Ocelot has ADHD, she’s had the official diagnosis for the last 12 months.
In hindsight, I knew from 14 weeks gestation! This is when I first felt Ocelot move, after that, she didn’t stop…all day and all night were party times for her.
The day she was born was another sign, she just didn’t sleep unless conned into a slumber by heavy rocking! At 14 weeks of age, she’d had enough of lying about so changed to unaided sitting. By 5 months she was crawling, then cruising followed, then at 8 months she was walking independently. Once the movement had been mastered, she turned her brain power to learning as much as she could, starting with all her letters and phonics by 14 months, then reading words at 17 months and by 2.5 years of age, she was reading chapter books.
I look back to the nights where we would walk her a mile, she was 12 months old when we started doing this…a tiny toddler walking a mile in the vain attempt to help her sleep. By 18 months of age, we could leave a pile of books in her cot and she’d read herself to sleep.
She was always energetic, both mentally and physically, but, by the age of 5, we were starting to see problems with her behaviour. She was often angry and frustrated, this turned to violence and meltdowns on a daily basis. We went through a phase when she was 6 of her having 2 hour screaming meltdowns every day. It was at this point we seeked help. We took her to see an Educational Psychologist who gave her a battery of testing. Some of the tests showed big discrepancies and in one area, a difference of nearly 70 points between sections. ADHD was mentioned and we were told to investigate further. It was 9 months later (due to waiting lists) that we got the official diagnosis. It was a life changing week as we decided that we could no longer cope with the meltdowns and violence, her school work was suffering, family life was suffering, we were all miserable. We started Ocelot on a Ritalin type drug and we haven’t looked back.
The time before the medication kicks in is hard; she cannot concentrate enough to get dressed or eat breakfast, she cannot control her emotions or her feelings. The same issues arise when the medication wears off. Without the medication, she is completely disorganised, she cannot dress herself, fed herself and some days, she cannot string a proper verbal sentence together. Her frustrations and emotions are heightened so she becomes violent towards us, she cannot listen, she cannot stop moving, she flits from activity to activity, she forgets everything…the medication helps her to filter out the important stuff and bring everything together.
Some days though, the medication has little effect, this is often food or lack of sleep related.
With regard to homeschooling, she will be medicated for a good 12 hours. I’m looking forward to having this time with her, as right now, school get all the benefits and we get the pre and post medication behaviour.
Ocelot is happy to take the medication, she understands how it helps her in daily life, but there are times when she just likes to go a little crazy so we hold off!