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Avatar universal

How long, is to long?

  I am new to this forum, I am a step mother to a 9 year old boy, and have been for over 6 years now.
The birth mom put the child on Adderall without my husbands permmision 4 years ago, she claims it helps him in school, and in life. We are very concerned at this point , we noticed that his pills were a different color on his last visit. We brought it up to our son about the difference in colors, he replied, they uped me to 40mg so I will do better in school. The fact are, that at our last teacher, parent conffernce, his teacher claims that our son has a readding level of a first grader in school for one quarter. That was shocking, due to the fact that he is in 3rd grade, also his math skills are also very low, so we are having doubts about this drug helpping his school work.
  I thought that children were to be given breaks from this drug to see if they can cope without it. I need any facts about this, they just seem to be upping his meds. Our son is a good boy, im not really sure why he is on this.
  Does anyone have facts about this, that would be great. Thank You.
12 Responses
757137 tn?1347200053
All I know for sure is that your son is addicted to speed (that is what Adderall is, in case no one ever told you). As for his poor performance in school, he may not be a good student with or without medication. Also be warned that Adderall affects growth and puberty. I would not put a child of mine on this drug if you put a gun to my head, no matter what the diagnosis. And ADD is over-diagnosed, mostly by pediatricians who are not specialists in this field of medicine.
189897 tn?1441130118
Couple of quick thoughts.
First, "being a good boy" has nothing to do with ADHD.  Medication is not punishment for being a bad boy.
Since your husband is the child's father, he is entitled legally to know what is going on.  It sounds like you have never sat down with the childs doctor and have gotten any info about what is going on.  Your first step is to talk with the doctor in charge and get information.

Your second step is to talk with the childs teacher (again it is legal to do so), and find out her opinion of what he was like before the change and after the change.

The third step is to realize that the medication is not some magic pill that will automatically raise your grades.  He probably needs extra help to catch him up in reading and math.  For that - both sets of parents need to get involved.

Finally, as you suggested you really need some facts.  It is very normal to increase the dose of medication as the child ages.  The doctor relies on information/feedback from the parents to know if it is the proper dosage.  But you need a whole lot more information then this.  It sounds like the both of you have kinda let his mother do all the work. That is understandable.   It is not to late for you to get involved, but you have to make an effort to do so.  There is a ton of information out there on ADHD.  Start by reading the material published by Medhelp.  this is the link

I hope this helps.  Please ask if you need more info.  Good luck

Avatar universal
Thank you for your advice. Im not sure if you read my post right, The birth mom put my husbands son on this medication WITHOUT his ok, he was left out in the cold. He was never given a survey to fill out from the Dr. the birth mom skiped him, she knew that my husband was, and still is against his son being put on any type of these drugs.
  We are both very involved with his son, we live 3 hours away now, due to lay offs. we lived in a very small lumber town, when the mill closed down, we had to move. We go every other weekend and have him all vacations, spring break, and for the summer.
   We talk with his teacher often, and have quartly parent teacher meettings via phone.
The birth mom has hid the childs Dr. infor, like never sendding his medication in the bottle, always in zip lock baggies. I could go on, and on, but I wont. Mainly I would love to know is, should children be given a break from this drug at some point. The birth mom claims she put him on this drug so he would do better in school, my point is, he has been on this drug for almost 4 years now, with no break, he isnt doing any better in school, due to him taking these meds. His teacher says he is a joy in class, just having a hard time with his studies. Its sad that this all started with a suggestion from a Head Start teacher, thats pree kintergarden, unreal. We have to fight, just to kinda be in the loop, she goes out of her way to keep us in the dark. Any information about breaks from this drug would be great, Thank you.
1100992 tn?1262360816
If he's still having learning issues and is behind, why hasn't the school done testing on him to see if he has learning disabilities? Which, by the way, do go along with ADHD. His mother can request this in writing as well. I have to say it was crappy of his mom to hold back information. That's not going to help the kid.
189897 tn?1441130118
Unfortunately, it all depends on the child as to wither he can take a break or not.  The best person to answer that question is the child's doctor.  I can think of reasons both ways to take him off or keep him on.  

I completely agree with wj74.  Your point about him being on the pills for 4 years and not improving is not a reason for taking a vacation from the pills.  If anything its a reason to keep him on them.  What is important is to figure out why he is behind and what can be done to help him.The school should be more involved.  If he is still behind, then he needs more help.  Special eduction is the way to get that.  The next conversation with his teacher should include questions about if he has been tested and why or why not.  Of course his mother may eventually have a say in all of this.  Its too bad that you are being left out of this loop.

