I'm sharing the following story from one of the mums from our ADHD support group because I think it highlights very well the struggles families go through as they work to build a positive approach to the challenges they face each day. Parents know when their children's behaviour is not like the other kids. I personally know this mum and her journey with ADHD is a familiar one for many families. She is a wonderful mum and advocate for her child. I share this story, written by her, with her permission, in the hope that it will help others to know they are not alone in this journey and also that others will find the help they are looking for.
As we started the journey with our daughter we had no idea what we were in for. We just knew there was something just a little bit different about her to all the other kids around her. We first noticed this when she was about 3 years old. We saw the doctor who sent us to see an OT who said that our daughter was just too bright and there nothing we could do with her till she started kindy.
Well that is what we were told so we didn’t think twice about it. We had issues during preschool having our child bite, hit , kick and tell teachers she hated them; we looked like the bad parents. I don’t know how many times I was embarrassed and very upset to the point of tears thinking this was all my fault; I didn’t bring her up the right way, I’m doing the best I can. Well third day of kindy we had the teacher approach us and said "your daughter almost got suspended today” and then once again feeling like a failure of a parent. Why you might ask? What kid makes their year 6 buddy cry third day of school, what kindy kid threatens to punch the teacher and run away from school? Mine of course. The teacher goes "do you have 10 minutes so I can talk to you about this a tad more in private”.
Of course we did anything we could to fix this situation. The teacher was lovely and friendly and said I think your daughter had some special needs. Well the biggest smile came upon my face. "What a relief", is what I was thinking. She continues and says I would like her to be tested for ADHD. So she set up meeting with the school counselor and our journey finally began. We were guided to a place that does the testing on these types of children. Our daughter did the testing and was given the diagnosis of borderline ADHD and aspects of ODD. Were given a behavior plan to follow and that was that.
It worked for a year till she got a year older. We still had some issues with her which we learnt later were melt downs. When our child hit year 3 everything went haywire again. Having two teachers was just a tad too much for her. She was failing at her school work and couldn’t sit still. We took her back to our GP and said "what do we do now?" He without hesitations wrote a letter to see a child pediatrician. It was a 6 month wait which isn’t really that bad. We just had to keep doing what we were doing for another 6 months. Turning up to school late, not getting dressed and all of those things.
Time finally came to see the pediatrician and really all he did was check all her vital signs and said come back in six months. Great here we go again, while he got info from all teachers and everything. We had already given reports to him. We had to get her into a bedtime routine. Well life got challenging in those 6 months. We held on to the fact that one day she would get the right help. Six months came and we went back and finally she was put on a medication and was labeled no longer borderline. We trialled that for six months and it was ok but the side effects were worse than her not being on it. The wearing off of the medication was worse than her ADHD actions and issues altogether. We went through 2 more medications before we found the right one.
This was very challenging at the time. Don’t get me wrong, our daughter is beautiful in a very wonderful way. She has a heart of gold and is very caring when you see past the behavioural aspects of her diagnoses. We finally got the right dosage that we thought was working for this new med. Mind you, we were now in year 4 and this year became a nightmare. Our daughter decided to tell us she hated school more than ever before and was getting physically bullied as well as verbally bullied. She had a teacher who didn’t believe in a child having ADHD. And our daughter got all the blame.
It got to the point our daughter told the doctor that she wanted to kill her brain. Yeah it’s ok to tell someone that but we weren’t expecting her to actually do something about it. The point in time came were she was trying to run in front of cars and busses and that wasn’t working so she grabbed a knife. We acted very quickly. Back to the doctor we went, as our pediatrician was like "as if a 9 year old would do something like that". He sent us to a child psychiatrist, who we got to see within the week as it was an emergency case.
The psychiatrist viewed us in the waiting room. We went in the room, presented all her findings with the supported paperwork from her first diagnosis, her other diagnoses and letters from teachers. He put her dosage up and then diagnosed her with slight depression and severe anxiety. He sent us for more testing as he was considering putting her on anxiety medication which is an antidepressant that would help our daughter sleep and be our happy little girl again.
This year she is in year 5 and we have an awesome teacher who has helped her so much to even catering homework that suits our child to the tee. But it hasn’t come without challenges. We now again recently hit a brick wall. One word says it all CAMP. Do we send our daughter who has all these issues who has no friends off to a school camp where her teacher from this year is not attending? We haven’t come up with an answer yet.
But all in all our daughter is the most beautiful hearted, caring, happy little girl who tries her best whether or not people accept her or not. It breaks my heart that some people can’t see past the bad behavior and see the beautiful daughter we do have. Only if people could see past the bad behavior and look at the loving side and not be so judgmental on all these thing then this world would be a better place for these types of children.
More challenges will occur but I now know there is other parents out there who are going through similar things with their ADHD child/ren and if I can leave you one encouragement of how I coped through all this; It was by finding the positive in the negative and trying to find the funny side of every situation we were in. Talking to other parents who were doing it as tough as me also helped. Never forget that you are not the bad parent cos I know I am not. I work so hard for my child to become the little girl she has become today. No matter what anyone says I’m not a bad parent, I’m a superhero parent for dealing with a child who needs to work extra hard to fit in to be whom she is.