When Lucas was just five, his Kindergarten teacher approached me after three months of school and suggested my son might benefit from a behavior assessment due to his high energy level and lack of focus in the classroom. After a couple of evaluations with a pediatrician and a child psychologist, there it was, the acronyms that I had often read about -- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The pediatrician made a few recommendations, but as parents we were lost not knowing where to begin to be able to help our son. We noticed Lucas had some difficulty keeping friends because he often said things that were hurtful, or he was too loud and intense. I felt frustrated. Soon I learned that the ADHD journey is a trial-and-error process because each child responds differently to treatments. For 3 years my husband and I read books about ADHD, talked with other parents facing similar journeys, researched published papers about ADHD treatments and tried a few of them without much success. Meanwhile, Lucas started taking medication, which has helped him focus and to be less active during the school hours. However, the medicine is not the solution, it is only one element of the treatment. Like for anything related to a child, the real work starts at home with the parents/care givers, who cannot do it alone. The biggest life-changing option that has helped our family unit considerably is the Boys Town Behavior Health Clinic. Dr. Ryan Eagan, our child psychologist, has been an amazing resource to learn about parenting skills and how to implement them in an effective way to support our son's development and behavior health, and above all to help our family create healthy routines. While the ADHD diagnosis is related to our youngest son, his behavior affects our whole family dynamics, and we all need to be aware of our actions to keep helping Lucas. I am grateful for Dr. Eagan's assistance in figuring out behavior problems and for his guidance to help us avoid and/or cope with them in the future.
(This story was written by a mom whose son's name has been changed for privacy reasons.)