Stepmum's struggle for getting treatment for adhd girl - just got the diagnosis. Years of battle behind, what about the future?

My girl (not my biological girl, but she lives with me and I love her as a daughter) is 13 now. I met her when she was half her age. I immediately noticed she was different from the average kid of her age. Everybody is different but this is not what I mean.

She jumped around, talked non stop and very unclearly. She couldn't stay still for a second, not even when she was really ill. She completed tasks in a huge hurry or left them undone. I remember baking with her. She was so sweet and adorable and excited, but what a mess :D!

She always interrupted people, her siblings were far too much in her shadow. She was very accident prone and no wonder. Sometimes I felt greatful that she had'n't accidentally got killed or seriously harmed others because she jumped around so much and had a lot of strenght. She craved for attention more than anyone I've ever seen. Whenever somebody was sick, she had to talk about her sore throat. If ever somebody had a story to tell, she couldn't let them. If it was somebody else's birthday, she begged and begged for the same present.

She was not aggressive at all and loved people and company. She was a slow learner in speech and many logical things from as long as my husband can remember. On the other hand, she was super fast in many things (also in a good way), extremely creative, athletic and in some areas linguistically talented (storytelling etc).

I thought her problems may have resulted from not having strict enough boundaries. As a person who's been with children a lot, I immediately saw from her that she craved boundaries and teaching, she asked and yearned them much more than the average kid. And she had not had enough of them from her same sex parent, who was an advocate for letting the child decide as many things as possible for herself. I was really sad because of this as I saw how it affected the girl's development and messed up with her head. Given so much choice, she was often very confused and her bounciness and occasional feelings of frustration got worse.

I thought maybe she is just a slow learner. Had she been my biological child, I would have had her tested there and then, but her mum did not see anything special about her and my boyfriend did but it was a difficult subject for him. '

When she was around 9 and none of this had really changed, I knew I need to try and get her help. She was more secure with our boundaries and tutoring, but those things had not changed her super speed behaviour or her social problems. I pushed further, saying again and again to my husband that the little girl needs and deserves extra help and support. By that time, I had already become her private tutor, her helper in so many things and someone who again and again explained her certain things. She was a very slow learner and it frustrated her. She felt stupid and different. I was worried, because she was getting so much extra support and it did not seem to solve her problems. The support helped, but incredibly slowly, and new problems seemed to arise. (examples: teaching her to know what time it is, teaching her about friendships and how to not interrupt people, how to listen to them, how to wash yourself, how to brush your hair, how to do your homework concentrating even 5 minutes for it, how to not always ask for somebody else to do her thinking for her...)

When she was 10 and having big challenges at school I said my husband should contact school. She had been getting the occasional extra lesson now and then, but I said he really should ask for more, and ask for tests, even though her mother thought the whole idea of her having learning difficulties was stupid. The mother said that she is a very bright kid whose only problem was that she did not trust herself enough. This made me so sad and sometimes frustrated. I saw how our girl's low self esteem resulted from these learning difficulties, the social difficulties and being different and not understanding how or what could be done. Encouraging her ("you can do it!") just did not solve her problems at all, I saw that they ran much deeper.

At 12, she had preliminary tests at school (thanks to me pushing for it, my husband finally being brave enough to go against his ex in this and the help of some good teachers. )Then, at 13, she was sent to be evaluated further. The process was long and tests thorough. We get the details soon, but just now they told us that she has adhd.

For me, this is sad but also a huge relief. School will provide her with more support now, we can learn tricks of the trade to help her the best, she herself will finally get the answers that she does crave for and maybe her mum will finally acknowledge her issues and start participating, raising her more appropriately and supporting her.

I feel like I've reached a goal, it worked! On the other hand, this is just the beginning. Now that she has been diagnosed and her mum's complaining about us being crazy has been proven wrong, the next world war is beginning. Do any of you have any tips on how to cope with this, how to make sure this girl gets all the support she needs even if her mum still says no to medication and refuses to start using certain techniques at home that we have been using even before this diagnosis (daily routines, consistent rules, encouragement and  boundaries...).

The mother loves her child, but she  not very good with kids (my husband has the near custody) and is very strong-willed and negative about anything we suggest, claiming that we are always wrong. There is also a history of some mild neglect from her side - when her kids were younger, they came to us really dirty with filthy clothes, they could eat what ever they wanted, wander off on their own etc. We tried talking to her about it but she was furious and denied it although kindergarten and school said about some of these things to her, too. It got better when the kids grew up a little - we taught them to brush their hair and change their underpants every day etc so the mother did not become more responsible but the children learned to do things without her taking care of them. You can imagine how challenging situation this is when the kids are young and one of them has (then undiagnosed) adhd. Thank God we have had the custody for years so we now get the doctor's papers etc directly.

Now that the specialists suggest the same things (boundaries etc) for this girl with adhd and they have a diagnosis for her I think it's very likely that instead of seeing the light she will just become even more stubborn and do more damage to her child who, in my view, has already suffered for not having got this diagnosis years ago. In the past, she has many times told her that we are wrong about many things. This is heartbreaking to watch as the girl adores her mum and is so confused by these mixed messages.

Any tips for how to survive the future and get the best treatment for this girl? One of the mum's techniques is postponing everything. So even if school/us takes action it's always too late, because she has tried to prevent it and it has caused delays. In some cases, diagnosis or treatment can even be prevented by one parent claiming that there is no problem and no symptoms. How on earth will this girl ever get good treatment and learn to be on the map with her diagnosis?! So sad for her :(.

Has the mother ever been tested for ADHD?

The main thing that jumps out at me is that the mom is showing a lot of signs of having ADHD herself.  I can't imagine how to approach that with her, especially if she's on the defensive, but it's pretty common for previously undiagnosed parents to have an a-ha moment when their kids are diagnosed and they start to understand the symptoms better. 

I hope you're right! I mean I

I hope you're right! I mean I hope she will see the light after all these foggy years, once the team of specialists talks with her and shows the papers that contain the girl's test results. Still, the mum has an increbidly developed ability for denial and dodging problems and blaming them on others. This is like her dominant characteristic. So I am not hopeful that she would be able to admit she has been wrong big time in this. She never did it even when school's head master talked with her about taking care of her kids when they were little. But maybe she'll find a way to dodge the past and help her girl better from now on. Fingers crossed!