Our five-year-old T started medication for ADHD in July. It has yielded positive and challenging results so far.
Starting T on medication was a very hard decision. But we made this decision because we knew the potential rewards were worth trying and worst case scenario, we could stop it.
We started him in early July. He was home with us for two weeks – transitioning between the end of school and the start of day camp.
Aside from a week away on our family roadtrip in early August, T was in day camp for six weeks.
This is the same before and after school and staff team that he’s been with from last September to March before lockdown. This summer, he was in a class with only 4 other kids and 2 teachers.
We had a call with his day camp teachers last Friday as an end of summer check in about T.
They said that they have seen a growth in T since March.
He is more communicative and expresses his desire to play with other kids. He is able to sit down and enjoy lunch with them.
They said T likes to share stories about what he did on the weekend with his Papa and Daddy. It’s a joy for staff to see him come out of his shell.
They said that T likes to be a comedian and likes to see other people laugh.
On the flip side, behaviour continues to be a big challenge.
They said while he can focus a little more, they don’t see a big change in this area. Sitting down to complete an activity like art or writing is not something T can do.
Social behaviour and emotional regulation are also a struggle.
When T doesn’t get his way, he screams and gets upset. He sometimes grabs the kids. When T has outbursts, he would hit other kids and teachers.
As a result of this behaviour, the kids sometimes get scared of him and don’t want to play with him and he would then play by himself.
They said that T is not grasping the idea that kids sometimes need their own space.
They said that T likes to copy and mimic the other kids and the kids sometimes get annoyed at this, but T doesn’t understand that they don’t like it and he keeps doing it.
The staff are great to work with. They know how to use behavioural strategies to redirect T. They often ask him to go to his cubby and to calm down.
Staff said T is able to calm himself down quickly but often comes back and repeats the same behaviour.
Staff noted that T doesn’t like being in trouble. He feels remorseful. He is aware. They see this as a positive growth and maturity.
I am appreciative for the honest feedback. I like people who don’t sugarcoat things, as it gives us a clear picture of his growth and challenges.
While it was a bit disheartening to hear the problem areas, I have to remind myself of a few things: 1) T was only in camp for six weeks, 2) T was outside of a school environment for four months and 3) the teachers said they see growth and gains too.
It’s funny to think – and I know I’m not the only parent who feels this – that medication is not the be-all and end-all. It’s not going to fix our T overnight.
Like many kids with the same prognosis, T’s struggle with hyperactivity, sitting to complete a task, emotional regulation, and understanding social cues will present him with challenges moving forward.
I feel both apprehensive and hopeful for what the new school year will bring, but I am not naive enough to think that there will be no struggles. There will be many many of them.
We’ve also had to adjust his medication dosage – in consultation with his developmental pediatrician – because he was getting intense moments of rage. Removing the third dosage in the late afternoon has helped.
The hubby and I have decided to wait and see how T does in school this Fall to get a proper picture of the efficacy of medication.
We are well aware that medication is a trial and error journey.
For now, we see many positives and reasons to feel hopeful and to stay the course. As for the continued challenges, we will not let them knock us or T down.
We’re gonna and we gotta keep looking and moving forward. There’s no other choice.