I mentioned yesterday that I was reading Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention by Katherine Ellison. My 17 year old son was recently diagnosed with AD/HA and ODD, the same brain variation that “Buzz” suffers. And I choose the word suffer purposefully because not only does Buzz suffer, but so does his family, friends, and school mates.
I understand this suffering only too well. My son has struggled since birth with the inability to sit still or keep his hands to himself. He is clueless about personal space or privacy. He is compelled to speak, especially at the most inappropriate of times and has a fondness for tackling his little sister. At 6’5″ and 220 lbs that last one can be extremely bad.
We’ve always known that he was challenged with these things but resisted testing because of the certainty that medications would be prescribed. But a final straw at school sent me to the psychologists and a few weeks later, we got the diagnosis. Since he’s already 17, taking medication became his choice. He decided to combine the meds with a routine of intense physical exercise to see how he reacted.
I’m pleased to say that in the last 3 months, much has changed for the better. No more trouble at school and generally, he seems much happier with the school situation. He’s hitting his sister less often and learning to control his impulses better.
Ellison found the medication to be equally beneficial for her son “Buzz.” They started him on meds much earlier and were more concerned about the side effects because of it. So if you are in this situation, I think the age of the child will help you to decide what to do. Ellison found that exercise helps, too, which is the case here at our house.
Mostly, Ellison discovered that there were a lot of exhausted parents out there who are struggling with these kinds of kids. I know I have over the years. They can literally wear you down to where going on can just seem impossible. I sympathized with most of what Ellison has endured because I’ve been there. For example, she too worried that her son might end up in jail. At time, it seems like ADHD kids are headed straight for any kind of trouble or confrontation that they can find. But consistent parenting and intervention (in our case with meds and exercise) seem to help a lot.
The world is more intolerant than ever for deviations in human action so if you are in this situation with your child, know that you are not alone. That AD/HA, especially AD/HD combined with ODD, is a struggle but it’s one that you can get through.