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May 15, 2009


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a friend's daughter has severe ADHD and is like this without medicine. literally cannot organize to do something--even something enjoyable, like opening birthday presents.

good luck with the meds!


Oh Karen, this sounds like a nightmare! Adam is only 2 but he already refuses to take meds (so let's hope he never needs to again. Ever). You are such a wonderful & patient Mom. I love the reward systems, too... that puzzle pattern is a great idea. Wish I had more tricks up my sleeve (being the school counselor that I am) but it looks like you've tried everything. Will he be old enough soon to take the meds in pill form?


You have incredible patience and perseverence, not to mention that you're incredibly creative! I loved the puzzle reward idea, too. Maybe that'll be more successful as he gets older? J is soooo lucky to have such a wonderful mom. My heart goes out to you. Good luck!


Oh gosh, I have no advice, but I will certainly remember all these great ideas you have tried. Thanks and all I can say, is good luck. And you are trying your best.


So I must have jinxed myself. Adam woke up at 3 am with a fever and needing tylenol. Which he cried, screamed and protested through. Deep sigh. I'm taking him to the Dr. at 8 since he was just sick 3 weeks ago.


Wow, you're amazingly creative about this...but I wish you didn't have to be amazingly creative! It's great that J is so much better able to focus on the medication, and that you've seen so much improvement with him on it. If only there were an easy way to get him to take it. Sometimes 5 is just too young to understand the connection between "Take the medicine" and "Have a much better day". As adults, it's easy for us to see how the two are interrelated, which probably only makes it more frustrating when he refuses to take it.

Let J know that this is not the best way to distinguish himself from all the other kids ;-)

Sigh. I hope something works. I can tell how frustrating this is for you.


I am a special education teacher and we often have trouble getting students to take their medication. I have one student who plays games with it. One day he wants it in chocolate pudding, the next vanilla, the next just with water.. It is a guessing game, or it was. I decided to play hardball with him. I told him that basically this was an expectation of the day. If he was going to join us for lunch and complete the afternoon activities then he had to take his medication. It was a rough few days but he now takes it. He doesn't understand what the medication does, he is only 7 and is delayed. He now understands that this is an expectation like going to the bathroom and brushing his teeth. I don't know if it will work. But why not stop dealing with the rewards, of course tell him that you are proud, etc. It should be that this something that you have to take and if you don't take it then you will not have a typical day. You will have some rough days. I have done this with quite a few students and I haven't had it fail. My latest student almost failed honestly. I know there are kids that this won't work, that they won't care if they don't get to eat their lunch or participate in activities. Ultimately though if you can't find the right medication, then you will have to explore some behavior management strategies in the home and possibly some picture schedules. I am not up on the generic names of ADHD drugs, but have you tried Straterra? Good luck! I have a student that when he doesn't have medication, can't even stand still to focus and go to the bathroom. It is sad. I understand what you mean when you say not medicating is not an option. I wish more parents had that opinion.


As a therapist who works with several ADHD kids, I had to comment to applaud your effort. Your puzzle reward is so great that I am going to use it and teach it to my client's parents (and my wife who is a ped just chimed in saying she wants to tell parents about it too!).

My Reality

Could you hide a whole pill in a bite of something like pudding or ice cream? Something that doesn't need to be chewed?

I don't know Karen. You have obviously tried everything. I know you will find something that will work eventually.


You are AMAZING. I am so impressed with your patience and thoroughness in this whole process in finding the right med/right dosage/right delivery method. (And while having triplet toddlers to deal with too!)

I understand that you must be incredibly frustrated with the process...and I hope that *something* works soon. UGH.


I am in awe of you. J is so lucky to have you for his mom. I'm positive that he knows how much you love him AND believe in him.


First of all, this isn't a criticism or negative post in any way! You are an exceptional mom and I love your blog. Yours is tops on my list of blogs to read. And, let me also say that I have no children so what I'm about to say is not based on experience AT ALL because I have none. But....having said that, it seems to me that this is a battle of wills. I think that parents should be parents and children should be children. In no way do I think J should be physically harmed at all in an attempt to take his meds - but, as parents, you guys need to "win". Not "win" of course as in a competition, but win in the sense that he has to take them to be a pleasant, happy and productive child and win in the sense that you are still the mommy and what you say goes. That is the "table organization" Mommy/child...
So - have you and your husband physically restrained J? I mean, surely if you held him down, he would take the meds. And surely after a time or two, he would realize who is in charge (not him!) and it seems perhaps he would more willingly take the meds on his own. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but honestly, children DO need to know who is in control and at his age, he should not be. That is just my opinion, it's not meant to be mean. :)


I have been a long time reader and huge fan. I am wondering if you have ever heard of using the drug Lamictal for ADD or ADHD? My son (now 14) has been on it for a year with great success. I found out about it from a friend whos 5yo son also responded really well with no intake aversions.
Lamictal is usually used for bipolar, but has been shown to really help with impulse control in children. The best part (and the reason I started my son on it) is that there are no side effects at all.
Anyway, if you have any questions shoot me an email.
[email protected]

The Microblogologist

J is the luckiest little boy in the world to have parents that love him and care about him so much. Not sure if everyone realizes that he is not your biological child and you chose to take him in and raise him as your own despite the difficulty that his quirks bring. Many would have given up on him and decided it was too hard, I can't remember how many homes you said he had been in before you guys got him but I remember it was definitely more than one in his first year of life. You and Seth looked past his problems and saw the gem that sweet little boy is, it shines through in your posts about him and in your struggle to help him show the world how spectacular he really is. I hope and pray you get past this hurdle soon!


I thought it would be possible to give a kid medicine by force, but I see that I can't really do it with my two-year-old.

I can either sneak it into a drink (though she's quite suspicious of new drinks) or I can give her a suppository.

If I try to force it down her throat, she'll throw it up pretty much every time.

The only advice I can offer is this: Mothers never give up!



I tried to e-mail you but it bounced back. Just wanted to see how you were doing :) Sorry I missed you yesterday - we're down here in FL - hopefully we'll make the next get-together!

Thanks for your comment on my article - hope that you keep up your writing.


You are great. I am so impressed with your patience and thoroughness in this whole process in finding the right med/right dosage/right delivery method.

Sam Nisbett


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