I wrote back in March that Lexie’s teacher was concerned that she might have an attention or focus problem. I brought it up to Lexie’s pediatrician at her 7-year-old checkup in April. After a few basic questions, she gave us the paperwork to have her assessed for ADD or ADHD.
Basically this included a questionnaire for both parents and her teacher. They like to have four assessments so we had Lexie’s reading teacher also fill out a form. The pediatrician then scored the questionnaires. We met with her at the end of April to go over the results.
Both my questionnaire and Lexie’s primary teacher indicated that Lexie might have a focus problem. But the one from my husband and her reading teacher didn’t. Since all four questionnaire were not in sync with each other, there was no definite diagnosis of ADD or ADHD.
As we discussed this, Lexie is rolling across the exam table and even though she had my husband’s phone to play with, she can’t sit still.
The doctor talked briefly about our options – trying therapy to redirect Lexie or trying some medication to see if that helped her focus. If the medicine worked, we would then have our ADD diagnosis. If it didn’t then we would need to look at other methods for redirecting her.
I think because we are already frustrated with her, medication seemed the easier solution to at least get a definitive diagnosis. The doctor went over the side effects – decreased appetite, sleep problems or even possibly heart palpitations.
One thing I didn’t realize is that most ADD medications are stimulants. As such, since Lexie was born with a congenitive heart defect (which resolved itself before 9 months old), the doctor ordered an EKG that would be evaluated by her pediatric cardiologist (who we hadn’t seen in almost 6 years).
Well, her cardiologist had since changed offices and he didn’t have access to her old records. If he had, we probably would have been saved from having to make an appointment to see him. As it was, we got a call that he had noted something unusual on her EKG and we needed to follow up with him.
After a second EKG, an echocardiogram and refreshing his memory about Lexie’s medical history, he pronounced her heart strong and saw no problem with her taking ADD medicine. (He did note that he could see why she might need the medication as she again could hardly sit still during the exam.)
So after one last appointment to again go over the side effects, we were given a prescription for Focalin. We were to start her with the lowest dosage of 5 mg and then if after two weeks that didn’t seem to help, we were to move her to a 10 mg dosage.
After a few days delay of getting the insurance company to understand the dosage instructions so they would cover her medication, we tried to start Lexie on the medication on June 12th. I say try because the medicine came in a pill format and Lexie has never taken a pill.
My husband thought it would be no trouble as he has never had problems swallowing pills. I on the other hand remember struggling with it as a child. Lexie takes after me and had trouble swallowing the capsule.
The instructions indicated that we could open the capsule and add it to a spoonful of applesauce which we didn’t have since neither kid eats it. So we decided to open a capsule and add the contents to some water and administer it by a syringe as we do all of Lexie’s other medications. Lexie however panicked and the most of the meds dribbled down her front side.
Admitting defeat for the day, we tried again the next day. This time we sprinkled it on a spoonful of yogurt and she had no problem taking it. She has now been taking it for a little over a week and there has been very little change in her behavior. We will probably try the higher dosage in the coming week and then meet with her doctor next month to check her weight and discuss if the medication is helping her.