I recently posted a guest post on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) & ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Upon posting the article I decided to share my own struggles with ADHD in my household. I have two children with moderate and severe ADHD. My oldest was diagnosed in Kindergarten and my youngest will be going through the evaluation in August but I already know what is going to be determined because I've already been through it.
I knew when my daughter was 3 that there was something very off with her behavior. I know, every child goes through the "terrible twos" but this was different. From birth she was a very hyper stimulated child and had severe colic when she was an infant. The tantrums continued into toddler years and progressively got worse, horrific and constant. They often ended with both of us in tears and me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. When she was 3 I reached out to the local Area Education Agency to have her evaluated and they deemed her "spirited" and handed me a book about time outs. Really?! You don't think I tried that? It wasn't until she was 5 and in Kindergarten causing major problems in the classroom that they were finally saying what I knew all along- she had ADHD and needed medication.
A lot of people knock the ADHD diagnosis and parents who medicate. They're usually the people whose children don't have ADHD. They don't realize that it doesn't just affect the child who has it, but it affects the entire family, and it affects other people's children in the classroom. When a child with ADHD is present everything tends to be very chaotic and disruptive and usually the teacher has to spend a great deal of time trying to wrangle that one child under control every day, all day.
Medicating my daughter was a tough decision but one I don't regret at all. She's now 13 and flourishing in school, she was on A/B honor roll the last two years! The medication works so well that I can tell within 5 minutes of being around her whether she has taken her pill or not. It's like night and day difference.
My youngest's story is very similar but his is more severe than my daughter's was. We knew about the age of 18 months that there was a problem. We actually had him evaluated for Autism and other spectrum disorders because of his behavior. While we don't have a definite diagnosis yet, I know that it will be ADHD.
Being a mom to two children with ADHD isn't easy and there are a lot of stigmas that you have to fight between the schools, other parents, and usually anyone with an opinion. The key to keeping your sanity and helping your child is finding a really good doctor and being open and honest with teachers and other parents. People seem to be less cruel and more understanding when you tell them what the issues are and that you want to be informed of any concerns immediately.