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Hi Star...I hope you don't mind, but I saw your post in the "What do you worry about" thread and had a question for you.

What kind of trouble is your son having in school? I ask because I had school problems at his age also and might be able to offer some insight if our problems are similar.


Wed. Mar 8, 7:39pm

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Thanks Bradley, I appreciate the concern. He mostly has issues with focus and paying attention. He can never really communicate to me whats going on - if I ask him a direct question about something very specific, he can't tell me the answer.

For example this week he brought home a homework sheet dated for last week. I asked why it wasn't completed and he said "I think it's the homework sheet for this week." But George, it has last week's date on it - why?" "I don't know." I gave him a chance to figure out what was going on - I told him to confront the teacher and get it straightened out - when he came home his explanation was vague and indirect. So I wrote a note to the teacher to get to the bottom of it.

He does not do his homework on his own - I have to stay on him to get it done, if I just let him alone it takes him hours to do work that should be done in minutes. He has always been that way.

He doesn't like to read and often cannot give me a clear synopsis of what he reads. If he comprehends the material, he can't express that. He thinks abstractly - for our lives at home, it's fine - but I'm worried of how he'll fit in socially.

He is very physical and would really just like to play outside all day. At home he is confident and loud and personable - at school he is shy and plays by himself a lot.

Communication, I guess is his biggest issue. In writing and speaking. The way he seems to put things together and describe them is abstract. He can't write complete sentences correctly. He is only in third grade, but he should be able to do better than what he does.

He just got done taking a state diagnostics test that if he did not pass will mean that he has to go through third grade again.

I have a meeting next week with some people from the school - they gave him some testing and had a pychologist evaluate him - they'll probably tell me that he has ADD. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Anyway, sorry to go on and on. Thanks for seeking me out Bradley.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 7:59 PM

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I just want to add one comment. My friend has a son who is only in 1st grade and is having problems focusing. He doesn't get his homework done and often times seems like something is distracting him. The school asked her to have him seen by a dr for ADD. The doctor said they thought it was ADD but she was determined to do something other than medicine. She enrolled him in karate at the local YMCA. It has helped him to focus greatly. He looks forward to going each week and knows he has to keep doing well in school to be able to go. Just an idea, have you tried any activities to get him focused?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 9:56 PM

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Absolutely - we've had him in karate in the past, and are thinking about starting him in it again. We have also had him in soccer and football. There were times when all his teamates would be standing listening to the couch and somehow he would be off standing by himself not listening.

Thanks for the suggestion - we will probably try out the karate again. We only concentrate on one extracuricular activity at a time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 11:18 PM

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Your son sounds a lot like my little brother at that age. This may surprise you, but he probably doesn't know how to read. My brother is dyslexic and has ADD. We didn't catch onto it until he failed his 3rd grade tests. He was promoted to 4th grade because he is a twin and it would be too emotionally damaging for him to be left back. They taught him to read via a special method (and now he is doing well in 11th grade). Boys often have problems early on that get resolved when middle school comes along. A note on the ADD medicine, my brother has since decided he hates the ADD medicine because it makes him more inhibited/anti social. He has gone off it without the consent of the doctor or my mother -- but he is 16 so it is time he makes his own decisions.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 11:24 PM

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Well, his problems aren't similar to what mine were, but he does sound like my little brother and like what other people mentioned. My little brother has ADD. I know that there are tons of stigmas associated w/it these days, but it's really nothing to be ashamed of. I would try what the others recommended about physical activities before medicine though. My brothers mother (he's a 1/2 brother) put him on ADD medicine (can't remember which one) and he was a completely different person. It made him SO out of it. He hated it.

I'm sorry to hear about the little guys problems. Everybody is so different and learns in so many different ways. Unfortunately, schools do not really accomodate the learning style of everyone. I truly hope that you guys find something to help him.

Take Care,


Oh...and I found the dyslexia/unable to read comment interesting. That's not something I would have thought of, but makes sense.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 11:47 PM

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Hi there,
Don't know if this will help any, but one of my friend found out that she has a very high sensitivity to MSG... It is present in so many foods these days and is often hidden as "natural flavoring" or "natural _____ flavor", possibly as Carrageenan, Lots of soy products, textured vegetable protein, etc. can be hidden sources of MSG as well.

She eliminated the MSG and found out later that it can be a contributing factor to ADD...

With all of the additives in foods these days, maybe you could try elimiinating MSG from his diet? i.e. less packaged foods... almost all soups have it and most foods at restaurants could be loaded with "hidden" msg....

I understand that red food coloring is another trigger to ADD as well...

I am not a doctor, but perhaps if concentration and "lack of focus" is a factor, you could try altering his diet (actually, it would probably mean altering the diet of the whole family) as a more natural way to see if it would help the ADD vs. taking any ADD medications....