I still think that you and your husband need to do some research into ADHD.  Part of the disconnect between yourselves and his mother seems to be about the way to treat ADHD.  If you have sound information to talk with his mother, his teachers, and (hopefully) his doctor,  you will be much more successful.  
189897 tn?1441130118
opps, got off subject a bit and forgot to give reasons.
There is good logic in taking a child off the pill to see how they cope.  There are many kids with ADHD that have learned how to cope and can go off medication.  Of course, it all depends on how severely they are affected, and how old they are, what their needs are, etc.  The main thing is that the children have to be trained how to cope.  Just taking them off to see what happens is not helping them too much.

Even though adderall is out of the system fairly quickly.  I am not sure if it is something that can be instantly just stopped.  You really need a doctors advice on how to stop the medication for the safety of the child.

If the child is spending summer with you and getting extra schooling help to catch up, this period of time (when he is getting help) would probably not be a beneficial time for him to be off the meds.

The dosage was upped for a reason.  The child's mother could not do that all by herself.  It would be nice if you were informed why the dosage was increased, it might have an effect on your own decision making.

Essentially, the thing you need to remember is that the decision should always be made by keeping in mind what is best for the child.  Personal bias should not come into play.   Granted, that is much easier said then done.  What makes this so difficult is that there doesn't seem to be a third party that you can go to because you don't have access to his doctor.
973741 tn?1342346373
Just a quick thought and this is not a criticism.  It should be no surprise when a child is in third grade that he is struggling to read and is far below his level in language and math.  I would say that must have come up before now.  My son has a developmental delay.  In school, he works twice as hard as other kids just to maintain himself and function.  I keep in very close contact with his teacher to find out if there is an area that he has any difficulty on so that we can work on it.  But I believe by giving him the tools to maitain himself in class he is then able to learn the material.  If there is something stopping him such as a learning disability, this should be evaluated and uncovered just as the others have said.  

It is always tricky dealing with x's.  I would let your husband handle any discussions and encourage him to maintain a friendly relationship with the mother.  I can't make any judgements about her as to putting her child on medication as I (and you) don't know the full situation.  She should have consulted the boys father though and that is why I would encourage a friendly businesslike relationship so that she is more apt to tell him things.  I would try to give her the benefit of the doubt and just work as a team to help this child.  It is wonderful that you and your husband are so involved in this boy's life.  That means more to him than even he knows.  Keep trying and doing your best for him.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
when my son was on adderall it was used to try and help him with school because his teacher couldn't handle him and them when that didn't work we ended up using concerta witch was know better. and I was told it would be a good thing to have him not take it when school was out for the summer,but not to just stop it.  If you just stop taken the medicine the person could go into with confoltions .

you should go on line and read up on the side effects of the medicines ,I know that adderall is like speed and people who like to take drugs like it to give them a high and a fix until they need there next.

My son ended up having Seizures after being on these medicines.

If the Mother won't tell you who the boys doctor is ,then when you have him the father should taken him to see a doctor and have them to some testing.blood work and show him the pills that the boy is taken.Or take the mother to court and force her to give you all the medical info you all want and the doctor name and number.And if the doctor wont talk to you.I would do the same.

just because he is having a hard time learning dose not mean he needs medicine,it is given out to much these day's and not worth the health risk.

And why use something if it is not working,I don't understand why some one would say to keep using it if it is not helping. There could be other medical reason why he is not learning beside add or adhd.It could be another reason,like what is happening at school or at home with mom. And no medicine will help that.

taken b6 and omega 3 vitamin might help him ,along with seeing some one he can talk to about things that are going on with him.

god bless this child and help you and his dad to help him.
973741 tn?1342346373
dollyn---- I think what she is saying is that there is no behavior problems with this boy and therefore, whether the medication is working is unknown.  Medication and getting add under control is only one area to academic learning.  I understand that you and many others have had bad experiences on medication, however, there are some children who benefit from it.  I know a few.  So, in my thinking-----   and this is just my opinion-----  there are dynamics here beyond the surface.  This couple that sees this child on weekends and summer breaks need to WORK with his mother.  If they do not, a contentious relationship is present that benefits no one but especially this boy.  The father has every right and I think is legally entitled to the information regarding this boys medical history.  But I would just hate for this boy to suffer the consquences of all the grown ups in his life fighting.  Things won't change for him academically that way.  So, I am just suggesting before the mother or his medication are made out to be evil, that this boys issues be fully evaluated.  If a learning disability is present----  taking him off medication or leaving him on will have nothing to do with his success academically.  

