Thrills, spills and ADHD pills.

In 2012 we decided to take the boys on a family holday to the Gold Coast, Queensland.

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The boys in Queensland 2012.

It was here that we started to notice Kallan was behaving very differently to his usual self. He was usually a very quiet and sweet boy but he had become impulsive and extremely silly.

We visited all of the theme parks and had a fabulous time apart from Kallan increasingly impulsive behaviour. We were saying his name 80 times more a day than we were Campbell’s. We decided we would talk to our psychologist about it all when we got back.

When Kallan returned to school, his work started slipping. He’s a very smart boy but it was not translating across to his work at all. He started displaying the same implulsive and silly behaviours at school as he had when we were on a holiday. The school also wanted to see what our psychologists thoughts and ideas were to help Kallan achieve his best at school.

We discussed with our psychologist and asked her if ADHD was a possibility, as he just couldn’t seem to stay on any task. Even when playing minecraft, his favourite game and obsession at the time, he would wander around the house with the iPad. He couldn’t sit still at all.

She sent us out of the room and did a test with  Kallan alone. When we returned to the room she said she suspected ADHD but she wanted a 2nd opinion so we were referred to a psychiatrist who specialised in children, based in Adelaide.

We made the appointment and had to wait three months to get in. A week before the appointment my grandpa passed away. His funeral date was set, the same day as Kallan’s appointment. Jeff was working away in Western Australia and couldn’t get home, so I was the only one who could take him to this appointment.

His school work had already suffered so much we couldn’t afford to cancel the appointment, so I missed my Grandpa’s funeral.

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My Grandpa and I. Sometime in the 90’s.

We met with the doctor and went over Kallan’s behaviour at home, his school report and his psychologist report and the psychiatrist agreed he had ADHD on top of his Asperger’s syndrome. We decided to trial a sleeping tablet called melatonin to see how that helped. Kallan would have a lot of trouble falling asleep at night, sometimes he was awake still at 11pm on a school night. The Dr thought that if the brain could get some proper rest it could focus and function better.

So we returned home and trialled the sleeping tablets. They certainly helped, but it was about a month later, his school work slipped again and his silly and impulsive behaviour returned.

We returned to the psychiatrist and this time he wanted to try Kallan on ADHD medication. He gave me a list of 3 different tablets we could chose from but we needed to research them all individually and tell him why we had chosen that one. Then in a weeks time he would give us a script to try and we would ring him back and tell him how the day went.

I went home and googled and researched and spoke to a few people who either had children with or had ADHD themselves and finally decided on a tablet called dexamphetamine. The psychiatrist was happy with this as it was the one he had also thought would be best for Kallan.

So we were given our script and the next morning Kallan took half a tablet. His dose at that stage was 2.5mg, so tiny. I remember he sat that day and built lego. Something we’d never seen him do. He also started drawing pictures and writing again. At school he went from barely writing one line to finishing all of his work. It was decided immediately that this worked for Kallan and he needed to be on medication.

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Kallan doing homework.

Kallan only ever takes his medication on school days. It is solely for the purpose of ensuring he succeeds at school. His medication is reviewed by a paediatrician every 6 months. We have trialled off of it for a month of school, and Kallan’s work failed miserably.

He is happy to take his tablets, he is still full of energy and runs around and plays and acts like any other child his age. They certainly don’t turn him into a “zombie”.

I understand there was a time where every child who had any issue was diagnosed as having ADHD but that’s not the case now. We have seen three different doctors. Our psychologist, the psychiatrist and now our paediatrician in WA whom all agree that Kallan has ADHD. It has never been about controlling our child and only about his academic future.

 

One day I really hope the stigma surrounding this neurological disorder will disappear. You wouldn’t deny anyone else medication they needed.

Jess.

 

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