View Full Version : Diagnosis Problems

04-28-10, 01:09 AM
My son is 16 years old, and has gotten by for the most part with his intelligence. He is very smart, and very creative as well. However, he has begun to have problems in high school, and he can't get by simply by common sense and reasoning anymore. He's not failing any classes or doing that badly, but it is much worse than I know he should be able to do.

It was actually him that brought up the idea that he might have ADHD-PI, and at first I was highly skeptical. However, after talking to him and looking back on everything in his life, it does indeed seem like he has it. He has all the symptoms and cannot concentrate on anything, always switching what he is doing and changing hobbies nearly weekly. He feels that it is adversely affecting him in life and I want to help him.

We went to the psychiatrist to get him checked, and she believes that he has it too. In order to be certain though, she gave us Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Teacher Rating Scales, to give to his teachers at school, in particular the ones with which he is having a bad grade.

He was the first to bring up the concern that the teachers in his school don't really spend any one on one time with the students, and that ADHD-PI is not as quickly and easily seen by observers. He spends most of the classes daydreaming and doodling, but the teachers almost never notice at all.

He gave the form to the teachers regardless, and they did exactly what he thought they would do: pretty much all negatives, or "don't know". The second appointment to the psychiatrist is next week, when she expects the forms, but I am worried that she won't be able to diagnose him or will conclude that he doesn't have it because of this.

From my own research, those forms are used for younger children, and I don't see how it could be expected that a high school teacher could notice some of the more stealthy symptoms of ADHD-PI, like losing pencils - he just asks his classmates for one [and loses it the same day].

So what should we do? There must be alternate ways of getting diagnosed. I know for a fact that he is very serious about this and I, too, am convinced of his condition. I am very worried and would like to know what my next course of action should be.

Thank you.

04-28-10, 08:46 AM
Your story seems very similar to mine. I am a 16 year old girl who just got diagnosed this past february. I was given a Connors rating scale however and one was given to me, my parents and three of my teachers.

The ones returned from both me and my parents showed I was highly inattentive. the ones from my teachers however came back virtually clean and you're right, they don't notice anything. And it seems to me that none of the teachers want to help either. They just let you fail apparently. I kept going to my math teacher for help and he kept denying it. So I finally dropped that math class because I was the only one failing and not understanding.

Only one teacher this year noticed something was ''off'' about me and when I have her study hall, she checks to make sure all of my homework is done. If it's not, she has me sit down and finish it rather than wander around the room. It might just be luck, maybe not. But it also might have to do with the fact than we only have 4 kids in that study hall so she's able to really see how I act and what not.

As for you, it might be enough to get diagnosed just off of your reports and your son's. I know it was for me. If for some reason it isn't then maybe go see someone who specializes in ADD/ADHD. They are a bit more trained to see the symptoms and what not.

Good luck with getting your diagnosis!

04-28-10, 04:26 PM
Thanks, that's pretty much exactly the situation with my son. Though his teachers didn't outright deny it, they definitely didn't notice any symptoms due to the size of the classes and such. Hopefully it'll be enough.

04-28-10, 08:29 PM
It was actually him that brought up the idea that he might have ADHD-PI, and at first I was highly skeptical

My now DS16 suggested the very same thing when he was 14. None of his previous sometimes fustrated teachers mentioned he had attention or focusing issues. He did have these very high then very low grades throughout the year.

As I was reading a Conner's survey recently, I wondered how appropriate it was for my 16yr old. Many seemed like regular irritating teen behavior.

I'm not quite sure from your post what you are wanting to improve with a dx. Concentration? Organization? Focus on long tasks? Time management?

04-28-10, 09:47 PM
There are a multitude of responses on diagnosis;many by my friend Dizfriz+.

There are also a number by yours truly, as well.

Just as an fyi, :

1) there's NO single test for diagnosing ADHD;

2) Parent & Teacher rating scales DO NOT have to "match" in order to help substantiate

the diagnosis;

3) the DSM-IV TR symptom list is THE most accurate diagnostic measure available today;

4) in fact, the DSM-IV TR symptoms are diagnostically MANDATED

5) unless there's been some changes made, the Vanderbilt didn't have a manual or any

norms to base the scores on ( when my pediatrician friend sent me both forms to use

in my practice);

6) the Connors, while one of the oldest checklists, has come under a number of criticisms,

all of which are valid ( so much so that I don't use it anymore).

There's a lot more to say on this, but I'd suggest you search for postings on Diagnosis.

Good luck & tc