October 22, 2009

Daytrana is a friend of mine.

Daytrana has revolutionized our school day.  Daytrana is this little 1 1/2" square patch we put on Jacob every day from morning until 2:00.  It's sometimes called the "ritalin patch" and is for ADHD, and boy, do I like it.

After struggling to focus for quite some time, Jacob is finally focusing really well!  We contemplated different medication options for a long time and finally decided it was time to do something.  He just. can't. focus.  To go brush his teeth, get dressed, eat his lunch, write the next word, look at what I'm doing, keep his hands off his sister, just. calm. down.

So it was time to see if we had any other options.  By 7 1/2 we saw a pretty clear difference between "boy" and "ADHD," and it didn't seem fair to him anymore to not try the medicines after exhausting all of our other options.  (We are limited with herbal supplements because of the corn allergy, he's already on all of the special diets, and we have implemented as much sensory and environmental things as we can.)

Jacob has a very sweet heart, he wants to do the right thing.  He wants to be pleasing.  He wants people to enjoy being around him.  And he knew some of that wasn't happening.  I had done all of the restructuring of our day that was possible, but there is a point where one must be able to focus to just do the next thing.

So, he started Daytrana about 6 weeks ago and it's been great for him!  We can now do about 3 or more hours of school in a row!  He can complete workbook tasks in a room where other activity is going on.  He can complete tasks on his own without me constantly reminding him.  He can play nicely with his sister without
having his hands on her or in her face.  He notices what is going on around him.  Mostly, he just seems calmer... and it's not because I don't remember correctly.  We get a reminder every night at about 5:30 when the medicine wears off!

I know many parents are afraid to try stimulant meds for a whole slew of reasons.  I was there too.  But I had a revalation one day:  If they didn't work, we could stop them!  Imagine that!  Once I realized it wasn't an all-or-nothing deal, I had an appointment the next day.  And I am so glad we went!

Without meds:
1~no more than 1 1/2 hours per day, had to be involved every minute
2~had to be reminded - literally - every minute to stay on task
3~sometimes needed several reminders before he actually picked up the pencil
4~struggled to complete any written task b/c of the focusing issue (so little of his school could be done that way)
5~I had to be leading everything so there was little independent thought involved
6~could not challenge him academically because we did the minimu we needed to do so we could get by
7~was regularly "getting in" people's faces and not noticing social cues
8~was frustrated at being corrected constantly (usually for antagonizing Mattie)

With Daytrana:
1-school up to 3 or more hours, much of it can be independent now
2~can work for ten minutes (or an hour sometimes!) without any intervention
3~usually one reminder now is sufficient
4~has done more written work in the past 6 weeks than in the previous 3 years combined, and it's been GOOD work!
5~can have a research assignment, find the right page, find the answer, and answer a question about a subject
6~is being challenged in many areas now and seems to be enjoying it!
7~plays appropriately with Mattie, isn't getting in her face all day or antagonizing
8~is happier all around because the constant correction is diminished remarkably

Jacob is happier, learning more, and growing by leaps and bounds... all because he can focus!  The really nice part is that he is still Jacob.  He's still happy, fun, loud, and full of energy, just in a different way.  He's definitely not overmedicated, something I was pretty afraid of.  We have had the negative side effect of him not being hungry, but he eats a smaller lunch just because he has to and makes up for the rest of it as the meds wear off in the evenings.  Overall, I feel really good about our decision.


Leslie said...


It's good to hear all you wrote. The thing that jumped out at me was not keeping his hands (or feet) off of his sister- boy do we have that issue too!

I'm still in the afraid to try meds side of thing and looking at all my options. I would love to hear any advice or encouragment you may have for me on this path.


Aaron & Cassie said...

My son also has a corn allergy. He is 9. After 4 years of trying everything we could (diet, naturopath, homeschooling), we are finally at the point where we admit we need meds. Our options are very limited due to the corn allergy. I think the patch may work. How is it all these years later?

Your post made me cry, thinking that maybe, just maybe we might be close to an answer! My son is tired of living with this and so am I! I hope this is the answer we both need!