View Full Version : Does it sound like my son may have ADD?

11-03-09, 01:02 PM
My son is in the 6th grade. Through the years he's been characterized as a bright student with great potential of being at the top of his class. But that potential is not reflected in the work as my son tries to get through assignments quickly, doesn't pay full attention to instructions (written or verbal), therefore the results of tests and various assignments don't reflect his true knowledge. That was one of the reasons we never tested him for TAG as he doesn't do well on exams.

He daydreams in school, it takes him a long time to get started on the task and he loses focus/gets distracted easily with other kids around. Sitting him at a separate desk and close to the teacher appears to be helpful most of the time.

This has been going on for years, but seems to be getting worse, or rather the teachers are bringing it up to my attention more than previously. Last year his teacher said that the main issue is time management and organizational skills, but this year there are talks about getting him tested for ADD, although they are stating he is not exhibiting all signs of a child with ADD, just some traits depending on the situation he is in. If he likes the activity, he has no problems focusing and working on it for as long a it is needed, but otherwise he doesn't want to put any time or effort.

He says he is bored and doesn't like school and I ensured that the teachers are aware he needs to be challenged, so they are giving him appropriate materials for his level, however he is still not interested and doesn't seem to care about grades or doing quality work in school. Every time I have a discussion with him about it, he promises to do better, and actually works hard and well at home, but once he is in school, it is as if something takes over him and he no longer cares. The teachers keep sending him out of the classroom and once he comes back, he seems to be able to focus better for a little while. Another characterization of him is a class clown, disrupting other kids.

Also, we haven't found anything that would motivate him - rewards or punishments, nothing seems to work (since he was little). Frankly, he doesn't even want to work hard in the areas he enjoys, such as playing guitar. He picked that instrument, but once the novelty wore off, he no longer wants to do the work.

In terms of diet, he doesn't eat sugary foods/drink sodas, or processed/junk foods. I do have to say that on occasion unfortunately he has a light breakfast as often says he is not hungry in the mornings. In regards to exercise, he is very active, playing basketball, skateboarding and swimming.

I don't know what to do. Anyone has a child with behaviors like this and have advice on how to address the situation? We will have him tested for ADD, however I am sure there are other answers than medication if he is diagnosed with that, although many people who know him state that they don't believe that's what he has...

11-03-09, 02:20 PM
If you think ADHD may be an issue, get him evaluated. People with the inattentive form of ADHD are often missed because they do not irritate anyone enough and bring negative attention to themselves. A bright child will compensate for quite a while and just not reach their full potential. Also, he may just be bored and not in the right learning environment that a gifted child would need. To sort all of this out, start the evaluation process. The process can start with the pediatrician to rule out thyroid, and other potential issues that can cause inattention. It can then go directly to a psychiatrist or through an education psychologist.

ADHD kids can really focus (and even hyperfocus) on activities they are interested in and not focus on activities that are not interesting. This is a normal part of ADHD. A bright kid would also pick up that he is different from others and may try to hide this by not admitting anything that sets them apart and not asking for help (my youngest is this way to the extreme). At school there are distractions and at home, you may be helping his focus more than you realize. I would set my daughter up to race through an assignment while I made dinner and there was a treat if she beat me...I was helping her focus for short times this way. Also, a short change in scenery helps me and my youngest. A quick run down the street with the dog, and she could tackle another assignment.

You are describing parts of both my kids but mostly my oldest with inattentive ADHD. We worked for years trying everything to help her organize, but she just kept losing everything, fell behind and was so scattered. We suspected dyslexia, so started with an educational psychologist who did lots of testing that showed a child with a mix of high and low subtest scores (I do not want to go into this here) indicating a gifted child with a learning disorder (auditory processing plus possible other). Further evaluation by a psychiatrist pointed to inattentive ADHD and we started treatment. My daughter had been having trouble getting any of the teacher's instruction but was bright enough to figure things out on her own until about the 6th grade. With meds, she can now "hear" and understand the teaching instruction, she is more organized and does not forget everything. With diagnosis and treatment she went into honors classes and is now taking advanced math, history and science in high school. When off meds, she is so scattered and forgetful so we will be requiring meds for things like driving and working when these come in the next few years. It is a matter of her safety.