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Old 04-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
frannn
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Any tips for Aug trip with adhd DD10?

We've been once annually and have always had issues- little meltdowns, obsessing over one thing the whole day, etc. Now that we have a diagnosis and I just started reading up on the condition, I'm wondering if there are special ways to avoid issues, and any tips parents of kids with adhd can give me? The added challenge starting this year will be the medication she's on. It gives her a good bunch of hours where it helps, but the rebound effect once it wears off is a bit scarey (behavior-wise). It doesn't happen every day, and I'm trying to pinpoint when it does happen so I can "anticipate" it and maybe get her back to the room or doing something that will keep her calm. The meds do affect her appetite a bit, but I can still get her to eat, and put her meal aside to finish when she's a little hungrier. This is going to be more difficult on vacation, where I have to decide if I should let her eat more sugary drinks/treats just to keep her hydrated and moving. We usually give her a second, small dosage of her meds during the week to take her through her homework...do you usually keep that up on vacation also? One last question- Is Adhd considered a disability? I apologize if this was the wrong place for my questions.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:37 PM   #2
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She's the same kid she was a year ago, the Dx doesn't change anything

Since you are used to going annually, then I'm sure you've developed some tricks over time that make your trips work for your family. I'd first suggest sticking to routine - wake up and breakfast at similar time as home, lunch, dinner, etc. Using a good touring plan and fastpasses can help reduce waiting in lines. Having something that helps keep her occupied when in line, whether that's a handheld toy, a game of I-Spy, looking for hidden Mickey's or whatnot. The new twist to your old plans is really just the medication - and hopefully by August you'll have that settled a bit. We're still somewhat in the trial stage with that as well. Like you said, plan a change of activity or to be back at the room around when you expect her to "crash", holding her meal for later or having good solid snacks for once her appetite returns in the evening, etc.

As for sugary drinks - they really aren't the best for remaining hydrated anyway. Are you aware that you can get a free cup of ice water at any CS location in the parks? We carry re-usable water bottles and refill as needed, using a splash of MIO or a little lemonade powder from those individual packets (usually no more than a quarter of a packet) if flavor is needed. Sugar itself doesn't seem to be our enemy, though. Carry cheese sticks and such as good solid snacks rather than a lot of treats. I'm not saying no treats - this is WDW and vacation - but within reason.

Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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Like Judy said get on a routine.

The best thing we found to do was to let DD help with the planning!!

Ever since DD was 6 (now 12) we let her help plan park days. "What do we want to go to 1st, whats close by we can next and so forth". We got her to help with counter service and table service dining. This helped keeping her focused and on task. She carried the park plans with her. We tried to put in flex time in case we found something else to.

Hvave a good trip!!
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:41 PM   #4
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we found letting her play games on our phone during waiting times helps. also, for a snack that perked her up as she was starting to fizzle, we carried individual packs of peanut butter. it comes in packs like a little cup and we had some plastic spoons. turned her right around and gave her something to do for a few minutes. she also likes to play I Spy.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:18 PM   #5
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I would carry around a number of little snacks. I carry crackers, applesauce in pouches, cookies, cereal, raisins and things like that. I would avoid things that could be messy, spill or smear unless you will be sitting and cleaning anything up after. I make sure my daughter takes a bite of something at least every hour.

If she is having significant meltdowns at her age there may not really be anything you can do if you haven't already solved that. Most of my daughter's meltdowns seem to be cut out if she constantly eats, but not always.

We also have much better days with a table service lunch. It means at the hottest part of the day we go relax in the cold air.

ADHD is a disability but one that most people don't seem to take seriously. At least in the area I live in people roll their eyes at it as just an excuse parents use to be crappy parents, which is obviously not true. Even as a disability, it's not usually one where there is any helpful accommodation that can be made. If you were wondering whether there is anything at Disney that can help it really depends on the needs, but probably not.

