Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Life with an ADD Child

Life with an ADD Child
25 July 2012

Sjoe!!!  Some days are hectic with Cole.  His exuberance is absolutely boundless.  Add to that a healthy dollop of excitement, more than a dash of mischief, an inability to keep still, the concentration span of a gold fish (“Oh, wow!  Look!  A new fake treasure chest that I haven’t seen yet!” when you simply know that only about 15 seconds have passed since the last time they swam past it), confirmed selective hearing loss (his ears are merely decorative - I'm thinking perhaps a rebel earring wearer in the making), an intense lack of focus, his conviction that he was put on this earth to entertain us and make us laugh with his antics and chirps, outbursts of spontaneous running, and a lack of urgency in doing anything that is asked of him.

It took us a really, really long time to join the dots and finally put Cole on Ritalin, but how life changing it has been.  The bummer though, is that interminably long half an hour it takes for the meds to kick in.  I don’t like to have him on tablets all the time.  Apart from the cost, I think it’s good to give his body a break, so over weekends and holidays we give it to him selectively as needed.  But if we’re having a home-day we go au natural.  Undiluted Cole.  This is not for the fainthearted.  Over the holidays Luke and Amber absolutely begged me to put him back on.  They weren’t coping.  He is not destructive, just busy and completely unable to concentrate and focus.  Just to give you an example, the other day Grant and I both dropped him off at school and when we got to school I asked Cole to give me a kiss goodbye.  He kept on leaning forward jerking against the seatbelt saying “I can’t get to you Mommy!”.  Over and over again.  Right…undo the safety belt!  How else were you going to get out of the car and into school?  Never mind giving me a kiss.

Throughout his playschool and pre-school years I had to remind him each and every day to bring his school bag home with him.  He just gets so excited when he sees me that he simply charges out of his classroom without his bag.  In fact, I have to remind him daily to take his bag to school as well.  Lost shoes, jackets, sweaters and hats are the norm.  He’s just not wired that way and it’s okay.  One just has to go in with your eyes wide open and remember these things - because he simply can't.  I don’t get school letters and homework often gets left behind at school.  As well as tennis rackets and hockey sticks and towels in summer.  He doesn’t give me verbal messages from teachers – he just gets too side tracked and involved with something else.  School uniform is a nightmare, because he leaves stuff behind at school and don’t even get me started on lunchboxes.

The ADD warning signs were there from quite young, but we were not able to see it at home.  We kept on making allowances for the fact that he’s the youngest and everyone just always seems to help him to do stuff.  So partly we have conditioned him this way and have enabled him to be even more absentminded and distracted.  There is always someone else that will do the thinking for him and remember.  After four years of concerns being voiced by various teachers as well as numerous visits to Occupational Therapists, School Psychologists, Paediatricians, endless assessments etc. we finally reached the decision.  We had come to a crossroads and had to help Cole.

In hindsight I wonder and marvel at my antipathy towards Ritalin.  We had been so bamboozled by Ritalin-horror stories, via Carte Blanche, nay-sayers and the likes, that we were unable to see the light, so to speak.  Had Cole been Asthmatic, we would have given him medication.  Had Cole suffered from Epilepsy, we would have given him medication.  And truly, ADD is no different.  It has made a huge difference in our lives, Cole’s life as well as those around him.  His teacher could see a remarkable improvement within the first 2 hours of school on the very first day already.  Life changing.  I’m not saying it works for everyone, but it sure works for us. 

I wouldn’t change Cole for the world.  He is the sweetest little boy – extremely affectionate and loving, exceptionally cute, very funny and quirky and a real charmer.  The killer though, is that half an hour before the meds kicks in, as well as the remaining 6 hours after it’s worked out of his system.  I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing that I’ll probably not send my nice stuff with him on school camps.  I’ll simply never get it back.


  1. He is lucky you are all so patient with him, but you are right, he is sooo worth it!
    He is exceptionally loving and great fun!

    And you forgot to mention how phenomenally good he is at sport!


  2. He is an amazing kid! We all as a family thinks hes great! And soooo good at his sport! You guys can be very proud of him!
    Linz xxx

  3. Awwww Helene - we STILL need to do that loooong overdue coffee to share our stories! Someone who doesnt have one of those special kids just wont get it! One day we will do it! :) Love you my friend and just loving your blog! xxxx

  4. Thanks for sharing this Helene - it sometimes hard to admit our children aren't "perfect". But once we do we see the beauty in their imperfections, we truly understand unconditional love.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing - I know exactly how you feel, every single word you have written describes my daughter to a "T"!!! And I feel 100% the same way you do! Good to know we are not alone !!

  6. Thanx so much to everyone for the amazing comments. There are so many of us going through the same thing with our kids. They are so special and unique, yet come with their own set of challenges. I seem to learn from Cole everyday and wish I could tap into his exuberance and never ending supply of energy.