Staff Of Amarillo Chiropractor Discusses Raising An ADHD Child
Where to start?
My son’s name is Tre. He is a sweet, fun, and energetic 5-year old that we like to call our miracle baby. Trè was diagnosed with ADHD in July of 2015.
From the beginning, I always knew that our son was busier than most kids at his age. He has always been full of energy and curiosity. When he was about 2 years old I couldn’t believe how quickly he picked up on things. He learned his ABC’s and he knew almost all of the songs on the radio by heart. His memory was unbelievable! A lot of people would say most things about him were normal. We thought so too. Truly everything about him is normal. Just a different kind of normal compared to other kids his age.
When Tre was almost 3, he started having trouble at daycare. They always had trouble with his listening during playtime or staying in line when it was time to go from one place to another. Maintaining his attention was hard. The teacher would tell the kids to line up but he’d forget a few minutes (or even seconds) later and be off doing something else. But if they gave him a puzzle or a paper to work on, he was good. Naptime for him has always been the hardest. Tre doesn’t nap. He rolls around on his mat, talks out loud, and would constantly stay in trouble. Most people may label our son as the “bad kid.” The kid that never listens. The kid that pushes his limits.
When we’d get him home and talk to him, he’d tell us he just forgot and wanted to play. Or, someone was talking to me and I forgot we weren’t supposed to be talking. One of the main things he used to always say after getting into trouble was, “I’m sorry mom my brain told me to. I can’t help it.” Tre’s attention span was…. Hmm… well, let’s just say that it was very small. (Similar to Dori on Finding Nemo)
Since Tre has been a toddler, we turn TV, music, or anything distracting off when we talk to him. We are constantly reminding him to focus and look at me in my eyes. Then we have him repeat what we said just to make sure that he heard us. Even at family gatherings, if he’s getting too rowdy or is causing trouble, we remove him from all the noise and take him somewhere quiet and explain to him he needs to calm down and set the expectation of what we expect of him.
When Tre was 4, I’d say that his behavioral problems were at the worst they had ever been. I’d get calls every day from his daycare. There was a biting incident. My son has never been a biter! He was playing with a child that is his friend and got upset about something. He acted out and bit the kid. They disciplined him for it there at the daycare. For some reason, while he was in timeout, he bit himself. He bit himself so hard his arm was swollen and purple.
The daycare called me to come to pick him up immediately. I was devastated. Why? Why is this happening? I explained to him that he is to never bite anyone, ever! I asked him why he bit himself so hard and he just said he didn’t know. Tre is an only child and loves to play and be around other kids. He has always been so full of energy that he can be overwhelming to them at times When they don’t want to be his friend anymore, it hurt him. Instead of just walking away and finding someone else to play, he’d get mad and at times violent.
After a few long talks with close friends like, my wonderful mom, old teachers of mine, and doctors, I made the decision to schedule my son an appointment with a therapist. After the daycare, my husband and I answered questionnaires and I participated in therapy with him he was diagnosed with ADHD.
Since he has been medicated, I rarely get phone calls about his behavior. I get compliments and good reports. Sure he still gets his feelings hurt at times when some kid decides they no longer want to be his friend, but who wouldn’t at 5 years old?
I used to think Tre is the way he is because he is an only child. But that’s not it and it has nothing to do with it. He just has so much energy that he has no idea how to control all of it! And when he would get to be around other kids, he would just get so excited to have someone to play with that the energy would shoot out the rooftop and couldn’t be controlled. Not with discipline and not with repeating over and over. Only with help from a therapist and controlled dosage of medication, has his behavior come under control.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, we discipline our child. We discipline well. When we say that he’s grounded, we follow through. A lot of people these days think ADHD is a lack of discipline. I recently had someone close to me tell me, “There is no such thing as ADHD.” I can’t make anyone understand what it’s like unless they have dealt with it themselves. If you have allergies do you just ignore them or do you take an allergy pill? If you have a hyperactive brain and can’t concentrate do you ignore it or do you seek help?
It’s difficult raising a child with ADHD but it has also taught me so much. It’s taught me that my kid isn’t the “bad kid”. He wants to be good. He can tell you for himself to this day, “I just get so excited.” It’s made my husband and me stronger and more understanding of his needs. It’s made us better parents and taught us both patience and how it’s important that we’re a team.
It’s also taught me how there are so many foods that can spike his energy, even when on medication, that wouldn’t even phase a child that is not ADHD. For example, Oreos: you know the ones that are red around Christmas time. Yeah, those are a bad idea to give an ADHD child. Even on medication…. before taking a trip to Wal-Mart.
Overall, no matter what anyone tells you, you know your child best. Discipline is not always the answer. I ran out of things to ground him from and discipline no longer worked. Getting my child to a therapist and following up with his medicine, diet, and changing jobs to where I could be home with him more are the best decisions I have ever made.
I’m finally able to see how much he needed it. No, he’s not a zombie. He still has his fun crazy personality but he’s able to slow his mind down to listen and focus much better than he ever has before. Sure, we still have timeouts and our fair share of problems. But that’s him just being a 5-year-old little boy now!
We all know how boys will be boys!
A mother who is still learning.
Addendum: Medication isn’t the answer for everyone. Not all ADHD kids are the same with the same behavioral issues. In the end, the important thing is to do your homework completely, consult with several healthcare providers, evaluate the pros and cons of each option available, and then you can have a clear path toward what is right for your family and for your specific child. – Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM, Amarillo chiropractor
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM is a Fellowship-trained Neuromusculoskeletal specialist and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast. Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected]
Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109
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