Reply To: Overwhelmed and Exhausted Single Mom of 5 yr old with ADHD

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I have been exactly where you are, asking for help prior to K, but then the problems really escalated after K, with my daughter being sent home repeatedly for the same aggressive behaviors. Each kids is different, but here is what worked for us. We threw a ton of money at the problem, but my philosophy is that she isn’t going to college if we can’t get through the early years of school, so we spent college savings. Also, you are a good mom for trying so hard to figure this out and you will get through this!

1) Behavioral psychologist was key. It was hard core and a lot of work but was worth it.
2) Find out your rights. We found a disability advocacy agency. They had free workshops re: legal rights but then we paid them to attend the 504 and IEP meetings with us. The school was more cooperative after that. You could also hire an attorney. I know you probably don’t feel like you have money for this but it is worth it.
3) Our school provided a one on one aid for her who followed the plan set out by the behavioral psychologist. It was a struggle to get everyone on the same page, and we went through 2 aides before we found the right one, but it was great once it worked. She could be in a regular classroom and the school was great about incorporating her aid into the classroom so she wasn’t singled out. She recently “graduated” from her aid.
4) Medication was also a life saver. We waited a long time to see a developmental pediatrician but it was worth it for the right medications.
5) We also did diets and vitamins. We went to a complementary medicine doctor, which was covered by our insurance, although some of the tests were not. You could google “complementary medicine” or “integrative medicine” to see what is in your area, or hire a nutritionist. I think the right combination of diet and vitamin probably varies by each kid. But for sure, no artificial dies or colors. Those are real triggers for all kids with ADHD, I believe
6) She is doing so much better now but struggles with reading. We recently had her evaluated by a developmental optometrist who said she has convergence issues that are making it hard for her to read. That might be why she freaked out at kindergarten when she was expected to read.

It is a lot but I would start at 1 and 2 and move on from there. It might be a difficult few years but you both will get through it!