Hi my 7yr old ds is about to be referred for assessing to confirm potential diagnosis (label) of ADHD. Has anyone been through this ? I have already seen a couple of health care professionals but the process seems very complex and convoluted and I am not sure what to expect. Or indeed if it is something we should do? Thank you in advance.
My stepson has been through this process and was diagnosed with ADHD so I thought I would share his experience with you. He was diagnosed at age 7 years and 6 months old. After a year medicated with Concerta (Methylphenidate Hydrochloride) in April 2012 his mum could no longer cope with his behaviour and constant arguments, so she said she didn't want him living with her any more. The medication gave him motor tics, stomach ache, itchy skin, insomnia, lethargy, lack of appetite, high blood pressure, affected his short term memory and slowed his cognitive processing. He continued to make slow progress at school where the teacher told him she didn't have time to teach him and the only sessions he enjoyed at school were lunch time, play time and home time. He moved in with me and his dad and changed schools. I withdrew the drug completely within the first week, changed his diet to a more natural diet (high protein, vegetables, fruit, complex carbohydrates, no sugar or simple carbohydrates, only water or milk to drink), introduced discipline, routines, boundaries, exercise, constructive play, verbally teaching all tasks he needs to learn, regular bedtime 7:30pm 7 days a week. Out of bed 8:00am Monday to Friday, 8:30am Saturday and Sunday. After a follow up assessment at CAHMS November 2012, his blood pressure had gone back to normal, they were not familiar with the severe learning disability non verbal learning disorder, I had uncovered and suggested he no longer needed to be on their register as he did not now appear to have ADHD. Spending time understanding my stepson's needs, I uncovered a hidden severe learning disability. The disability is effectively invisible unless you know what you are looking for. He does enjoy going to school now but has difficulties with adaptive learning, creative writing, social cues, language interpretation (takes everything literally) and organising himself (slow adapting to a switch in learning environment, getting changed for P.E, packing bag at end of lessons, poor spacial awareness, low self awareness, poor and slow writing ability, poor comprehension, can't read between the lines, doesn't understand anything that has not been verbally taught, can't adapt previous learning to new situations, inability to think creatively. Having persisted with the Local Education Authority and not accepting their initial refusal to assess him for a Statement of Special Educational Needs; the assessment is now in progress and as part of that assessment CAHMS have provided on my request, a referral to a paediatrician to examine a neurological cause of his impaired learning progress and behaviour. Could your 7 year old be saved from the debilitating side effects that come with medication? It is definitely worth exploring a neurological cause and a process of managing the challenges with alternative intervention as described in this post because your child could also have an invisible learning disability.