Medicine for ADHD: 3 Crucial Things You Should Know

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When  ‘just say no’ to medicine isn’t an option

Medicine for ADHD isn’t an easy choice. Maybe your pediatrician thinks your child is too young. Or your in-laws believe you’re being too soft on your kid.

Whatever the case is, you know what you’re doing isn’t working. Before I homeschooled, I got calls every day to come pick him up from daycare. I pulled him out of daycare after he hit a teacher’s hand with a broom.

The last two weeks before Pre-K ended he was in trouble every day. A month into Kindergarten I withdrew him before he was expelled.

I was frustrated and tried every method known to parent-kind. I had to face a hard fact. He needs medicine that works.

It’s a difficult truth to face about your baby. He’s wonderful and the sight of him makes your heart melt. She’s funny and creative with a mischievous sense of humor.

Medicine for ADHD?
ADHD makes life interesting, doesn’t it?

And then there’s the ADHD

Without question, ADHD makes it difficult to parent. But what about the child? A social situation like school, church, or even the grocery store has minefields full of triggers that can set her off.

After the official diagnosis, we requested medication. Were we scared? You bet.

My daughter was diagnosed in first grade in 2002. Frequent outbursts, lack of focus, and a caring teacher led me to get treatment. I kept it a secret because back then it was a sign of lazy parenting.

Fast forward to 2014 I noticed the same symptoms in my son. I scheduled a second visit with his pediatrician who wasn’t onboard the first time I mentioned my suspicions. Thankfully, he was unavailable but a caring nurse practitioner told me to get him tested after witnessing his ADHD behavior first hand.

No one wants to give a 3-year-old drugs

Even with an official diagnosis, no one wants to prescribe meds to a child that young. I understood that, but when counseling, discipline, and non-drug treatments fail you, what do you do?

It’s time to fight!

And believe me when I tell you, you’re in for a fight.

You’ll fight with insurance companies, doctors, your friends, your in-laws, people at the checkout line at Wal-Mart and maybe your spouse. This battle continues until they’re out of your house and even then it may show up at Thanksgiving.

The point I’m trying to make is children with ADHD become adults with ADHD. The good news is, it’s treatable with proper medication and other factors like diet and exercise. If you want to use medicine to treat your child’s ADHD, here are three things you should know.

  • Insurance

  • Genetic testing

  • Holistic treatment

Insurance companies are notorious for keeping treatment out of the hands of people who pay their salaries. There I said it. I’m talking from a customer and former employee standpoint.

Medicine Insurance
Insurance, the necessary evil

If you don’t believe me, watch Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko.

All critique aside, you must call your insurance company and verify:

If a provider is currently contracted with your insurance (Never ask a doctor if he takes your insurance, phrase your question “Are you currently contracted with __________” Also don’t rely on your insurance company’s website provider list, as many as 50% of the providers listed don’t take the insurance anymore. Also, find out if you need a referral first.

How much your deductible is: Does your deductible increase if you go out of network? If you haven’t met your deductible, how much is your office visit co-pay to see a specialist? I know it sounds old hat, but when I worked as a customer services agent over half of my calls were from people who were P.O.’d when the insurance company didn’t pay a bill because deductibles weren’t met.

Find out which meds they will pay for and if there are any restrictions. For example, my company wouldn’t pay for medicine because he was too young. My son had to use Adderall which made him like a zombie.

Genetic testing

Genetics Medicine
Genetic testing for ADHD can be useful

Do understand a lot has changed since my daughter’s diagnosis in the early 2000s. I discovered genetic testing on one of the group boards on Facebook. I had no idea that you can order a genetic test to discover which medicine works best for your child.

Warning, the tests are expensive, but some insurance companies will pay for it. The most popular two are Genesight and

Genesight tests for ADHD, depression, chronic pain, and Folate deficiency. With insurance, your out of pocket costs may be around $300. If you have Medicaid or Medicare, your cost is $0. They even have options if you’re uninsured.

