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Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

Last post 10-24-2009 11:31 AM by cherpear. 8 replies.
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  • 04-08-2008 8:34 AM

    Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    Hey,

    I am new and desperate.  We have taken our son out of school.  He is 8 (9 in June) and in third grade.  He has always been a typical 'boy' in school.  I have three other old children and I have been through the public school thing before.  My oldest (son) is now 21.  He was ADHD, dyslexic, later diag. bi polar...  So I have been cautious with any diagnosis, but also open minded.  Unfortunately he did drop out of school, moved out at 17, and struggled for a few years.  He is doing wonderful now.  He did get his GED, has a good job, his own apartment, etc.  And he loves to COOK!  He has a lucky girlfriend!  I felt like I had failed him for so long.  But my 'baby boy' calls me twice a day to check in. (He travels with his job and calls when he is bored....) He is thoughtful, considerate, loving, everything I wanted to teach him.  And I did. The rest he had to find on his own. 
    SO....this year I began recieving notes almost daily about my eight year old and his "ADHD" tendancies.  It was as if they were disecting every detail of his day.  In first grade I had a teacher question ADHD and a counselor/observer agreed that he was showing appropiate behavior. Because our son is tall / bigger than the other students his age he is noticed more than someone half his size doing the same thing.  This fueled my 'cautious opinion'. 
    He had been experiencing diarrhea for several months, doctors thought they were treating it. He had experienced a growth spurt, weight loss. He began wetting the bed again...Dr. said, "a lot of boys do, here--take this pill"  I questioned a relation between the diarrhea and bedwetting.  Was told it was not likely.  He was given Ritalin which caused his heart to pund.  (I stopped it that day)  I had that overwhelming feeling that something else was going on.  I was scared.  I kept researching symptoms on the 'forbidding' internet.  Old symptoms and ones that I never would have related to 'direrreah' began to match up. His fingernails grew so rapidly, I always thought that was odd. But related to an illness?  Anyway, I asked the doc to do a thyroid test.  My son has Graves disease (hyperthyroid).  And it has been going on for a while.  His bone age is advanced.  His emotions are ALL over the place.  It is a day to day process of coping.  We took him out of school due to anxiety.  I am oficially a homeschool teacher now.  It is funny because I was a preschool teacher, then a substitute teacher in the elementary and middle schools.  Now I can't keep one childs attention!  I need help. I really want to do this.  I need a schedule, direction and guidance.  We have been working slowly.  He is smart. Reads well.  He comprehends so much more than I ever realized.  I am the ones who needs the structure.  We have a low/no budget for curriculum. Live in a rural area.  His only friend will be moving next weekend and it will be very hard on him.   
    The only advice I have to offer is before meds are given for ADHD or anything, start with a thyroid test.  My son is now on so much medicine now.  He does take lexapro and abilify for depression and bipolar symptoms, along with atenolol to lower his heart rate and methimazole to kill off his thyroid.  I just wonder how much could have been avoided if the thyroid had been caught earlier. Even wehen we went in for the ADHD concerns.  Test before med!  Graves mimics ADHD, down to the typical sloppy handwriting.  It is caused by hand tremors. 
    I need to finish out his school year.  I am in NC.  I need to learn the states laws, etc.  I'd appreciate any advice.
    Thanks.

  • 04-10-2008 10:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    Hi there,

    Wow...you have certainly been through a lot.  I am glad that you posted this so others can hear your story. The HSI community is here to help and support you along the journey.  Many homeschoolers face similar challenges such as you described in your post.  It is important to have connections to the homeschooling community, especially with those dealing with special needs.  I can certainly understand your frustration of having actual classroom teacher experiences and then struggling to homeschool your own child (I have been there personally).  I would like to recommend a book to you called "Home Schooling Children With Special Needs" by Sharon C. Hensley, M.A. This book along with "Homeschooling the Challenging Child" by Christine M. Field has really helped me with homeschooling my special needs children.  As a former classroom teacher, I could really relate to Sharon's book...she is a certified special ed. teacher who decided to pull her daughter out of school and homeschool her.  Her daughter has special needs (autism).  This book has numerous resources for curriculum choices, behavioral mgmt., etc.  It has literally been my saving grace!  Both of these books can be found here at HSI in our book store and are well worth the read.   I would also like to recommend that you check out our column titled "Special Needs, Special Joys"  These articles are written for those of us dealing with such unique circumstances and offer great wisdom.  Continue to read and post on the forums...so many of us share similar experiences and can offer support and knowledge to others struggling along the journey.  I can't imagine where I would be today without theses wonderful resources and connections. 

