Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fighting for your right to get a diagnosis - the many struggles ADHDers face.

In this world we live in there are plenty of obstacles for your ADHD children, but I never imagined those obstacles would be at your Doctor’s office. I personally have been very lucky to have been in the care of very attentive health providers, but that isn’t always the case for everyone.

I was shocked to find out a co-worker of mine had been turned away from her local ADHD specialists’ office by whomever was in charge of taking appointments. I was even more upset by the reasons they used to turn her away. She is the mother of an 18-year-old boy that has had a history of forgetfulness, inattentiveness, and falling grades. Schoolteachers never asked for an ADHD evaluation, but then again ADHD kids aren’t always as easy to spot. She told me she had finally worked up the courage to get her son evaluated when she heard me talking about my husband and my daughter and how different things are now that we know what we are dealing with and have implemented tools to help address our issues. She felt there was hope for her and her son, about to start college, and that what she thought would be a terribly difficult journey could somehow be made less so if diagnosed properly.

With a brand new attitude she went on the search for a specialist. She mustered up the courage to call, and when asked the normal questions of the reason to get an appointment, the person on the phone kept attempting to persuade her to desist from an appointment. The main reason she was given over and over? “Your son is too old to be ADHD!!” “What??, But I have been told ADHD doesn’t go away! It is not cured, only managed! What do you mean he is too old?” “If your son has made it this far without being diagnosed, then he isn’t” “Isn’t there a chance they never caught it?” “Maybe, but those odds are slim. Teachers know how to catch these things. It doesn’t sound like your son would benefit from seeing the doctor”.

Insist to have the Doctor see you!

I was a bit more than upset when I heard the story. I have been up to my eyeballs in articles and research papers for the past 2 years reading how so many adults have gone undiagnosed. They lead troubled lives, suffering from depression, mood swings, addiction, all because they were never diagnosed. And this one person is doing all in their power to add one more young man to the list, simply because he didn’t cause enough havoc in school. 

I am not an expert, and I have not met this young 18-year-old boy, so I cannot say if he is indeed ADHD, but neither has this person on the other side of the phone.

To those people out there thinking “my child could be ADHD” or “my spouse could be ADHD” or even “maybe I am ADHD”, please don’t let the naysayers stop you from getting the proper attention you need. If it isn’t ADHD, maybe you can still benefit from a Doctor taking a look at the symptoms and giving you another diagnosis or provide additional help.

Hold to your guns, and ask for the appointment. If the Doctor has availability to take new patients, and you have all your required paperwork (insurance and the like),  there should be no reason to turn you away.

To all those working in Doctor’s offices: You are not the doctor, and working in their office for however much time does not make you one. Please don’t stop patients from getting the help they need and want.

What are some of your Doctor's Office pet peeves?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guess what's for dinner!

I had a bit of fun yesterday sending out on my Facebook page this picture and getting a bunch of different responses to my call for a guess of what was for dinner.

I got everything from "Pizza" to "Tuna Loaf". I guess you could actually make a pizza with these ingredients, but it is not one my kids or I would be eager to try. I have also, believe it or not, not ever tried a tuna loaf let alone know how to make it.

So what did I make for dinner? Tuna Croquettes!

It is a simple and healthy recipe, and most times I have all but one of the ingredients at home (celery is not always in my fridge).


3 (5-ounce) cans of water packed tune, drained and shredded.
3 large celery sticks (or 5-6 ready-packed small celery sticks) finely chopped
1 round slice of red/purple onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.

This yields about 30-36 kid sized croquettes. I prepared this in 20 minutes (give or take for some picture taking) and cooked them in about 5-6 minutes.

I drained all 3 cans of tuna and placed it in a large mixing bowl. I added the celery, onion, bread crumbs and eggs. I also ground some fresh pepper (not too much because my 6 year old boy has a sensitive palet and pepper is "HOT AND SPICY" according to him) and a bit of salt.

Here is where you can't be afraid to get messy. I actually enjoy this part a lot.

I mix all the ingredients by hand, literally. I squish it all together and start making little balls, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.