As to the medication, it really depends on what she is taking and whether there is a need for consistency medically. It also matters what exactly it is doing for her. If she is taking more to get through homework, does she need it for focus or is it doing something else? Is that "something else" something she needs on vacation?
My DD is on medication for ADHD but is literally as bad as Dori without it. She can't hold a conversation even long enough to order food. In her situation it is completely debilitating. Then there are kids who just need the meds to do well rather than struggle with homework. So really only you and your doctor can answer that.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:23 PM   #6
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My DD9 has ADHD and here are some things we have learned.
Lots of small snacks help keep her happy. I try to avoid sugar drink but give her lots of water. We have found that at WDW (versus being at home) that at the end of the day when her medication is wearing off she is too tired to act too hyper. We try to work in swim time in the evening, this seems to wind her down. We still have the occasional melt downs but have learned to take breaks to refuel etc. If you find over the course of time her medication is wearing off too soon that you might consider talking to her Doctor about a bridge dose of medication. My daughter is in a classroom with only ADHD children and a lot of them take a 2nd dose of meidcation after lunch. We are considering it if our afternoons spiral any further out of control. Also make sure she gets plenty of sleep! my daughters mood depends on her getting at least 8 hrs of sleep. The ADHD medication my daughter takes has been heaven sent but the side effects have been moodiness with a side of attitude. Its been a learning process and we are still a work in progress. i have also found that having her look over the menus where we have ADRs and decide ahead of time what she would like to eat helps alot. There are so many distractions and its frustrating to get her to focus in the menu. So going in with a plan helps a ton. Other than that, you know your kid and what works best for them. Take your time, relax and enjoy your vacation.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:31 PM   #7
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I think that having a DX this time around could help a lot, even though you've been doing it every year, now you probably have a better understanding of WHY she behaves a certain way at certain times. For me, that makes a world of difference! Not that I don't get frustrated anymore... LOL but as they say, knowledge is power!

This is my opinion... when it's my kids (and me!), I continue medications during vacation. I have ADD/Inattentive Type myself, and I know that even though no one on the outside has any idea I even take meds, I can totally tell how I FEEL, and it's a huge difference between being stressed out and unable to enjoy things, and being relaxed and more patient and, well, able to enjoy things! It's not just about how well they're able to behave, I think it's often missed that there is a whole universe of feelings going on in the ADHD brain, only some of which are even manifesting in behavior. If the medication helps her during other experiences like school or an outing, it will help her enjoy her vacation, too.

(Slightly OT, but this was a game-changer for me, when DS2-the first of 4 out of 5 in our family to be DXed, was just diagnosed and before we decided to try medication... I was talking in general about learning what makes us tick and figuring out how to do the things we need to and the things we want to so we can enjoy our lives, and he told me he's not enjoying his life. Honestly, I never would have known that, he never talked about being unhappy. But living with ADHD was stressing out his poor 7-year-old self more than anyone knew. The emotional component of the disorder took on a whole new meaning for me then!)

In general, I've read (this info, specifically in the ADHD magazine from CHADD... I'm totally blanking on the title of the publication! ADDittude? Ack!) that one way to tell that the dose of the medication is the right dose for you is if it lasts the duration it's supposed to. I take Vyvanse, and I realized at one point that it was no longer helping me 10-12 hours anymore, rather wearing off by mid afternoon... that was a sign I needed to increase my dose, which totally helped. I mention that because you mentioned looking into a "bridge," so if her meds aren't working as long as they used to or as long as they're supposed to, she might need to try a higher dose.

As far as strategies to enjoy park time, of course a lot depends on the kid, but I would guess that some of the most common triggers are having to wait on line and not getting to ride what they want, when they want.

To that end, you should know your kid: a touring plan might not be the best idea if she "wants what she wants when she wants it" and might melt down if you have to do what the plan says rather than ride X ride 3 times in a row. Or, she may utterly thrive on that kind of structure, maybe even would enjoy being in charge of following the plan and keeping watch of the clock-that's a stimulating activity. Two different ways to look at it, totally depends on your kid!

