Still trying to understand my son’s ADHD…
Three phone calls from Leon’s school in one week!! And it’s only Thursday. It is getting to the point that I get a lump in my throat every time I hear the phone ring.
Monday “the principle” called, Leon had been in her office 3 times that day. 1st time for hitting a boy on the head with a turtle. Don’t worry the turtle was a toy. 2nd time for kissing that same boy and elbowing another, and the 3rd for sticking an eraser in the kissed, turtle beaten boy’s ear. The social worker was called in to discuss proper social behavior andalternate ways of communicating your feelings withyour friends. Yes, turtle boy is a friend, they are in the same first grade class and have had a few playdateshere at our home. I findit a little amusing that this boy was more upset by the kiss than the assault with a turtle.
In my phone conversation with the principle, she told me that there was also some bad behavior last week, including an incident of him hurting a boy for tattling on him. In Leon’s words, he “tried to squeeze his leg off.” Suffice it to say the boy (different boy, not turtle boy) still has all his limbs attached. However it was a pretty hard squeeze and he was hurt. I don’t mean to make light of all this, but it’s times like this that I am at a loss. I also got the standard, “Has anything changed in the home?” question. “Ummm… not really, I thought he was doing so well”. Really he has been. At home and on outings, at church and on playdates, he’s been so well behaved. And by that I mean well behaved for a kid who suffers ADHD with impulse control issues. Sure there were a few melt-downs here and there but nothing huge and usually control-ablewith some guidance. Even his school work was showing improvement, his handwriting was looking alot better and he seemed alot more focused when doing homework. The only thing I could think of that was different at home, was the fact that he’s had this lingering cold for close to 3 weeks. Coughing at night mostly and a runny nose in the last week. The principle was concerned that perhaps the Benedryl we were giving him for it was contributing to this change in his behavior. Maybe? Probably?, I don’t know.
Tuesday I get a call from Mrs. B, I am not sure of her title, she runs the social skills group that Leon just recently started attending at the school. She was calling on behalf of the principle andthe teacher. She advised me that Leon’s self esteem seems down again. There is a lot of “I’m stupid”, “I’m crazy”, “I’m just bad”, coming from his mouth. And again, the I got the “Has anything changed in the home?”question. So again I rack my brain, I mention the cold, and the medicine, andwell, he had an active weekend. … Geez now I’m just making stuff up. Not really, he did have an active weekend but I felt like I was reaching for an answer. I let her know that we had an appointment for this Friday with his doctor and I would discuss the cold/medicine thing.
Yesterday (Wednesday), Leon comes home with a note, okay so it’s not a phone call, but it’s just as bad – same lump in the throat and everything. Leon had a SUPER GOOD MORNING…. (well hooray for Leon!!!) … however the afternoon was a mess, he refused to do any work at all, did whatever he could to get (negative) attention, yelling out strange noises, throwing pencils, climbing the radiator, etc…. His teacher advised him that if he refused to work in class, he would have to come in early the next day and do it before school starts. He told her that it didn’t matter he wasn’t going to do it then either. The note also advised me to bring Leon to school half an hour early. Aww Maaan!!
…Time for a discussion, it was Wednesday… game night for Ron, so I had to wait till he got home to have the “What are we going to do with Leon” discussion. We went through all the possible “has anything changed (at home or elsewhere)” answers. 1. He has had a lingering cough forever …and a runny nose for a week. 2. Maybe the supplement (Melatonin) that we are giving him to help his sleeplessness is the problem? 3. Maybe he is acting out over all the hooplah and attention Baby Kiki (his cousin, that I care for on a daily basis in our home) is getting in planning her first birthday party, which will be here in our home next week? 4. maybe the kids at school are giving him a rough time now that he gets pulled out of Rec (recess) every other week to go to his social skills group? 5. Maybe it’s because he just started working with an occupational therapist who will be pulling him out of class once a week? 6. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t been seeing a social worker anymore (her hours changed andso did our insurance benefits – both for the worse) 7. Maybe we should see if anything had changed at school. 8. Maybe we need to up his medication. 9. Maybe…, maybe…, maybeeeee …..it’s just the way ADHD works?
Okay so here we are at today, this morning I packed up baby Kiki, made my son cry while rushing him into the car so we would not be late after discovering that all but one of my car doors was frozen shut, apologized for getting frustrated with him (I should know better than to expect certain things when we upset his very reliable and structured schedule), dropped him off at his class, spoke very briefly with his teacher regarding the situation, and asked her to call me when she had more time, came home and fed and put the baby down for a nap and waited for the call.
The phone rings and the caller ID reads Blankity-blank-blank Public School, there’s that lump. It is Leon’s teacher, whom I LOVE by the way. She is a great teacher who is very understanding of Leon’s situation andvery patient withhim. In speaking withher today, I found out that he has only had one OT session so far so that can’t be the problem. She also made it clear that he always seems to act out more when there is someone new to the classroom (ie. the principal visits to observe, Mrs. B comes to talk to the class about bullys, a student teacher sits in to observe 3 times a week). My boy craves being the center of attention. But he seems to be looking for it anyway he can get it. He’s not quite understanding yet that he can also get attention by behaving well. I guess the negative attention is just more instantaneous. I did also get her input on what’s changed at school. It seems alot is changing in the classroom aaaaand the kid’s are getting very excited over the upcoming vacation. It seems they are doing a countdown to the 100th day of school which falls on the day of their Valentine’s Day party and is also the last day of school before vacation starts. Leon needs anddoes much better in a structured environment. He doesn’t always do well with change (unless forewarned and walked through it).
So which is it, why has there been this change in his behavior when things were going do well? “has anything changed (at home or elsewhere)?” :
1. He has had a lingering cough forever …and a runny nose for a week. Well Duh! Doesn’t everyone feel and act a little funky when they are sick?
2. Maybe the supplement (Melatonin) that we are giving him to help his sleeplessness is the problem? It’s a possibility – and on my list to ask the doctor, although he’s been on it for a while. in fact we started to notice him doing better when he started the Melatonin
3. Maybe he is acting out over all the hooplah and attention Baby Kiki (his cousin, that I care for on a daily basis in our home) is getting in planning her first birthday party, which will be here in our home next week? Could be but we have made it a point to make him a big part of the planning of this party. He has helped pick out the theme, make decorations, come up with his own ideas for the party. I don’t think this is it.
4. maybe the kids at school are giving him a rough time now that he gets pulled out of Rec (recess) every other week to go to his social skills group? When asked if anyone is bothering him or makes him feel bad at school he said only when people tell on me.
5. Maybe it’s because he just started working with an occupational therapist who will be pulling him out of class once a week? I found out today that this Monday was the first day
6. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t been seeing a social worker anymore (her hours changed and so did our insurance benefits – both for the worse) I am pretty sure this is not the reason, but I do feel going back to a social worker will help. Oh but the expense!!
7. Maybe we should see if anything had changed at school. Let’s see, they have removed the reading circle rug and changed the desks around so that they are no longer positioned in a circle facing each other but they now paired up facing the front of the room. They are concentrating more on being ready for second grade. He just started his OT this week and started the social skills group as recently as 3 weeks ago. I’d say that has a big impact.
8. Maybe we need to up his medication. Not just yet, if at all. we are not going to throw more meds at him just because he’s had a rough couple of days
9. Maybe…, maybe…, maybeeeee …..it’s just the way ADHD works? Yeah, maybe, but I don’t know…. I am still trying to understand my son’s ADHD…