Then I flatten them out a bit and lay them on a well oiled grill. You need enough oil to sauté your croquettes, which means it is not deep frying but just lightly fried. About 2-3 minutes on one side, then you flip them over to get a golden brown on the other side. I also keep the grill on medium or medium-high heat to avoid having the croquettes stick and not need as much oil.

As a mentioned before, this is a fast and healthy recipe. More elaborate recipes include some mashed potatoes to help keep the croquette together, but that adds starches, carbohydrates and calories to the recipe. We are also a low carb and low-glycemic diet family, so even though it is definitely a much yummier croquette with the potatoes, we stay away from it and keep all the flavor going with the onions, celery and pepper in it.

This is what my plate looked like

A few sides, and lots of salad. My kids love their rice and beans, and I am increasing how much salad they eat, so their plate looked a bit different than mine, yet it had the same sides.

I do admit, my daughter did say "Mom, next time, can you make them without the celery?" because she is not a fan of celery, but once we got some ketchup out for her she stopped complaining.

From kitchen to table in less than 30 minutes. Not bad for a school day.

Tuna croquettes are definitely one of my "fast cooking" go-to recipes when I didn't plan ahead my dinner, and my kids love them.

What are some of your "fast cooking" go-to recipes?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Disability Taboo – Embracing tools available for ADHD.

I have to admit I was very reluctant to have my daughter evaluated over a year ago to determine if she was ADHD. In the back of my head I had the fear that teachers would be biased if they knew. I thought they would give up more easily on her if she had a label of an ADHD kid. I thought other kids would label her too.

What I have now come to realize is that we have come a long way from the times where that happened. Teachers are more informed about ADHD, and we as parents have more tools to afford us a better teaching environment for our kids with ADHD.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a major tool ADHD parents should take advantage of and not shy away from it. The reason why I fear some my not use it is the same reason why my family did, the fear of using the word “disability”. For whatever reason you want to list, we are all a little reluctant to admit any differences we may have. We like to fit it. And “disability” is still very much a taboo word in many households, many schools, and even in many workplaces. But this act is there for a reason, to help us.

My child is extremely bright. She is supper good at math, great at spelling, but bad at focusing when it isn't her favorite subject, bad at waiting her turn, easily board. She struggles with executive functions: such as planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, multi-tasking, initiation and monitoring of actions. She has a hard time getting out of the shower simply because bubbles on the shower wall are more entertaining than taking off the shampoo from her head. So what if this is labeled a disability? Is it hindering her performance at school? Yes! So let the label be used! It is up to us as parents to use this word in the appropriate settings so it isn’t taboo anymore.

We wouldn’t blame a person in a wheelchair for asking to have a ramp available, so why would we shy away from other similar tools for our ADHD children? And Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is that “ramp” for our ADHD children.

Here are some helpful FAQs from :

What types of accommodations will my child receive if determined eligible under Section 504? 

Each child’s needs are determined individually. Determination of what is appropriate for each child is based on the nature of the disabling condition and what that child needs in order to have an equal opportunity to compete when compared to the non-disabled. There is no guarantee of A’s or B’s or even that the student will not fail. Students are still expected to produce. The ultimate goal of education for all students, with or without disabilities, is to give students the knowledge and compensating skills they will need to be able to function in life after graduation. 

Accommodations that may be used, but are not limited to, include:

  • Highlighted textbooks
  • Extended time on tests or assignments
  • Peer assistance with note taking
  • Frequent feedback
  • Extra set of textbooks for home use
  • Computer aided instruction
  • Enlarged print
  • Positive reinforcements
  • Behavior intervention plans
  • Rearranging class schedules
  • Visual aids
  • Preferred seating assignments
  • Taping lectures
  • Oral tests
  • Individual contracts

Will my child still be in the regular classroom or will he be in a “special class”?

A Section 504 eligible child will always be in the regular classroom unless (according to federal regulations): “... the student with a disability is so disruptive in a regular classroom that the education of other students is significantly impaired, then the needs of the student with a disability cannot be met in that environment. Therefore, regular placement would not be appropriate to his or her needs and would not be required by §104.34” (34 C.F.R. §104.34, Appendix A, #24).

