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  • in reply to: HELP: How to Stop ADHD Meltdowns?? #92021

    Hi there – I am the mother of a 17 year old son who has Severe ADHD, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, Asperger’s – although he is very high functioning.

    Your description of your meltdowns is so similar to those of my 17 year old son. When he was younger I was able to see signs from his body language and behaviour that he was building towards a meltdown. However, in the last 2 years or so it has become increasingly more difficult to see these signs until the meltdown is imminent.

    His triggers tend to be too much activity going on around him (ie: lights, noise, our dogs barking, his little brother playing, me yelling, etc). Sometimes if the temp is quite warm this creates an issue for him. Also, his anxiety can cause a meltdown. If he feels stressed about schoolwork, deadlines, too much pressure this is also a trigger.

    If we can catch him before he blows we generally tell him to go into a dark, quiet room away from everything (all distractions). We suggest he practice deep breathing and try to stay there for at least 10 minutes.

    If he has already blown it is very difficult to manage him. We let him express his outward angry behaviour but generally I (his mom) and his little brother will go into another room or go outside. He is usually not capable of any rational thought at this point so it is easier for us to leave the room. Once he has had time to calm down, then we try to have a calm rational discussion about what happened. Sometimes he is not aware of what triggered the meltdown – he needs time to think about it. Sometimes he thinks he has calmed down enough but when we start to analyze it riles him up again. He may need to go back to a quiet space 2, 3 or more times until he has actually calmed down enough for rational thought and behaviour.

    In my opinion, along with ADHD goes a level of frustration with a somewhat low threshold – I find it doesn’t take alot to make my son easily frustrated. This might be one of your triggers too.

    I’m not sure if this information will help you but at least you will know that you are not alone. Try to remember that ALL of us have days with “blips” – even those of us without ADHD. Your blips are just more noticeable.

    You might want to look into some books about anger management as they might have helpful suggestions. I have recently started reading books “Scattered Minds” – they have various selections for teens, adults, etc.

    Good luck and tell your wife to hang in there. Along with the chaos of your ADHD are some AMAZING traits – I wouldn’t change these in my son for anything!!!!

    in reply to: Pets for kids with ADHD and ODD #84410

    Hi there – we have a 16 year old son with ADHD, Asperger’s, Anxiety, ODD, Pervasive Development Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder. When he was 7 years old, and our 2nd son was 6 months old, we bought a Mini Schnauzer puppy for his birthday. They grow to be about 15-20 inches tall, 15-20 lbs in weight. They don’t shed, are hypo-allergenic (3 of us have allergies and asthma) and very intelligent. We are very happy with this breed. He has a very good, calm temperament. He’s not too big. My son could lift him up.

    We actually found that this dog helped with my son’s Aspergers – this is a Socialization Disorder where children don’t understand social cues and/or behaviour in public or private. The dog would growl if my son did something that made the dog uncomfortable (ie: squeeze him too hard or cover him with his body or blankets, etc). My son was able to learn from this dog that people also have social cues, that aren’t growling. We couldn’t believe it – but we would swear by this breed.

    In addition, dogs need lots of exercise so if your child is quite hyper then a dog might be a good choice. Mini Schnauzers definitely LOVE to run. Do some research on the breed and ask around to see if you know anyone with a similar situation.

    in reply to: Struggling #84409

    For all of us that are struggling and dealing with ADHD, ODD, Autism, etc I just remembered something I was asked to do when my son was first diagnosed.

    A family counsellor that my husband and I were seeing asked us to make a list of 10 great qualities that our son had. I first I thought I would NEVER come up with nearly that amount. After several minutes we both came up with lists with MORE than 10 wonderful things about our challenged child – alot of them were different.

    We placed these lists on our fridge. Whenever we were having a rough day I would look at those lists and remind myself that this wonderful child was in there – we just have to use different strategies and tactics to bring them out.

    Reach out for as much help as you can get: read books, see counsellors both at school and outside, get in touch with your Resource teacher, see if you can find an ADHD group or Autism group near your area, look for a Professional Life Coach, keep talking with other parents like us!!!!

    in reply to: Struggling #84408

    Dear EjJtAa,

    I would definitely try to see the specialist more frequently. We could usually tell within one month if his meds weren’t working. For the first two years we would go once a month, or every 6 weeks to really stay on top of his behaviours. If he doesn’t have a specialized plan at school yet you should enquire with the Resource Teacher about this.

    Please see my recent reply to Lil missy regarding other therapies we have used with success, along with book suggestions that might help reduce the negative interactions.

    It wasn’t until my son was about 12 years old that I realized that he will still have what I call “blips” – just like everyone else they will have bad days – theirs are just soooooo much more noticeable. We used to have several meltdowns per day, then it went down to one or so per day, then it went down to a few per week, then one or two per week. His behaviour changed noticeably when he hit puberty at age 12 and we noticed a real difference in his ability to cope with things.

    For some reason these kids have a very difficult time transitioning from one thing to another. We used to give him a 10 minute countdown. Often the 10 minutes was more like 20 minutes. I would keep reminding him at 8 mins, 6 mins, 5 mins, and then would advise 3, 2, and 1 minutes. This little trick alleviated alot of meltdowns. Sometimes, if he was having fun and good behaviour, I might give him an extra few minutes.

    We also used a reward system at home and school to try to use positive reinforcement for his behaviour.

