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ADHD Parents Together
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Frustrated

Struggling with frustration with a child who has not been diagnosed with ADHD but who shows some symptoms and has a hard time listening. He is 5 yrs old and in kindergarten. This past yr has been rough because his teacher has spoken to him in ways that make me uncomfortable. Always seems to blame him. I feel very alone and powerless. I tried to advocate for my child but the teacher isn't sure he has it and I am waiting until 1st grade to see if a different teacher dynamic and his age will change a bit. I need to seek an outside assessment from a developmental pediatrician if I am still concerned he has ADHD in 1st grade, which is also very costly. This wait and see business is very upsetting.

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Mommy12- big hugs.. we have all been there. This is a long journey and the sooner to get the assessment the better. Children who do not have ADHD listen.. (of course some more than others) this is a classic symptom of children with ADHD, it's often not that they "mean" to not listen but if you look at why it is usually that they are super focused on something, which to them is super important but to you doing and listening is more more important.

Could you start by getting some behavior training/counseling to start? I am not sure how your insurance works.

Also if you can you should try to start the year with the assessment done so he can get help to start the year.

As far as the teacher dynamic, its usually best if you have discussed things with the teacher and it doesn't change quickly, that you get a principal or Admin. Involved, you can't wait or he is missing opportunities to learn.

For most kids with ADHD they benefit from: educational plan, parents that attend trainings, counseling and medication.

I know this seems like a lot but each help so much!

We are hear to listen any time, since most of us have all been there. Last year I had 2 meetings with teachers and at the end he really pulled his grades up, it only becuase I had the principal at the meeting added things to his 504 plan so everyone knows what he needs. I will do this again next year. I waited to long to complain.. each year I learn..

Hope this helps.. take care.

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Thank you Onthemove1971! Thank you for all your support, compassion and recommendations. When you mentioned behavioral training/counseling, did you mean to find a child psychologist who specializes in ADHD? I have also heard the best way to start assessing is, Step1 Ask child’s school about - Intervention & Referral Services, I&RS

, Step 2 Take child to a developmental pediatrician. Is this good advice? I'm also wondering if you know if an assessment from a counselor or developmental pediatrician will be enough to start to apply for services in my child's school? Is that how it works? Or will they have to be further assessed by a neurologist?

Best, Mommy12

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Yes a child psychologist who specializes in ADHD is a great way to start. If they tell you yes they believe he does have ADHD, you will feel better about getting the assessment done and quickly. All of these steps take a long time.

As far as the school is concerned, they look at how he functions and how it impacts his learning. Only medical professionals can give you an official diagnosis for ADHD, but the school can start interventions if they see his behavior impacts his learning.

So for example: if he is not focused they can place him in the front of the class near the teacher, who might give him a hand sign to get him focused again. It he is not completing his assignments you can ask for assistance with them going over work. Or help with a homework journal.

Hope all this helps.. looking back I would have done a lot more younger becuase as soon as he hit middle school we didn't have things in place so it was so much harder..

But all I can do is help other parents do what they can as soon as they can. Academics only get harder and they have to "raise to the occasion".. a lot of pressure.

Take care, big hugs as you travel this journey!

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Thanks for the info, advice and sharing your experiences. This is all so helpful.

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BIG HUGS. double yes to everything onthemove said. If there was anything I wish I could have done it would have been recognizing this in my daughter earlier. it is WELL worth the cost to identify this sooner rather than later. I have HUGE guilt making my daughter sit there and insist that she can do the work when in all actuality, she really couldn't.

I am very lucky because once we got the diagnosis, my daughter's school was very supportive. Medication saved my daughter's life. (she is diagnosed with bipolar as well). I just think that the more proactive you can be the better. We are all here to support you, but get in there and do what you need to do - you KNOW your child and the school and the teachers and principal are you BEST FRIENDS. In my experience they LOVE parents who are involved and want to help.

We are here to help! You can DO THIS!

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Thank you CAmos1985!

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Have you mentioned these concerns to your pediatrician? That’s probably the best place to start - even if just to get a referral to a psychiatrist. Some pediatricians are better at guiding you through ADHD than others.

If your son is 5 years old and in kindergarten, it sounds like he is probably one of the youngest in his class? They tend to be more likely diagnosed with ADHD, when part of the issue is that they may be literally a year younger than other children in their class (this less mature) - and boys especially are going to be more immature.