    I am so glad to hear that you are trusting your own instincts when it comes to helping your child.  You know your child better than anyone else.  Stay informed and connected to others and never lose the faith that you are your child's best teacher/advocate and the only one who can offer the unconditional love that he so needs and craves. Take it one day at a time...it's OK to go at a pace that is right him...that is the beauty of homeschooling!  Remember, you are not having to fulfill the school's agenda anymore...you are fulfilling your child's personal needs.  Let him take the lead and show you what he will respond to and what sparks his interests.  Take off the classroom teacher hat (I have to remind myself to do that at times) and put on the mom hat...afterall, all mother's are teachers!  Remember, you didn't need a curriculum to teach your child to walk, feed himself etc.  You may not always need a curriculum to homeschool either.  Think outside the box...your environment is a great learning resource!  The internet has some great free educational resources, utilize your library often, check out educational videos etc.  Try to locate other homeschoolers in your area and find some local support.  I truly do believe that there are always solutions/alternatives to what may seem unsolvable.  My biggest piece of advice is to TAKE CARE OF YOU!!!!  I have learned that without my own sanity and peaceful inner balance I am no good to anyone!  I have burned myself out on more than one occasion.  When you feel like you need a break...by all means take one.  If you feel overloaded...lighten up your load.  Keep things simple and don't allow other's opinions to derail what you know is right for you and your family.

    Best of luck to you and Happy Homeschooling!

    Warmly,

    hsiamy

    ~ hsiamy
  • 10-05-2008 12:57 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    hi,  you and I have alot in common when it comes to our boys:). Our older son is 21 left when he was 16 1/2 struggled too. He was 1 mth shy of graduating H.S. he just dropped out. When I asked him why he told me he didn't want to graduate brfore his friends.HE DID GET HIS GED 21/2 YRS LATER & APPLIED FOR COLLEGE.(still waiting on him to go). He's gifted, never wanted to take his meds for ADD (they made him sick), was angry all the time and even tried to hurt himself:(. I PRAYED ALOT & LEFT HIM IN GOD'S HANDS! I knew I taught him right from wrong and GOD would always be there for him. Now, he'll be 22 this mth(OCT), calls or txt me just to say I Love You, &  when he's angry or hurt (just to hear my voice). He has a pretty girlfriend he's planning on marrying,they're working on getting an apt. together got a job & travels with his band("MUSIC") HIS 1ST LOVE. Being on his own taught my son how blessed he was. When he was 20 he came down for a visit & thanked us for not giving up on him. IWe have a 15 yr old who is ADHD & learning disabled and I HATED giving him those drugs! HE WENT THRU 6 BEFORE ONE DIDN'T MAKE HIM SO SICK.(concerta). In Dec of 2007 I had -had enough of the VA school system my husband & I took ALL 4 OF OUR CHILDREN OUT! Within 6 mths they ech grew 5 inches in height, grew 2 shoe sizes & gained 10 pds a piece!  WE STOPPED GIVING OUR 15 YR OLD DRUGS ! ( he's a new person now, still have to be redirected sometimes..but ALL children do)They even STOPPED HAVING HEAD & STOMACHES. As a mom I know what you're going thru it's not easy, but don't be discourage!:) Your son's emotions are a typical for a growing boy.(you forgot:o)). I have 6 children total, 2 are on their "own" you know until they need us. LOL 4 at home ranging from 6 to 15. (3) which are boys & a 6 yr old girl who thinks she pays our bills!! LOL. YOU AND YOUR SON WILL BE IN MY PRAYERS. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!!! As far as your state laws... they are like mine in VA.... 3 ways to homeschool: 1) thru the school. 2) religious exemption status.3) a tutor who is teacher certified.  WE DID # 2 we wrote a letter to the school board w/ our kids name & dob's & wrote they will be homeschooled under "RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION STATUS" that was in Dec 2007 & we never have to deal w/ the school system again under #2. You have to make sure you son learns about GOD, go to bible/Sunday school. Keep a record of everything learned, trips,adventures...etc. MANY FREE SITES.... THEY ARE GREAT AND HELPFUL TO US. Ihope this finds you and yours in the best of health. God bless.

  • 10-18-2008 1:29 AM In reply to

    • evine
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-05-2008
    • Posts 9

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    Thank you so much for this insightful information.  I live in La Porte, TX and we are starting a new Parenting Support Group for Special Needs children.  I wish you could be there but I am getting more comfortable maneuvering my way around the message boards so perhaps we can glean from your expertise and others in that manner.

     I am also interested in getting the books you recommended and reading the articles.  Life is full of blessings and we are truly blessed to help one another find our children's different-ABILITIES.

     Thank you for sharing.

    Many blessings,

    e-VINE

  • 10-18-2008 1:38 AM In reply to

    • evine
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-05-2008
    • Posts 9

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    What a joy to read these message boards.  Knowing I am not alone and being ablet to reach out and touch someone like me at any hour really helps.  We are starting a parent support group in La Porte and I am going to take y'all with me.  Thank you for being real and sharing.  It helps more than you know.

