There are lots of changes in the works for all of us in the Williams household. Luke’s new therapist/counselor is going to hold me accountable. She is going to make sure I am creating and maintaining the best possible environment for Luke, but also for Emma as a sibling of ADHD and daddy and I in parenting ADHD. It is going to be a lot of work but I am looking forward to finally implementing all the systems, etc I knew were the right thing to do in the first place.
We meet her every week right now. Each week we talk through the good and the bad and she shares ideas for managing and resolving any issues we are having. Last week we spoke about limiting screen time. That’s a biggie for me. I had plans when we introduced the computer and the Nintendo DS. Big plans to have time limits and use digital timers to keep track and all of that. I got lazy, it got hard, and I gave up. I have always rationalized that we live where the kids can’t go outside to play (steep mountain, bears and other wildlife) so I let them have more time with the other things to fill that “void.” There are plenty of things they can do besides screen time and I must take back control.
When I told Emma a new system was coming soon, she got very angry. It’s going to be very hard to change a free-for-all system that’s been in place her entire ten years of life! I think that’s why I never implemented these systems when I read about them in the ADHD books. It is really late in the game to be changing things on her. But they are for her good too. She will realize that someday.
Of course, Luke will be upset about the limits as well. He will pester until I give in and let him break the limits. Somehow I have taught him that. I wish I hadn’t but now it’s time to take back control.
I am not going with the full-on, everything is earned, nothing is a right other than food and shelter approach as Russell Barkley and others suggest. That is just too much of a change all at once for children who are set in their ways of controlling me! I am going to give them a small amount of TV, computer, and video games each day. They can earn bonuses and other great things (I am going to make a menu of activities) or they can loose the basic privileges they have as negative consequences for unacceptable behavior. I will write more about it once I get it all put together (I am trying to get it done by Wed evening).
I feel like I get homework assignments of sorts from the therapist and then have to report that they were accomplished. I don’t think she would slap me on the hand or anything for not completing an assignment but it sure is more motivating to have to sit down in front of someone and admit I didn’t do my very best. And she is spot on about everything!
We saw the new doctor in their office as well Monday about medication. We spent over an hour with him going back over all the experiences and medication trials with Luke. He agreed the Vyvanse was the wrong medication and the amphetamines in general (Adderall too) were not right for Luke. He gave me the option of going back to Concerta and meeting every 3-4 weeks to try to make it work or to try Focalin which we hadn’t yet tried. I decided to go back to the Concerta, without the Tenex, and then work with this doctor to try to make the Concerta work. We know the Concerta was very effective with very little side effects when it worked. The problem was that it lost effectiveness after a month or so. We bumped the dosage up once but the same thing occurred. We are at the last dosage (36 mg) and we are down to 1/2 mg of Tenex once a day right now and will be off of it entirely on Wednesday. After Thanksgiving we’ll go back to the doctor and evaluate how things are going and make any adjustments we need to at that time. In the mean time, the therapist is keeping weekly tabs on him in counseling.
So we are back on the upswing. The medication isn’t ideal yet, but I feel confident with this new behavioral group that we’ll find the right thing for Luke.
I’m off to work on our new rewards system! Wish me few distractions and lots of clarity!