Our girls were diagnosed by two clinics specializing in behavioral disorders with ADHD. Alexis also exhibits signs of ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Sawyer was never diagnosed. Although having lived with ADHD my entire life and seeing firsthand the struggles of our girls, I am pretty confident that Sawyer has ADHD and ODD. Of course I am no doctor and only time will tell. In the meantime, we are grinning and bearing the terrible twos that seem to have extended to the furious fours! With our girls we saw several therapists, psychiatrists, family doctors, and pediatricians for help in dealing with these disorders. For our kids the signs came early. All of them were awesome babies who didn’t cry without a reason, slept through the night, and breastfed like pros, (except Taylor, but that was my fault). They were, and still are, smiley, friendly, happy little people, without serious health problems. My pregnancies and deliveries were also smooth-sailing, without any major incidents. But at the tender ages of 18 months to 2 years, we started noticing big changes in Alexis’s, Taylor’s, and Sawyer’s behavior. We have often wondered, “Where did our sweet child go?”
That may seem harsh but what is harsh is having a two year old with a behavior problem, seeing multiple doctors, and all of them saying they can’t help you till the child reaches school age. When one child can disrupt an entire family, and that same child cries, “I want to be good! I am trying, but I can’t!”, that is harsh. When a mom and dad have tried everything they can think of, are completely exasperated, and at their wit’s end, that is harsh :-(
I fondly remember our family doctor in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, USA, who came to our rescue. Having four or five children himself, one of them with ADHD, he sympathized with our plight and provided much needed help and support. The girls have tried multiple medications and dosages, without success. After several years we came to the conclusion that Concerta Extended Release was the best choice for them. Our family was at peace and they were progressing well in school. There were two drawbacks when the girls took that medication. One, they had little appetite and had trouble with weight gain. Two, they lost some of their lively, happy personality. As a parent of children with behavior disorders we sometimes have to make tough decisions. At that time this medication was the best choice for us all.
Since moving to Mexico however, they have been unmedicated. The main reason we stopped the medication is because to treat the girls it would cost $300 USD every month. So far we are all still alive. How are we managing without meds? Here’s how… We monitor the kids sugar intake. We try to shop healthy. We don’t have candy or pop in the house. Well, maybe an occasional Mexican Coke for Dad ;-) I am pretty strict about avoiding artificial coloring, (especially red and yellow dyes), artificial flavoring, and preservatives, including sodium benzoate. We stay away from fast food, because not only is it just plain bad for you, despite how yummy it tastes…., but McDonald’s hamburgers and french fries send our kids through the roof! These are things we practiced with meds but now even more so. We have tried natural herbs and vitamins in combating the ADHD, as well. They may help but it’s nothing like prescription meds. Currently the kids take multivitamins, and the girls take an Omega 3 Complex because DHA is supposed to help ADHD brain funtions. I have also recently started trying more essential oils for calming and focusing the kids. We used Vetiver in the past and thought we saw a bit of a difference so when Teisha from Essential Health Expert offered to send me a doTerra sample blend for ADHD, I said, “Sure, send it over!” We are still in the trial stages of testing but hey, seriously, l love essential oils and I believe they work for me.
Behavior disorders or not, our kids are still awesome. They are lively, happy, entertaining, smart, loving, adventurous, hard-working, children, with beautiful smiles. ADHD is not necessarily a handicap. We have good days and bad days, both children and parents. Homeschool is a challenge but we are surviving and learning, all of us, together. ADHD does make life a bit more difficult but it can be managed. Siphoning ADHD energy in the right direction can produce relatively happy, responsible adults. To read more about our family and ADHD read Mommy Has ADHD.
For those who want to know more about ADHD or ODD check out these great infographics below. Signing off, Tina