     Many blessings to you and our world-wide community of special needs families. 

    e-VINE

    Gayla Wingate

  • 10-18-2008 1:56 AM In reply to

    • evine
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-05-2008
    • Posts 9

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    You hang in there.  You are doing great!  Do not forget that and do not forget to give yourself a pat on the back and a gift of appreciation when others forget.

    Your son is so very blessed to have a mother that cares so much for him as much as you are so very blessed to meet his special needs.

     I am so glad you shared.  I needed to hear others with special needs and get my mind off me and mine for a while.

    As time goes on, Joshua is 11 now.  He was brain injured at 2 1/2 months which is a long story.  He is a miracle and has gone through so much in his young life.  I am his aunt and joint guardian.  Support groups have really helped me.  We are starting one in La Porte, TX this month Oct. 2008 (Hurricane Ike put us on hold for a month).  I was doing all I knew to do for Joshua but it was not enough.  A parent at a support group shared what she had been through and what worked for her son...I have learned so much since then.

     Now I am doing my best to get a handle on the behavior and learning disability and thinking ahead.  I listen to parents that have older children, that have already been there and I prepare ahead when possible.

     What works good for us is knowing what to do when.  When I prepare Joshua ahead of time he know what to expect and behaves much more balanced.  When I mess up and do not follow through, I get busted by him every time!  Consistency is the key.  Structure is a must.  I am having to educate myself in my fifties but it feels good.  The growing pains are there for the both of us but when we get outside ourselves and direct some of our energy to help others, it is very healing.

     Thank you for sharing.  I so enjoy listening without interupting and being heard.  I am a bit ADHD myself, so I can understand the kids.

     Many blessings sent your way,

     

    e-VINE

    Gayla Wingate

  • 01-26-2009 5:48 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

     

    Dear chearpear; WOW you should be happy because your sons are innately intelligent!!! 

    I'm George I was diagnosed with ADHD the best thing that help me was a very kind and good psychiatrist.

     

    I wish I was diagnosed earlier by my parents so I could learn to re-channel my energy. But then my mom who doesn’t know that I have that put me in a lot of activities.

     

     We kids with ADHD are very active that we seldom get things done.

     

    I was sent to the principal’s office many times in many schools.

     

    Now as I see it a good psychiatrist did her job well—with a heart.

     

    I recommend also you read theBetter Late than Early,” by Dr. Raymond S. Moore and Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Moore also.

    If you want to get our attention teach us using our kinesthetic senses.

     

    imperialgeorge@gmail.com
  • 09-28-2009 10:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    Have you found the support you need?  What about homeschooling?  I just started homeschooling my special needs child last week.  Balancing behavioral issues with academics is soooooooooooooooooooooo difficult.  My hat's off to the teachers that do this and keep their cool.

  • 10-24-2009 11:31 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it ADHD, bipolar (?), now diagnosed with Graves'

    Hey,

    I am sorry it has taken so long to respond. We have dial-up internet and it takes so looong to do anything.  We live in the country=no DSL/Cable=Tongue Tied

    We are still working on support.  Since I posted my letter, we re-enrolled our son back in school the 2008/2009 school year.  He had a great year!  His grades were good and he was happy.  This year started off horrible.  He is now 10 y/o and in the fifth grade.  The second or third week of school he was committed to a pshych unit for 'crisis stabilization'  My baby had thoughts of killing himself.  The hospital was an hour and a half away.  I knew he needed some help.  My husband was completely against it and wanted to take him home.   After my first signature the Dr. stopped me, I felt like I was signing divorce papers, as well as signing away my son.  She commited him instead of having me admit him against my husbands wishes.

    My husband calmed down, went home, and I stayed at the Ronald McDonald house.  He drove up every night for visitation.  After not wanting to talk to me and being able to mentaly process things at his own pace, he knows that our son needs help and now we are a team.  He has accepted the fact that there is something going on and scknowledged the genetic link in the mental health chain.  M stayed a week.  Did I mention he was admitted the same day my Dad was having lung cancer surgery?  When it rains................theres usualy a hurricane nearby Lightning

    He has a wonderful therapist.  Sees a psychiatrist and takes meds.  I don't want my child on meds, but they are helping him.  We have gone through a few choices and come to a combination that seems to be helping him.  He does not have the medicated 'look' or act like a zombie.  He is scheduled for a full eval. from a highly recomended neuro-psychologist in November.  I am hoping that brings us some answers. 

    Life is an ongoing challenge.  It is one day at a time.  Even then, I don't know what the next phone call will hold; as my teenage girls are challenging every aspect of my sanity.  They are 'grown and own their own' and seem to think every negative thing in their life is something I have caused. 

    Thanks for checking in.  All I can say, is stay strong.  Pray. Go with your gut.  Trust your instincts.  None of us would be searching these threads if our hearts weren't full of love.  I just want grandbabies..........to love 'em and send 'em home........Smile

     

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