There's nothing wrong with a child daydreaming. But when his performance at school starts to drop seriously, it's time to take action, writes this mom.
From the first moment I held my son in my arms to deciding what school he should attend, from mulling over when to introduce sugar to weighing up whether to introduce medicine to assist with his concentration levels – our journey has been a road of many left, right and sometimes U-turns.
The smart dreamer
Our eldest of four kids has a fidgety, chatty and charming personality.
From quite a young age it was highlighted that our son was a dreamer, but a smart and compliant one. Throughout primary school his reports would end with comments like, "Wonderful boy to teach, however struggles to reach his potential" and "If he pays more attention in class, he would achieve better results".
During his younger school years, his dreamlike behaviour meant we had to constantly encourage him to concentrate harder and listen more attentively at home and school.
No signs of hyperactivity though, so I guess no meds needed, right? We did not want to rush into getting him diagnosed and we thought surely he would grow out of his behaviour?
In grade 8, however, when he could no longer cope with the academic workload, we finally came to the decision to have him assessed.
The results came back very clear that even though he was highly intelligent, my son had ADHD (predominantly inattentive type) and needed outside medical help.
Our amazing doctor walked through the entire process with us and helped us to understand it. These days, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is divided into three clusters of symptoms: hyperactive, impulsive, and/or inattentive. (The latter used to be called attention deficit disorder or ADD but this term is no longer used.)
I started to understand the neuroscience of ADHD as well as the complexities and traits of someone who suffers from it.
I understood that my son was born with a natural deficiency of the chemical dopamine in his brain, and that it could affect his movement, mood, sleep, attention and learning.
All his daydreaming and forgetting to do tasks, touching everything on the supper table and never being able to find anything, was all starting to makes sense.
This helped me to deal better with our usually stressful situations as I started to understand life through his eyes. He could not just "snap out of it".
Though there is no way to prevent ADHD, there are ways to help all children feel and do their best at home and at school. On the advice of our doctor we were started our boy on prescribed medication. After just a few months on Concerta, his marks improved 20 to 30%. After a year, he had sky-rocketed academically.
There was no reason to change his current diet, but I do know of instances where this has been recommended.
He is he still taking the meds and he is much better at home and at school. He doesn't lose things as much any more, but he still fidgets at the supper table!
And I am definitely less antsy when he still forgets stuff – that is down to him just being a teenager now, right?
Also read: Understanding ADHD
How ADHD affects the family
Disciplining a child with ADHD
Parenting a child with ADHD
Is your child forever daydreaming and just not reaching his or her potential? Let us know at email@example.com.