Thursday, November 12, 2009

wow! it's been a while...

ok, ok, i know, it's been over a month since i last posted here. bad blog mommy, bad BAD blog mommy. lol but i'm going to try now to get you caught up on blithe's progress.

it's now been over a month that she's been on her meds, and it's going wonderfully! and as much as i dislike meds, especially for kids - especially for my healthy kids - i have to say, i'm so glad we went this route.

blithe can read now. before she was on meds, she really struggled with her reading. and speaking as one who reads and writes all the time, it was beyond upsetting to see how difficult it was for her to accomplish even the simplest reading assignments. but in the last month or so, her reading has progressed marvellously! in fact, as i type this, she is upstairs with her brothers and grandmother, reading a bedtime story to them! she even described this book - which she has never read before - as "a piece of cake"! i couldn't be more proud of her than i am right now. :)

another improvement has been her printing. suddenly, when she hands me her writing assignments from school, i can actually read them! the letters are clear and spaced properly, formed correctly, and rarely are they floating somewhere between the line and the top of the page. it is such a thrill to see how much improvement there is in her work now that she can focus. whoda thunk, eh?

she's actually enjoying school now. every morning, she is the first one dressed and ready to go, and when she gets off the bus at the end of the day, she always has something exciting to tell me. i really just can't believe the improvement in her; it's absolutely heartwarming.

we have also been continuing the work on non-medicinal ways to help her. as a rule, she only takes her meds during the week, so on weekends, we have the opportunity to practice other tools to help calm her mind. and they seem to be working. so far, we have tried:
  • a soothing perfume (sandalwood)
  • conscious breathing
  • drinking water
  • leaving the room for a few minutes when it's too chaotic for her
  • going for a walk

it's now mid-november, so i know the walk option won't be available much longer around here, so we're really concentrating on the other tools. the perfume seems to help quite a bit. i gave her the choice of two scents (sandalwood and satsuma), asking her which one helped to calm her mind. not surprisingly, she chose sandalwood (it's my soothing scent, too). breathing is helping, although she needs to be reminded to do it. but in time, she'll learn to start that on her own. she just needs to remember it herself. i've explained to her the importance of water, that it will help to wash the stress hormones and chemicals out of her system, which will help her to calm herself in the long run. she's getting the hang of leaving the room, although she still likes to be right in the action, so it's not always the easiest for her. but when she tries it, she feels better.

i'm just so proud of her and her progress so far. my goal is to be med-free by march break, which gives her a few months to get into the practice of using the other tools. some of them will be more challenging at school, since she can't exactly walk out of her classroom, and her school is scent-free. but she can still drink water and breathe at school, so i'm hopeful that we can accomplish this goal.

and yes, i'll try to be more diligent in posting. it seems i'm rather easily distracted, myself, sometimes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

this has NEVER happened before, but i wouldn't mind if it happened more often from now on ;)

this is blithe, doing her homework. probably doesn't seem like a big deal, but two weeks ago, this wouldn't have happened.

homework time usually involved multiple melt-downs (and not just her), lots of tears, and nothing getting done.

but look at her now!!! she sat down at the table and got to work. no coaxing, no bribing, no time-outs, no raised voices, no whining, just my sweet girlie doing her homework. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

this post will seem a little scattered, but it's 3:30am as i write... and hey, it's about ADHD, so OF COURSE it'll be scattered LOL

well, it's been a few days on meds now, and i've noticed something... they're wearing off awfully early. yesterday (wednesday) blithe was almost in tears by the time she got off the bus after school, and today, she was back to her moody self by 4:00. she flipped out over a snack (i gave her some choices, but she wanted something else, and that, apparently, is worthy of a fit. nice, eh? ugh.) so i'll be chatting with her paeds about the dose of the med.

but in the meantime, i'm teaching blithe some of my little tricks to focus. we're working on breathing. just breathing. when she feels overwhelmed, she just breathes for a minute or two. i've always found that conscious breathing helps to focus my attention on one thing, and it helps to calm me down when i'm upset/freaking. and so far, blithe has said it helps her, too. so i'm glad about that.

let's see... what else tonight?... ah, yes. it was "meet the teacher" tonight at school (though i really don't know where else you'd have meet the teacher LOL). anyway, i was chatting with her teacher, who knows she's on meds, and he made a point of telling me that blithe had a great day today. she paid attention, worked hard, participated in class really well. i was so happy to hear that!! she has never done that before, so this was wonderful!!! i'm really happy to know the meds are helping, and she's beginning to have some success in school. she was so encouraged tonight when we talked about it. she was really proud of herself, probably for the first time since starting school. apparently, mr t said today that she was "on fire" - she knew the answer to almost every question, and was raising her hand nicely and really had a great day. blithe was thrilled! (so was i.) she has also been able to tell me about what they're learning in school now. every day this week she has filled me in on animals who change colour to match their environments. can you believe it?! she's retaining information!!! this has never happened before!!!!! i couldn't be happier or more proud than i am today. :)

there is one other thing i'd like to write about, before i forget. here in ontario, there's a programme called ACSD (Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities). currently, i get this for my son, who has some health issues of his own, though they're all physical. anyway, when blithe was diagnosed last week, her paediatrician (who was over for tea at the time... lol yes, we're friends. lol) told me to pop in to her office the next day for a prescription and an ACSD application. i'll admit, that upset me a bit. i hadn't really thought about ADHD as being a disability. i mean, she's functional, beyond smart, not unstable or anything. but when dr b filled out her form in the application the other day, she checked off three or four criteria for blithe. one of these was "is unable to recognize dangers in the home or community." that one hit me hard. because it's true. blithe knows about the dangers intellectually, but i don't think she regularly makes the connection between the information and the reality. that one is absolutely heartbreaking. on the other hand, i'm going to take that little check-mark, and use it. now that i've thought about it, and i know that this is an issue, i'm just going to have to make an effort to remind blithe about the dangers around her (without scaring her, ideally). there's so much to this condition that i hadn't considered. i'll admit, it's a little overwhelming at times. on the other hand, my son's health issues were overwhelming at first, too, and now i know WAY too much about his stuff. so i know i can do this. and she'll be ok. :)

well, i think that's about it for now. i'll let you go and try to stop your head from spinning now. sorry about the poor writing in this post. i try to write coherently, but this is the first chance i've had to post in a few days, and it's almost 4 am now, so this is what you get. LOL

