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Why is it so hard to diagnose?
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Why is it so hard to diagnose?

My 15 year old son was recently diagnosed with ADHD.  The whole experience didn't seem like a thorough diagnosis... more of a trial and error.  Let me explain:

I thought for the most part my son was just a lazy procrastinator.
He has an IQ of over 140 the last time he was tested using CogaT
Years of complaints of missing work, incomplete homework, and fustrated teachers... but excellent near perfect standardized tests.

We made an agreement about his freshman year and as I saw him struggling to make an academic change from his prior habits... he thought he might be ADHD.  Though I was skeptical we explored this with a variety of doctors:

Family doctor .... refered us to a psychologist
psychologist #1 - inconclusive
psychologist #2 - inconclusive -- though he is not depressed, manic, or angry

and a difficult time finding a psychiatrist because he is an adolescent

finally found a psychiatrist -- from a few surveys he asks if we wanted to try meds.  I wanted a proper diagnosis, though he insists we could try Vyvance at a low dosage and it will either work or not work.

Knowing my son will probably get medication in a few years on his own... I saw this as an opportunity to give him my 2 cents as a captive minor :) while testing out his response to meds.

I'm amazed how medication has litterally changed his life.  We are less fustrated with turning in assignments and completing projects.  he has also completed reading 2 novels over the weekend... something he always seemed to have difficulty in.

So now I'm wondering... How do I get a more proper diagnosis instead of trial and error?  Is this all that is necessary for a dx of ADHD ... a few surveys?  Is there a specialist for gifted ADHD
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Wow.  I'm pretty impressed that you kinda nailed it right on the head about Algebra I being difficult.  We were stumped for a while on why tutoring didn't help. He would get angry with any sort of help.  It later dawned on me he forgot mid equation what he was doing and coudn't compensate and complete the answer.

Colorado and Montgomery County MD have already started identifying and incoporating specific educational plans for twice exceptional children, though the state I'm in is just exploring the idea.  I doubt, while my son is in school, the school district will identify 2E children.  

I really want some way to get my son to take the WISC III test however, it is quite expensive.  Without failing a class and showing a learning disability, insurance will not pay for gifted children to get medical assistance... as of now....I'm still working on it.

We're still exploring possibilites such as change in diet or exercise.  I'm glad he is still motivated in becoming a cardiologist or a biomedical engineer.  

Thank you for recomending the book.  It sounds like a good summer reading choice.
Hello from a beautiful UK morning,

My daughter will be 15 in two weeks time and we have realised she has ADHD for some years now. Dyslexia is also an issue too and reading your posts I COMPLETELY understand how you feel. Yes diet does not help and my daughter recognises this too so she is good enough to not eat candy and chocolate while at school. I have noticed that since we have only eaten organic meat and veg that her behaviour has been less extreme? Interesting that one. I bet you have tried everything though!

My daughter is STILL awaiting an official diagnosis and the only reason this is going to happen now is because we moved her last year from state to private education. My daughter is probably not as bright as your lad, however she is extremely clever. She managed to cope through primary school up to the age of eleven because she was supported discretely. I had no idea that the school was supporting her as much as it was until she had a spelling and reading test at her next school and this indicated a problem. All through her previous school her spelling 'age' had been two years above her actual age but this test showed it two years below? I was persuaded that my daughter would be fine but her work dropped and she could not cope with the larger classes at bigger school. Plus it was obvious everyone decided that dyslexia was just about spelling and reading and the facts are that my daughter spells the most complex words but gets confused over words such as 'the' and 'but'. She cannot comprehend a page of a book and she cannot concentrate which is why her work started to deteriorate.

Teachers generally had no time to spend on her and as many times as I contacted the school, it did not do any good. The last straw was when the Deputy Head of Year said;
I have 30 kids like your daughter who are not naughty but just don't concentrate and therefore do not do their homework and cannot do the school work; I cannot contact 30 parents".
If my daughter wrote her homework down, I made sure she did it and oh did that man get my goat. A couple of teachers each year would keep in regular contact but the rest were not interested. They wrote ignorant comments on her report each year and demoralised my daughter and in the end I began to believe the teachers. Nobody suggested ADHD, it was ME who asked her previous headteacher at her primary school last year. He was reluctant to tell me and this was also when I found out about the help she was given in her last two years. She would never had coped without it in his opinion.

What is even more frustrating is that my son, who left that same primary school last summer and is also extremely bright, has also unofficially been diagnosed with dyslexia. He left that primary school at eleven with a Math, English and Science ability of 14-year-old yet he could not comprehend anything he was reading! This shows something about our Government's testing system doesn't it? He would never read a book and could not comprehend what the words were saying and guessed everything. His school he now attends decided within two weeks that he was possibly dyslexic (thankfully not ADHD - just the daughter and husband!)

My kids would NEVER had been seen within the state system by a psychologist and it is only children with extreme disability caused by their condition who are put on the list. Money means bright children are put to the back and because I never thought it was such a huge problem I never pushed for a private assessment but thought about it for my daughter. I had a suspecion about her and had even thought about Tourettes because of her strange ability to make constant howling or barking noises and the pretending to be a rabbit which she still does now. I will bring this up when I see the Psychologist who is seeing both the children in July which is the earliest I could get this arranged. It is costing a fortune which on top of the school fees but whatever....

We had hoped moving our daughter to a school with small classes where the attitude is confidence and motivation, would help to solve the some of the problems without giving her the label of ADHD, unfortunately it has not. We thought about the tutor option like you have; it was so hard to decide what to do and you must do what you think is right.

We have never wanted what we thought was a 'label' for our daughter and now our son, however we have come to realise that maybe we need one? Otherwise we cannot help them.In the meantime though, BOTH schools have been fantastic. Their learning support teachers are both working with the children and our daughter has one to one sessions once a week. This may change after the assessment She has been moved to the front or away from all windows in lessons and in one lesson where she was worried about the teacher's teaching style, the head of department has offered to go over any work my daughter does not understand. Add to that another who teaches the same subject has offered to help my daughter as well so she has two choices to pick from and the ball is in her court. In math where she was moved to a class with all the class jokers (her being one of them), I have asked if she be moved back to the quieter class because how can someone with ADHD concentrate with others around distracting them?

Her bedroom was a nightmare and so I had to go in and sort it out. I've organised her school work and I've told her I will keep an eye on this as she cannot organise herself. I used to allow her to leave her room a dump but this has to stop, No matter what she shouts at me I need to help her organisation!!!

I'll let you know what happens with my daughter's assessment when it arrives. Let's see what the UK system is like compared to that of over the pond?

Sorry for the long post, this is my first one and I saw yours and it hit home. My daughter is away for the weekend and we had a huge row before she left. Even though she was absolutely revolting to me, I love her to bits and miss her. I also realise how horrendous it must be for these kids who have ADHD and other learning disabilities that are not recognised as having them. Just because you cannot measure this easily does not mean it is not there.

Good Luck.
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