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DS10 was diagnosed a couple of years ago. We did try medications without success- one made him agitated another made his appetite so poor he was dropping weight. I shelved that idea for a while after his pediatrician suggested seeing a psych to further assist. I'm not opposed to revisiting that idea. My trick when he was at school was to be the last in the pick up lane and his teacher would have him do homework to avoid the HOURS to complete the same work at home. Now that he's homeschooled I'm at a loss of how to get him to focus. I've tried a wobble cushion (meh) and the hammock (daydreaming). I'm frustrated. He has science and English once a week with a homeschool group. And getting the assignments done from that and his CLE math is about all the day has time for. He likes to disappear upstairs with his schoolwork that he just doesn't complete due to constantly being distracted. I also work part-time and I don't want it to be unrealistic to expect him to get some of that done independently while I'm gone, but maybe it is.... I did search the history here, and found some helpful suggestions, but was hoping for more....

Are there any good books for EF or websites? There are a plethora on Amazon and I don't want to waste time reading something that won't help, especially since it's the inattentive type. I've thought of maybe getting a parapro to sit with him. Other suggestions? 

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There's such a thing as an educational therapist, and around here they will work with the client by phone even. There's a certification in it. They become sort of the rocket fuel to get things organized and on track. 

Is he doing any athletics? Does he have a better time of day? 

360 Thinking has good workshops occasionally on EF strategies. Some of it is pretty obvious. I think at 10 he's still pretty young, which means it might be about you. Like you sit beside him, you have the pile of books, you set the timer for 10 minutes, he works and rotates to the next thing when the timer goes off. He works for 30 minutes like that, breaks for 15, and starts all over again.

How is his ability to do the output comfortably for the tasks? Is writing comfortable? Typing?

Is there anything that goes WELL in his day? Most people work better when they're working TOWARD something or motivated. So ironically, he may get MORE done if you add a sport, a part time job (dog walking, whatever), regular playdates, "PE" at the park every day at a specific time, Saturday outings that he has to have his list done to be eligible to go on, etc.

Are his tasks clearly structured and doable?

My straight ADHD dd at 10 could work from a list with checkins and me within view. She could finish reading independently, haha. My ds at that age did squat independently. So there's a range of normal, but I think it wouldn't be out of the normal range for him to need support to do well. It sounds like whatever that end of day teacher was doing provided that structure. How can you replicate that at home? Does he need you to hire an in home tutor?

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Do you have, or can you rig up, a standing desk for him? I made myself a work area with a built-in cabinet (putting a laptop on a decorative box because there wasn't a shelf at the correct height).

Some other things that might help:

  • headphones with repeating nonverbal music, such as "Spring" from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons
  • designated checkpoints (e.g., big sticky note on the math page to remind him to come show you when it's done)
  • a chime every 15 or 30 minutes to remind him to look at his list and see where he is compared to his goal for this morning/afternoon

Here's a thread on teaching EF skills: https://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/679087-explicitly-teaching-executive-function-skills/

 

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My advice is that it may be time to revisit the idea of medication. DS16's ADHD meds affect his appetite at lunch, so he eats heavily at other times of day. At age 10, he was just starting medication, and we had to work with the doctor over a few months to get his dosage and type of med correct. Over time, his meds have been adjusted in a variety of ways, as he grows, and his needs and his body have changed. He did drop 5 pounds when he first started meds, and he dropped a few pounds earlier this year, so we had to keep an eye on what he was eating. But in both cases, his weight went back up, so the weight loss was temporary and mild, while the good affects of the meds for him are major.

We switched to a psychiatric nurse practitioner this year, and while we really liked the med management from our pediatrician, the nurse practitioner is awesome! She just has a deeper knowledge and understanding of the meds, because that is her specialty. It did take us quite a few months to get on her patient load, due to big demand. For that reason, if you decide to try meds again, I say go back to your doctor first and ask them to prescribe for your son for the first few months, while you wait to get into a psychiatrist. And you can ask your doctor for a recommendation.

As for how to help your son now -- It sounds to me like he needs additional support. For example, doing his work at a table near you, instead of in his room. None of my kids were ready to do their homeschool lessons that independently at that age, especially the one with ADHD. I had to be constantly helping them. So, unfortunately, I do think your expectations for him to do independent work are unrealistic. Can you set aside some "school hours" during each day in your schedule, when you are not working, when you can sit with him? Neither of you might like that -- especially when he is used to disappearing into his room and being less supervised -- but it might be what it takes. And then add extra supports on top of that, as needed, because sitting next to you and being redirected and assisted as needed will help, but the ADHD will still be there in the room and in his brain and will still have to be accommodated in other ways.

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Thank you so much for your responses and the link. Interestingly, his myotherapist last night suggested working with an OT that specializes in kids with ADHD. She has it herself and showed off her Ikea sit to stand desk that she raises during her zoom meetings. My older daughter uses medication on her school days and it makes a huge difference for her so I will try to make an appointment with the psych to revisit medication. Peter Pan has given me a lot to gnaw on in regards to structure, etc. He does tend to run off because his siblings are a distraction....but then he's still distracted. His best time is morning... after that everything takes so much longer to complete. I like to start the day with "morning basket" time, but maybe I'm wasting his best 30 minutes on that. I can push it until after lunch. So much to think about. And, thank you again for the responses. 

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On 10/26/2020 at 12:32 AM, Storygirl said:

As for how to help your son now -- It sounds to me like he needs additional support. For example, doing his work at a table near you, instead of in his room. None of my kids were ready to do their homeschool lessons that independently at that age, especially the one with ADHD. I had to be constantly helping them. So, unfortunately, I do think your expectations for him to do independent work are unrealistic. Can you set aside some "school hours" during each day in your schedule, when you are not working, when you can sit with him? Neither of you might like that -- especially when he is used to disappearing into his room and being less supervised -- but it might be what it takes. And then add extra supports on top of that, as needed, because sitting next to you and being redirected and assisted as needed will help, but the ADHD will still be there in the room and in his brain and will still have to be accommodated in other ways.

I fully agree with this. None of my students with attention challenges can work independently. Well, they can for short periods (5 minutes, 10 minutes) with check ins. Of course he likes going off too his room, who wouldn't, but it doesn't sound like that's working well. If there are things he can do independently, you could have him stay with you for something, then go in a different room for the thing that he can do on his own, and then come back, etc.

 

I also like PeterPan's idea of something to work towards, like an activity or something else fun. The habit of doing the work first, then doing something fun, is a good habit to start cultivating. 

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