I posted this on the oCD board, but will post it here too:
Hi. I'm the mother of a 14 year old son who has mild Tourette's. The physical tics really aren't a problem at the moment - but the ADD and OCD are really interfering with his performance in school. I'm hoping some of you might have some input.
He's actually a brilliant kid (taught himself to read at 3), so the difficulty of the coursework is not the issue. However, the ADD causes him to miss assignments and not hear when tests are going to be given, so his grades are very erratic. The oCD must be distracting him in the classroom too (currently he has a counting obsession, so whenever anyone is peaking to him, part of his brain is counting the letters in the words. He used to visibly tap along with this, but that stopped, so I stupidly thought the counting was getting better - yesterday he informed me that was not so.)
The biggest problem with the oCD, though, is the "getting stuck" on negative thoughts. "The teacher hates me, it's stupid to have to show my work on these simple problems, " etc. etc. Sounds like simple oppositional teen behavior until you try to have a rational conversation about it, then you realize that no matter what you say, he keeps going back to the same idea over and over.
He started high school this year, and for the first time tried an ADD drug (stimulant). His school performance was improved at first, but by Thanksgiving he was clinically depressed and losing weight, so we took him off. Schoolwork has been poor ever since. Mood has improved somewhat but he is still irritable and somewhat depressed (of course now his poor school performance is depressing him too!).
I've been trying recently to "medicate" him with vitamins - 5-HTP for the depressive stuff and the oCD (raises serotonin), tyrosine to try to improve his attention, magnesium, zinc, multivitamin. Can't say there has really been any change.
I'm thinking about letting them try him on Prozac - although high-dose Prozac made my anorexic daughter ditsy and ADD-like, it did work for her oCD stuff. I'm worried it will make the ADD worse, although I can't really tell whether the mood, the oCD, or the ADD is the bigger part of his school performance problems.
He also refuses to attend a different school for social reasons.
Anybody out there with experience, either with meds or advice about dealing with the high school?
WOW.. I thought I had a tough teen to handle.. You mention that he refuses to atend a different school.....refuses? he's 14...ANyway that would be my only recourse. A private school with VERY teacher to student ratio and training for ADD or home school. Do you know anyone that home schools?
I AM homeschooling my D15 - sort of. It's a program through the city schools, she actually goes to her school twice a week (one 2-hr class a week in her core classes) - then does monthly packet of work and has monthly exams. (She had anorexia/bulimia/depression/OCD - clearly this is a genetic thing with them). It has been great for her - but it is terribly isolating, and S14 is a very social kid. Since his social relationships are the one good thing in his life right now, I hate to disrupt that if he's not willing (plus I'm afraid it would aggravate his depressive tendencies). He knows he has the option but doesn't want to take it.
There are private schools in the area but I don't think any of the private high schools would be any better - tend to be rich parents with a hyper-achievement focus. I don't think they would be any better equipped to deal with ADD.
Well I think you are right about the private schools.... But can't there be a compromise in regards to his social needs.. Of course this point in his life THAT is the most important to him, is it possible that it is more important than school..(what am I asking...of course it is) Our school dist allows home schooled kids to participate in extra curricular activities. Does yours? What about the YMCA? THere has to be a compromise between you and your son here... He may not like it alot, but he will see that you are taking his feelings into account, and well as making sure that his primary focus is education.
He's been friends with these kids for years - he fears that if he leaves this school he will be the "weird" one - probably has good reason to fear that, as his sister's leaving was accompanied by tons of gossip.
He's popular, he doesn't want to leave this community of kids he's grown up with... so if there's a way we can make this work with this school, I will try it.
I hope it does work...but the long term effects of education far outweigh the social issues.. WHo doesnt have painfull high school memories...you get over them.. it is much harder to get over a substandard education.
Good Luck and God Bless.