Waiting in line will happen anyway, and we've enjoyed following the Hidden Mickey book. I'm sorry to repeat if you're already familiar, but after going every other year since 1992, I only just found out about Hidden Mickeys in 2011 :P The Imagineers "built" Mickey's head/ears icon (and sometimes other character shapes) into the decor and architecture all over WDW, not just the obvious ones, but ones meant to be more hidden, such as the pupil in the eye on a mural, or a scrollwork on a veranda. The book goes ride by ride, helps you make it a game with points, gives clues, and covers the queue as well as the ride, restaurants, etc... if there aren't a lot on the queue you can be looking ahead to what to look for on the ride. We had a blast with these, I'm very excited to have the 2013 book!

I also just picked up a book for our upcoming May trip (the first since all 3 boys were DX'd, this should be fun! :P ), I think it's called something like "While Waiting In Line" or something like that, located in the same section as the Hidden Mickey book at Barnes & Noble, if that helps :P , this one has more of a trivia/treasure hunt theme. It asks, for example, what creature is peering over the carpet at the Aladin ride? (monkey, camel, etc... 4 multiple choice) What is it wearing? (a hat, jewels, etc...). Then it goes on to the treasure hunt, which gives a list of items to check off. In Pirates of the Carribean, you can search for and tally how many lanterns there are (and it's queue-specific if you right or left). This one is new to us, but I'm very much looking forward to it!

In terms of waiting, if you can utilize Fast Passes to reduce wait times, as long as she's chill about visiting those rides when the time slot says, they can be a big help. There are also a few different smart phone apps that give wait times, that may help as you go through the day. I know there are threads on those in different forums.

Other ways to keep her occupied might be give her a small journal that you wouldn't mind carrying (if you carry a bag) and encourage her to write about what she enjoys, observes, wants to remember, etc... if you think she'd enjoy that. Or, give her a camera so she can be snapping photos or looking through the ones she's taken while waiting. It might be worth asking her if she'd like any of these things (if they are alright with you, of course). Perhaps starting a collection such as pin trading or pressed pennies could keep her occupied-again, that depends on many things including how responsible you feel she is if she might lose what you've invested in.

I know I'm throwing a bunch of "stuff" out there, but I find it helpful to have something that stimulates my kids, that increases the odds that they'll have something to focus on at a time when they'd likely melt down if left unoccupied.

Hope something here helps!
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:54 PM   #8
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ADHD is a disability and anyone that has it or has a family member that suffers from it knows that and can attest to it. Don't let the stigma in today's society turn you away from helping your DD in anyway possible.

that being said, my DD (8) is diagnosed ADHD but we also believe she has slight OCD and SPD associated with her diagnosis just based on certain things we notice.

As we have learned to deal with these disabilities the one main thing I can tell you that absolutely helps as others have stated ... is a ROUTINE

My DD loves routines, she loves to be in charge and loves to know when/where and why things are happening at all times! If we change the routine by any little margin ... we run the potential for meltdowns!

Small healthy snacks are a life saver, although this helps for anyone really. If people get hungry, they get angry! Our daughter enjoys Apples so we usually pack a few apples and some fruit snacks for her to munch on. This is also the same for Hydration, staying hydrated is key and not with junk like Soda and such but good old water.

Taking a break from the parks does not work for us, if we leave she is done and doesn't want to go back. This may not work out for everyone but since we are semi-local and AP holders we can go at 11am and leave at 4 and I don't feel bad about it. We take small breaks throughout the day IN the park ... we find a bench in the shade and sit and watch people.

As for lines ..... again this may not work for everyone, but because we are local and can come when we please we tend NOT to stand in line for longer than 20 minutes if necessary, some of you may say well how do you ever ride any rides in Disney? It's possible you just have to plan it out!!! If we do have to stand in line for longer we get her attention on things in line whether it be the small details in the walls and/or we play one of those I-Spy type games.

Another issue we have with our DD is noise, we have noticed the louder it get's the more distracted and easily disturbed she becomes, we've recently found that bringing a pair of headphones and a small Mp3 player loaded with her favorite songs REALLY HELPS!! if things start getting too crazy around here or too loud, she puts on her headphones and tunes everything out!

