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Friday, May 14, 2010

ADHD and FAS

First off, I had a meeting for IEP's for both Keith & Iryna this morning. Keith is showing speech of a 2 year-old and Iryna is showing speech of a 4 year-old. The OT, Speech, & PT people are very excited about the progress of both the kids and all profess how much they enjoy working with them. As a mom, it makes me feel so good to know that my kids are loved by their teachers at school. :D

Iryna's teacher expressed the thought that perhaps Iryna might have ADHD. She said that Iryna has so much trouble focusing on one thing before jumping to another thing and that makes it hard for her to learn much. I don't believe in labeling children - I had a teacher try to convince me that Anna had autism because she liked to line up her toys when she played with them - but I have reason to think that perhaps Iryna does have ADHD in addition to her FAS. I looked up "ADHD and FAS" on google and it pulled up tons of sites talking about this combination. Does anyone have experience with a child with ADHD? What about both?

7 comments:

Diana said...

Yup! Both my boys have both. One is ADDDDDDhD and the other is ADHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHD. In other words, one lives with his head in the clouds and can't string two thoughts together, but isn't any more hyper than any other kid his age. The other is extremely smart, sharp, and EXTREMELY hyper.

In a nutshell, as you've now likely discovered, ADHD is a symptom/side effect of fetal alcohol exposure. Both kids have been on meds for over 1.5 years now. The meds have been a GOD-SEND!!!! My kids very literally CAN.NOT function without them.

***Soapbox Alert*** I actually get quite frustrated when I hear people say they don't want to "label" their kids. Getting them the help they need is NOT labeling them!! On the other hand, ignoring their needs because of what someone might think is, well...neglect! OUCH! I'm not talking about you, Jill. I'm talking about the kids my kids go to school with. I've seen two extremes. I've seen kids with OBVIOUS and very treatable needs (like speech) not get the services they need because their parents don't want them labeled or looked down on for being pulled out of class. Yet their kid is 5 years behind their peers in speech development and reading. The other extreme is that they don't treat their kid (ADHD & learning delays) because of what people might think if they do. ("WHAT? You give that stuff to your kid? Do you know what that stuff is?") Either way, those 20% of the kids end up getting 80% of the teacher's attention and all classroom learning and activities are worked around them...regardless of what the needs of the rest of the 80% are. End soap box.

Now, here's the balance in that. Can and should teachers be able to tell you what is wrong with your kid and demand treatment? NO!!! Many, many teachers overstep their bounds in this area. No teacher has the right or the training to say "your kid is autistic" or "your kid has ADHD." They can, however, be a valuable resource. If, say, the teacher says "I think your child might have ADHD. This is something you might want to review with their pediatrician", that is a completely different story. They are making an observation based on what they see and telling you about it. Same goes for someone reading your blog, BTW :-)

Is it something I would review with pediatrician. Absolutely! They are the only ones really qualified to make that type of an assessment.

Now, here's the trick. Not just any pediatrician will do. There ARE no medications approved for use in children under 6. Someone without extensive knowledge and experience with ADHD generally won't (and most certainly shouldn't) prescribe meds for kids younger than that. Many docs and psychiatrists won't even see kids younger than 6 for it. So, you're going to need to do some research. You're going to need to do some looking and find someone who has experience treating younger children with ADHD. They are out there and they exist...and quite frankly, they are easier to find and get into than psychiatrists. Just make sure you tell them up front how old she is AND that you suspect fetal alcohol exposure. FASD can effect how well the meds work...or if they work at all.

That said, would I hesitate in treating a child as young as Iryna? NO WAY!! It has made an amazing difference for my kids, both in terms of learning and attachment. Just make sure you find the right doctor, even if that means you have to travel some to do it.

Katie said...

Has she actually been diagnosed as FAS? She doesn't have the facial features usually associated with FAS. She does, however, act very much like a child with fetal alcohol effect. If you search under FAE, you can find info. It includes ADHD-type behavior, difficulty controlling emotions, compulsive behavior, and I don't remember what else (I read about it when we were adopting, oh those many years ago).

Weren't the kids seeing a psychiatrist before? That would be who you would want to talk to.

ShelbeeDawn said...

I totally agree with Diana!!! Big no no on the teacher's part to say "I think your kid has ADHD" As an educator, I know I did not go to school and recieve a degree that qualifies me to diagnose a child with any disorder. However, I love her second comment that we do have experience with a WIDE variety of kids and we can recognize common similarities. Many teacher's do not know better, but should. However, it really does sound like Iryna's teacher is trying to do what's best for her. It makes me so happy to see you actually involved and advocating for your child. Many parents give up. Keep up the good work Jill!!! :)

MoonDog said...

I believe in order to diagnose adhd you have to have prevailing difficulty in 2 of three social settings, school, home, community. I do have one kid with adhd. he COULD be alcohol affected as he is adopted from Russia but have never been diagnosed and does well in school, OFF MEDS. SOme kids really thrive on the right meds. MY kid is really different when he is off his meds. he is still impulsive, hyper, WILD, but isnt ornery, mean, and nasty like the medications made him. the first one had him in tears all the time. that progressed to antisocial behavior, didnt want to play with anyone(previously EXTREMELY social) just wanted to be alone in his room, got REALLY rageful. beyond angry. it was rage. I took him off that one. tried another and even though it wasnt AS bad I noticed that when it was late or forgotten he was nicer socially. was able to come home after school and come in happy to see the kids that were squealing with delight to see him, instead of snarling at them. He is off meds now. he does great at school. home? eh. we have our struggles. but we get by. if you suspect adhd talk to your doctor. a teacher cant "diagnose" that.

shannon said...

Be prepared to be more honest and less protective about your own feelings. Joseph has ADHD-innatentive and has been greatly aided with medication in the way he is able to focus. If you suspect Iryna has ADHD, get it evaluated. If she does end up being diagnosed, you don't have to medicate, but be prepared to work cosely with her and her teacher with positive reenforcement and lots of motivating games and incentives that will help her to learn to focus. It can be a lot of fun and it helps build a great relationship and bond. We do a little of both and I notice when Joseph is having a bad day he is always happier to comply and focus if I can get him motivated with a game or reward him with small things like for every page of homework he gets to read for 5 mins-things that will motivate your child. Good luck.

Melody Kingsley said...

I'm reading a great book called "Delivered From Distraction"... I found it answered a lot of questions and help me make sense out of ADHD. It is hard to live with those who have it and even harder to live with those who are opposed to treatment. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

My name is Jeremy I am now 22 and I have been diagnosed with ADHD and fetal alcohol syndrome as a child my mind is continuously going sometimes it even keeps me awake till 3 or 4 in the morning. not only that I've made a lot of mistakes because I act before I think and that they say is from the fas