Does my son have ADHD?

Hello folks

My son aged 6 has always been a 'bouncy and happy' little man - endearing and caring.

I have just returned home from parents meeting with his class teacher who has raised the question of ADHD. Now, of course she hasn't in anyway labelled him or attempted to diagnose him but simply wanted to bring it to our attention.

Slight back story - in his first year of school he found it difficult to sit during story time or When the teacher was addressing the class as a whole. He would fidget at best and do cartwheels at worst...it varied. The saving grace throughout all this apparent inattentive behaviour was that he did take in what was being taught - much to his teachers amazement. He was keeping up with lessons and doing very well. He is bright and articulate but how was he able to take it all in whilst staring all around him and flailing around the floor.

The feeling was to leave him to mature and monitor his development as he becomes accustomed to the routine and expectations of school life.

Now he is in his second year of school and although there is improvements naturally, he still appears to be having issues sitting still and focusing on the teacher during group lessons. He continues to do well and 'keep up' with the workload etc.

I spoke with the headteacher after the parent- teacher meeting and said that I think there are definite signs and asked what can we do to know with any certainty whether he has ADHD.

My feelings on it are of course I don't want my son to have ADHD, but if he has then we aren't offering him the support and understanding he requires. Until we know if this 'behaviour' is because he can't control it or whether he needs strict telling off. I jest but you understand my point I'm sure.

He has a good heart and very rarely is anything he does 'naughty' but rather distruptive and not doing as he is asked.

The headteacher has referred him to the Dr to start the ball rolling I suppose....

If this sounds familiar or anyone has any advice I'd be very glad to hear from you.

Many thanks

Emma

19 Replies

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  • Hi Emma,

    Sorry to hear about this, I went through it with my boy and it's a tough time.

    My advice is to speak to the school and your local health authority and ask for a referral to an educational physiologist.

    Only they will be able to diagnose your son properly. Once he is diagnosed then further action can be taken.

    The main thing is to not bury your head in the sand or hope that it goes away.

    Face it head on with a brave face and make sure that your son know you are on his side and doing this to help him. Whether it is ADHD or that he is having trouble adjusting to more formalised education he needs your support and the schools.

    Good luck and please let me know how it goes. I'm sure it will all work out.

  • Hi 'Dad'

    What was it that lead to the feeling of ADHD?

    I hope you don't mind sharing.

    Emma

  • Is he the same at home or just at school?

    We had the same in reception and then year 1. Really clever boy just needed more structure and less pandering to when he tried to get more attention in the class room. Awful parents evening every time with school trying to push blame at our door. We kept saying we don't have these problems at home as we are really strict with boundaries etc. They suggested they refer us to local authority and would send someone to observe in our home at summer parents evening.

    A couple of weeks ago we had his first parents evening of the year. I was ready to change him to another school I was so fed up.. New and young teacher.. said he had a tantrum on the first day which she dealt with sternly and he has been in a bit of trouble 4 times since beginning year 2 instead of every day for first 2 years.

    Turns out he's a boy! Just as we had said to school in the first place.

    Usually they don't diagnose until at least 7 years old. Don't let poor teaching make you feel you need to label him. Also if he needs a label that's ok too but try not to worry too much this early. The tests schools do SATs etc reflect on the teaching not on the kids. My mum is a teacher and we know quite a few too. This is advice they have given us xx

  • This is refreshing!!

    He has been fortunate to have very experienced teachers who I have a lot of respect for.

    I forgot to mention in my initial post that he isn't like the teacher describes at home. Of course, he can display 'misbehaviours' and defiance but nothing unlike what my daughter aged 9 did as she tested boundaries too.

    He most certainly isn't 'on the go all the time' and doesn't exhaust me or have me pulling my hair out. He is 9/10 very calm and don't notice any fidgeting or restless behaviour. He is happy to sit alone in his room with iPads or play his wii U as well as play games with the rest of us. He gets his homework done without much fuss. Yet at school he has been known to say 'I can't do this' 'I just don't know' 'I don't want to do this'. At home his approach to any difficulty with homework or tasks is much more nonchalant and 'hmm, I'm not sure mummy'. Seems he is two very different kids at home and at school.

    He has run riot in asda a few times and this is where he seems to lose sight of right and wrong and the only time I see an element of him not being fully in control of his behaviour 'overexcited'.

    I appreciate your reply.

    Emma

  • I read up about it all and freaked out for 2 years so figured this might help 😀. Sounds like he's 6 to me. My son had a very experienced teacher for first 2 years but sometimes you need someone to think out of the box like a newly qualified teacher. The very experienced teacher near cried at parents evening. How I managed not to say grow a pair I don't know. My mum said reception teachers are often a bit too fluffy to discipline kids as much as they might need.

  • I hear what you say on that. I compare it to me as a recently qualified nurse - old school nurses are often lacking in more modern approaches to things but dare we suggest it lol

    Truth be told he isn't even 6...in a few weeks.

    I've observed him at home with great interest and he just seems so 'normal' but desperately trying not to seem in denial. Very difficult situation

  • It is so difficult school will think you're in denial anyway. Just try not to let it worry you too much. It will get better x

  • If he is keeping up with all his work despite being inattentive maybe the issue is that he is not being challenged enough. It's difficult to pay attention when what is being taught seems obvious. Maybe ask the school about ensuring he is challenged.

  • Very good point - interesting.