One of my friends had her son prescribed Ritalin.... It actually stunted his growth-- he is 13 years old, but about the size of an 8 or 9 year old. He was only on it for about 2 years. She truly regrets having put him on the medication and has voiced that if she were to do things over again, she would have tried to find other ways to ease the ADD.... (Then again, her kid eats a LOT of junk food, so I'm wondering if she were to ease up on some of the processed foods, pop (soda), chips, snacks, candies, etc..., if it might actually help her son to be less restless.)

Don't know if any of this would help, but it might be worth a try!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 11:57 PM

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Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! I really appreciate it. We read with George a lot and we have him read so us - so I know that he can read. It's the comprehension that he falls down on. I too have heard horror stories about the medicine, and I'm sorry but I won't be putting him on anything - I don't believe that a developing body needs something like that, and I don't want to lose the little boy we've come to love.

As far as the diet goes...George eats a lot healthier than most kids his age - very little junk food, his beverage of choice is water and he rarely drinks soda - we don't buy it. The only juice we buy is OJ, and he only occasionally has that. I cook almost everything from scratch - but he will occasionally have canned or packaged soup - but it's rare. I will definitely look into the whole diet thing though and see if there's something right under my nose.

My step-brother was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago and has been taking a narcotic every day since. But he is different from my George, constantly wired and restless - hense the hyperactive part added to the ADD. The medicine he takes makes him far from lethargic...

It is definitely something we will have to discuss with a physician - but I guess I'll have to see what the phycologist says next week first.

Thanks everyone!


Thursday, March 09, 2006, 8:10 AM

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Hi Star,

Both my younger sister and my fiance have ADD - my sister has ADHD, and my fiance ADD. They both take medication, but I don't really believe in that either, so I'm with you on it.

My sister sounds very much like your son, though she's now 19 and a sophomore in college. She is very bright, and "tricked" everyone into thinking she was fine until she hit high school. Then the load of 7 different courses taught by 7 different teachers, with all different assignments, etc., became too much for her to handle. She'd take 3 hours to fill out a simple worksheet b/c she'd get distracted, and she'd forget what she needed to do, and couldn't quite grasp properly filling in an assignment notebook to help her remember. Then there'd be times (many) where my mom would make sure she did all of her homework, and take it to school, only to find it in her backpack weeks later, never turned in! She'd just forget to turn it in, even as it was being collected! She's been on a handful of medications, including Ritalin and Stratera, and didn't like them for various reasons, but she started one a few months ago that she likes - she says she can focus well with it and it doesn't make her feel unlike herself. I don't remember which one it is though. Maybe aderol, but I'm not sure.

My sister has had many ups and downs. She'll seem to hold things together for awhile, but then she'll get overwhelmed and everything will fall apart. She'll be getting straight A's for the first 2/3 of the semester, and end up with a report card full of C's because she just about failed the last third, or neglected to turn in some important projects.

She went away to school freshman year, to a good but not great university, for art school. She may or may not have stopped taking her medication, but she was always misunderstanding assignments, etc., or not getting things done on time. After first semester, she was on academic probation. After second, she was kicked out. Now she's at home, under my mom's watch, and attending a local college that's about a step or two above a community college. She's getting straight A's. She might transfer back to the other school next year, if they'll let her in. My parents are letting her go if she can get herself back in without them having to remind her to send in papers, call people, etc.

My parents are just hoping that she graduates college at all, and manages to get and hold onto a job that can support her.

My fiance, on the other hand, is very calm, organized, maybe slightly OCD! He was diagnosed with ADD sometime in high school, because he was failing classes and clearly something was wrong. He's also very bright, and managed to "get by" for a long time without anyone noticing that something was wrong. He describes ADD as "someone tickling the back of your neck in a totally irritating and distracting way." He can't concentrate and gets very irritable if he doesn't have his medicine. Since he's so together, I thought it was mental for awhile, the pill acting the same as a placebo would. He takes 18mg of Strattera every day. When my sister was on Strattera, I think she took 60mg a day and said it didn't do anything for her. So I guess it works for some and not for others. My fiance was very successful in college (went to a top-10 university) and is now very successful in business. He's very social and outgoing, and no one would ever dream of him having ADD if he didn't tell them!

Anyway, you're lucky that you're finding out about your son's problems at such a young age. It'll be easier to face the upcoming challenges, and work through them before it's time to prep for college, etc. Both my sister and my fiance had similar experiences, and somehow my fiance turned out just fine, pretty much right after starting to get treatment. My sister is still struggling with ADD daily, after 5 or 6 years of trying to work through the problem. Don't hesitate to ask questions of others and get support. It may be a long battle.

Thursday, March 09, 2006, 4:13 PM

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Yep, that sounds like my George. Maybe he doesn't need the medication - maybe I'm going to need to take something so that I can handle it! :<)


Friday, March 10, 2006, 9:53 AM

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Haha, my mom has said the same thing after dealing with my sister for the past many years!

Friday, March 10, 2006, 12:34 PM

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I have no experience with this topic, but I was just reading an article about meditation helping ADHD kids. Just an idea!

Friday, March 10, 2006, 1:30 PM

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