My son asked me if he had to have his ADHD medication in the school holidays. He told me he was happier when he wasn’t taking it. It pulled at the heart strings. And so we decided to trial going without, with him deciding each day if he needed it or not. He agreed he should still have it when we are out and about with other people; in the past this is when anxiety can arise and lead to behavioural problems.

Well, he hasn’t had his medication for almost a whole month now, and I have been amazed how well things have gone! He has accompanied me on four big weekly grocery shops – ADHD parents reading this will understand the accomplishment in that! He has been happy sitting quietly reading a book in church. I could even trust him to go and play in the playground [out of sight] while I sat in the cafe nearby and finished my coffee!! Goodness things have changed!

I am trying to figure out whether it is a combination of me learning how to manage him, and being more accepting and relaxed. Perhaps he has matured with age. Or learnt self-coping strategies. Or maybe his self-esteem has grown, reducing that anxiety about being liked by others.

So then the whole question of whether he was misdiagnosed as ADHD arises. There are so many similarities between gifted overexciteabilites and ADHD behaviours.

Of course, things are different in the school holidays. Less pressure, less routine. And he can choose to do what he likes (within reason). Whereas at school he must do things he doesn’t enjoy, like handwriting. Dysgraphia isn’t much fun.

He had a visit to the GP this month; his three-monthly appointment. He sat reading a book, and was actually less hyperactive than if he was medicated! He usually climbs on to the bed and plays with the disposable gloves… but not this time. The GP had had a look at his educational psychologist report (assessing him as highly gifted and twice exceptional with dysgraphia), and given he was doing so well without medication, decided to put in a referral back to the pediatrician for a possible misdiagnosis. I’m not sure HOW I feel about that…

But next week he starts at junior high, after skipping year 6. A new school. A new teacher. A completely new bunch of kids to try and make friends with. We want him to succeed. And he understands he will restart medication. But does he NEED it? Or will the acceleration keep him occupied enough.

His journey continues.

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