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Possible ADD in 9 year old?
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Possible ADD in 9 year old?

We've always been told that our 9 year old daughter has a hard time focusing in school and getting her work done. There was a minor "habit" that she had when she was younger that we were attributing this to. She has now broken that habit but still cannot focus. Trying to do homework with her is a nightmare. I sit with her to help her, or sometimes am in the room available for questions and help. ( I do not believe in doing my children's homework FOR them.) She will arrive at an answer and 5 minutes later I'm still waiting for her to write it down. This has resulted in MANY tearful homework sessions and many missed recesses/ incomplete grades at school. We have tried over and over to help her memorize her basic math facts but she doesn't seem to retain it or is not focusing on remembering the answers. Assignments that should take 10 minutes leave us sitting at the table for 30-45 minutes.

I do have to say that she is very smart though (which doesn't make sense, I know). She picked up reading early and quite easily and has been above grade level on that since day one. Her comprehension grades have also always been good. But even getting her reading/ grammar/ spelling work done is like pulling teeth. Her grades are a roller coaster. I know she is capable of more than she produces most of the time, I've seen her do it. Every report card we've received has had the comment "needs to focus on getting her work done." I'm at a complete loss now. There is never any specific event that I can attribute to low grades that she brings home.

Or... am I overreacting and need to come up with other ways to get her to, I don't know, work harder? How do I go about getting her tested for something like this, through the school or through her pediatrician? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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521840_tn?1348844371
Hello,
   If a child's academic struggles are starting to impact her mood and family life, I am in favor of taking some steps to learn more. It does not sound like you are overreacting, particularly if she is not able retain her basic math facts by this point in her school career. The hours of teary homework struggles and teacher reports of problems focusing are the complaint that most often brings parents of girls to my office for an ADHD assessment.

  If her grades are still ok, and her reading is not below grade level, your school may be reluctant to test her. The school is looking for the most impaired children, and will do testing if they believe that a child's disability has an educational impact. Their job is not to maximize a child's performance, but to keep the child from falling below grade level. For an ADHD assessment, I would almost always recommend private psychological testing. It can be tricky to tease out ADHD from anxiety, learning disabilities and learned behaviors, so you want someone who can spend a significant amount of time with your child.

You can read my Medhelp articles on ADHD and testing to learn more about what to look for in an assessment. I would ask your pediatrician first to rule out medical factors that could be impacting her ability to focus (an under active thyroid or sleep apnea for example can mimic ADHD), then ask for a referral. The assessment report should help you to advocate for your daughter at school, as well as give you valuable information about her abilities, strengths and weaknesses. It can be a great relief to a child to go for testing and to finally hear that she is not dumb or lazy.

Best Wishes
Rebecca Resnik
Disclaimer: This Medhelp post is written for informational purposes only. It is never intended to replace face-to-face psychological or medical care. This post is not intended to create a patient-clinician relationship, nor to give or rule-out a diagnosis.
2 Comments
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371331_tn?1229949186
I was born with  dyslixca, and in all proabiltys ADHD    I was very lucky,.

the rate in my family is 85% of us have it,....three of my sons also,.
I remember in school the teacher telling my mom,...
."your child is soooooooo smart if she just apply herself"

and believe it or not I had  teachers say the same of my sons,.....it was a red flag

  I was lucky i had been thru it so i didnt just punish my kids , but rather fought tooth and nail to get them tested!!,.I wish I had some thing better to say about schools and kids with needs, but comments are few and far between about the help they give,.

  I found that special ed teachers did not have to be trained,......and were many times aggravated by the students they had(5 to a class with a assistant)
and tended to push my sons trigger almost every day!

I walked into the school every year papers in hand to meet greet and explain my son to any he would be involed with, it was simple dont do this and he is fine do this and he wigs,..........BUT  dont give up on your child!!!!!   the system will wear you out tear you down but this is your child!!    i cant even tell you with enough space here how many ways i went about trying to make the school system be far,....

   I was told by principle when my son was in first grade  they wouldnt test till he was in 4 or 5th because children were still inmature at that age and it could confuse diognostic,(pffffft)     oh H E doule ll  NOOOOOOOOOO    I told her your not going to leave my son behind while You let others mature and I moved him from that school right away,.

within two weeks the new school was begging me to come sign papers to test him,.

he is very very smart,......but his world works in a differant way,

the best thing I found was to help them strive in the areas there strong and give them time to catch up with the rest,...........they want to learn,.....but some things just dont register,.........my son left home at 23,...the best doc in the world  (who has since past away)    said,....your doing just fine,.....let him mature and catch up,.and he will
  and he is doing just that,.......

  words for me were terrible to understand,....I couldnt grasp what sentance structures were or why they would even do that(laughs)   theres so many rules to our lang.
its hard to make the whole picture come up,......so i taught myself how to learn,....

and each of these children will have to do the same,.......for me it was assosation(excuse my spelling)      I could memorize like a son of a gun but to know what things meant NOPE,........now I when i test at a school  i come up with a very high reading comrehention    maybe because Ive always had to pay close attention to words

  it was a hard road with my sons thru this,....theres no sure cure,..

find what works for you,......find things your child can succede at!!  
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521840_tn?1348844371
Rebecca Resnik, PsyDBlank
MindWell Clinical Psychology
Bethesda, MD
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