A MOTHER'S TALE
Updated: Jul 22
A mother shares her experience as a mother of a boy with ADHD:
I gave birth to boy/girl twins 10 years ago. They were my first — and only — children. Having twins first means that you’ve got no other first-hand knowledge of what motherhood is like. Sure, I could compare the boy to the girl, but it wasn’t until they started school that I began to realize that there was something a bit different about my son — even compared to other boys.
The teacher at their nursery flagged it, and I responded by assuming it was the school, not my son and moved him to an all-boys school. But when I went to visit his new class on a parent’s day I could see that even compared to a class of 20 five year-olds, there was something different about my son. He just couldn’t keep still — not even for a moment. Not even when he was on his best behavior, as his teacher told me he’d been on that day.
I began on what now seems like an absurd journey to figure out what was going on with him. We considered a range of disorders from sensory processing to Tourette’s, before realizing that it was the most common of them all — ADHD.
By now my son was 7. He’d had several difficult (although often amusing) years at school, developing a reputation for being a bit of a live wire. But he was often hard work, oppositional and seemed to care little about the consequences of his actions. He was having great difficulty learning to read and his writing hadn’t advanced much from nursery school.
Dr. Davie started him on Concerta in January of Year 3. The difference was amazing. His reading age went up three years in six months. He was still himself, but a better version of himself. He stopped arguing for no reason, he stopped provoking his and me sister endlessly and he stopped challenging his teachers.
We were lucky. The side effects weren’t too bad. Yes, he started eating less than he used to, but he still ate and his growth continued at a rate that didn’t send up any flags. He still slept, although it might have taken him longer to fall asleep than it would otherwise.
I kept him on that dose for two years, despite the fact that he was getting poor reports from school this year. He still was so much better than he’d been before the medication that I was loathe to increase it. But last month I watched him at rugby practice — he couldn’t stop himself from leaping on the other boys while they were in a queue. He couldn’t pay attention during the drills or the games. When we walked (well, he ran) to the car park and he decided to overtake a moving car and run in a circle around it I realized it was time for an increase. Again, the results were immediate and impressive.
People often look incredulous when I tell them that he’s on medication. But without it I really think his life is was danger — there’d been similarly dangerous stunts before he’d been medicated. And if that doesn’t impress them, I simply tell them: His reading age went up three years in six months. Plainer evidence is hard to find.”
Do you have a perspective on ADHD? Maybe it’s similar to this one, or maybe you have a different experience? Send your thoughts to Maggie.firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll (almost certainly) post them!