By: Jessica DiRamio
Always known as the spirited child, my daughter, Juliana was unlike any other baby, toddler, preschooler, or school-aged child I had ever come in contact with. She was very intense; on a scale of 1-10, everything she did was a 10. She cried harder and longer than most and got mad a lot.
It took my own mother to finally convince me to have her evaluated. I was in complete denial, but I took my mom’s advice. The diagnosis: ADHD. The solution (for our family): medicine. While this may not be the course of action for some families, it was right for us and I am so glad we made that decision.
Mid-October marks 6 years since her diagnosis, but not 6 years of meds. This past June, after months of negotiating, we agreed to take Juliana off her medicine as a trial run. She convinced us, as a pre-teen, that she understood her symptoms and knew how to control them. We would use the summer as the test and determine by August if the meds should be restarted. Our summer was a success; Juliana did a great job controlling her impulses. Although I would frequently notice her tapping her foot, doing a few extra spins after the dancing was done and even talking a bit more than usual, I was confident that she was in control and so my husband and I agreed to take it month-by-month during school and allow her to remain off the medicine.
Month one went by with little to no issues. Progress reports were distributed in early October and her grades were great! Parent-teacher conferences also took place in early October and the only negatives: Juliana is very chatty. Juliana rushes through homework. Both are fixable things. Juliana is aware of these things and has added them to her list of “things I have to control”. We’re watching carefully.
Juliana thinks she is done with meds forever and couldn’t be happier about it. I am not so confident about this, but for now, we are taking it day-by-day as a family. ADHD will never go away, but as long my as my girl is happy, confident, doing as well as she can in school, and getting along with her peers, I’m OK with the “no meds” option. For now.
PS: Since my wonderful daughter supports her mama by reading this blog, I feel it necessary to speak directly to her. Juliana – this isn’t a promise that you’ll be off medicine forever, my dear : )
3 thoughts on “ADHD and My Daughter”
Jessica, thank you for sharing your story. As a mom of two boys with ADHD, I appreciate hearing others stories. We (his doctor and I) are discussing coming off meds with my oldest, however, we all agree he is not there yet and continue to focus on building the skills he’ll need. People with ADHD have a lot of positive traits- high energy levels, creativity, visionary perspective, and a great sense of humor. Helping our kids manage their symptoms so that those strengths can shine is a tough job but one that you and your daughter sound like you are navigating wonderfully! Good luck!
Meds are always a tough decision. My oldest son has SEVERE ADHD, and over the years we have tried many meds. In the end, we opted for one that just reduces his adrenaline, and opted out of the “yellow” ones. While they did the trick, they sucked all the personality and creativity right out of him. And that was just something I couldn’t live with.
Good luck on your choices. How wondeful that you gave Julianna such a grown up choice in her own health!
Thank you for sharing this and all the best for your daughter and family.
My son is dx’d with ADHD, but we opt not to medicate at this time. I am trying dietary interventions, behavior stuff, etc. first. If these, in conjunction w/ therapies for his other issues don’t work, meds may be something we reconsider. It is always good to hear of other’s positive experiences with them and with getting off them.