Reply To: Upcoming Teacher Meeting About School Struggles

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Devon Frye

This reply was originally posted by user Traquy in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

My daughter was the same as yours. We did okay at home, but with the extra distractions and difficulty with transitioning at school, she really struggled — up until third grade. In first grade, she was so disruptive she was ending up in the principal office, and I had to come get her a few times. The classroom and teacher situation were not ideal so it was not all her, but she was just not doing well. I was VERY against medication and instead opted for a self-contained (small, quiet) classroom at the end of first, all of second (only reading group and PE/Music/Art in mainstream class) and half of third (part time mainstream part time self-contained). By spring break of third grade she had made a lot of progress but was going to start falling behind socially and academically if she did not stay in her mainstream class. She recognized she was different and was getting some teasing from other kids about being in the “special class”. I talked to my husband who, having recently been diagnosed with diabetes, was having some more sympathy with our daughter needing something to help her while she learned better behaviors (like he needs his meds while he is changing his eating habits and activity levels) and he agreed to give meds a try. I asked my pediatrician and he said he would NOT use stimulants and put her on 2 mg time-release Intuniv, a nonstimulant that basically helps slow down the overactive mind/body. It has been a life changer and if I could go back, I would absolutely have tried it in first grade and saved us all a LOT of pain, struggle and self-esteem. Just remember there are other options to stimulants and all of the side effects they bring with them. For us, Intuniv (generic guanfacine) has had almost no bad side effects, and the benefits have been many — including less anxiety, better sleeping, better social interactions (she’s made more friends) and all around better self-esteem.