View Full Version : The child who is or isn't ADHD

11-01-05, 03:26 AM
The child lacks focus, is hyperactive, fairly talkative, doesn't do his homework, can't do math easily, doesn't like to read and has a definite family history of ADHD. He has already been held back a year in school and threatened with being held back every school year. All this and more, but a recent school for ADHD says that he is not ADHD, supposedly his test scores were pretty much straight across the board.

This is my fourth grade grandson, who I suspect has ADHD, but the school says no! His younger brother is also suspected of having ADHD, but I won't get into that here at this time.

Is this pretty much par for the course, that is, the schools just write kids off, by telling kids that they can do the work, if they would just try harder! His teacher says that he can do the work in the classroom if he is pressured into doing it. What now? Does he have a learning disorder that will never be diagnosed or some other medical problem, such as bipolar? What to do?

11-01-05, 04:03 AM
Who in the school is saying he doesn't have ADHD? the teacher? School psychologist?

I would question, whoever is saying your grandson does not have ADHD, whether or not they are qualified to diagnose ADHD.

I suggest, if you haven't already, take him to a psychiatrist for evals.

11-01-05, 05:10 AM
Hi ADDled:

I see a couple causes for concern from what you have written.

First, as livinginchaos wrote, who did the evaluation? Was that person qualified to diagnose ADHD? Did they offer an alternate explanation? Have they done IQ tests?

Second, this talk of "tests" being used to determine ADHD is worrying. As one of our resident experts Robert McTavish says, "checklists trump tests."

Third (OK, I can't count!), the "just try harder" thing really raises some red flags. I would definitely be leery of anything a school like that said that about my son.

Best of luck, and please keep us posted!

11-01-05, 08:15 AM
Get a second opinion. Those symptoms all sound like possible ADHD to me. I really hope they didn't jump to that conclusion based on a school administered achievement test like the WCJ3 or a group intelligence test.

11-01-05, 09:44 AM

Apples & oranges.

The clinical threshold (line that separates everything else from ADHD) is.....IMPAIRMENT.

Impairment in major life activities that cause harmful dysfunction is the most widely accepted definition of any type of disorder on earth.

For kids, "major life activities" are school, friendships and homelife (chores,etc.)

The " EVIDENCED BASED PRACTICE" for diagnosing ADHD is that , in addition to meeting the diagnostic DSM-IV criteria, the symptoms must be present from an early age and cause harmful dysfunction.

An evidenced based assessment looks at family hx, pre natal care,esp smoking during preg, and also birth complications.

Failimg a grade is an impairment in a child's major lfe activity.

Test scores CANNOT be used to rule out ADHD.

Their ecological validity is poor.

That means that taking a test in a quiet room with an examiner DOES NOT equate with a classroom environment.

Lastly, an avg or better performance on an achievement test like the WOODCOCK -JOHNSON, has NOTHING to do with dxing ADHD.

(Demand that they produce ANY data that supports that....there isn't any).:)

good luck

11-02-05, 01:33 AM
OK I agree with the individual that said who are the school to say...they are not doctors!! I agree with having your grandson tested in the school but I also agree with taking him to a psychiatrist. Although I am currently in the battle with my husband against his exwife to get diagnoses straight but we have done almost every possible route to make sure that we get the best services for my stepson. The bottom line is he can not do what they are expecting your grandson to do without some accomodations and intervention but I would also make sure that you do your steps in getting different "opinions" and evaluations. In the long run it will hopefully pay off.

11-02-05, 04:00 AM
My recent experience with schools says to go with your gut and get him tested outside the school system. I'm amazed at what some teachers don't see in their classes. My son, who the school also thinks has no probs, fell out of his desk today and hit his head and his teacher never even knew about it. He told me he was rocking in his chair, but couldn't tell the teacher he was hurt because there is a no talking rule during that part of class.

My experience as a special education teacher tells me that most small schools cannot give you a diagnosis for ADHD or are unwilling to go into that territiory. They'd rather have a LD label. However, if he has low grades, and is failing because he is not getting work in, he is showing educational need, no matter what the test say. If you have a diagnosis to go along with the poor accademic progress, you can get him help through 504 or Special Ed services. Even without those supports the school should have to show that they are implementing some kind of support or at risk intervention program for him.

4th grade is the magic age for boys to become identified because of the increased difficulty in work expectations, and the gaps finally catch up with them. I'd definitely look for help soon though, becaus it sounds like your grandson may also be battling self-esteem issue, which is not uncommon with ADHD. Those issues will only get worse with age if the ADHD is left untreated and he continues on his current path.

Unless your talking with a licenced psychologist, the person who told your really has no basis to judge, especially if they are not looking at his prir history and established study habits.

Hang in there and do what you think is right. I now it feels like an uphill battle, but it's definitely worth it.

11-02-05, 09:42 AM
As a general rule, schools don't test for ADHD.

My experience as a licensed (clinical/child) psychologist in rural MN., is that schools are more likely to test for a Learning Disability.

By the same token, if a child doesn't qualify for LD services the parents are simply told that the child "doesn't qualify," which is (literally) true.

