Welcome to One Small Step for Parents! Our goal is to help you find the right resources, support and information that is needed to make informed choices. Without the proper tools we, as parents and adults, don't know what will help our situation or what works and doesn't work. Here at One Small Step, we have done our best to take the guesswork and confusion out of the equation by supplying tools, resources and online support.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Singleparentitis and ADHD

When my son first started exhibiting behaviours that weren't considered to be in the 'normal' growth range, I was encouraged to seek outside help regarding parenting. I immediately found a parenting course for ADHD/ADD/Difficult Children and as my son fit the 'Difficult Children' category, I signed up for the six week course. During the six weeks, we documented behaviour, applied strategies and posted the results. We had homework every week, and our spouses were also given tasks to complete. Many of the parents took turns regarding homework, however, there were some of us who could not engage our partners to help. I was one of the people in the latter category.

My husband (at the time) decided that he couldn't give any of his time to learning about our son's challenges, opting instead to have me learn everything and pass it along to him. This wasn't the solution I was looking for, but had little choice except to go along with his decision. After I had completed the course, I realized that there was a lot more to it than simply passing along information, so I signed him up for the next six week course.

He didn't attend one class.

Shortly after that, I made the decision to move my son and myself, and go live with my daughter. After making that move, I had to deal with the fall out from the decision, which made our life much more difficult, something, I'm sure, many of you have experienced.

Singleparentitis is not regulated to only families with ADHD children, unfortunately though, the statistics for this possibility are much higher when one or more children of the marriage have a disability, simply because of the added stress.

Of course, there are many factors that need to be present before the onset of Singleparentitis, and not all the symptoms are the same for everyone. However, if you are suffering from Singleparentitis, there are some things that you can do to help aleviate some of the symptoms.

First and foremost, you need support! There are several avenues you can pursue, one being a local chapter of C.H.A.D.D., both in the U.S. and Canada, your local Mental Health facility should also have listings for parent groups, or you could check with your doctor for any support groups in your area.

Give yourself some "me" time. Find something you enjoy doing and set aside some time at least once a week. I know it is difficult, but if you don't recharge your batteries you won't be able to deal with the day to day challenges and the stress will overwhelm you.

Whatever you do, don't lock yourself away and suffer in silence. You need to vent, relax, talk with people who are dealing with the same challenges, or simply get away from it all for a couple of hours. If you find that difficult, you might want to look into some respite care. This will allow you the time to unwind and recharge, something that is very necessary for your mental and physical health.

Above all, don't lose hope! Singleparentitis isn't permanent, it just feels like it some days!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On a Personal Note

It has been a while since I have written anything personal, as I have been concentrating on making sure my readers had as much up to date information and support as I could find. So today, I'm going to play catch up.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you already know about my son. However, for the new readers out there who have (hopefully) stumbled onto my page, I am a single mother of a (now) 13 year old boy who has been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD, Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress. Quite a mouthful, and to be honest, quite a lot to deal with some days.

After my son had such a dismal grade 6 year, I decided to move to Maple Ridge, where, I had heard, there was more in school support. I must say, the professionals who have been seeing my son for the past 9 months have been amazing! What a change from his last school.

Unfortunately, he is in the last month of his last elementary year. Next year, he is slated to attend Junior High - something that neither of us are prepared for.

However, we have been spared that particular dilemma, by once again moving - I know, I know, but each move has been less traumatic and to better neighbourhoods and schools, so the upheaval can be weighed against the yearly improvements I have been seeing in my son.

This particular location (Langley) has a wonderful support system for kids like mine, and even better, a middle school. The perfect solution to ease my son into Junior High. I have been in touch with the school, and they in turn, have been in touch with the principal of my son's present school, so hopefully everything will be in place before he starts grade 8 - God willing and the creeks don't rise!

I will keep you posted on his progress...

Monday, March 15, 2010

More ADHD Information Links

As promised, here are more information links for ADHD and its attendant disabilities. What information we have on this and other related disorders is growing daily, due to research and parental stories.
Some of these sites may seem familiar in their content, however, sometimes it is just a matter of connecting or the rewording of info that helps us to find the solutions we are been searching for.
This list of articles outline different approaches to treatment, as well as help for parents.