  • Hi,

    I read your post because it looked relevant to an article I have just read coincidentally and I wondered if it may be of help at this stage whether or not you agree with everything in it. I haven't got an energetic 5/6 year old but a 2.5 year old, who is especially energetic in supermarkets!

    naturalchild.org/guest/robe...

    Best wishes,

    Ruth

  • Thanks very much for sharing that. More and more apparent that this isn't a tick box exercise and just how complex it is from the parents angle.

  • Hi Emmag89, I have a 9 year old who has signs of ADHD but mostly at home. She had sleep Apnoea due to enlarged Tonsils and had that for at last 5 years until Docs agreed to having a Tonsillectomy which happened end of September thank God. Being of a nursing background I wanted to support and understand my daughters situation. It could have been due to sleep deprivation or just a case of borderline ADHD. More behavioural problems at home rarely at school. The Tonsils are out now and apart from the immediate sleep improvement, behaviour wise not much difference. Attention seeking, constantly on the go, running inside the house for no reason, too loud compared to her other three sisters, extremely intelligent, homework done on time. At home doesn't listen to instructions, obeys rules for a few minutes. The only teacher who has noticed is a new inexperienced one who says she has attention deficit especially in the afternoon and short attention span but has managed fantastically with her and hasn't proposed a referral yet as despite all this she is a very bright intelligent child. Her father was the same as a child and at home we ensure she is kept active as much as possible. Otherwise she will be cartwheeling, jumping, cannot sit for long unless doing a particular activity e.g homework, tablet e.t.c She has to bike, scoot, swim to burn extra energy. She likes making things Arts and crafts. And now helps 5 year old a lot. The problem has slightly improved with age as now we can explain that running in shops and doing inappropriate things isn't a great idea and she understands that and can wait until she is elsewhere where her behaviour will not affect others. She enjoys helping out at home and that also helps. We have learnt to support her as much as possible and realise that it's the understanding, support, empathy and also knowing that this improves with age that we have not asked for intervention until the school asks as then it will be affecting her education. We are not in denial at all but have learnt to manage her behaviour and we are all doing well. Every child is different and should be treated so. If any parent feels they are not coping then asking for help is key. In our case Dad was exactly the same or even worse and this has helped us to cope and manage. He is now a fantastic Dad and still hyper active but can control it and uses the extra energy productively.

  • Very grateful to hear your story. I can foresee that with time and as he matures his understanding and ability to acknowledge 'time and place' appropriately this behaviours will be significantly curbed. He is just very selfish 'me,me,me' which is still age appropriate im told. Whereby he doesn't consider how his behaviour may affect the others learning ability. Explaining that to a 5 year old doesn't have much impact sadly.

    I truly can see that with time, his behaviour can be managed and that currently it is just a lack of empathy on his part for the uproar he can cause haha. He just doesn't get it just yet.

  • No love, he's probably just a normal 6 year old, perhaps struggling a little. What 6 year old doesn't bounce or struggle at something? By the way I'm a teacher and a mother of five X

  • Well, I have done quite a bit of reading as you can imagine and I think I've been able to diagnose 90% of children I've ever met - as well as myself haha.

    I think I'm starting to panic that a misdiagnosis is more harmful to him than a missed diagnosis.....

  • Absolutely!! A healthy diet, low on sugar, sugary drinks and junk food can often calm down a child - especially the many I've taught with ADHD! We're all different, it doesn't mean that we are not 'normal' or 'healthy'!!! Xx

  • By the way don't let them push you into something just because he doesn't quite fit their mould x

  • Hi Emmag89 I think you are both doing very well. As you mentioned all he is doing is age appropriate and as he grows older he will adjust whether he has the diagnosis or not. My daughter is very good at school, well most of the times but as she is learning to suppress her hyper side as soon as she comes home then the first hour is manifestation of this, as she then shows the crazy side of her self but I never tell her that I gently say that this place is not a park, theatre or gymnast studio. I then get her busy doing other activities which are safe for our environment and also help her not to get bored. Definitely in our case age is helping. My friends son was offered meds as his was so bad but I haven't got any feedback if it has worked for him or not. I read an article some time back regarding treatment Vs other management and it was critical of the UK Doctors rushing to prescribe as opposed to other countries where children are managed otherwise I.e keeping them active physically and mentally both indoors and outdoors as this helped more than the meds which they may rely on for life. Every child is different and so are their cases. Parents in my opinion need to understand their children, research the conditions to be well informed to make the right informed decision for them. Wishing you well.....

  • Thank you. I've immersed myself in the topic and have a more informed view on ADHD now.

    I just want to support him fairly and to help him the best I can. Medication is last resort and couldn't justify it based on his current state.

    My learning so far has concluded that initially perhaps a simple change such as e.g. Not to get his shoes, jacket and bag on but rather smaller tasks which still achieves the whole result but paced. Graduate that back up as he shows that he is coping with instruction. I suppose what I really mean is make life easier and not trundle on with growing expectations of added responsibilities as his age determines.

    I actually told my husband I think we need to treat him like a 4 year old in terms of what we ask and expect of him - for a while!

    My husband told me this afternoon 'he (son) forgot his homework folder which I asked him to pop into his school bag' my reply was 'no, he is 5, you should have overseen him putting it in or checked '. Harsh? My 9 year old would have been expected to carry that out with trust that she would do it and understand why it's necessary. Son - homework, not important to him. His snack for break - vital! Haha

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