    It definitely is not an easy road, but it is most assuredly worth it. Lots of times my 16 year old has asked me if I wished he wasn’t around, or wished he didn’t have ADHD, etc. My reply to him always is: “I love you and I’m grateful for you. I wish that I could make life easier for you; help more people understand you. If I take away your ADHD then I take away all the amazing things it gives you, ie: creativity, witty, athletic, charming, kind, exciting, exuberant, enthusiastic, funny, affectionate. Without your ADHD you would be a completely different person, and I love the person you are deep inside!!!”

    Hang in there – your kids are worth it!!!!

    in reply to: Struggling #84406

    Dear Lil missy: When my son was younger we would give him Melatonin at night along with his nighttime meds. We’d give it to him at 8pm and he was sound asleep by 9pm. He also suffered from night terrors until he was 4 yrs old so I do understand how tired and worn out you are. You must feel like the life has been sucked out of you – that’s the phrase I use to explain life with my son. I would also get another opinion if you don’t feel comfortable where you’re at with your current doctor. We live in a small town and drive 1.5 hours to get to our specialist. We have seen her every 2-3 months since he was 9 years old. We keep a close eye on his height, weight and see her this often to make sure his dose is right. We usually change it about once per year now – since he hit puberty.

    Perhaps you could keep a diary just for a week or so to try to see if there is any link to certain situations that might be leading to meltdowns. We took our son to an Occupational Therapist every week for about 2 years. We found that he requires a LOT of exercise and likes to be squeezed or squished. This seems to relieve some of his pent up stimulation. We also took him to massage therapy which seemed to help him as well. Try to keep him physically active as possible. Try soccer, baseball, lacrosse, or even Track & Field. Our son plays hockey through the winter and then Lacrosse in the Spring & Summer.

    When he was smaller we couldn’t go out to restaurants to eat because after 5 minutes he’d be running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Our nick name for him is the “Energizer Bunny” – he keeps going and going and going. We changed our lifestyle to accommodate his challenges and that helped to cause less meltdowns. I had to learn to let go of some of the disciplines I was using and focus on what was really important. For eg: did I need him to sit at the table to eat dinner, or could he stand so long as he ate his food.

    We also have a 10 year old son as well and he doesn’t have any of the issues that my older boy does. However, the behaviour issues impact all our lives, including everyone else who is ever around my ADHD child. We parents have to constantly think and be vigilant about everyone else, not just our own child/ren. We were able to find a few good sets of friends in our new town that had similar life philosophies and who could understand the chaos of our lives. Those who don’t understand don’t really get any time from us – it makes life simpler.

    A friend recommended this book: 1-2-3 Magic – this is where I started with my education about ADHD, ODD, behaviour issues, etc. The method they describe works – it still works on my 16 year old son. The next book I read is called “Your Spirited Child” – I found this to be very helpful as well. I have read as much information as I can on these health issues to see what strategies might work at least some of the time. The latest I am reading is called “Smart but Scattered”. It is also very helpful.

    You might also see if you can access an ADHD or Autism group in or near your area. We used to drive to one about 45mins away once per week as they offered “Social Groups” for kids like ours. My son was accepted and understood there. It was the first place I could leave him behind without watching over him like a hawk. What freedom!!! We were able to access Respite funds from this group to help pay for the costs of Occupational Therapy, massage therapy, etc.

    You could also look into the website for “ADDitude” – I recently saw information about trying to find a Life Coach for yourself and your child – they might be able to really help you.

    Hang in there – you are a good mom and your child is a good child too. He just needs some tweeking to get him sorted out. I’ve been where you are and I remember how hard/challenging it was. Don’t give up – your kids are totally worth it!!!!

    in reply to: Struggling #84108

    I have a 16 year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 3. We didn’t elect to medicate him until he was 6.5 years old though. After going through a vast number of medications over a 2 year period we were fortunate enough to find a Pediatric Psychologist who diagnosed him with Severe ADHD and Severe Anxiety at the age of 8. We used to have to switch medications after one month as it would start to wear off and have no effect. Once he started taking Risperidone and Sertraline, along with his Concerta, we finally started to see real improvement in his behaviour. Also, once he hit puberty around the age of 12 his behaviour improved once again. He has since been diagnosed with Asperger’s and/or Pervasive Development Disorder. We do see alot of ODD behaviours in him too. We still experience meltdowns with him from time to time but our school Principal reminded me that 6-7 years ago he wouldn’t let go of the car door to be taken into school. Now our issues revolve around late assignments, losing homework and paper, forgetfulness, etc. All I can say to you, as one Mom to another, is hang in there. Your child is ALWAYS worth whatever effort it takes to help them learn to cope in society. Take deep breaths on the hard days and revel in the good days – believe it they are there!!! One Mom once told me that you take it day by day, or hour by hour, or minute by minute if you have to. I always tell myself that there must be something else I can try, or do, that will help my child. I don’t want to look back on his childhood and say that I should have/could have done more. Know also that you are NOT alone!!!! There are alot of great resources on the ADDitude website. Have faith!!!!

    in reply to: Overwhelmed that I may actually… #84106

    I am the mother of a 16 year old boy that has been diagnosed with Severe ADHD, Asperger’s, Pervasive Development Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. I can attest that he has done much better in calm, quiet classrooms especially during his Elementary years. I believe that I too have some Sensory issues myself. Our family has been quite open about these issues regarding my son which I believe has really helped him at school. Regarding telling your colleauges, if you are concerned about their reaction then don’t tell them. It is your business and it doesn’t seem to affect your ability to help your students or to perform your job. Instead it is a bonus and you completely understand where these children are coming from and why they react the way they do. Keep plugging along – you will find more strategies as you continue on your path!!!

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