Another tip ... Recognition and Rewards! We have found that the more we recognize what a great job our DD is doing during the day and tell her how proud we are of her that it really boosts her confidence! We also use a reward system (don't read as bribe) that gives our DD the ability to earn rewards through behavior. For instance, when we arrive to Disney, we will tell her the agenda for the first hour or so .... then we say IF you are good and we don't have any issues we can get a Disney Snack, maybe some Popcorn or a Mickey-Bar (can't always stay healthy, we are at Disney right?) and that works great for us! She looks forward to those rewards and it gives her an objective to meet. - I'll add here that anyone that say's we are basically bribing her ... we got this idea from our Psychiatrist and he believes it is 100% a great idea for our types of Children.

The only other thing to keep in mind here is ... these disabilities manifest in people differently. What works for us may not work for you or the next person. The one thing that works for everyone though is Patience, have patience, don't lose control as the adult and you will have control as the adult. Your child will sense this and in the end it makes it better for all!!

last of all ... Have FUN!! It's Disney
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:44 PM   #9
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Oh brother... I guess nothing should surprised me, but I can hardly grasp that there are people who look down upon the use of rewards in behavior modification. Clearly they have NO IDEA what the concept of Positive Reinforcement is! Seriously, people need to look up Skinner and Operant Conditioning. It's a thoroughly outlined and documented psychological theory that was developed by a world renowned psychologist and has been respected since the 50's, it's not just something ADHD parents made up to get our kids quiet for 3 minutes while they eat a cookie :P LOL

(just linking arms with ya!)

I forgot about the question regarding Disability. This is a great place to ask questions, they don't have to be about Disney In terms of the ADA, I don't know much about rights associated with ADHD. When it comes to the potential need for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for kids with ADHD, the disorder qualifies as a disability under the "Other Disabilities" category. The diagnosis alone, however, is not enough to guarantee that a child is granted an IEP, evaluations have to demonstrate that the disorder is interfering with the child's ability to succeed in school. addforums dot com is a great resource that probably has more information on this subject.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by KristenFNJ View Post
Oh brother... I guess nothing should surprised me, but I can hardly grasp that there are people who look down upon the use of rewards in behavior modification. Clearly they have NO IDEA what the concept of Positive Reinforcement is! Seriously, people need to look up Skinner and Operant Conditioning. It's a thoroughly outlined and documented psychological theory that was developed by a world renowned psychologist and has been respected since the 50's, it's not just something ADHD parents made up to get our kids quiet for 3 minutes while they eat a cookie :P LOL
What's even worse is when it's family that looks down upon you for rewarding. They act as though if the child is good it is to be expected and there should be no rewards for good behavior.

It's also disheartening when things are stated like .... "You should punish her for acting like she does" or "If she were to spend a day with me she would straighten out"

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Old 04-10-2013, 08:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JeRmS View Post
What's even worse is when it's family that looks down upon you for rewarding. They act as though if the child is good it is to be expected and there should be no rewards for good behavior.

It's also disheartening when things are stated like .... "You should punish her for acting like she does" or "If she were to spend a day with me she would straighten out"

Isn't there a part of you that just wants to tell them to go ahead, straighten the ADHD right out of her... and send her on an extended sleepover vacation for a week or two?
I know I've thought about it with my DD, but I'm a bit too worried for both parties involved.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:37 AM   #12
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Isn't there a part of you that just wants to tell them to go ahead, straighten the ADHD right out of her... and send her on an extended sleepover vacation for a week or two?
I know I've thought about it with my DD, but I'm a bit too worried for both parties involved.

Oh yeah, we've thought about it several times but as you said, we worry about it too much. But as stated above, those that don't have it or know someone who does have no idea how debilitating it is

Our daughter is now on a pretty steady regiment of meds that have made a drastic improvement in her impulsivity and attentiveness so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we have finally found the right doses and mix. We also take her to see a Child Psychologist/Behavior Specialist and he has been a tremendous help for her!

Other than that we as parents just try to be as patient as possible and keep on routine! That's all we can do
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