View Full Version : is it adhd, diagnosis experience needed

09-23-09, 10:37 AM
i have a 7 tear old boy who is having trouble with behaviour expectations, i think he needs a more consistent structure. last year (kindergarten) and this year, 1st grade, teachers are saying he has a short attention span and is messy. pencils & pens strewn about. need to repete directions but he is making process and is very smart. he is very hi energy and gets no weekly exercise. went to pediatrician, 20 question test (scored high on symptoms), lets try meds. we did not. psychologist says sure, we can try meds. we have not tried tight structure and clearly defined expectectaions. no aggressive, mean spirted outbursts. mom has trouble getting him to focus on homework yet he can master multiple levels of various dsi and gamecube challenges. i think certain school basics bore him. we are divorced and he and i speak nightly, i live 1800 mi away and we spend a fair amount of time together. i tend to think single motherhood presents challenges that have a breakpoint as it reletaes to time allocation. when do you go to meds, to what degree are sacrifices made to put him and his energy excesses first. he reponds much more effectively to me than his mom but she has great responsibilities to balance. he tends to get drawn into any rare choice consequences by older or less well behaved children. how can i help his mom, how can we start a process of responsibly helping him before she decides to use meds to tame his energy and access his thought potential so he can learn at an enriching pace. PLEASE help. jbgb thx

09-23-09, 11:29 AM
There is nothing wrong with wanting a more thorough evaluation for your son. On the other hand all of those things you listed in your poll would help your son. Even if you add meds, you still need to do all of those other things. They meds dont make all the symptoms go away, the meds just help a lot. They make life much easier for the child. Exercise is good too.

"Certain school basics" bore everyone. That is why ADHD really starts showing up when kids start school. At school, kids need to do tedious tasks that they dont really like. NT's (neurotypical) kids can do those tasks much easier than an ADHD child.

Video games are completely different than schoolwork. With video games you get immediate rewards for doing certain things, the game environment is constantly changeing and appealing. Nearly all ADHD kids love video games and can play them for hours.

Were questionares given to the teachers too? Did you fill one out, or was it just your ex?

09-23-09, 12:08 PM
not to teachers, not to me. pediatrician>ex>we can try meds, did not. i understand all measures help him settle into a focus and stimuli reception and processing cycle. no single qiuck fix. i did not know that adhd/add kids also excell at pleasure based tasks of focus, makes sense. is obviously a tremendous stimlui gap between dsi gaming and abc's. i read some heartfelt but scary posts on mean and dangerous behavior, maybe that is just to come and this is progressive. addictive behaviors are genetically loaded on both sides of the family and that concerns me with the amphetimine drugs. i wish i could just help direct my ex on the best diagnosis and action plan scope of work to help her not to have to decide if she's doing the right thing. ie; who is an expert that can provide a level of confidence she can embrace...lives in az. i also would like to try and asess the divorce impact on my son. she has not discussed it with him logically, just, papa lives in ga, we live in az. he and i are very close. to what degree is this the problem? he is such a gentle boy, smart but so physically energized. there is also this jumping up and down and shaking of hands, is that a tic? we used to think he had to pee but he says no papa, i'm just so excited. thanks for your input. dod you have an adhd child and what did you do to systenaticallly asess his condition and needs. jbgb

Trooper Keith
09-23-09, 12:28 PM
Medication is the single most useful treatment for ADHD, A psychologist has made a diagnosis, right? Not just the pediatrician? Not that it matters, diagnostic criteria are pretty straightforward.

Does he misbehave? You say he has no aggressive or mean-spirited outbursts. Does he cause trouble? Disrupt class? If his only symptoms in the classroom are messiness and poor attention, you might just leave it go if you're opposed to medication. I can't think of any behavioral intervention that will help with attention span, though you could work on the messiness I suppose by using a reward system for when his space is clean. The children I work with with ADHD all have behavioral issues that need corrected, which requires setting firm limits and enforcing immediate consequences.

Amphetamine drugs and such are not a significant risk factor for addiction at his age and with prescription doses. There's a significant difference between taking medication for pleasure and taking it because it's medicinal, and also, children with ADHD tend to have a paradoxical effect: amphetamines make them "go slow" as my doctor puts it. Not exactly a risk of addiction.

Before people jump on me for not selecting "daily exercise," this may help with the hyperactivity by wearing the kid out, but it's not likely to be useful as far as controlling behavior and such. Does he have recess at school? He's likely getting exercise then anyhow, or at least he should be.

09-23-09, 12:52 PM
I would work on a more definitive diagnosis so you and your ex can be comfortable with the diagnosis, and then look at a potential treatment plan. You might see if your ex can take the records to a psychiatrist that handles ADHD kids. The doc may want more evaluations and will likely want you and the teachers to fill in evaluation forms. ADHD diagnosis by definition includes problems in at least two settings.

If she has a university or large hospital nearby that has a child development team, she might be able to get lots of varied help. The local university here, has a team and they offer parenting classes for parents of challenging kids, evaluations and other useful services.

Possible treatment could include a behavior plan at home and at school, requesting school modifications, parent coaching and meds, based on the plan the doc and parents put in place.

For my youngest, we had a behavior plan, parent coaching and school modifications in place and then added meds. I thought she was just a high energy kid like I was so I thought it was "normal" until the issues started with school. Had I been able to see the crisis coming in the area of anxiety, we would have started meds sooner...but we could not see into the future.

Even though ADHD can often be accompanied by other conditions, it can often be by itself. You may hear scary stories on boards like this because this is where a person can come for help. If diagnosis and treatment went smooth, there is little reason for a parent to seek out a place and post "things are great". One thing that can happen is that a smart kid will know they are different than their peers at school and they will not know why they are struggling and this can cause anxiety and acting out. We lived this with my youngest.

Like KMiller said, proper medication of ADHD is not a risk for future drug abuse and may reduce it and some of the other risks that untreated ADHD can pose. When I looked around at other family members (both sides) for signs of ADHD, not only did I find ADD, I also saw addiction, failed marriages, teen pregnancies and other things that can happen with untreated ADHD.

09-23-09, 02:53 PM
wow, thank you all very much. keep it coming. this is very helpful. jbgb

09-23-09, 06:12 PM
Exercise is interesting. Aerobic exercise makes it harder for you to think. During my spin class the instructor often says "if you can remember the phone number of your best friend, you are not working hard enough." Strangely, when working out beyond a certain level, I cant remember much.

09-23-09, 08:48 PM
Poll questions

"daily taxing physical exercise w/ lifestyle structure

behavioral modification involving school and home

counseling to understand impact of divorce


I am not sure the point of the poll. None of these have anything to do with the diagnosis of ADHD in any form. If you could clarify, I would be be happy to participate.