Beginning 2nd Grade with ADHD

Friday, September 18, 2015

Let me introduce you to Avery's Mod Owl!! I cut the pieces out for her, but Avery mostly sewed this little guy herself. I am so proud of her in so many ways. When we first started this project, it was a struggle for us to work together, so pulling it out again and watching her enjoy the process was a treat.


As I have mentioned before, Avery was diagnosed with ADHD toward the end of the school year last year. She does not exhibit the hyperactivity behaviors, but most definitely struggles with focus. Her diagnosis included a high IQ, but a slow processing speed. We made the difficult, and somewhat controversial decision, to try medication for the last couple of months of 1st grade to see if she would benefit from them, and she did. I wasn't overwhelmed by it, but her teacher saw a good bit of improvement. I was also very focused on the side affects. They were very strong at first, but then her body regulated.

Over the summer, we decided (under her doctors' direction) to take her off the medication. We kept up with a study schedule at home and tutoring with another teacher. Other than that, it was a pretty normal summer for us. However, I didn't see her engaging in some of the more tedious craft projects she usually enjoyed. About a week before school started, we started the medication again to get her system regulated. Almost immediately I noticed changes. The positive effects were probably there the last time she was on medication, but I was so focused on any side effects she might be having that I didn't notice. Those tedious crafting projects were suddenly what she wanted to do most. I pulled out the perler beads and she made project after project. (Thankfully my iron is usually handy.)


I finally realized that because of the ADHD those projects had become overwhelming for her. An empty pegboard was just as traumatizing as an empty page of math facts. I can't begin to understand or explain how ADHD affects the brain, but this is one area I am beginning to see glimpses as to how it affects Avery. Once order and organization were improved in her mind, she thrived in the creativity she enjoys.

I know this was a long story, and likely way too much information for some, but I just wanted to emphasize that this owl represents a little more to me than just a crafty endeavor.  Avery is thriving in 2nd grade. She came home over the top happy that she aced the spelling pre-test yesterday, so she doesn't have to take the actual test today. On top of that, she had a stack of tests and quizzes with all scores of 95 or 100. I know that doesn't mean everything, but the love of learning and confidence that is building in her is a gift we are so grateful for. Thus far, it has been a short journey with ADHD for us, but maybe this will help someone else to tread these waters.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting openly about this. I'm glad she's had an excellent start to second grade! Here's to a fantastic year!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this! I haven't read blogs in forever -- but I logged in to blogger and your post was there at the top of the list.

    My daughter also just started 2nd, and was diagnosed with ADHD recently. We have had a ton of other issues (hearing related mostly).Lots of hearing things effect focus too, but what we were really seeing was impulsivity. It's amazing to see my daughter's love of building with legos! All of the sudden they're her favorite! I'll have to pull out the pearler beads again soon - just like you said, last time it was a problem, too many options. I'm glad your daughter is doing well too. Keep up the good work!

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  3. I know you posted this while back but I just came across it. Hope your daughter is still doing well with everything. My son was diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Social Anxiety (a trifecta of obstacles for him). We struggled as well with the decision to medicate because of possible side effects but ultimately decided it was worth a try after he had to repeat Kindergarten. What a difference! Not sure what your daughter is using but our son is actually on a blood pressure medication as opposed to a stimulant (like Ritalin) along with some supplements. We've also put limits to sugar intake (for obvious reasons). It is all working so well. But despite this, it still pains me that he has to take medication everyday.
    I am glad you posted about this. It's comforting to know, as parents, we are not alone with our internal struggles. Thanks!

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  4. I know you posted this while back but I just came across it. Hope your daughter is still doing well with everything. My son was diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Social Anxiety (a trifecta of obstacles for him). We struggled as well with the decision to medicate because of possible side effects but ultimately decided it was worth a try after he had to repeat Kindergarten. What a difference! Not sure what your daughter is using but our son is actually on a blood pressure medication as opposed to a stimulant (like Ritalin) along with some supplements. We've also put limits to sugar intake (for obvious reasons). It is all working so well. But despite this, it still pains me that he has to take medication everyday.
    I am glad you posted about this. It's comforting to know, as parents, we are not alone with our internal struggles. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for commenting Amy! Oh yes, mommy struggles unite so many of us. I am glad you have found a solution that is working for you and your son. Avery is on Vyvansse, and the lowest dosage. She has some side effects, but they are pretty mild. She has never really had the hyperactivity side of things. We have been dealing with some behavior issues that I think might be made worse by ADHD. The lack of ability to categorize some of those emotions may be leading to some escalation of the behaviors. We are all a work in progress. I lean on the understanding the God is good all of the time.

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