My ADHD/ODD/OCD Son Refuses to Respond to Discipline, and Consequences Don't Mean Anything - Please Help Me!
If I had been told that I would be the mother of a wonderful, smart, handsome boy, I would have been thrilled and excited with my new role.
If I had been told that this same wonderful, smart, handsome boy would also have ADHD/ODD, Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I would have run screaming for the hills!

ADHD Alternative Treatments: Physical Exercise
Everybody knows that exercise is good for our bodies, but did you know that it is also good for our minds? Recent studies have found that regular exercise can play a significant role in relieving the symptoms of ADHD, and many doctors now consider regular exercise to be an important part of any alternative treatment program for ADHD.

Help for Parents of ADHD Children
For most children attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that tends to lead children to act without thinking. Approximately 8 to 10 percent of school-aged children are affected by ADHD, and it typically affects boys more than girls. Typically, the parent, school, or day-care provider notices behaviors that are linked to ADHD such as:

Adult ADHD
ADHD in adults is a serious condition. Many people do not realize that adults can suffer from this disorder because they think people with ADHD have to be loud, hyperactive, tons of energy, impulsive people. However, the fact is that this is not just something kids suffer from, in fact, it is not like kids that have ADHD just grow out of it. This is not just a phase, and often times the symptoms of ADHD get worse in adults than it was for kids.

ADHD Alternative Treatments: Sleep
Everybody knows that a bad night's sleep is likely to leave you moody, irritable, and bouncing between exhaustion and hyperactivity the next day. What is less well known is the fact that many of the symptoms of sleep deprivation are very similar to the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD Alternative Treatments: Nature Therapy
There are a number of natural and behavioral treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
One treatment that has been receiving a lot of attention in recent years is "nature therapy." Nature therapy is simply the use of natural settings and outdoor activities in treating a variety of mental disorders, including ADHD and ADD.

ADD/ADHD & Drug Free Treatment Options
When having a discussion about ADHD or ADD treatment, its important to understand what defines these ailments. Living with ADD means that your brain can't correctly control attention, making it hard to resist impulses and complete monotonous tasks. About one quarter of children with ADD, or attention deficit disorder, also have restlessness leading to ADHD. Even a seemingly calm child can still be diagnosed with attention deficit issues.

Adult ADHD
(a different article from the previous link)
Many only associate ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) with children, but did  you know that a large percentage of individuals who experience symptoms as a child will find that they are carried well into adulthood? Sometimes even while their old symptoms start to decline, new symptoms will begin to appear that are primarily dominant in adult ADHD.

ADHD Medication Guide

In general, side effects of the stimulants most commonly found in ADHD drugs can include a decreased appetite, headaches, stomachaches, trouble getting to sleep, jitteriness, and social withdrawal. Other side effects which may be an early indicator that the dosage is too high (or that the individual is overly-sensitive to the medicine) include becoming overly focused or even appearing to be more dull/sedative than usual.

ADHD Information Links

There is a lot of information on the web about ADHD and its attendant disabilities. When I was looking for help it seemed nearly impossible to find a website or blog that fit my circumstances, and the amount of different websites and articles was overwhelming.
While I know that being informed is crucial to helping your child, being overwhelmed by the glut of information all over the web isn't going to do much for your perseverance!
My aim for this blog is to gather as many articles, websites and resources as possible in one area.

So, to help you in your search for information, I am providing links to as many relevant sites as I can. If you happen to know of any that I have missed (and this will be an ongoing posting as I find more,) please email me and I will include your link in this post.

I hope these prove helpful to you, I know many of them helped me.

ADHD Articles on HubPages

Living With an ADHD/ODD Child

If you are viewing this, you might be attracted by the idyllic picture of my son and me. I have to admit, we do portray a warm, loving family unit, but looks can be deceiving. We only achieve familial bliss half the time. The other half of the time is spent arguing, cajoling, manipulating, yelling, (yes yelling) slamming doors, growling...well you get the picture.

