New Diagnosis – medicine struggles

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    • #66404

      My DS2 (6yo), was recently diagnosed with ADHD (he falls into the combined category).

      He is due to start Gr 1 in January, but the educational psychologist told us straight out that he is not ready for it. He also has emotional delays, and his gross motor skills are not up to standard for his age. For a few reasons, we decided to work hard to see if we can get him ready for Grade 1 by the end of the year. This includes weekly therapy with the educational psychologist, as well as trying to start him on Concerta 18mg for now. (I just want to add, I have no problem with him repeating the year, but our education system does not allow for Kindergarten to be repeated, which means we have a long battle ahead of us to get it approved if we go that route)

      He just can’t seem to get the pills down. We have tried it in every form of yogurt, cereal, applesauce, candy etc we can think of. He swallows everything except the pill. He tries to drink it with water, but the pill just won’t go down. Its been weeks of trying every morning, and I am at my wits end.

      Does anyone have any suggestions? I don’t want the medication to not play a part in our treatment plan at the moment.

    • #66442
      Penny Williams

      Maybe the prescribing physician can switch him from Concerta to Quillivant or Quillichew (liquid or chewable). They are all methylphenidates, so the change is more in the delivery than the medication itself. We used a straw to teach pill swallowing. Here are other ideas:

      When Your Child Can’t (or Won’t) Swallow the Pill

      As for repeating kindergarten, I would absolutely do it. My son didn’t turn 5 until Oct of his kindergarten year. We didn’t know he had ADHD or LDs at the time, but could see that he was plenty smart. It was the worst year. I asked if he should repeat and was told he’d catch up. The same thing happened at the end of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. By the end of 4th grade, after 5 miserable years of bullying, not having friends, feeling like an outsider and misunderstood, we put our foot down and demanded that it would be the year he repeated. Best decision we ever made for him. He now has friends and is rarely bullied, because his maturity is closer to kids in his classes now. He also got another year to improve skills that he was struggling with. My son actually wanted to do 4th grade again, because it was the most stressful worst school year he’d had.

      I can’t tell you how much I wish, 10 years later, that we had insisted he repeat kindergarten — but we just didn’t know. The principal in 4th grade wanted to pass him because he was on grade level or above in knowledge. They get very stuck on retention doing emotional and social harm to kids, but that isn’t true for all kids. When we realized we were moving to a different school district that summer, she wrote the letter recommending retention for us.

      With a recommendation from a professional, you shouldn’t have any problem getting kindergarten retention approved. If you do, it’s time to hire an educational advocate, because they are not considering the disability. That’s against the law.

      Remember, kids with ADHD are 2-3 years behind their peers in development and maturity. That’s a huge gap.

      Stop Telling Your Child to Act His Age

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

      • #66655

        Our education system in South Africa is a lot different to the system in the States etc. We had a meeting with the school and department representative yesterday. Although the final decision in keeping him back rests with us as his parents, we will get a lot of resistance from the department, and will need to motivate why he is a year older than his peers every year. Should another problem arise later, and he needs to be retained again, the department does not allow for children to be 2 years ahead of their classmates, which means he will then need to be moved to another education system.

        Concerta is the only drug of its type available in South Africa at the moment. They still have patent rights on the formula etc, which means that no generics or other forms (ie capsules etc) is available yet.

        Thanks for everyone’s advice. I guess we continue getting him to swollow the pills until he finally gets it right….

      • #66666

        At the beginning my son had trouble swallowing the pills. He was able to do it, but some mornings were a struggle. We found milk was the best to use, maybe because it was thicker than water. And putting the pill in and then taking a big gulp of milk helped. Some mornings he’d have zero problems, some it took the entire glass of milk and so many failed attempts.

        Over the years it’s gotten better and for awhile I’d see him swallow the pill without a drink. We switched to Focalin and its a larger pill, so he’s back to swallowing it with milk.

        Hang in there!

    • #66455

      We began the IEP process towards the middle of my son’s kindergarten year. Towards the end of it we were aware of LDs and strong possibilities of ADHD. He was also emotionally immature and kindergarten was a rough year. The school actually recommended and pushed retention. I read some case studies that said that retention wasn’t a good thing, that the impact it would have on a child’s self esteem far outweighed any academic benefit. So I flat out refused retention. Little did I realize that the studies I was using to form my opinion were based on neurotypical children. 1st grade – same thing; 2nd grade – same thing. 3rd grade was a bit different. Our state has a law that says if a child does not pass the state reading test in 3rd grade, the child is automatically retained. 3rd grade was also when we got the official diagnosis of ADHD and began medication. My son worked tirelessly to raise his reading level from a pre-k level to a 3rd grade level and passed the state test by 2 points. Absolutely no one thought he’d be able to pass that test (the state also says that a child cannot receive any IEP accommodations during the 3rd grade reading test). Again the school recommended retention because of emotional immaturity, but I refused because at that point my son had worked so hard to pass because he was aware he would be retained if he did not pass, I felt it would have actually crushed him to be held back. That successful reading test was the first good milestone that my son had in school, I did not want him to feel like all that hard work was for nothing.

      Looking back, I wish I had done the kindergarten retention. That retention would have helped him significantly in social interactions with his peers. And more than likely helped him academically. He’s now in 6th grade and this is the first year that retention is completely off the table. I often wonder how much easier school would have been for him had I just followed the teachers’ recommendations. So long story short, as a former retention naysayer, I’d push for kindergarten retention if you feel it will benefit your child.

    • #66645

      The school district doesnt allow for Kindergarten to be repeated? That is insane. Although repeating a grade is not often the solution, it should only happen in the younger grades. The older a child is, the less effective it is. It can actually be detrimental.

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