Reply To: Please help!

Penny Williams

First, take a breath… you have a lot racing through your mind. Remember, improvement with ADHD is a process, and a long one at that.

Medication is only one tool for helping kids with ADHD — it helps improve symptoms when in your system. It’s not a “fix” or “cure.” It sounds like your son cannot tolerate the medication he’s currently on. I hope the doc calls you back ASAP, because he needs a change. Most individuals with ADHD do better on one type of stimulant or the other, but not both. With that, reason would indicate trying a methylphenidate next — but, of course, that’s up to his doctor.

A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

Remember that ADHD is a developmental disorder. That means your son is as much as 30% behind his calendar age in skill development and maturity. It’s imperative to use that information to develop your expectations for him. You simply can’t expect 12-year-old behavior, that will only frustrate all involved and create a climate of failure, when you want to create a climate of successes.

My son also struggles tremendously at school. What I have come to learn and accept is that not everyone is good at school. AND THAT’S OK. Doing poorly in school doesn’t sentence a child to a life of struggle and failure. When school is super-hard, they are enormously stressed, which then reduces cognitive capability. It’s a vicious cycle. Make sure your son is in a school environment of understanding and compassion and that the expectations are appropriate, given his disability.

Why School Stress Is Toxic for Children

Sometimes, anxiety has to be under control before ADHD can be treated successfully. Talk with his doctor about that possibility.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism