What do you do when the world that you built crumbles before your eyes? How do you go through the daily grind, hiding behind the mask so that no one sees the pain that is eating away at you? Of course, there are no simple answers, no books to read, or even a person who will be able to provide you comfort when you are sitting wide awake during the darkest hour of the night? Most everyone will fail you at some point in time, especially when you have hit rock bottom, but there is hope. The next time you feel like you can’t take another step forward you are going to take the next four steps. Write down everything you would like to see happen in your life from now until five years into the future. Remember, no thinking of the past performances or circumstances that have hurt you. Why, because you are making a conscious effort to shift your attitude over to the positive side in your life. Also, studies show that when you move the needle over to the positive side, you have the ability to attract the right people. 2. Write down the goals that it would take to get you there. Don’t concentrate on your “haves” or “have nots” like lack of money or roadblocks. 3. Write out positive statements on several index cards and plant them where you can see them throughout the day. Have them begin with, “I am”, “I have”, “I build” followed with positive words. Here are some examples: “I am beautiful and loved”, I have the talents I need to get the job I need.”, I have a good outlook on life.” Again this can’t be stated only as a one and done. It needs to be repeated as much as you need to hear it. Oh, and it should be spoken out loud. By now you may be thinking these suggestions are silly, but studies have shown that when you speak out loud, that it not only works in your brain, but also on your heart where hope, love, and joy is stored. 4. See the good in everyone and everything. So take control back, by starting with a positive attitude and watch how your life can change.
Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Trained by the Child
My oldest child has never followed the normal curve that all pediatricians and school professionals say a child should follow. At each and every pediatrician visit, I would watch them go through the motions of listening to his heart, lungs, and stomach; Even move his limbs around, assess his spine, and ask basic questions regarding if he was drinking enough milk or getting enough sleep. Then they would ask me if I had concerns, I did, but I was not sure how to articulate them much less know if I really needed to just ask for a more thorough evaluation. Finally, after several years of telepathically communicating with my child and living by a strict daily schedule, which my child trained us to live, “I asked for something to be done.” The solution was speech therapy.
The speech and language center where we were referred did identify that my son was indeed behind, but never eluded to anything else. It was not until I went school shopping for the “right school” that I knew, raising my child would be an uphill battle. Thankfully, I did find a school where it appeared that it would be the “right fit”, but soon after a year and a half, I found that some teachers are just incapable of not only compassion, but lack the level of understanding needed to educate children who learn differently. So, I finally took matters into my own hands and began a journey of reading anything I could get my a hold of regarding learning challenges with children. During my studies, I was able to learn what my child had, what steps were needed to be taken, and then I learned how to take control of my child’s educational path that I use even this day. I am happy to say that my child is not just surviving, but thriving in a private school while taking classes such as Algebra and Latin.
This blog was created to help anyone who knows deep down inside that their child is unique. I call each child unique because no two children, whether they follow the normal path or not, learn each and every subject matter the same. Your experience does not need to be painful like mine. I will share stories of things I have encountered and handled really well to situations where they had me pouring several glasses of wine wondering how I was going to help my child through it. I will show you step by step all the things that you need to do in order to have success in not only finding the correct professionals, but to designing a template in which you can use to help you and your family navigate through the confusing world of raising a unique child in the school system, private, public or even homeschooling. You have control in your child’s learning, so take it back into your own hands and help them succeed.
I personally never heard of ADD or ADHD until my firstborn son attended kindergarten. I knew that he was different, but how different and what caused that difference was still an unknown. I can’t even remember how I knew what to ask the pediatrician for, but I do remember making the appointment with a developmental psychologist to have him tested. Finally, I had something: a name, a diagnosis, a starting point in which I could get to work and help my son.
What is ADD/ADHD
ADHD is a “persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development” according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The DSM-5 is the authoritative source of what is defined as a mental/behavioral disorder or not. This group of experts around the world compile and analyze all data on mental disorders in order to standardize diagnoses, treatments, and all research protocols.
How is a Person Determined to have ADHD
A person is determined to have ADHD through a screening process consisting of an objective questionnaire. This is filled out by a parent, a child’s teachers, and/or even a spouse if this is an adult seeking a diagnosis. A word of advice: In order to decrease the chance of misdiagnosis, the evaluation should to be conducted by a well-educated healthcare professional who is either a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a primary care provider such as a pediatrician who has taken another step in their education called a fellowship. You should ask for all of their credentials before allowing them to diagnosis and or even treat your loved with medications. Failure to use a professional who has pursued a fellowship in this subject matter may lead to some inaccuracies in diagnosis and could potentially lead to missing other learning issues that may further complicate the symptoms of ADHD such as, other processing disorders like dyslexia and dysgraphia or even other behavioral issues such as anxiety, depression, or oppositional defiant disorder just to name a few.
The following are the DSM-5 determination for ADHD
1. Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
o Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
o Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
o Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
o Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
o Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
o Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
o Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
o Is often easily distracted
o Is often forgetful in daily activities.
2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
o Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
o Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
o Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
o Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
o Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”.
o Often talks excessively.
o Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
o Often has trouble waiting his/her turn.
o Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
In addition, the following conditions must be met:
· Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12 years.
· Several symptoms are present in two or more setting, (such as at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
· There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning.
· The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (such as a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder). The symptoms do not happen only during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder.
Based on the types of symptoms, three kinds (presentations) of ADHD can occur:
· Combined Presentation: if enough symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months
· Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: if enough symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months
· Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: if enough symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity, but not inattention, were present for the past six months.
As you can see a solid diagnosis is the key to helping a person design the best plan for success. It would be easy if ADHD could be determined with a common blood test, a CT, or even an MRI, but currently there has not been any laboratory markers identified nor has any diagnostic test been conclusive enough to be used. Therefore, a highly-educated healthcare professional who is knowledgeable of the DSM-5 criteria should only be considered. In other blog entries, I will discuss whether to medicate or not as well as my take on all the other topics that are common in the mainstream today.
American Academy of Pediatric