We had our suspicions. It’s been on our minds for two years. The neurologist had told us, the first time we expressed just how active our almost three year old was, that kids with seizure disorders have a high occurrence of ADHD but it was just too early to know. He was too young.
But now, those typical little boy behaviors are becoming not so typical and it’s time to come to terms with the fact that Max has ADHD. Those words were almost harder for me to hear than learning he had epilepsy. There is such a social stigma attached to ADHD. I am already having a really hard time emotionally parenting a child with special needs, never mind trying to navigate through a diagnosis of something that some people feel doesn’t even exist.
So now, we have to decide on whether to medicate or not. We have to learn about side effects and how ADHD meds will interact with his seizure meds. There will be meetings to have and treatments to figure out and a brand new roller coaster ride to go on.
I have so many questions running through my head.
1. Is ADHD a behavioral issue or a medical issue? Is it like his epilepsy where his brain is firing off messages that make him behave in a certain way or does he just need to be disciplined differently?
2. Who do I believe? Should ADHD be treated with medication in child this young? What if we haven’t exhausted all other options? What if there is some sort of behavior treatment that will work?
3. What if this is a temporary phase like Dr. Rao describes in his book and we’re medicating for something that will go away on its own?
4. What if we do put Max on the meds and his happy go lucky personality changes? What if he starts having trouble sleeping or eats even less than he already does?
5. Will people be sympathetic and empathetic toward us or will they judge us for medicating such a young child?
6. How will Max do next year in Kindergarten? Will his teacher understand him or consider him to be just another behavior problem or overmedicated child?
7. How does all of this impact Ben? Sweet Ben who is so loving and trusting of his brother that kicks and bites and hits him; that he wants to be near him all the time but has nightmares about at night? When will he start to rebel against the fact that most of the household decisions are made based on his brother?
I’m reaching out to you for help. What are good reliable online resources or books to read? Do you have a child with ADHD or know someone who does? Any advice is appreciated.