I would definitely recommend talking to the pediatrician, and perhaps the school psychologist for tips to help with certain behaviors. Teachers & school staff are probably not going to say “Hey, he has ADHD!”, but just report behaviors they see, for a multitude of reasons (they are not trained to diagnose, and it puts more financial responsibilities on the school to treat if they suggest the diagnosis.)

I hope you are able to help your little guy! 😊

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Thanks so much Pennywink. I have only mentioned it to my child's teacher and the school pschologist, but both weren't all that helpful. Initially, I wanted to bring it up to my son's teacher because I wanted her to try to observe his behavior and for her to be more patient with him since I am not sure if he has ADD. Unfortunately, some teachers don't understand students that don't fit the mold. She also seems overwhelmed with the entire class. I mentioned my concerns re my son's attention to the school social worker when my child was in pre-k. She was more comforting to talk with and I will approach her more formally this time.

Yes, my guy is on the younger side. His main issues are listening all of the time (he does sometimes but, questions have to be direct) his energy level, chattiness, struggle with reading but not math and interrupting my husband and I. His self control is great, he doesn't call out in class and he really respects others personal space. I know how he is in class because I volunteer in his school from time to time. He might need glasses come August after he had a 2 hour assessment with a specialist. His eyesight is 20/30 but the specialist said that people don't need glasses when their sight isn't all that bad. If it gets worse he'll have them for Sept.

Regarding the pediatrician, thanks for the advice. Will keep all of this info in mind. Thanks for the kind hopes and all the info :)

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Thanks for sharing more. I know I can speak for myself, it was really hard to have to say that our son has any issues to anyone at school. If it is not a special education staff member they do not understand children with ADHD. Also, most "general education" teachers have limited to no experience in helping a child with ADHD. Yes, they are generally overwhelmed, depending on how many years they have been teaching and how bad the behavior is in their class . That is why a 504/IEP is really their road map. to help guide them. It also tells them that our children need extra help.

Your son sounds like my son with all of the things they do. Just being distracting in class should qualify him as needing service. When a child is distracted they are missing the content the teacher is trying to teach. This is really impacted when they are in middle school because they need to take notes while listening and know what is on the test.

I am sorry the school psychologist was not helpful. When you walk in with paperwork stating that he needs services ( this is what the psychiatrist did for us). This is what got us the 504 plan.

Hope this helps, what you are feeling is exactly what we have been through. So we are right there with you.

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Thanks so much Onthemove 1971 and everyone! My son is only 5 and this has been frustrating for me (and I’m sure my son) already so I can empathize with you. I will have to remind myself that this is a process that will take some time and patience to overcome and that the end result will be my son having the help he needs. No one else really understands what parents go through when their child doesn’t quite fit the mold, I mean what child really does, but with ADHD people don’t seem to get it. You see this amazing little human being with all of these great traits, but a lot of the time, it’s quite tiring. You feel worn out each day like most parents, but with a little extra more juice drained. I want to make it about helping my kid and recognizing the emotional toll this all takes, especially with what it seems like lack of support form his teacher this year. It’s a wake up call to take action like so many of you said, sooner rather than later.

Big Hugs to you and everyone who has given me feedback. This has been so so helpful.

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I feel your pain. I knew there was something going on with my son and kept pushing to test. Unfortunately, doctors don’t like to diagnose ADHD below the age of 7 but I was able to get it done. Official diagnosis wasn’t made but we had a starting point.

Don’t let a bad teacher influence your decisions. You know your child best. If the teacher is an ass then push to have your child placed in a different class.

My son is 10 now and luckily we have had great teachers so far but each year brings new concerns because the older they get the less some teachers want to be involved and as it is my son doesn’t like school.

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If I may offer a different perspective? From your description, it sounds like your child is having some challenges. Irregardless of whether or not he is diagnosed it sounds like he needs support. What are his specific challenges? What can you be doing now to help support him? I worry that a child who is not understood at school and acts out, may develop issues with anxiety or reduced self-esteem, thus exacerbating acting out behaviours in later grades. Ask your child what is going on. Validate his feelings and work with him to find better solutions. In the meantime, keep the teacher apprised of what behaviour modification techniques you are using. This is not to discredit a diagnosis...it is imperative for supports to be put in place; however, most doctors won't diagnosis a child as young as 5.

