FOCUS – suggestions please

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    • #140236
      ddt1981
      Participant

      FOCUS Mom’s looking for quick advice asap. we have a pediatrician appointment today at 3:40PM. My 9 yo w/adhd stuggles with focus in school. that is his only major struggle it seems. currently: 27mg concerta 1mg intuniv (at night) switched to organic, gluten free, dairy free,(as much as possible) and a fish oil supplement. They are supporting him at school “to the best of their ability” I am told after numerous meetings and an IEP since 1st grade (currently in 3rd grade). I cannot homeschool, I’m a single mom and work. I have considered private school but not sure I can afford it. what has worked for your kids to improve focus? (he does well at home and activities he enjoys) he struggles making eye contact and listening to the teacher, he struggles with writing and reading. does not enjoy it. he daydreams, stares out the window, can’t focus on desktop tasks. any recommendations please- what has worked for your kids to improve focus? I’m considering a med change possibly just for school? please no negative on the decision to medicate. we have not had any bloodwork done yet but they also haven’t recommended it either. He has friends, sometimes gets upset but is managing it well by himself, he is social and described as a sweet boy and very kind. I just wish I could help him with his focus. any suggestions, please.

    • #140249
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Well, we can’t change our kids’ brains, so focusing will be somewhat of a struggle. Medication can help some. But you hit the nail on the head when you said he can focus on things he likes.

      The key here is to make a list of times he can focus well, and things that are a distraction or break or prevent his focus. Then, use this information to formulate some focus strategies. Use his interests for school tasks he struggles to focus on. For instance, if he is really interested in cars, have him read books and articles on cars; have him write about cars. Use that interest to harness focus for non-preferred tasks.

      If he focuses better when moving, allow him to walk in the back of the classroom during lessons or when reading, etc. If music helps him focus (does my husband and both my kids), then can he have music in one ear during class? And let him listen to music doing homework. (I know this seems counterintuitive — for me, music is a HUGE distraction and I couldn’t accomplish anything that requires focus, but I’ve seen firsthand in my family how the opposite can be true).

      Easily Distracted? How to Tune Out Distractions & Focus on School

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

    • #140328
      deb91
      Participant

      This is probably too late for your MD appt, but your son sounds so much like mine (except mine is older – 16). Honestly medicine is the main treatment that has helped with focus (though not organization, planning etc). Your son sounds like he has predominantly Inattentive ADHD like mine. We tried the methylphenidate meds like Concerta, Ritalin, and Focalin and they did not help at all. Vyvanse, an amphetamine based med, has worked the best and he’s been taking it since he was 7. Vyvanse targets the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. Concerta and the like mainly only affect dopamine. If your MD has not tried it yet, ask to try Vyvanse or a similar medicine like Adderall.

      • #140338
        ddt1981
        Participant

        Deb9 – thank you! we did try vyvanse at first and he was allergic – broke out in a rash on his back and chest. So we switched to concerta. The pediatrician recommended increasing intuniv for now and he is low weight. if we can get his weight up we can increase the dose of concerta. I wonder if adderrall has the same “ingredients” as vyvanse or if its different so not to cause an allergic reaction. thank you! I will definitely ask the pediatrician about this and maybe a med switch is needed.

    • #140391
      deb91
      Participant

      Here’s a WebMD article about the differences / similarities between Vyvanse and Adderall. Vyvanse has a chemical called Lysine that Adderall doesn’t. Maybe he was allergic to that. Regarding the weight issue, my son also had that problem when he was younger. Our MD prescribed an old allergy med called Periactin. It’s not used much for allergies because it increases the appetite, and who wants to gain weight from an allergy med when there are so many other better meds available. It did help with appetite. Also, we only have him on Vyvanse on the days he is in school even all these years later. Never on weekends or during school breaks. That helps with gaining weight too ( which isn’t entirely due to Vyvanse, but also because he was and is a picky eater). I’d say trying other meds would help. Usually there is one that works. If not a stimulant, maybe something like Strattera. It also works on norepinephrine. I’ve read this transmitter can be part of the issue for kids with Inattentive Type ADHD. Well, here’s the link and good luck! When you find the right med, it really is like night and day. https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/vyvanse-adderall-difference

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