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Re: My 9th grader may have ADHD - next steps?
We had our son diagnosed with ADHD at the end of 8th grade, and are also regretful that we waited so long. Although the school was willing to test him, they would not (cannot) make the diagnosis. We got recommendations from our pediatrician for a developmental pediatrician to handle the diagnosis and treatment. We selected Marianna Eraklis, MD, in Orinda, to work with our son and we couldn't be happier. She is really a wonderful person and doctor; compassionate, patient, great communicator, accessible and humorous. (She even gives out her cellphone # if you really need to speak with her.) We decided to try medication and our son responded really well. We see her every 3 months so he can talk with her and we have tweaked his dosage and even the actual meds. He is so happy and grateful to be dealing with his ADHD. I know he feels a huge relief to be feeling more alert and really able to block out outside stimulation and focus in class. He is also more functional at home, which has really improved our home life and decreased tensions. We all pitched in to make his room more well organized; everything from hooks for his clothes, boards for writing down memos, to changing and clearing his study area. He has pulled up his grades really significantly this fall, learned to approach his teachers, and he feels so much better about himself. We have lowered his dose recently because he had lost quite a bit of weight. That was ok, since he was slightly pudgy before,(he is thrilled), but Dr. Eraklis thought he could be less stimulated, so we are now working with another, non-stimulating med, which seems really good. I only wish we had done this sooner! We are all much happier.
P.S. We all read a couple different books, one by a kid with ADHD, and my husband and I read a couple for parents, which were helpful. (Browse the bookstore or Amazon.) Her contact info: Dr. Marianna Eraklis db pediatrics 925-254-4000 Happier mom and kid
Re: My 9th grader may have ADHD - next steps?
As the mother of a child with ADHD, I suggest you contact Dr. Mariana Eraklis (Orinda). She will be able to diagnose your child and recommend a course of action - including services that need to be provided by the school, outside services that may be helpful, and medication, if appropriate. I see you have asked for specific recommendations regarding medication. I would urge you to disregard any specific recommendations you receive. There is no magic bullet that works for each kid. Dr. Eraklis can explain to you how each of the drugs out there works. Unfortunately, medication is a trial and error process. It took us a long time to figure out what works for our kid - but some people have success right away.
Lastly - don't beat yourself up about not having an accurate diagnosis in years gone by. Many people are not diagnosed with ADHD until they are adults! You are ahead of the curve. Fellow parent
I've scheduled a series of assessment visits for my son with Brad Berman for December, but would like to see someone before school starts in the fall. One of the recommendations his office staff gave me was for Marianna Eraklis in Orinda. I couldn't find any feedback on her in the BPN, so I'm hoping someone can fill me in. What do you think about her? Especially as it relates to assessments. Thanks for any feedback. Anon
I was very picky about her next step in school. I wanted to make her first experience functioning with typically developing kids as successful as I possibly could. So I visited a lot of regular preschools and picked the one that I thought matched her needs best in terms of physical set up, class size, structure of the day, and teaching style. She had a very positive school experience as the oldest child in a young-ish preschool group with teachers who were well-tuned-in to her temperament and very accepting of her particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Later school experiences have been more problematic, however. She gets easily overstimulated and has a lot of difficulty understanding social interactions with peers, especially when several children are involved. This has resulted in behavior problems, such as aggression, including growling and hitting when she tries to back kids off who she experiences as overwhelming, and fearfulness / anger toward other ch! ildren and, even, refusing to go to school. She also experiences frequent episodes of very low frustration tolerance - to the point that she gets backed into a corner and becomes quite rigid and unable to process things that she can usually tackle with ease. When she is both highly frustrated and feeling socially inadequate or confused, she can become explosively self-destructive.
When she was about 5, I took her to see Dr. Eraklis to see if there were residual SI issues that were getting in her way of trying to function in a wider and less protective world. I was impressed with several things about her work with my daughter. 1. My daughter was almost immediately comfortable with her and sent me out of the room so she could play with Dr. Eraklis on her own. 2. Dr. Eraklis took considerable time getting to know her. 3. She incorporated her assessments into the play in such a way that my daughter felt comfortable and engaged well with the exercises. (And it is very unlike my daughter not to balk at any kind of test or assessment.) 4. The report Dr. Eraklis wrote was the most accurate portrayal of my daughter of any assessment I have ever seen. (I should say, here, that I provided written info on my daughter's history and current difficulties as well as of her many strengths. But this is what I always do when I approach a professional for advice or assessment.) Being both a psychologist and a consumer of psychological services for myself and both of my children, I have seen a lot of assessments. Almost all of the reports I have seen of either children or adults have included at least a few, and sometimes many factual errors concerning the medical history, family constellation, school experience, etc. It was a relief to see how accurately she saw my child. Her accuracy inspired my confidence in her interpretation of the assessments she had done and the conclusions she drew. 5. When the report was complete she and I sat down for the customary discussion of her findings. She was very generous with her time and made me feel I could ask every question I had. We spent easily an hour discussing what she had found and what it might mean for my daughter and for our next steps.
Dr. Eraklis concluded that my daughter had almost completely overcome the SI problems, but still had lots of feelings about the very difficult experiences she had endured and that she needed a chance to learn and practice the skills she had missed out on during her early years. I found her a very highly trained play therapist who is knowledgeable about SI, and she and my daughter have been working together for over 3 years now.
Over all, I would say, the wait to get in to see Dr. Eraklis was short, the assessment was carefully done, and I felt we were lucky to have found her.
I hope this information is helpful to you. hsia
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