The Logan Files: An ADHD Diagnosis – What’s Sleep Got To Do With It?

I am so happy to finally be able to share an update on Logan’s journey, as we continue to schedule new doctor’s visits and receive more direction and answers. At the end of October, we were lucky to get Logan into All Children’s (JHACH) for a Psychological Assessment. The testing took all day, involving different aptitude tests, behavior evaluations, and other assessments. The best part of the testing there was that the meeting with the psychologist occurred that same afternoon, so we left with (some) answers.

Logan was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and was given several referrals to other specialists. Dr. S. (JHACH Psychology) provided us a thorough description of what was happening in his brain, and things that he needed moving forward. It was so interesting to learn how many of the symptoms that had sparked my concern for autism also manifest in ADHD. The next afternoon the doctor emailed me a quick bullet point list of things that should be done right away to begin helping Logan thrive at school.

We were referred to Neurology and Sleep Studies to check for underlying issues. None were noted during the neurology evaluation, and I previously blogged about our experience at the Sleep Study.

We scheduled a meeting with the school right away and requested a classroom change. Logan was moved to a smaller classroom, and the teacher was informed of the psychologist’s lists of recommendations. We are still in what has become an exceptionally frustrating and long process to change his IEP label from Speech to OHI (Other Health Impairment). That could be a whole blog on it’s own, but i’m waiting until we have another meeting once school is back from the holidays.

At his cardiologist appointment, to make sure his heart is healthy enough for stimulant medication.

We followed up with his pediatrician after the diagnosis to discuss medication options, settling on one after a cardiology evaluation to make sure his heart was OK before introducing a stimulant medication. Since he received his diagnosis, I have discovered the first thing people want to weigh in on once I say “ADHD” is whether or not I should medicate my child. Both sides have valid arguments, but as with anything regarding children, each need is unique and only that child’s parents are really in the place to make the informed decision about their own child.

The decision to medicate has been delayed, due to his sleep study results, which spoke volumes. During his study, he experienced obstructive apneas, hypopneas, central apneas, and mixed apneas – which I’m pretty sure might be ALL the apneas! The end result is an impression of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which could be leading to SO many of his cognitive issues. He wakes up 5 times an hour, and up to 8 times during deep sleep!

We followed up with an ENT today, and made the decision to remove his tonsils and adenoids to hopefully clear up the obstructions preventing him from sleeping. The doc even said that most parents notice significant cognitive improvement 6-12 months after a surgery like this that improves the child’s sleep!

At the risk of being too optimistic, I am so hopeful that once he is able to start actually getting a good night’s sleep he may be able to thrive in school without medication (which is on hold now until after the surgery, scheduled soon). I think back to when I was still on patrol night shifts and they were babies, and what a sleep-deprived zombie I was…is this how Logan feels every day? I just want to make this better for him.

Also – if you are a mom and notice the kinds of symptoms I’ve described in your child – read THIS BLOG by another mommy who outlines sleep disorders with links to medical journals. We were already in the process of checking out Logan, but what a eye-opening read for parents who may have not started trying to find answers yet. I had no less than 3 different people send me her blog post within a week of her posting it.

So, the next step is surgery. And a parent-teacher conference. πŸ™‚ I’ll keep you posted.

-Katie

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