ADHD Blog (and Tourette's and Asperger's)
The true story of a family trying to adapt and help.
2008-05-27 - 22:49:01
Government help refusedSo, basically, we have an ADHD child with Tourette's and Asperger's. He has trouble in school and, at age 15, takes so much energy out of us that we basically crash on our bed every night, exhausted. Our federal and provincial governments have programs to help parents who have children with developmental issues.
Well, according the the provincial government, A. is normal and we can not benefit from any help.
Thankfully, we're getting a bit more out of the federal government. A bit.
Well, at least we're lucky enough to have a comfortable bed.2007-03-07 - 11:37:23
I asked you nicely...A friend of mine who also suffers from Aperger's once told me that being asked "but what are you going to when" was one of the things that created a high level of stress in him when he was younger. I sincerely try to follow his advice and not to ask such a question when A. is behaving in a particular manner or when he says things that, socially, make absolutely no sense,
Unfortunately, sometimes it slips out. Sometimes, I just can't find another way of making him realize that certain beliefs or opinions aren't going to work in the real world. This occurred once on the subject of money. Being thirteen, A. understands how money is used. It's the why that displeases him. Or rather, is the "why should people have to work to get what they want? People should give others (namely him) whatever they want whenever they want it".
I try not to go into deep financial considerations and rather try to explain things in a way that would touch him. I tell him, for example that there are things that he wouldn't want to do and that few people would enjoy doing, but that must be done. To encourage someone to do these things, we give them money. The money can then be exchanged, etc, etc, etc. He kind of understands that, but still feels that it's unfair. Truthfully, he's probably right. Many money matters are. But that won't change the fact that he'll someday need to work to make some money.
We've had this conversation many times. He won't budge. Logic seems to have no place here. During one such conversation during which he explained the fact that he didn't want to work for a living, I said "You like to have things. You want to get new video games. You like going to the restaurant. Whether you like it or not, you'll someday have to pay for these things. How will you do that if you have no money?".
The terrible question had been asked. I could find no other way around it. His answer came with all the innocence of a child who doesn't understand certain things about social life.
His answer was "I'll ask someone to give me some money". When I told him that the person would most probably answer with a resounding "No", he told me he'd insist and say "I asked you nicely to give me some money". What followed, for me, was a moment when I wondered if he was serious. He was, very. When you have a child with ADHD, Tourette's and Asperger, you often wonder what behaviour stems from what condition. I know I understand very little about Asperger's, so I might be wrong, but I felt at that moment that his belief came from that condition. That his world was a different one that I had to understand, but also that he had to learn to understand ours. And it's not going to be easy.2007-01-26 - 16:38:38
ADHD Summer Camp part 2If you haven't read part one, please do so before reading this one. It's just below this current entry.
The second year went just as well as the first one. A. generally behaved well during his time at the camp and the head psychologist always had some nice comments about him. Add to that the fact that Sandra and I could go out a bit, have some fun, relax, and we had a winning combination.
By the third year, we felt pretty confident about leaving A. for nine days. Of course, things never go as expected. We got a call on the second day informing us that an "incident" had occurred, but that our child was not implicated. Still, social services might call to ask us a few questions. Hmmmm...
Two days later, a bit before 7 AM, we got another call from the camp informing us that all activities were being cancelled and that parents had to come and get their kids. O... K... That didn't sound good at all. So we strapped ourselves in for a quick (three and a half hour) drive. Once we got to camp, we learned that the head psychologist was being accused of molesting one of the kids. The staff was appalled and couldn't believe that man would so such a thing. We were also very surprised, we truly trusted this man. We asked A. if the man had ever touched him or tried to. He said no and strongly believed that he was innocent.
Skip forward about a year and a half. A few more boys came out and accused the psychologist of having touched them. The preliminary investigation evolved into a court case. And finally, the man confessed to having had sexual contacts with three boys. We also learned that A. had been alone with him at least once (an isolation to calm A. when he was too excited) and that he had tried to tickle A and that he hadn't been thrilled by it. This might seem innocent enough, but we learned that some abusers use this technique to test the boundaries of a child. Who knows how things might have occurred if A. had let himself be tickled more.
This man had a solid reputation and our confidence. This brings up a problem for which I can find no solution: how do you know who you can trust with your child? As far as we are concerned, there were no clues that could lead us to believe that he would act the way he did. We can't go around suspecting anybody who actually wants to work with children. So what could we do? Probably nothing. Actually, the camp should have had a policy of never having a child alone with one adult. There should always be two adults per single child. Then again, what if the other one... As you can see, I'm having trouble finding a solution. So are most people, I'm sure.2006-12-03 - 13:05:15
ADHD Summer Camp part 1To our great surprise, a few years ago Sandra found out about this summer camp that specializes in letting your hyperactive kid spend some quality time away from home. From 5 to 9 days, to be precise. So Sandra did some research and discovered that the camp is part of a big, traditional, summer camp organization. A psychologist organizes the special camp and works with counsellors that are studying in psychology. The psychologist is fairly well renowned in Quebec city and actually works as a specialist in court cases that deal with kids.
So we decided to give it a try. It's not cheap. About 700$ (Canadian) for a week. And it's not close. A three and a half hour drive from where we live. Still, if A. could have a good time while giving us a bit of a rest, it would be worth it.
It WAS worth it. Although it was hard leaving A. "alone" for the first time, Sandra and I did get to spend some quality time together, which doesn't happen very often. Of course, the week went by very quickly. A. was happy to see us after such a long time apart. He'd had a great time and wanted to go back next year. We also had a quick meeting with the psychologist who told us how A.'s week went, his highs and lows, etc. He had a lot of nice things to say about A., explaining that he believed he was a positive leader and that he had a good influence on his group. We were thrilled by the comments and were pleased with the entire organization.
We decided to send A. back to camp the following year, and the year after that. You'll absolutely want to read what happened then. The next entry should be posted in a few short of days.2006-11-26 - 17:22:55
How we somehow lost our neurologistStrange, here we were, thinking we had at least one person that seemed to understand A.'s condition. And now he's gone. All within a 30 minute session.
Let me elaborate a bit. We were meeting A.'s neurologist, as we do every six months, when the first thing he said was that he was leaving town for a year to go study somewhere in the United States. O...K... He then tells us about some medication he feels A. should take that would probably work well with his Concerta. Some kind of alpha blocker, I believe. I'll post more about it when I find the documentation he gave us. I already know Sandra won't want to give A. any new drug and I can understand why, but I ask some questions anyway so we can have as much information as possible. I learn that one of the recommenced drugs isn't really available in Canada, but can be ordered if a doctor signs the demand, which will probably be hard to do because of the current negotiations with the government.
And then it's over. Thank you and good-bye. No "here's another doctor you can see while I'm gone", no "my secretary will call you when I get back", nothing. We leave and, once again, start wondering what our next step should be. A few days later, we're still not sure.2006-09-13 - 20:12:41
News: Living with ADHDI found this story in the "Press-Entreprise" (who, I think, republished it from WebMD). If you know a bit about ADHD, you won't find anything new in there. What I liked about it was that it seems well balanced and objective. It's an interesting introduction when you're trying to learn a bit more about your child's situation. Here's the link:
For the record, Sandra does a lot of the cooking around here and I can safely say that A.'s diet is well balanced, he eats very healthy food. As for Omega 3's I'd be curious to read about your experiences with it, if you have any.