There’s a magical land that parents of children with ADHD are often told about. In that land, children with ADHD outgrow the disorder and become neuro-typical adolescents capable of controlling their impulses, doing what’s asked of them, remembering their tasks, and weighing the consequences of their choices.
And for about a week last month, I thought we’d caught sight of it. Javi was performing well at school, his behavior was good more often than it was bad, he was using reminders and other strategies to be more independent with his school work and time, and I could direct him to complete a task without a resulting argument.
In short, life was good. If I squinted the right way, I could see that magical land just up ahead. I bragged and congratulated and rewarded. I exhaled years of tension and nervous energy.
Can you guess what happened? Surely it’s happened to you, too. Just when you let your guard down and relax into a less always-on-high-alert attitude, the magical land disappears and your family crashes right back into the Wall of ADHD. I may even have a concussion from the impact.
The past few weeks have been packed with arguments, defiance, forgetfulness, overtalking, late-night prowling, impulsivity, meltdowns, tantrums, and phone call after phone call from school. Because ADHD doesn’t affect only the person with the disorder, the entire family has been in a free fall. And that one week is cruel reminder of what life could be like, what life probably is like, for families that aren’t ours.
But there’s always hope. We met with a new ADHD specialist this morning who has scheduled sessions for occupational therapy to help with organizational skills, a physical therapist to help him with controlling his body and finding ways to turn his physicality into an asset, and a psychologist to work with him on anxiety and defiance. We’re also trying a strong dose of medication to coincide with the increased therapy.
I’m not expecting to come into proximity of that magical land any time soon — or ever, really. Both kids are home for winter break/Christmas holidays and have found a way to fight over every single thing they come into contact with and Javi has already cried today about how boring his life is — but there’s help on the horizon.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that this feels like the start of my own little Christmas miracle and I’m praying like mad for a completely different New Year.
What issues are you hoping to find resolution for in the New Year? Have you tried a combination of therapies for your child? What worked? What was a waste of time? Anyone else dreading the next week and a half of all-kids-all-the-time?