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I've been reading this message board for some time now and it has provided me with a lot of information. I hope, however, that parents are making decisions that are in the best interest of their own child, not merely following advice from those who choose to frequently post here. We, parents, visit these sites for information and to learn what to expect. Hopefully we can communicate with others who have experienced similar circumstances. I find it very useful to hear about what action was taken and how things are going.

I have a 9 year old son who is struggling with ADD-Inattentive Type. He is not afflicted with hyperactivity, at least not outwardly. He is a bright boy who was always able to "go with the flow" until it became necessary for him to "produce." His mind was always in the present, and that worked fine in Kindergarten and first grade, but slowly over the course of second grade, he was expected to organize himself. He was incapable of doing this. He picked up reading quickly, but couldn't follow chapter books because he lost the "hook" a minute after he put the book down. He was able to figure out math problems quickly, but he hit the wall when he had to memorize more difficult math facts. He could do 5-3 in his head, but 17-8 was foreign to him. He couldn't focus long enough to commit it to memory. His handwriting was horrible because he rushed to get the thought down before he forgot it. As we proceeded through 3rd grade, his self esteem began to suffer because it was obvious that he just couldn't do what was expected of him. He clearly wanted to please his father and me, as well as his teachers, be he didn't know what to do. He would write apologies on the top of tests. It broke my heart.

I tried everything over the course of 2nd and 3rd grade. I modified his diet to increase protein and limit sugar. I limited artificial ingredients. I gave him dietary supplements. I tried different types of behavior modification. We had reward charts with weekly goals. We tried negative consequences as well as positive (at different times). Everything would work a little, for a little while, but there were no sustained improvements. I suspect that when we raised his anxiety level, some endorphin (or adrenaline) would provide some temporary improvement, but he would always fall back. It broke my heart, and his teachers hearts, to watch. He would pound his desk and cry in frustration.

In spite of all the negative press, I agreed to a trial month of Adderall. I am so happy that I did. The very first day, we could read his handwriting. He could slow down and take his time and not forget what he wanted to say. He was able to organize his desk and complete his assignments as they occurred. He wasn't behind any more. He use to struggle to write a one page story, now he can rattle off 7 pages. His teacher says that he went from being a frustrated, sad boy to a happy child who willingly participates in class discussions. His teacher tells me that the difference is night and day. He's my happy child again. He is as happy as when he was "winging it" in Kindergarten.

I asked him what he thinks the difference is and he explained it very eloquently. He said "before the teacher would put up the assignments and I would think that there's no way that I'm going to get that done. Now I think, no big deal, I'll get it done." I did not tell him what to expect. This relevation came from his 9 year old brain. He even knows when he needs his meds. One day he woke up on a Saturday and tried to practice his piano lessons. After five minutes of being all over the place, he came out and said "I need my medicine." A half hour later he was fine. It is like he is living in a cloud of random thoughts and the medication allows him to slow down and organize those thoughts.

This has most definitly been the most difficult decision that I have had to make. I am a high school teacher and I deal with ADD everyday. I know what happens when harm is done to self esteem. I just couldn't let that happen to my son. I have no idea how long we will stay on this medication, I can just say that I am extremely happy that I agreed to let him try the medication.

I hope that my experience helps someone in similar circumstances. I was hesitant to try the medicine myself, but I can say from experience that sometimes it is necessary.

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