my son takes ritalin

My 7-Year-Old Chooses To Take Ritalin Everyday

I was a little skeptical of Putrajaya Hospital’s dyslexia diagnosis of Ayub, but we got in touch with the Dyslexia Association of Malaysia all the same. But following certain events, which I’ll get into another time, I decided we needed a second opinion.

Since all the doctors we’ve ever spoken to since Ayub’s birth have assured me that he is not autistic, I began to suspect that he has ADHD.

These are his ADHD symptoms:

Inattention

Ayub has always been easily distracted but because it’s such a common trait in most any kid, I never thought twice about it until he started attending school in January.

It’s pretty much impossible to have a conversation with him. I’ll ask him a question and he’ll answer something completely unrelated. Or he’ll ask me a question then walk away halfway through the answer. You can see his eyes glaze over as he drifts off into his own universe.

Whenever it’s time to eat a meal, we have to switch off everything, clear the table off any objects, and stay away from windows. Once we were having lunch in KFC and sitting next to a window. He just couldn’t focus on his food. I asked him what he was looking at outside the window. He replied that he saw a bird, and he was thinking about where the bird was going, and that it was probably picking up sticks to make a nest. That’s his train of thoughts.

Sitting down to complete homework was tough for him. He’d say he was “so tired,” or it was “so hard.” Many times he was close to tears just trying to complete one short assignment, which included circling the correct answer to a question.

Things Ayub does regularly:

  • Forgets simple instructions almost immediately after hearing them (the number of times I’ve told him to wear his jammies, then he comes back in shorts and a tshirt 3 minutes later…)
  • Zero focus on anything, with exception to video games
  • Never stays on topic in conversations, doesn’t listen when other people speak
  • Forgets his things all the time (water bottles, pencil case, wallets, watches)
  • Super easily distracted by trivial noises (we were at a bookstore browsing, there was a beeping sound in the background, Ayub just could not get over it)

Hyperactivity

So I’ve been saying that Ayub is hyper since he was a teeny weeny 3 month old. While other babies kick and flail their arms every so often, Ayub’s movements were constant and non-stop. He was the sweatiest little fatty baby ever. The moment he could crawl, he was off.

This is Ayub:

  • Fidgets and squirms when seated
  • Suddenly gets up mid-meal and walks around
  • Halfway through a conversation will get up and act out something
  • Runs around everywhere while other people walk
  • CANNOT SIT STILL

I don’t think Ayub has ever sat long enough to hear a story. But he has no problem watching a movie that interests him. Especially if it’s in the cinema. Though midway he does shake his legs a lot and point out the projector light at the back of the cinema.

Impulsiveness

His impulsiveness is finally what got me to bring him to HKL. He blew up at school and punched a girl in the face over a dispute. He doesn’t think about consequences to his actions. He functions on emotions over thought.

And this is Ayub:

  • Impatient
  • Having a hard time waiting to talk or react
  • Have a hard time waiting for their turn.
  • Blurt out answers before someone finishes asking them a question.
  • Frequently interrupt or intrude on others. This often happens so much that it causes problems in social or work settings.
  • Start conversations at inappropriate times.

Starting on Ritalin

I was a little put-off by the doctor at HKL. She spoke only to me about Ayub. Didn’t spend any time with him. I discussed everything I’ve written here, and she prescribed Ritalin. A quarter of a pill a day. We didn’t really give him the medication over the course of the month. Went back to HKL for his follow-up, she said to give it a try and upped the dosage to half a pill a day.

So I thought, ok. Let’s try.

Half a pill a day for a month. After that we found Oasis Place and brought him in for assessments. After discussion with his psychologist, I decided that therapy is definitely the way to go, and to drop the Ritalin.

Then Monday morning came and Ayub asked for his medication. I told him he didn’t need it anymore. But he insisted. When I asked why, he replied, “It makes me hear the teacher. I can do work. It’s so easy.”

So Ayub is taking Ritalin. 5mg every morning. Because it makes him hear the teacher. Personally I don’t see a difference in his behaviour, but if he says he feels the difference, then I guess that makes all the difference.

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