I haven't seen too many parents of ADHD children being further informed that their child might also "qualify" for Other Health Impaired (OHI);which is usally the case.

good luck:)

11-02-05, 02:02 PM
Thank you all for your insightful answers, the answers are very much appreciated! My frustration level hit an all time high this morning and I went on a tirade about the house, because nothing was being done. Then I was accused by my daughter-in-law, saying that I was the cause of all my grandson's problems! Meanwhile she sits there every day, drinking coffee, playing on her computer and cell phone and does nothing for the child, because she doesn't want to give him medicines or be bothered. Hopefully, my grandchild's parents have seen the "light," and have started the process of getting the child the help that he needs and will have him privately tested.

The child had spent two days (no school on Tuesday) without doing his homework and refused to do it. Don't even go there about discipline! He would not go to school this morning because his homework was not done, he says that his teacher gets in his face, keeps him out of recess and sometimes after school. Then when he was reprimanded this morning for not doing his homework and not going to school, he started to bang his hit on the wall (this is not the first time that he has banged his head like that when upset). My understanding of this behavior is that it is all over-stimulation that is usually caused from ADHD and the need for stimulation.

I had to restrain him from hurting himself and the tears were pouring down his face, which really hurt me inside, not so much from the tears, but that he needs help so very much. After these storms he is fine and calm, has anyone else had these problems with their children?

My grandson, I believe, knows that he needs some kind of help. He often looks at the titles of my ADD books, especially the title, "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!" and yes, he had these problems way before I or my son were Dx with ADD.

I'll certainly keep everyone posted, as something will be done to better my grandson's life!

11-02-05, 08:15 PM
most small schools cannot give you a diagnosis for ADHD or are unwilling to go into that territiory. Schools in my Province are not allowed to diagnose ADHD.

11-02-05, 11:02 PM
In my school board in Ontario, Canada...they will not test for ADHD. If they find it while looking for an LD they will give the diagnosis. We can give a school based identification of behaviour which a lot of ADHD kids would fall into. I don't thnk many school do a lot of this sort of identification, they simply deal what comes already identified at their door step. To get the school based ID, they would have to not be achieving and meet certain behaviour critera.

11-09-05, 01:46 AM
To me it sounds like your grandson is definitely a candidate for testing. If when the school asks for concerns You specifically mention that he seems to have attention problems and there is a family history of ADD, they will be more likely to use a test that does screen attention issues. There are some tests that do screen for this.
I'd also ask for an OT eval if his handwritting is still hard to read or he uses a lot of pressure writing and errasing.
The school probably will not test for ADHD because you have to have a licensed psychologist do it, not a diagnostician, which tends to be who tests at most schools. Also schools don't want to set a precedent with testing for attention problems. They prefer working with clean cut numbers instead of past history.

Even if the testing does not show a descrepancy, (sorry the gap is different in different states), if he is dignosed ADHD and you can show how it impacts his school workk and acheivement, they will have to put in supports with 504 or Spec Ed services.

11-12-05, 05:29 PM
First I must say I had to get my ADD under control to help Jacob with his. My son never had tantrums like that, but he in his own way expressed his frustration. He would cry when he got home and say, "I just couldn't do it. Then I thought I did it right, and it was all wrong." When I was in denial, he would get in major trouble for this. I took him to a psych who diagnosed him, recommended modifications, and put him on adderall. We still have problems with math, and homework, but he is soooo much more confident and independent. He is a different child!

11-16-05, 04:32 PM
I am trying to get my ADD under control and I am working hard for that goal, my son, however, has given up on his ADD meds and doesn't take them any longer, due to side-effects. His wife is bi-polar and is almost worthless when it comes to helping the kids, harsh, but true. I feel that she is also ADD, although she has not been tested to my knowledge.

I am totally frustrated though in seeing this kid suffer each day, as the school supposedly had my grandson tested for ADD and said that he didn't have ADD. I don't believe that he has bi-polar, as he just doesn't display the ups and downs of bi-polar, although I could be wong. I feel that my hands are tied because I am not the "primary" caregiver, so I am limited in what I can do. If anyone knows any difference, please tell me!

His teacher gets in his face, from what I hear, and he is being kept after school every day this week, because he doesn't finish his homework and projects. He was crying last night saying he was dumb and stupid, which is why he says that he can not do his homework. I see him going down the same road that I went down and it is a very difficult and hard road to follow!

11-20-05, 04:13 PM
As a general rule, schools don't test for ADHD.

My experience as a licensed (clinical/child) psychologist in rural MN., is that schools are more likely to test for a Learning Disability.

By the same token, if a child doesn't qualify for LD services the parents are simply told that the child "doesn't qualify," which is (literally) true.

I haven't seen too many parents of ADHD children being further informed that their child might also "qualify" for Other Health Impaired (OHI);which is usally the case.

good luck:)
Once again, I'm counting lucky stars. My experience:

While we originally suspected LDs (dyscalculia & dysgraphia), our school evaluated my 2nd grade son pretty extensively. His academic achievement, which is above average in his WORST subjects and off-the-charts in his best, would normally exclude him from services. However, the significant difficulties at school and home that are believed to be caused by severe inattention qualify him for accomodations.

Special education services could have gone either way; he really doesn't "need" them since he can adequately compensate. What put him over the top was that it was decided he could benefit from adaptive P.E. and that allowed the school to classify him as "Other Health Impaired" and provide him with special ed services.

When it comes to accomodations, the schools are required by law to cooperate. But, special education services are another story. It CAN be done, but it requires more than just cooperation from the school, they have to want to provide the services.