Sunday, February 12, 2006


My youngest daughter, DQ, has been diagnosed with ADD since she was about six years old. I had seen symptoms earlier than that age, but it can't truly be diagnosed until the child is in school. As a mental health professional, I have treated countless kids with this disorder - but it is different when the child is your own.

DQ isn't the "typical" kid with ADD. First of all, she isn't hyperactive, which is what the majority of lay people think of when you first mention Attention Deficit Disorder. Second of all, she's has a very high IQ - which has been her saving grace - but then, it makes it more difficult to convince the teachers that DQ truly does have a learning disaibility. So many of DQ's teachers have said to me, point-blank, "There is no way she has ADD - she's too intelligent - so, she is just being lazy and irresponsible".

When a child has the inattentive type of ADD, they have difficulty concentrating and following through on a task. They often lose things necessary to complete the task. They have great difficulty with organizational skills. If I had a dime for every time I've said to DQ "Pick up after yourself", or "Are you done yet?", then I honestly would be a billionaire by now.

Medication helps to a certain degree, but the main thing to tackle is the lack of attention to detail and the disorganization. This can be VERY frustating for someone like me who is extremely detail oriented. At the same time, I am so very grateful that I have the background and the skills necessary to help DQ with some of her "problem areas".

This past week has been a very stressful one at my house, as DQ has gone downhill aprubtly in her schoolwork. The first quarter, she was on the Academic Honor Roll. The second quarter, she slipped some, but not alarmingly so. However, the past few weeks, she's let her quality of work slip dangerously. Needless to say, this has caused a lot of strain in our relationship. The older she becomes, the less willing she is able to accept advice or constructive "criticism", or assistance with study/organizational skills. We have been butting heads, to put it mildly.

On top of it all, I've been having to finish taxes and scholarship applications. I haven't even touched insurance paperwork. Going to the Bahamas sounds really, really good right about now. . . But, now you know why blogging has been light for me the past week!


At 10:41 PM, Blogger Mrs. Diamond said...

she sounds very much like a little girl I babysit, age 5.... not hyper, very intelligent, but can't stay focused on anything...well tv she can but that's about it.

At 2:08 AM, Blogger bigwhitehat said...

Val, I hate to be the idiotic Monday quarterback. But, I must.

Mabey DQ should see a new Phychiatrist. One with a lot of experience discerning the difference between ADD and the BiPolar catagory.

Sorry. But you did bring up alot of profile matching characteristics.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Mrs. D - I can imagine she drives you nuts! DQ loves tv and the computer - no problem there, except I don't let her watch tv or get on the computer all the time so she gets kind of upset about that!

BWH - You've brought up a good point. Sometimes ADD can have some of the same symptoms as Bipolar, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, etc. It's very important to have a good clinician who can differentiate and make the proper diagnosis. Fortunately, DQ is not Bipolar. The other thing we have to keep in mind is that sometimes kids grow out of ADD, and sometimes they don't and it carries on into adulthood. I do see where DQ is making great progress in a lot of areas - but there are some residual effects of having that diagnosis since the age of 6 which we are dilligently working on to help her function better at school. Also, being a teenager has it's own set of behaviors (i.e. - mood swings due to "hormonal" reasons, etc) which need to be taken into account. Thanks for your input - I appreciate it! You are NOT an idiotice Monday morning quarterback (although Jeff may think so. . . ).

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Gayla said...

Morning, Valerie :)

I wasn't online this weekend, and am at work now. I'll get the poem forwarded to you when I get home. Oh yeah, you need my e-mail. It's

Your daughters are so blessed to have you for their mom. :)

BWH, I e-mailed you too. I'll be happy to get the poem to you as well.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Julana said...

My cousin's daughter got an ADD diagnosis in high school. Then she told her sister, who was in her 40's, that she had the same symptoms. They both went on ritalin and their ability to focus dramatically improved. Then her sister told me she thought I had the same thing. Dunno. But I can empathize with anyone who has trouble sticking with a task.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Becky said...

Was TP's 2005 diagnosis of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis ever confirmed? If so I know of some sites and resources you both may find interesting. I just donated a portion of my liver to my younger brother to cure his PSC, and we're both on the mend today. Praise God for such miracles!

I am glad you have chosen to continue your blog.

A stranger but a friend,

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Oh man, sorry to here that you are having problems with DQ. I remember though, what it is like to be a teenager, and have to listen to "criticism". You want to do the oppisite of what you are told to do. I hope that things get better with DQ. I don't have any idea what ADD is like, so I have zero advice. I will pray for you and DQ. You are and excellent mother, and like other hurdles, you will jump this also.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger bigwhitehat said...

I brought up the bipolar thing because we both know it is the favorite diagnosis of unqualified doctors. There is no substitute for a top drawer Psychiatrist. So many disorders share so many symptoms that misdiagnosis is a way of life.