Kailosgenetics does genetic testing for ADHD and offers other screenings for cancer. They also provide genetic testing for people who want to start a family. The cost of their test is $149 for first-time customers.

Both companies offer the swab test so no needles. A couple of swipes inside your youngster’s cheek and you’re done! Mail the results to the lab and get your results in a few weeks.

I’m trying the Kailos tests because obviously, I want to save money, but I did my research which I advise the same to you.  What I noticed with Kailos is you have to share your results with a Kailos provider depending on which state you live in.

With Genesight, your results are delivered with 36 hours; Kailos takes 10 business days. Both companies make the same promise which is to find the best treatment for your genetic type. Taking the guessing game out of which meds work best is a game changer for you and your child.

Look for my review of Kailos my product review page next month.

Holistic treatment

Essential oils the alternative medicine
Essential oils can be effective

Finally, there is the holistic route. There are hundreds of natural methods to treat ADHD. When I first suspected my son had ADHD at age 2, I tried a natural treatment first.

Synaptol is a natural homeopathic over the counter supplement mostly used to relieve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder-ADHD. It is a remedy for individual with problems such as inability to listen to instructions, focus, control impulses or pay attention to a given task.

The Synaptol worked great at first, but it started to lose its effect. I believe it’s because of his natural growth. I tried some other methods, but the natural medicines weren’t strong enough to keep up with his chemistry.

Just like any other medicines, what doesn’t work for him may work wonders for another child. Parents swear by essential oils like:


I haven’t tried the essential oil on him yet, but I know the scent of lavender calms. I will admit to buying a kyanite and lavender crystal for myself and they both have a calming effect.

There are traditional methods I use to help him. You probably remember these:

  • Playing outside
  • Biking riding
  • Raking leaves
  • Playing classical music
  • Yoga (Okay it’s still new to the Western world, but it’s been around for ages )

The more physical activity he does, the less impulsive he is. Also, did you know lack of sunlight causes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD?) Sometimes, just getting kids back into nature does the trick. When possible, I try to schedule two recesses a day, one before and after lessons.


All children are undeniably extraordinary, but not equal. My daughter’s ADHD made her super talkative and super fidgety. My son is that times 100, plus he’s aggressive when irritated, has no focus, and no impulse control.

I’m speaking for myself when I say traditional methods don’t work for him.  I remember my mistakes with my daughter’s diagnosis and I’m going to do my best not to do the same with my son.

The medicine won’t fix him, but it will help us to become better people.


Comments on ADHD medicine
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Embarrassment to Empowerment: Tools to get through those ADHD moments

Embarrassment happens to us all

Embarrassment tales usually start like this:

You manage to get through lessons without tears. He eats all his breakfast without complaint. She even cleans her room without additional warnings.

Feeling hopeful? Maybe I can run a quick errand or two!

So you whisk your ADHD child to the grocery store. You have your list ready, you sacrificed your smartphone to keep her occupied. You know which aisles trigger tantrums so you avoid them at all costs.

And then the unspeakable happens…

Some Neanderthal sets a display of candy in the pet foods aisle. Your kid spots it and all hell slowly breaks loose and the next thing you know, you’re in a verbal tug of war of why they can’t have the candy. Passerbys give you the look and the next thing you know you’re in the middle of an embarrassing situation.

Parenting a child with ADHD is hard. If trying to find the right meds for your kid or dealing unsympathetic providers doesn’t stress you out, then dealing with meltdowns and unsympathetic looks will make you want to run in a corner and hide.

Perhaps the worst feeling of all is the embarrassment.You feel like a total failure. Failure makes you feel like giving up.

Why me?

I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say dealing with Keith’s ADHD isn’t exhausting. The constant talking, his impulsivity, and lack of focus are why I homeschool. The ADHD makes him disruptive and sometimes downright annoying.

Yes, I said it. My son is annoying.

I do love him with all of my heart and I wouldn’t wish for another child, but I do wish he didn’t have ADHD because it causes a level of embarrassment I can’t gloss over with a “he missed his nap.”

But because he does have ADHD, I have to be his biggest advocate so he can grow up and have an amazing life.