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Thank you for your kind and caring input Joanna03. I joined this site for different perspectives and to gather info from other parents who have been where I am. I have heard mixed ideas on diagnosing a child with ADHD at 5, but know it's more common these days. Getting answers is worth a try since my husband and I are worn out. My husband and I have implemented behavioral techniques at home for about 8 months now. Now, I feel it's time for action at school. More understanding and possibly tweaking small things that may help my son like for example, sitting closer to the teacher. I am a licensed social worker, but work with adults and I'm not versed in ADHD. I do know however, that a child will become who you show them to be and labeling them in a neg way and focusing on their neg behavior are not the greatest methods. Validation and helping them problem solve are key, I agree. I feel my son's teacher does this unconsciously, focuses on the neg. My husband and I have always focused on my son's good traits. We validate and listen to him and are positive with him, calm, try to not yell (most of the time) and are fair with consequences. He is in good hands at home. He's kind, social, loves math, loves telling and hearing stories, creative, smart and is a really good friend. He makes friends wherever he goes. His flaw is that he has a hard time listening. I hear he stays seated in class and listens sometimes. There are good days and bad. I fear he will be so in his head and run off sometimes. We built him up since he was a baby and this year with his experience at school has broken my heart. I cannot change his teacher, only try to counterbalance HOW she might say things. When I first spoke with his teacher I had the attitude that I wanted she and I to work together for the benefit of my son and her. She is an older woman and doesn't seem open to change. His teacher, my husband and I all try to focus on positive reinforcement, but sometimes it works and other times not, probably like most kids. She is also inconsistent with her rewards, which stinks. I also just don't like how she compares students, "Everyone be like so and so." And sometimes because of lack or help in a large classroom of 22, 5 and 6 yr olds she is overwhelmed and sometimes seems to focus on my son when the entire class is misbehaving. My son blends into his environment and so if there's chaos he'll go with it. He has good days and bad and from what I have seen certainly isn't the most distracting child in his class.

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My son was diagnosed at 5 y.o. Children as young as 2-3 y.o. can display symptoms of ADHD. The American Academy of Pediatrics allows physicians to diagnose children age 4 and older.

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Reaching out to show support. My son was diagnosed at age 7 (this past fall) after years of us knowing but not being able to put the pieces together for an official diagnosis. I find it isolating, hard to be around other people sometimes, and we are struggling to implement the parenting techniques I read so much about. We had to have the diagnosis done by pediatrician after we completed the vanderbilt assessment paperwork (school doesn't do this- they will take a letter from the doctor as a first step and then they put in a 504 plan for him after we presented the diagnosis in wringing from pediatrician). So maybe start with your child's doctor. Sending you positive energy and a hug!

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Thank you so much! This helps.

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Hang in there Mom! Every one here has great advice but until he gets the diagnosis you don’t have concrete info on where to start as school accommodations, meds to b given, diet, what may work for him etc. For me it was like groping in the dark for answers/ directions at first. School staff would not give advice at all but told me what his problem was.

Best thing - learn more and advocate for him. Best wishes in this long Journey!

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Thank you so much for your support.

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Hello Mommy12, speak directly to the teacher about the way you are feeling. You should see an immediate change in how she addresses you child going forward.

You do not have to wait until next year to seek help. Please get your son to see a specialist who can rule out ADHD. Most insurances will cover psychological testing and if not perhaps you can request a payment plan. If he is diagnosed, he is eligible to receive educational services through the school.

Once you have him tested and receive a diagnosis, request a 504 plan or IEP. Many teachers lack patience, are not equipped or fully educated to teach a child with special needs. My son was in kindergarten when first diagnosed. It is not too early to take action.

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Thank you so very much Janice.

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Hi Mommy12. Oh how incredibly overwhelming this ordeal with your son and his teacher must be for you. The comments on here are very true with respect to treating most children with ADHD and can help a great deal with home and school life when used simultaneously. I hope you are able to get the assessment done in a timely manner and once complete an accurate diagnosis can be made. This is a wonderful place to get support in the meantime. Continue to reach out, we're all here for you. Hugs and blessings!

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