I can't tell you how many people I know whose lives were upside down because they were on Adderal(or something like it) instead of an SSRI or LiCO (or any other mood stabilizer or antipsych).

Because of the complications that hormones play on young ladies diagnosis becomes even more difficult. Teen-agers also like to complicate this more with substance abuse.

I always think multiple opinions are a good thing. I have also learned not all physicians are worthy of my respect. Others truly are worthy.

Echo and Tiger are in the care of a fantastic psychiatrist. Many times he has prescribed something we had never heard of. He then takes the time to explain what he is up to. Since Tiger started seeing him we have had fantastic improvement.

I think I have bored your readers enough. We can continue this in email any time.

At 5:40 AM, Blogger Paula said...

Oh, oh, oh, can I go to the Bahamas with you? I'll be praying for DQ.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!!! I'm thankful this day to call you friend.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13

Your Sister In Christ,

At 11:34 AM, Blogger HeyJules said...

Val, perhaps its time to let an "outsider" work with her so you can remain seen as a supporter to her and not one that has to constantly correct her?

Perhaps she needs two separate people to help her with where she's struggling right now. Remember that despite your ability to BE her counselor, she really thinks of you as her mom. Maybe as her mom, she needs you to be the support and let someone else be the "pusher."

Just a thought...

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Stacy said...

Hang in there Val.

Kind of back.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger JodiTucker said...

Ah.......Age 14 going on 21 or 25??.......I do not want to relive my youngest daughter's 14th year (grades 8 and 9)....We butted heads often. Let's call her LMT (which really are her initials). There was not even any ADD to complicate things more. LMT is just like me....bullheaded, obstinate, passionate, outgoing, helpful, intense, and a number of other adjectives. I let her dad deal with her often, too (as a united couple) with lots of her attitude and oppositional issues.
The biggee was PRAYER....daily prayer that she would desire to love God and serve Him.....and by that would also have the desire to honor her parents even when she didn't want to. Well, three years later (LMT is now 17 and a jr.), she is starting to see that the things we insisted upon were for her benenfit and to keep her from harm. I'll keep you in prayer with a senior and all that entails and a younger one, too.....Keep praying. That's the biggee. I certainly do not want to sound like a cliche, but prayer was indeed my salvation and continues to be in all areas of life!!

At 7:49 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Gayla - I sent you an e-mail, and I can't wait to see the poem. I am so excited!

Julana - Sometimes, I think this diagnosis is overly diagnosed, if you know what I mean. If you're concerned you may have it, though, you should probably get it evaluated. I know a lot of adults who got on meds, and can't believe the difference!

Hi Becky - I went over to your website and answered your questions. What an amazing thing you were able to do for your brother!

Hi Sarah - Thanks for stopping by, and I hope all is well with you and the girls!

BWH: Yup, I know exactly what you're saying, and I agree with you. And I'm so glad that you've finally found an excellent doctor for your son - that's fantastic! Feel free to e-mail at anytime, ok?

Paula - When can you be ready to take off for the Bahamas??? I'd love to go with you, too!

Jules - It's not that I'm in the role of her "counselor" - I am definitely doing these things as her mom! I just see so many parents at this same stage of the game that I'm at right now just give up, but that's not going to happen with me. There's only so much that a counselor can do, and the rest IS up to the parents. It's just that, at times, the normal teenage angst gets mixed in there wtih the ADD, and it can get to be quite interesting, if you know what I mean! Thanks for your help, though - I appreciate your concern and comments.

Stacy - Well, I'm so glad you're "kind of" back. . . Are you going to stick around for awhile??

Jodi - 14 going on 30. But, she's a good kid, and she truly wants to please me (most of the time). She's also a very spiritual child. Prayer has helped tremendously. Thank you so much.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

Sorry Val,

I have been a bit out of things recently - life has just got in the way.. but that is not a bad thing..

I know a little of what you are going through..O is dyslexic and has concentration and organisational issues very much like DQ.. ADD was considered but ruled out. He has a very high IQ and the quality of his written work does not reflect this.. he gets away with things by having a phenomenal memory for some things but can't remember what he went upstairs for, or which books he needs etc etc.

Things have improved in some ways with maturity - the co-ordination is certainly better..but I so identify with the frustrations. We love our children and so ant what is best for them - and this is sometimes the problem - thier wants and ours are two different things!!!!

My prayers and thoughts are with you.

Glad you will be writing for the mag - I got the link sorted on my blog..

Thinking of you and thanks for your concern for us over the pond.

Bless you


At 8:33 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

Hey Val, it's nice to hear from another mom of a child with ADD, as opposed to ADHD. Lindsay has ADD, and it's mainly a focusing issue. It's been a battle, and when you throw in pre-teen keeps life interesting, to say the least.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Shawnda said...

I can't imagine having teens!!! I know it's inevitable at this point : ), but it's scary!!! Press on in His grace!!! Praying for you right now!

And thanks for all the prayers you have prayed for us!!! : )


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