Sunday, September 27, 2009

i think we can, i think we can, i think we can...

so here we are on Day 2 of the meds. after having some difficulty swallowing a pill earlier in the week, we're going with Biphentin. she has no problems taking these, since i open the capsule and pour the pellet-y thingies onto a spoonful of whipped cream, and it goes down pretty easily that way. which is nice. no more early morning fights over meds.

yesterday, within half an hour of taking the med, blithe was much calmer. she was capable of carrying on a real, coherent conversation, staying on topic, and speaking in a lovely indoor voice. i don't remember when this happened before, so needless to say, it was a welcomed change.

there was even an incident in the afternoon, when my mother and i both told blithe that she couldn't do something (i forget what it was). normally, she would have flipped right out, screaming and throwing a real fit, saying that we didn't love her and nobody cares about her and she's gonna do it anyway and on and on and on. i'm sure you've heard her before. lol this time, she did get upset, but didn't yell at us, and she did go up to her room, but she didn't slam her door, and she didn't throw anything. a few minutes later, she came back downstairs, apologized for disrespecting nana and gave her a hug. mom and i were shocked! so we praised her for her self-control during the whole situation, and told her how proud of her we were. and blithe said, and i'm quoting here, "and i didn't even say any bad things to myself when i was upstairs!" she was so proud of herself, too. it was a wonderful change, and just with the first dose!

today has been a little different. not as bad as what i'm used to, mind you, but still. i think some of these behaviours may now be habit, and the only way she knows to respond. for example, just now i asked the boys to pick up the toys in the playroom, and she flipped out, because i made the kids turn off their movie so they'd get off their butts to do their work. even when i tried to reason with her, she wouldn't listen. but i managed to get her to listen, and she's occupying herself until the boys are done.

i don't know. maybe my expectations of the meds have been somewhat unrealistic. maybe i was expecting some sort of miracle drug, that would magically transform her into that "ideal" child who never argues, never disobeys, speaks only when spoken to, that sort of thing. which is odd, because that's not the kind of child i've ever wanted. i've tried to raise my children in such a way that they can be free to express themselves, so long as they do it respectfully. but maybe my expectations were unrealistic. so i think i need to adjust my own way of thinking on this. i just didn't know what to expect, and i guess that, as much as she has to learn about life with ADHD, so do i. a change of perspective, that's what i need.

we can do this, i know we can. and i'm looking forward to the next little while, while she and i adjust to this new way of life. we'll get the hang of this. it's early, we're both noobs. and just like it took me a while to figure out all of asher's heart stuff, it's gonna take some times for us to adjust and learn about this.

that being said, we went for a little trip to michaels today, and i picked up a little something that we're going to try. because she (and i, if i'm honest) tends to forget things, i bought her a weekly "to do" list, with one space per day. i figure, if we keep her assignments and chores listed where we're going to see them, we'll remember, and she can stay on top of things without becoming overwhelmed. as she gets older, i'll increase the number of things she needs to do, but for now, i'm trying to keep her to one obligation a day. we'll see how this goes.

i also plan to make sure we go for a walk every day. i remember when i was having some difficulties last year, that getting out in the sunshine, getting some exercise, soaking up the vitamin D, it all really helped to clear my head and keep me focussed on what i needed to do. so i think it will help her, as well. i think a lot of the tools i had will help her, too. at least that's my theory. lol i'll post again later in the week with an update.

so cross your crossables for us. this is a stressful time for all of us right now, as we adjust to this new life. but we can do this, i'm sure of it. :)

and so it begins...

my daughter blithe was diagnosed this week with ADHD. i admit, i didn't really see it coming, although i did know something was going on. her self-esteem has been plummeting recently, and i couldn't figure out why she was behaving the way she was. a friend mentioned that her own daughter, a close friend of blithe's, was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and she suggested that i, at least, discuss it with our paediatrician, since the two girls are almost exactly alike. so i did, and blithe is, in doc's words, "classic adhd."

i still don't quite know how i feel about it all, although i'm certain i don't want her on meds her whole life. i, myself, have been diagnosed with Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder (manic depression), and have managed to remain stable without medication, so i'm quite certain that we can find ways for blithe (and me) to live with her condition med-free. for now, however, she is on meds, until we figure out some strategies and find non-medicinal tools to help her succeed in life without becoming frustrated and overwhelmed and succumbing to low self-esteem.

this blog is my way of figuring out all this stuff, my own little outlet where i can think through all the information, discuss how everything (meds and otherwise) is working (or not working), and review and point out resources for other people dealing with this condition.

and a word about my own bias: i believe that adhd is a gift, not a "disorder" or "mental illness." i believe that my daughter, and anyone with adhd, can thrive and succeed in life, personally, academically, and professionally, not despite adhd, but because of it. we just have to figure out how...