I was actually relieved. It was not my bad parenting, it was not that I was not strict enough, or that I favored Jason, or any of the things I had been told by people who meant well.
I was surprised because I didn’t know a lot about it, and because Adam is not the type who is hyper, so that’s why it surprised me. I always would say “He doesn’t focus, he doesn’t focus,” not thinking it would be ADHD.
Well, when it was first mentioned to me, I was really mad. Lindsay’s kindergarten experience was very bad. She had a teacher that just said it was a behavioral problem, and the teacher just segregated her, because she would touch people and stuff. The teacher thought that she was spoiled, and that it was just a behavioral problem. I had gotten a counselor, and the counselor and I went in to meet. It was her counselor who said she really felt that it was ADHD, and recommended that she come here, Boston Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed. I was much more relieved that it was ADHD than if she was just a little brat.
Well it helped explain some things to me, so I guess that was a little bit of a relief. I didn’t know exactly what it was going to mean over time. He said it was a fairly mild case. It wasn’t a surprise to me. I didn’t feel sad, but was a little apprehensive about what this might mean for Julie about her life.
Took a long time
It took a long time to get diagnosed. First because we kept being told by the school that Scott was fine, 2nd because our families were not educated about it, and did not want to believe it. I did not want to believe it either. Who wants there to be something wrong with their kid? But, I just felt something was not right and I kept looking for help, and had him tested, and kept seeing doctors.
When she was 8 years old, we got some referrals for her to have some testing done at the hospital. I did some work with psychologist who did a full neuropsychology evaluation on Emma. She had to sit with Emma several lengthy times. She thought Emma had difficulty concentrating and had a difficult time sitting still and did I ever think about maybe she had ADD tendencies. And I said that it had come up a couple times but I just wasn’t sure behavior modification versus ADD. My neurologist had said that she wasn’t a good candidate for behavior modification because cognitively she probably wouldn’t get it. But then the psychologist told me about a study the hospital was doing about children who had epilepsy and on medication for epilepsy and they were testing extended release Concerta. So I entered Emma into the study and it was amazing. There was no doubt when we were doing the part of the study with the Concerta. We ended up doing the placebo part first, although I didn’t know that at the time. We started the study and there was no change whatsoever in Emma over three different weeks of medication. Then we took a week off and started the second arm of the study and within two days Emma was a totally different child.
Noticed in high school
I went to see the guidance counselor and said, “Something is not right. Something is really not right here that this child should struggle so and study so much and still come up with a D or an F on an exam. It can’t be right.” It was the guidance counselor who suggested that we have Megan tested. I’m telling you I was a parent in denial, I thought there was nothing wrong with my child. I think we pushed for the testing in the fall of 10th grade and did not get the testing done until the winter of 10th grade. A very good friend of mine is a clinical social worker who does a lot of work with young children and ADHD. She’s the one who said to me, “You need to press the school to do testing.” She said, “Don’t let them just stop at the basic; ask for a full neuropsych exam.” I’m so glad she did because I would have not known my way through this. She really knew the things I should be asking for. That sort of tells me that most families operate in the dark. If you don’t have someone who says to you, “These are the things you should be asking for” you don’t really know. That’s a frustration. I was really fortunate to have someone to point those things out.