So how do you stop the embarrassment?

Let me be very clear, you CANNOT stop the embarrassment.  Because just when you think you have heard, done, or seen it all, your child will do something to top the last time she embarrassed you.

True story: My husband took my son to get his haircut. My son is hypersensitive to noise, lights, and will shrivel up like a prune if you try to touch his ears. After lots of coaching, I sent him to the shop with his dad.

It wasn’t his first time getting a haircut, but it was his first time at this shop with this barber. His previous barbers were one of those kiddie cut shops. I stopped taking him because if he didn’t get to sit in the Lightning McQueen Car, he wasn’t going to do it.

Everything was going well until the barber tried to shape up around his ears. This was to be expected, but I coached him to become a statue when the barber gets to that area. The clipper nicked his ear and he shouted “G——–.”

Needless to say, the whole shop froze. My husband was embarrassed. I was embarrassed for him but glad I wasn’t there.

My son learned that word at the age of two. His great-grandmother has dementia and said it a few times when we went to Lampassas for Grandpa Happy’s birthday. Obviously, he never forgot that word, and it showed up again at the age of five.


I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse than hearing foul language from a child. And in most cases, it’s totally appropriate to blame the parent, BUT if the child didn’t learn that word from the parent, it’s an unfair judgment.

I know, I know, society doesn’t live in your house, but in that moment, they do and it’s mortifying.

So do I grocery shop after he goes to bed? Learn how to cut his hair? Tape his mouth shut?

Grocery shop at night? Sometimes. Get his hair cut when he starts to look like Cousin It from the Addams Family? Yes. And no to taping his mouth shut, though his dad fantasizes about it.

Before frustration sets in, here is a handy acronym to help you get through those tough moments when you want the earth to swallow you whole.


Practice makes an improvement. In The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child, Dr. Kazdin recommends prompting your child before the situation occurs. Prompting is an effective parenting tool that you’ve been using all along.

Think about it. When someone gives your child a gift, you prompt your child to say thank you. Use the same method but tweak it to your situation.

Think it doesn’t work? Think back to your childhood. Remember the “we’re going to the store and we’re only getting these items, don’t ask for any toys speech and I mean it.”

Raise your hand if your mom gave you the “I dare you” stare to drive her point home.

Recognize your child’s triggers.  If the bright lights, noisy machines, and the bustle of traffic aren’t distracting enough, then they came up with the brilliant idea to put random toy displays all over the place.

Toys are most children’s trigger, but ADHD takes it to a whole other level. In case of selective amnesia, there are a couple of products I recommend to keep your child busy while you shop.

Noise Reduction Headphones by Function and Function reduce noise levels by 20 decibels. Although these headphones can’t be used for music, they help your child function in a noisy environment. Less noise means less distraction.

Regulation Putty helps your child express their feeling and increase motor skills. The putty is filled with a facial mood that expresses a range of emotions. When your child is feeling anxious, she can squeeze the putty to help find the most appropriate feeling.

Exit immediately if things start to escalate. You may have to go to another aisle to calm your child or you may have to leave the store. It’s doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent, it means you made the best choice for you and your child.

Embarrassed? Exit
Exit stage left

The truth is, you know your limitations. Ever wonder why some parents pretend to go deaf when a kid is screaming their head off? Because some of them are experts at calling their child’s bluff and won’t give them the satisfaction of giving in.

How do you tell the difference between those parents and the other ones who appear deaf, those parents don’t look defeated. And they do not apologize.

Pick your battles. Finally, we have to learn when to stand our ground and when to let it go. Some days you win, some days the ADHD wins.

There isn’t any shame in losing, the shame comes when you give up.

Raising a child with ADHD means embarrassment, frustration, and sometimes anger.  It also means you get up every day and do your best, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward. I’m rooting for you!


What about you? Has your child’s behavior embarrassed you? What did you do? I’d love to hear about it. Please share it in the comment section near the top right hand corner.


Helpful Links

How to Discipline Kids: 9 Behavior Management Techniques for Parents