July 29, 2017

Alphabet Soup

Posted in ADHD, Journal at 8:41 pm by Jenn

When my son was 18 months old I started getting complaints about his behavior from daycare.  Biting, temper tantrums, not listening, not following instructions, etc.  I wasn’t sure what was going on.  I went to the pediatrician, they told me this was normal.  I talked to friends and family.  Everyone said it was normal. We did end up getting tubes in his ears because of frequent fluid and ear infections and thought maybe some of the not listening and not following instructions was because he simply wasn’t hearing.  Problems persisted at daycare and it just got to be too stressful for me to pick him up everyday and hear about how “bad” my child had been.  I switched daycare.  I went from a large center to a home provider.

After a few months the new provider expressed concerns that something was wrong – speech not on level with other children his age, not able to stay on task, frequent need for redirection….back to the pediatrician. We had an evaluation by our local Infant and Toddler program and they expressed no developmental concerns, all of the pediatrician’s testing came back normal.

Fast forward to age 3 at our well child check.  My son was his displaying his “normal” behavior at the appointment, this time the pediatrician wanted to know more….is this what the daycare provider sees?  Is this typical?  Does it get worse?  Yes, Yes, Yes.  He suggested we return to the local resource but also get on the waiting list to be seen at Kennedy Krieger.   He said, I don’t know that there is a problem, this could be typical tired 3 year old behavior, if you don’t need the appointment then you are fine, but in 6 months when/if this behavior is escalating then you don’t want to have to get on the list then….

4 months later we were being seen at Kennedy Krieger, we answered a LOT of questions, we filled out a LOT of paperwork.  We met with 2 different providers on two different DAY long appointments…the diagnosis, ADHD at age 3 in addition to a Speech and Language delay which was diagnosed on the re-evaluation by the local resources.  What did all this mean?   Preschool at age 3, an IEP, behavioral health visits and a LOT more unanswered questions.

The provider wanted to start my son on medication at the age of 3.  I declined.  My reasoning, his behavior is not out of control.  He is 3, he is growing, he has a speech delay and if the medication is making him feel bad he won’t be able to tell me.  No meds.  What other option do we have.

Being a Dietitian I know the power of a good diet and I know that for many of these kids there is a dietary component.  We don’t eat poorly in our house but I could make some changes for sure.

Today I made the appointment for our annual check up….one year later.  We still aren’t on meds, we have eliminated red, blue and yellow dye.  We use melatonin to help get a good night sleep and we had a successful first year of school with NO COMPLAINTS from the school at all about behavior or lack of attention and the IEP is progressing nicely.

I do feel the behaviors are escalating, but I feel it is just with me.  I get nothing but praise about behavior when he is in public, at other people’s homes, etc.  With me, he is a baby monster.  The tantrums seem constant, the whining is unbearable, the not listening, the hearing “You’re Mean”, I am at my wits end.

I think a lot of this is just simply a kid who has not had to deal with consequences for his actions.  I know it’s not too late to reign him in…I hope it’s not too late.  The doctor told me a year ago, “pick your battles and win what you pick”.  I think I picked the wrong things.   Sometimes I feel like he acts this way because of something I’ve done (or not done), but then I remember that he really can’t help his actions sometimes.  The hard part is telling the difference.



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