Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ADHD: My Daughter’s Diagnosis Part 2 of 3 (Elementary and Teen)

Esther at two

 I thought we already had a challenging family until I discovered that ADHD had left its mark on another one of our children.  However, it was so different that I did not realize that it was ADHD until her learning was drastically  impaired enough that we had to have her tested by the public school she was attending.  Our daughter had “failed” preschool, but we sent her ahead to Kindergarten.
Esther posing on the couch
Then she “failed” Kindergarten but the school sent her to  Kindergarten summer school. 
Graduating from Kindergarten with Ms. Singer
 They sent her on to First Grade, but now in April of First Grade she was failing yet again.  She did not even know the 10 sight words from Kindergarten in April of First Grade. 
Praying with dad during an outdoor VBS
Now the school was telling me that the answer was to hold her back and have her repeat First Grade.  But I knew that was not going to solve the problem.  She simply was unable to learn.  Something was going on in her mind that was making learning almost impossible.  So I asked for the testing in writing.  They complied and tested her, but their results showed that although she was in the 12th percentile (only the 10th and lower get Special Ed services) there was nothing they could do.  Since they were not a title one school, they gave no services to the percentile in which she fell.  The district did have some services, but we would have to change schools.  My husband and I did not want to change schools, however, we had not had a private diagnosis with a psychologist like we had done with our son years earlier.  Was it possible that she had ADHD too?  Is that what was causing her so much difficulty in her learning?    We needed to rule out ADHD before we considered changing schools. 
Esther with beloved Jimmy Neutron the hamster
I remember the day I gave the psychologist the stack of test results from the school.  He looked through them and within 5 minutes, even before he talked to my daughter, he said, “It is very clear to me that she has ADHD.”  He explained why because of the way she had scored on several of the tests. The good news was that we did not need to change schools, but  now I had two children with ADHD.  I was not a happy mother.  I wondered why God was being so cruel to me!     Because she was having so much trouble in school and the fact that we had positive results with my son’s medication, we decided to try medicine for my daughter as well.  The results were astounding.  By the end of May she had not only learned all of her sight words from Kindergarten, but had also learned all of the sight words she was supposed to know by December in First Grade.  She was like a sponge in school.  Now that she was finally learning, the school pushed hard for the retention.  We relented.   In hindsight, it was a good decision.  I felt great apprehension about her repeating First Grade and all of the stigma surrounding a failed grade. However, in the end it was a great experience for her and it allowed her to catch up and to become a great learner. 
Esther during third grade

Have any of you had a child who struggled in school?  Did you have them tested?  Has the school ever recommended retention? 


  1. Yes to struggling in school. Tested, no. (but have a 504B)School does not think he needs testing. Learns but doesn't show it the traditional way. At risk for retention, every year of Middle School. But like you retention is not the answer. Summer school maybe this year. Meds...took him off, terrible insomnia. Appt. this week to discuss other medication....

  2. Hang in there, Lynette. Just by your comment I can see that you are doing everything you can. It does get easier.

  3. Your story sounds SO familiar! I have been right where you have been, 2 with ADHD, each a bit different and one with dyslexia and other auditory processing issues. It so hard to trust that the school is doing what they can when your instincts say something different. We held one of them back but just didn't start the other one until she was almost 6.