So far, any special accommodations she has needed we have addressed directly with her teacher, such as the use of a special timer for her assignments while at school. She is in second grade, and so far we have't needed to use a 504 Plan, but I am more that ready to go talk to my daughter's schools at the first sign that she needs more help.

Do you know what special help your school can provide?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Greater than the sum

My Mother

My Aunt and second Mother
My Sis, always there for me.

My friends since forever

My Grandma
Today is Mother's Day in Mexico. I want to thanks all the women in my life, present and past, young and old, with kids of their own and not. I am inspired by their strength, their kindness, their patience, and their constat fight for happiness. May God bless you all.

Bearing a child does not a mother make. It is the love the you give so unselfishly, no matter the cost.

I am a better Mother and Woman because of you, and every day I strive to be more like you.

Who do you celebrate on Mother's Day even if they are not your Mother?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mrs. and Mr. Jane Doe - Are you taking her name?

Image from Wedding Photography Ink

I was sitting at my Doctor's office today and while I waited to be seen (for almost 90 minutes, but who is counting) I read a very though provoking article on Parenting magazine about changing your last name after marriage. "What is so though provoking about changing your name after marriage?" you may ask, and the spin on it is that it was written by a man. He went on to note how his grandmother told him "I'm gonna kill you" after they announce Mr. and Mrs. "insert wife's family name here". He also noted how credit card companies made it so hard to go through this process that is so common for women, all because he was a man and something fishy had to be behind it.

Happiest Day, even without changing my name.

What struck a cord was that he also noted how men live their whole lives with the name they are given at birth, and expect that to always be so, and yet we say nothing when women don't. I understand the romanticism behind it, but I never identified with it.

I grew up in Mexico, where you have two last names. When I started college in the US I when through a lot of hurdles all to keep those names because I didn't identify with having just one. I felt I was loosing my identity. When I met my husband we talked about this long before planning our wedding, he understood that this was not about him or his name, but about mine and my identity. This was not coming from a prideful place either, because when we had kids I was the one that decided they have only his last name and not mine ( I didn't want them struggling with a hyphenated name as I had for half my life).

But my decision to keep my family name has been question many times, by many different people. More so now at my kids' school when they finally find out (I try not to mention it, but somehow it always comes out). So I do see the value of a "family" name, but all because of what others see, others who grew up in that same society where women change their names once married. My kids, who have always known Mommy doesn't have their same last name, don't care, or they actually do but they care that I keep my last name because "it is your name Mommy! why would you change it to ours?" 

From the mouth of babes!

To each their own. But not everyone agrees with "to each their own". Why would it be such a big deal for a man to change their name once married? This man wanted for the whole family to have the same name, and so their kids would take on his wife's family name. He was teased with such comments as "should we address you as Mrs. and Mr. [insert wife's name here]?" Well, why not?

I would never ask my husband to change his name, for the same reason he didn't ask me to change mine, but why should anyone care if he did.

I won't preach to my children in one direction or another, as I want them to form their own opinion and decide for themselves. At the same time, I would support my daughter if she chose to change her name or if she chose to keep it, and I would do the same for my son. He should not have to fear ridicule or extra hurdles just for changing his last name.

If men can be Nurses, Nannies, Stay at Home Dads, and society accepts them, why can't we accept a simple name change? Any Man that decides to blaze their own trail regardless of gender roles deserves to wear the "SuperMan" ring in my book.

What do you think about men taking their wives' last name?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

So into Marilyn

So into Marilyn

Hoop earrings
$20 -

Ray-Ban ray ban sunglasses
$195 -

Marilyn Monroe Dots Juniors T-Shirt
$22 -

I don't exactly know what it is about Marilyn Monroe that fascinates me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my Grandfather was so in LOVE with her and had kept several magazines and pictures of her. Maybe it was how she exuded confidence. Regardless, I think she transcends fashion and is still considered a great beauty icon today.

A bit against her "prim and proper" aura I decided to use her image in an outfit I wore this Saturday while taking the kids out to do some crafts at our local kids club. Comfy and casual, NorCal style.

Who do you consider a Beauty Icon?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.