Home educating is hard. Throw in a house full of children and living in a foreign country and it gets harder. Add a special needs child and well...you get the picture.
Our third child and second son Zachary was diagnosed with ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)/Aspergers Syndrome when he was five years old. Although Zachary does well in school, plays the piano beautifully and is very athletic (he's a green belt in karate), every day is a challenge. Zachary is on medication for his ADHD I know that some of you are shaking your head and wondering how I could medicate my child, that ADHD does not exist, and that it is just a case of bad parenting. So I'd thought I'd share a little bit about Zachary and the road we've travelled.
Zachary was a lovely baby. Ever the charmer, he was always smiling and happy. Life with baby number three was chaotic, but fun! When Zach was eighteen months old, he received his first MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, whooping cough). I didn't realise it until years later, but this is when our delightful little baby began to change. We assumed he was going through the terrible twos early, with all his crying and temper tantrums that followed the vaccine. It was like someone flicked a switch and changed Zachary's personality. I was confused and heart-broken, thinking that I was just a bad parent and couldn't handle Zach's strong will.
We moved to England when Zachary was three and a half and things went from bad to worse. Within just a few months,we had many people tell me how bad Zachary was and that we had better get him "under control". Starting school with him was a nightmare. He cried and whined at everything and proceeded to colour on the desk, walls and break all his crayons and pencils into little bits in his desk when he was left alone so I could take care of his little brother.
When Steve would come home from the church in the evening, I began relating about the day with Zachary...about how I disciplined him constantly and he kept doing the same naughty things all day! I had to hide scissors, markers, and knives and lock windows since Zachary took great delight in making mischief. The strangest part was when I told him about his naughty actions, he was always very remorseful and cried and apologised. I read books, and asked friends and read the Bible looking for answers, but nothing seemed to help.
Finally I decided to search the internet for information on behaviour disorders. As I read through the characteristics of ADHD, it seemed to be perfectly describing our Zachary! I contacted our doctor and began the process of having him tested. The results were that he had ADHD and possibly Aspergers Syndrome as well. It was a hard pill to swallow, but relief as well. We finally could help Zach to achieve success in school and in life!
We did not want to medicate Zachary. We tried changing his diet, supplements and behaviour modification techniques, all to no avail. We agreed to try Ritalin and what a difference it made! Zachary was a completely different child. He was calm and respectful, full of life and began receiving great marks in school.
As he got older, we opted for a different medication (medikinet) which does not build up in the system like Ritalin, but had side affects of sleeplessness and loss of appetite. This worked for a while until this past summer when Zachary's white blood cell count dropped dangerously low. His doctor discontinued the meds and began giving him dexamfetamine sulfate. These new meds have not worked for Zach so we have contacted a private doctor to try and get him on Vivance which has very little side affects and has worked brilliantly for Zach in the past. The biggest problem we are having with getting the medication is that it is new to the UK and difficult to get at the moment and quite expensive! We are trusting the Lord and praying for His direction. We covet your prayers for our family.