demonstrate his abilities, he seemed to be on the right track.  Homework did not take up most of the afternoon anymore.  He reported that he even finished some of his tests in the normal allotted time (and not the additional time allowed by his 504).  Evening behavior was generally good and morning behavior was excellent. 

I'm not quite sure what happened.

I first recognized the change last Wednesday.  When I picked Dylan up at school, he made a big deal about wanting to go to Subway.  I told him that was not possible, but that if he got his homework done, we could go for a Snowball or a Strawberry Frappuchino.  The way things had been going, it didn't sound like a huge offer.  I figured he'd finish up the last of his homework, and we'd stroll down the street. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

Finishing homework required a lot of coaching, cajoling, and downright nagging.  I was frustrated and wished I had never made the offer.  We did finally go, but later than I wished and I was completely on the edge by then.  Instead of a relaxed conversation on the walk down, I was tense, barking new rules and regulations.  I had had a delightful vision of the evening, and rushing to get a cold beverage before dark was not part of it.

Then, there was Thursday.

We - Dylan and I - had an opportunity to be a part of a focus group for our local children's museum.  They are planning to build a brand new facility and we are part of a group of parents and kids who will give them ideas and guide them.  Sounds great, hunh?

The focus group was great.  Dylan had a blast (it was at the current children's museum).  Things started to go south when we left.  Dylan got it in his head that he wanted to watch TV as a reward for behaving at the children's museum - nevermind that just being at the museum was a reward.

TV is not an option on school nights in our house, except in very limited situations - if you are sick or if a Christmas special that we don't have on DVD is on.  AND...he still had homework.  So not on;y was the answer no, but he had to finish homework. 

Well, homework did not get finished.  He was all over the place, and I finally gave up and told him to go to bed.

You'd think that the weekend would surely have gone better?  Not quite.  He had homework this past weekend, too, a somewhat new development at school. 

On Saturday, he had meds but they didn't seem to do much.  It took him at least four hours to do two pages of math.  Granted, he didn't quite understand it.  But he was also bouncing all around and picking his feet while doing it. By the end of the day, he had a meltdown over leaving the house to go get a pizza (something we haven't done in months thanks to our budget) because he had to shut off the TV. 

Sunday was worse.  He "only" had vocabulary so I didn't have him take meds.  Bad idea.  Vocabulary is usually a strong subject for him, but I didn't realize that he had about 15 pages of it.  I don't know if he got through five all day on Sunday.  I did let him help me plant a vegetable garden, but just for a little while.

Yesterday and today it was more of the same.  Instead of homework being nearly finished as it had been since the start of the year, he's been coming home with almost no homework done.  It's been clearly obvious that the meds are completely gone, too, by the time he gets home, making any attempt to do the homework almost fruitless. 

I asked Dylan tonight, "Why?"  "What has changed?"  In addition to the above, he has not been listening to me or his dad AT ALL.  You can tell him to sit down five times and he's still standing there.

He said that the medication is not lasting as long.  He's not sure if it's not working as well when it is in effect.  But I don't see how it could be.

So, for all of these reasons, I have been having an ADHD day.  Actually several of them, which means I think constantly about medications.  Should we up the dosage of this one?  Try another?  How will that work with Dylan not taking pills that aren't crushed or opened capsules. 

What about the Lindamood Bell tutoring?  Is it working?  Is it enough?  What more could I do?  Could we even afford to do anything else? 

What about his 504?  How should it be different?  How can I make the school provide him more one-on-one attention?  Is there a way to change how after care works so that more homework gets done and he understands it better? 

I'm furtively checking websites at work.  Distracted thinking about it while I'm driving.  Hanging my head in my hands when it's at its worst. 

I know my son is bright and creative.  But it's so hard to tell that while you're doing homework with him when he's in this state.  Are the meds the wrong meds?  Or do they just need to be stronger?

A call to his pediatrician (his psychiatrist, whom we just started seeing at the first of the year, is on extended leave) is on my agenda for tomorrow.  Stay tuned. 

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