obviously, only my opinion here and just trying to help.  Good luck to this couple and boy!
Avatar universal
For some reason, the boys birth mom keeps secrets, and does not share information.
When my husband try,s to talk with her, she dimises his concerns right away. When my husband asked her when there son might be free of these meds, she replyed, he will have to be on them for the rest of his life. When I heard that it blew me away. It is very hard to be the stepmom, I love and care for the boy very much, but just like the child, I have no voice. I dont talk to her about issues , I dont talk to her at all to tell you the truth. She feels that her opion is the only on that matters. I have been dealing with this women for over 6 years now, and it has never been easy, I truely have tried to befriend her many times, for some reason she is just nasty, angry, and controlling. She has refused to help with transportation since Feb. 13 2007, we have tried to work with her without having to go to court, Its not working, she claims she will not help unless a judge tells her she has to. Her main focus is on money, she has been more stuburn than ever since she got her child surpport lowered, she has collected $200.00 a month for over 3 years for daycare that the boy had not been in, she did not report the change, and told us she refuses to report it, and for him to take her to court, and thats what we did.
    She does very little that doesnt have her ego, before the well being of the boy.
We drive 7 hours round trip every other weekend, and pay for gas with no help from her, she refuses to meet half way, it cost us $80 just in gas, not including food ect....
We lived in the same town as her up untill a year or so ago, we had the boy every weekend. we lived in a very small lumber town, and my husband lost his job, along with many other men. There is no work there, and my mom is very ill, so we decided to make the move, we felt it was in everyones best intrest, I mean, no work, no child surpport, no house, no life. She has condemed us for moving, and claims that she shouldnt help with transportation becouse we moved. Anyway I could go on for days about this issue.
  The child lacks time with his mother, he goes to school at 8:00am, and doest see his mom again untill 7:30 pm, and his bedtime is 8:30pm, pretty sad if you ask me, also the child has told his dad and I that her boyfriend is very mean to him. One other thing, the child has made 3 different comments about the mothers boyfriend giving the child drinks of beer and wine, we do not agree, we have tried to reason with her, she refuses. My husband goes out of his way not to fight with his ex, she leaves us no choice but to take her to court, I just want a happy life, with less drama, for all of us.
973741 tn?1342346373
Okay, I hear you.  But all the bashing of his mother helps NOTHING.  I can't say it enough times, your focas is the boy and not her.  His FATHER needs to deal with the mother and not you whether you love this boy or not.  That is just the rules of a contentious X relationship.  (those are unwritten rules).  You spent so long in your above post telling me why the mother is terrible-----  but that is out of your control and not helpful to this child.  Okay, does this sound like tough love?  Sorry----  I don't mean to sound tough on you but all of the above with his mom isn't going to help anything.

What WILL help is for this boy to be evaluated for a learning disability.  What WILL help is for your husband to be business like and approach his X wife as a team player for the benefit of their child.  What will help is for him to build trust with his X wife that he isn't just a "meds are bad and I want my kid off of them" kind of guy but a dad who wants to understand what is going on with his son.  What WILL help is for your husband to be in contact with his teacher (even via email) about what areas he is having academic difficulty in and how he can  help when he is with him.  What will help is if a tutor is needed that he pays for it without giving his X grief over it.

Lastly, you seem to really question whether this child has add/adhd or not.  Has your husband ever seen the boy's school records which would have any school evaluations that have been done of him?   Has he ever talked with the school counselor?  That might be helpful.  The meds could be helping him maintain much more than you know.  And meds, when used correctly are not bad.   Just my opinion.  You hear bad stories for sure and I hope to not have to put my kid on meds, but for every bad story----  there are two good ones.  They just don't post on medhelp very often. This boy may  have been improperly dosed but he would be flying off the walls then.  Is he?  Good luck.
189897 tn?1441130118
Gotta agree with Specialmom here.
  I go back to my last post - and I quote, "
Essentially, the thing you need to remember is that the decision should always be made by keeping in mind what is best for the child.  Personal bias should not come into play."
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