Diagnosing My Son's ADHD

Deborah Health Guide
  • As I said in my previous SharePost, my son's kindergarten teacher recommended that we have him evaluated by a pediatric psychiatrist because of what I'll call behavioral problems, for the sake of a better term. Basically, he was having trouble sitting still and keeping quiet in class. We weren't too surprised to hear what his teacher had to say. He runs everywhere in our house and frequently blows off steam by hurling himself on the couch or doing somersaults.


    While I knew it was a good idea to get him evaluated, I had some trepidation. According to reviews on a local mailing list I belong to, the only doctor in our network tends to see Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder everywhere. If we go outside our network, diagnosis and treatment could cost thousands of dollars, which we don't have. So I made an appointment with the doctor and hoped for the best. His office sent out a form for Lawrence's kindergarten teacher to fill out. Bless her heart, she came over the night before the appointment, after the school year had ended, to go over it with us.

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    The doctor called me into his office first to talk. I left Lawrence quietly looking at some books in the waiting room. The doctor asked me some questions, including asking me what I was looking for in this visit. That stumped me a bit. After all, I don't have a problem with his behavior. But I do want him to do well in school and to encounter as little disapproval from teachers and school officials as possible. I know that won't be good for his self-esteem. I told the doctor all of this. He nodded and then called Lawrence in to the office. I chatted with a patient in the waiting room who told me, at about a hundred words a second, how much the ADHD medication had helped him. I wondered how bad his ADHD was without it. It didn't seem possible that the hyperactivity, at least, could have been worse.


    After the doctor had tested Lawrence, he called me back in. His impressions of Lawrence were mostly positive. "Very bright. Years ahead of where he should be as far as language skills." And then, "I'd say he has ADHD."


    Oh crap. Yes, I knew it made sense. After all, with two parents and a grandmother with ADHD, it would be surprising if he didn't have it. And yet...some things nagged at me. How many kids with ADHD have absolutely no problem with academics? Why was all his supposed hyperactivity centered around his body, not his speech or his thought process? And how much could I trust this diagnosis from a doctor who apparently gave this diagnosis out more than anything?


    But I decided to accept the diagnosis, at least for now. The doctor prescribed 20mg daily of Vyvanse, which is a long-acting amphetamine. I took it for about a month last year. While it worked really well in keeping me focused and calm, it made me very cranky, so I discontinued it. I'm hoping that it doesn't have that effect on Lawrence. I suppose it would be nice if his behavior issues could be controlled by the medication. Of course, the important thing is what's best for him, and if this works, great.

Published On: July 28, 2009