My Son's Elementary Education - Finding the Right School
In my previous post, I introduced you to my son, who has ADHD, ODD, Anxiety Disorder, and some Post Traumatic Stress. (Believe me that's a lot for a child to handle, never mind the parents.)

How To Cope With Your Child's ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)
This is for the parents who live with this disability, day in, and day out. If they are lucky, maybe they catch a break on the weekend, (depending on whether you are a single parent) if not, then unless a good friend, family member or paid respite worker steps in and shoulders some of the responsibility, there is no break. 

ADHD/ADD And Their Co-disorders

As a parent, teacher, caregiver of a child with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) we know the arduous task of caring for, raising, and teaching them. 

Symptoms of ADD and ADHD

Because anyone can display the following symptoms at one time or another, especially children, the criteria for diagnosing ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is very specific. 

The Truth About Over Medicating ADHD Children

This is likely the most controversial topic when it comes to the ADD/ADHD subject. So what's the controversy over medicating children with ADD or ADHD?

Testing for ADHD

 There is no single medical, neurological, or attentional test that can reliably identify ADHD. But, by monitoring patterns of behavior , and taking a series of tests can help t identify this mental disorder. The particular combination of tests selected to test you for ADHD will depend on your clinician, but will likely include assessments of personality and problem solving styles, current fears and concerns, and intellectual functioning.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

ADHD and Siblings

Recently, I was asked by a reader to post an article about ADHD and siblings. Every parent with more than one offspring is well aware of sibling rivalry, but when one or more of your children has a disorder such as ADHD, (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) ADD, (Attention Deficit Disorder) ODD, (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) OCD, (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Aspergers, or PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to name a few, the resulting upsets can create intense feelings of dislike, parental favoritism, and loss of empathy with the affected sibling.

This does not mean that your "normal" child doesn't love his sibling. It just means the child has reached his limit regarding the sibling's behaviors. It is difficult enough for an adult to deal with the behaviors, let alone a child. Adults can, with help, distinguish between normal, age related developmental behaviors, and those that accompany a disability. Children, on the other hand, have enough of a challenge handling their own developmental stages, never mind trying to figure out why a sibling's behavior is 'over the top' and unpredictable.

These feelings are not limited to younger children, and can present themselves in pre-teens and teenagers as well. On a personal note, my daughter was eighteen when she came to live with my son and I, having previously moved to live with her father to finish her schooling in a different district. As her brother's behaviors became harder to handle, she reacted by distancing herself from him, to the point where she refused to have anything to do with his care and attention.

I share this information with you to illustrate just one of many reactions siblings can have to continuous, intense behaviors. Unfortunately, when these events were taking place, I was overwhelmed, with little to no support, and had no knowledge of what was happening and why. I felt like a referee of a title bout between two heavyweight boxers!

Needless to say, every family member is affected by the behaviors of a child with ADHD/ODD (or any of the others listed above,) but none more so than the child's siblings. As parents, we need to provide them with a safe, loving, understanding environment which is sometimes easier said than done.

Understanding the disability helps to a certain degree, as does having someone other than a family member to talk to. (It is a good idea for all family members to learn about the disability!) Scheduling some one-on-one or alone time for the siblings also helps them to 'recharge' and de-stress. They need to be reassured that you are doing your best to meet their needs and not simply expecting them to cope without your support and guidance.

Setting firm and consistent boundaries regarding their privacy and personal possessions will also go a long way to helping them deal with the actions of the ADHD/ODD child. Try not to place any responsibility on the siblings for the care and attention (ie: babysitting) of the ADHD/ODD child, as this will likely cause stress, avoidance and resentment.

As the ADHD/ODD child matures, many of the behaviors you are presently dealing with will abate or change, depending on the developmental stage the child is going through. However, until that happens, you still need the right information to help you deal with the present situation.

One way to get that information, is to check out the books I have listed on this blog, another is to speak to your Community Services counselor. They should be able to provide information on available programs, support services and family counseling. The more informed you are, the better you can provide the support your children need.