So today my son said that he didn’t need to take his Ritalin. We believe it’s important to let him make that choice about his own body if he really believes in it, and since he’s homeschooled and with me all the time, it really only means that I have to be more patient and understanding with him. Sometimes, when he chooses not to take it, it’s a really good opportunity to give him practice controlling his own impulses and forcing himself to concentrate. He can’t do it all the time though, because there are days when his ADHD is just taking over him and getting him in trouble! It’s also really important for him to understand the difference between being on Ritalin and not, so that he knows what he needs to work on when he isn’t on it.
So our morning went as follows…..
Me: “OK, you can skip Ritalin today if you can show me that you are able to get control and focus yourself to do three things.”
Son: “Oh! Easy! Tell me the things.”
Note: He was looking right at me, in a quiet room with no other distractions
Me: “Turn on my coffee machine.”
Son: “Yep. Coffee Machine.”
Me: “Eat your breakfast.”
Son: “Got it.”
Me: “Take your Ritalin.”
Son: Laughs – “I’m not taking it! OK got it!” off he went.
I made my bed…. 5 mins
I went to the bathroom…. 5 mins
I came out to the kitchen and noted him rolling around on the floor with the dog.
Me: “Have you done your three things yet?”
Son: “Oh! Nope. I’ll do it now…… umm, what were they?”
Me: “Turn the coffee machine on. Eat your breakfast. Take your Ritalin.”
Son: “Yeah, right. Except I’m not taking my Ritalin.”
I sat at the computer and read some emails and articles…15 mins
I noted that he was playing with a Lego space ship.
Me: “It’s been about 25 minutes now. You still haven’t had any breakfast!”
Son: “Oh yeah! I’m hungry too! I’ll get breakfast now!”
He proceeds to finally make his breakfast. Something happens outside. He abandons the freshly made cereal to go and investigate.
I get dressed and feed the cat and dog… 15 mins
He comes inside.
Son: “Oh! My breakfast!” He eats……most of it.
Me: “Darling, I really think you are having trouble concentrating today.”
Me: “The three things?”
Son: “Oh yeah! Ummmm….. breakfast. Then…. ” He walks to the tissue box and blows his nose, something I’m always telling him to do in the morning. I can’t help but burst out laughing at this stage!
Me: “Sweetie, I didn’t tell you to blow your nose.”
Son: Also giggles as he realises he’s been busted just guessing. “But you ALWAYS tell me to do that! OK. What else was it?”
Me: “This will be the third time I’ve told them to you. Also it’s been a really long time since I first told you. Turn on the coffee machine.”
Son: Runs and does it. “Yes! Done!”
Me: “Eat your breakfast.”
Son: “Well, mostly done. It’s too soggy now because I was busy.”
Me: “Take your Ritalin….”
Son: Smiles sheepishly at me. Then….”Yeah. I think I better!”
Twenty minutes after taking his Ritalin I said,
“OK, let’s go to the park with the dog. Go and brush your teeth, get dressed and then harness the dog… oh and can you collect the eggs?”
He met me ten minutes later at the back door, having completed all tasks asked of him, without any distractions or fussing about.
Ritalin….He needs it…. sometimes…. 🙂