I have decided to share our story and experience with ADHD. I feel like it might help others and know they are not alone. I posted an article that my mother in law shared with me on ADHD and there are many things about this article that I like and hate. As I read it I felt the spirit encouraging me to share Quentins story and things we have done. So, here we go.
This is my son Quentin. He is the oldest of 4 kids and the best big brother. He is kind, helpful, funny, energetic, smart, happy and full of life. When I was pregnant with him I would think “there is a ball of energy inside of him”. He was always moving, kicking and keeping up at night. He was a wee little one 🙂 Only 6lbs and 11 ounces. When he was born the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck not allowing him to get oxygen. No one can say for sure but I think this is what caused him to have a learning disability. He has had trouble with speech his whole life and has been in speech therapy since he was 2yrs old. Started off with sign language and getting him to say simple words like drink, eat, cookie, milk etc. Other then not being able to say his “R” sound and working on speaking clearly, you couldn’t tell that he has been through so much therapy today. He has trouble retaining information for long periods of time and struggles with writing and spelling.
When Quentin was 5 and in kindergarten his teacher asked if I had him tested for ADHD. I laughed and said “NO” and refused to think I needed to. He was a boy with energy……isn’t that just a boy?? Shortly after he started getting angry, unfocused, worried and sad. Something had changed. If we were to get in the car to do errands he would ask where we were going…I would tell him but if I didn’t go to the places I had told him in the same order he would have a melt down. I remember pulling over once to let him out of his car seat cause he was having trouble breathing…… I thought he was having an asthma attack………he was having an anxiety attack. We sat there on the side of the road as he caught his breath and that is when I felt he needed to see the doctor.
We did a couple of questionnaire test and then talked for quite awhile about him and his behavior. According to the tests he had ADHD and the doctor explained that he might have some anxiety. I remember the doctor handing me the prescription paper and I felt sick to my stomach. I filled the prescription, took it home and talked to Dave……we decided to give it a try as long as he was willing to take it. It was a pill with tiny balls inside that we would open up and pour on a spoon full of applesauce for him. He took medication for 6 months….I think we played with the dosing a couple of times, trying to find a good fit for him, but he was all over the place. At one point he would come up to me and start punching me, biting, yelling….he even stabbed me with a pencil in the hand once drawing blood. It was HELL and we were all going through it with him. I would cry myself to sleep, Dave and I couldn’t speak to each other without yelling, we would sometimes have one of us stay home with him while the other one took the other kids out to family events and what not cause he would be so destructive and have anxiety attacks. We saw a therapist a couple of times but he turned out to make it worse.
Finally after 6 months I had enough. A friend of ours that Dave worked with knew we were taking him off medications and gave us some of the best advise and helps! Brain Gym, breathing exercises, healthy diet tips etc. I was desperate and I took every thing in she told me and applied them. Within a week Quentin was Quentin again. He was happy, healthy, like he came back alive. I learned when we would do errands I could not tell him where we were going…it was a surprise. He had energy to play outside with friends, be goofy and helpful. He did however start having potty issues. He was constantly having accidents. Which some people said it was still pretty normal for a 5/6yr old boy so, we dealt with it.
Summer past and as he entered first grade it was like we were leaving sunny, calm days and walking into a hurricane. I fought with his teacher and special need teacher. I was not going to put him back on medication just because they couldn’t handle him…….it was hell doing the medication and I was not going through that again! I fought, and argued, ignored, complained and did everything I could to keep him off medication…….until I realized he was failing in every subject he was being tested on in the classroom, below average. We did have them test him one on one, and in every subject, he tested above average…….how do you explain that??? Here is a boy who is loving, sweet, kind and helpful and smart but can’t apply it. He tries so hard to please and do the right thing and yet can’t focus and learn in the classroom. One day I got a call from the school saying Quentin slapped a girl across the face and won’t tell anyone why. When I got to him I asked him why he slapped the girl……he said” cause my brain told me to”. We had to start working with him that he was in charge of his brain, not the other way around. Things like this kept happening and he was struggling with school work. He couldn’t even sit with me at home and do homework. We would do a math problem and then have him run a lap around the house. Homework was a heavy task for both of us and some nights we would spend 3-4 hrs on it. School is very important to both Dave and I and we want all our kids to do well and know the important of it. I didn’t know what to do. I was reading books, articles anything! After searching for a month or so I was sitting in bed reading a book “Smart but Scattered” and I finally realized I had left someone out of all the decision making. I got down on my knees and prayed.
First grade ended and summer was fun. We have lots of great memories from that summer and even welcoming our daughter Sybil to the family. As Dave and I prayed we realized medication was something we needed to revisit. We had a new doctor at this point and I think he was just what we all needed. We expressed what we had been through and what we wanted for Quentin. “We don’t want him on medication for life” is what I remember us saying and the doctor agreed and that he shouldn’t have to. He sat and talked with Quentin and asked him if he wanted to take medication and I remember being so impressed with his answer (he was only 7). He said “I don’t like people getting mad at me, I want to do the right thing. I don’t like feeling crazy in my head”. So we went on 10mg of Adderall. I cringed that first week waiting to see how he was going to react to it. Nothing, it was great. He was still just as happy and fun to be around. He would get a little angry coming off of it but nothing like before. We would have him go read for 20 mins and then he would be fine. His grades have improved, he got on directors list 3 times each year he was at his school in Utah. It was going great, and last year we decided to lower his meds to 5mg. We saw a therapist all summer and he learned some skills on how to focus better. The past 9 months have been so great and I am so grateful that he is doing so much better. When we started this medication he stopped having accidents too. We moved to New Hampshire in October and his new doctor suggested having him take a afternoon pill to help with homework. We tried it twice and hated it so, we won’t be doing that.
Since Quentin turned 6 we have always made him apart of the decision making, we tell him how we feel, he tells us how he feels and then we talk about what to do, change or keep the same. I have never wanted him to feel like I was making him do something he didn’t want to do. It’s his life and we want him to be happy with whats going on in it. We have dealt with people making fun of him, telling us they don’t want him around cause he is to hyper, that he smells (the accidents), we have had a basketball coach say some rude comments, kids laugh at him and make him feel bad cause he said something funny or wrong etc. but I think because we have always been very opened about his ADHD and very positive about it (even through the rough patch) it has helped him to brush those things off and bounce back…….not really care, cause he knows he is loved and wanted. He is smart and all around a great kid.
He asked me once at the beginning of all of this if I wouldn’t love him anymore because he had ADHD. I wrapped him up in my arms and said” never, I will love you no matter what.” I have heard him say that to his siblings “Mom, will love you no matter what, even if drew on the wall or broke something of hers, she will still love you” and its true I will! Every since this started back in kindergarten there have been so many sweet moments and teaching moments for me. To many to count and I can’t say cause then I would cry and have make up everywhere, but I know Quentin was given to me for a reason…so many reasons. I will never forget being in the temple about a year ago worrying about him so much that I couldn’t pay attention to the session. I got into the Celestial room and my mind was instantly cleared and calm and and heard “Quentin is going to be fine because he has you and Dave for his parents”. I don’t think it would of gotten better without making Heavenly Father apart of the team and having his guidance.
I love his smile here. We were being silly running around the Bunker hill monument and racing each other. You can always count on Quentin for a good time and someone who will be there for you!