Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Official Diagnosis

Had the "big" doctors appointment today...

Zach has ADHD.

It's odd. There is something about suspecting and being told there is a chance of ADHD, or displaying some of the symptoms of ADHD, but getting an official diagnosis just feels different , I can't explain it.

We have explored so many things in trying to help Zach; Occupational Therapy, Exercise Books to develop his fine motor skills, Flip charts (coping strategies for when he's upset), Checklists to keep him on track and reduce the need for constant reminders, Mouth Tools(chewable pendant), Sit Fit cushions (to allow movement, but still staying in one spot), Self Regulation therapy, Anger Management, Sports (Gymnastics, Swimming, Hockey, Soccer, Running, Skating), Water Therapy, Strategies from "Raising your Spirited Child" and consultation with the author in the States, Theatre ( to allow for him to develop his imagination), Diet Modifications (no artificial colorings, sweetners, soda, caffeine), Limit to TV/Video game watching to one hour a week and finally Education of both the school and daycare with respect to the above.

They have all helped, but we have exhausted the options with the exception of one - medication. Brad and I don't want to do medication. Unfortunately, the challenges that Zach has is beginning to affect his self esteem. The doctor says he has a strong sense of empathy for those around him and it really bothers him when he is too agressive and can't control himself. That could have a big impact on him growing into an adult. Focusing in school is an issue as well. When Zach is redirected by the teacher, he can accomplish his tasks and academically he scored quite high. It's the attending to the tasks that is challenging for him.

On a positive note, the doctor said that she has never encountered a family that has done more for their child than we have. She says usually she would explain to the parents all the options they have and list off all the therapies - but we have done them all. I can't even begin to get into how many books I have read in my attempt to understand what my son goes through.

So the next step is that the doctor is going to complete her report and assessment and then send it to our pediatrician. The pediatrician will then determine what medication is appropriate ( the referring doctor will make recommendations) and then we will discuss our options.

According to the doctor we saw today, since Zach has extensive support with various therapies already, he will likely be on a much lower dose than children who do not. The idea is to find the lowest dosage that will help him with the challenges that therapy cannot.

sigh I am still not okay with the medication. All the side effects scare me. But then there is the other side that left untreated, Zach could begin to develop other problems as a result of the constant anxiety his ADHD imposes on him.

Zach may drive me crazy, but I am CRAZY about him. I would do absolutely anything for that little man. We will get him all the support he needs and just take the rest day by day.

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