I don't have kids with ADHD, but I have taught many, many, many of them during the last 39 years. And yes, the things you mention sound very familiar!!!
Many times ADHD is noticed early in school. However, if a child is smart, they will get by with B's and then C's and then finally the subject matter will be such that they can't get by on inherent intelligence (things like common denominators) and their school situation will rapidly spiral downwards. Soon they began to give up, simply because they have learned that it hurts to keep getting rejected. And things began to rapidly spiral downward at this point. From personal observations, I think it is harder for really smart kids to deal with ADHD. The sense of frustration that they feel is huge, and this can progress to destructive behavior.
All of the things that you have listed - I have seen in ADHD kids. What you need to do is to start to research what ADHD is and how to deal with the consequences of it. Understanding ADHD really makes a big difference in how you deal with the child. I mentioned the following books in a post below. Its worth your time to check them out. - "ADHD and Me, What I learned from lighting fires at the dinner table," by Blake Taylor. Basically, "the Cal freshman tells how he made the ADHD work in his favor." Two other good books are - "Driven to Distraction" by Hallowell, and "The Gift of ADHD", by Honos-Web.
While taking him to a "pdoc" is a good starting point. A child psychologist that specializes in ADHD is your best bet. If you have other questions - please ask.
Well, I don't have kids, but I do have ADHD. I'm 20 now and was just recently diagnosed, but this is something I've struggled with since childhood. Try to keep in mind that what seems to you to be "not caring" or "not trying" is often just not so.
For instance, without medication, I have trouble being patient. I get frustrated easily. If it's something with a lot of instructions, I struggle with it. My first instinct is to throw my hands up and say "forget it!" and even without me willing it so, the anger rises up in me and I get incredibly frustrated if something isn't working right the first time.
A child or adult with ADHD can be rash, impatient, easily frustrated, and very impulsive. It's not just their fault - it's a chemical problem. Medication, diet adjustments, and behavioral modification can help these immensely - but the child will still have ADHD.
I also might advise reading up on it some. Especially about how ADHD is selective focus - if something is constantly changing or very interesting, the child finds it easy to pay attention. But something constant or boring? It's near impossible. It's not willpower - please understand that. The breaking point for me was when I had spent 6 hours trying to get through a chapter in a textbook. It was dry and boring. I would read one line, and without realizing it, think of something else...then something else...hey, there's someone walking by the window...that almost looks like my friend Wes...I wonder what he's doing for spring break.. I want to go to the mountains...blah, blah, blah the mind wanders without me even noticing till 20 minutes later. I wanted so much to finish the reading, but nothing stuck. My mind was racing a thousand miles an hour, and every thought was like water through a sieve. I had the willpower - I wanted it so very much... I wanted to read and remember. But it would not come to me.
It was heartbreaking, and I cried...thinking I could only fail and that I must be stupid. Now with medication and changing behaviors, I often look forward to learning, doing papers and projects... where before it was impossible for me to plan ahead. Please try to understand that willpower can only go so far. Our brains don't work in the same way. It's not that we're stupid - indeed, many ADHD'ers are creative and come up with ideas that others never thought of. Creativity is part of how we deal with it.
Best of luck to you and your nephew. I heartily suggest pursuing treatment of some kind. Both my mother and I wish I had been diagnosed earlier - we had to mourn for all the frustration, yelling, fights, crying, and pleading that went on as she would ask "Why can't you just put things back where you get them? "Why can't you just do your homework?!" and I would to cry and say the truth.. "I don't know!". And now I mourn for all the time I wasted. Please don't make this mistake. We only have so much time on this earth, and one should live up to every bit of potential and goals they have, as long as they want it. ADHD should not be allowed to be a barrier.
Awesome response!!! Keep contributing!
Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to answer me.
i really appreciate a personal experience like yours.
i have a number of questions if you do not mind:
1- what was your field of study,i mean you are 20 so you maybe finished school?
2- do you have a job right now?
the way you write is completely normal ,,,,,my nephew cannot make a sentence..i had to say earlier that English is his second language but boys in his age are doing great.
3-did you study any other languages?how was it,, i mean studying a foreign language??
you mentioned meds.may i know what meds were you on??
am really afraid to use any as almost everyone in the forum advise not to use it with children because of sever side effects especially during teenage time.
4- have you suffered from any side effects?
5-you mentioned also changed behavior?could you be more specific and give me specific example from your personal experience??
IF YOU DO NOT LIKE TO POST THESE INFORMATION.....I WOULD BE HAPPY TO SEND YOU MY EMAIL VIA PERSONAL MESSAGES HERE.
plz let me know
thank you soooooooooooo much
i have one more very important question.As you have this long experience in education, how can you tell the difference between an ADHA child and a simple hyperactive one. i mean there is a thin line between being normal and having an illness.i just hate to make a big deal out of nothing. i am still searching for children pdoc and till then this forum is the only help i can get.
thank you so much hoshi112 for your comprehensive respond.
i have been told that handwriting can tell you if a child is ADHD or not. How was your handwriting??. It is said that an ADHD child handwriting can never improve even if he or she tries , where as a normal one can improve with practice.
what is your feedback on this?
you are right, it is difficult to tell many times. And many times it is true that the medication is suggested or wanted by an adult who just can't handle the child. One way to tell is trial and error. If a child takes the medicine and goes skyhigh (which is what a normal person would do on these meds), then its probably not ADHD. If instead it causes the opposite effect, then it probably is ADHD. This is just one of the many reasons why a good doctor that specializes in ADHD is important.
To answer your question:
After you have worked with kids for a while, you get a feeling for their overall intelligence through conversation, etc. Then you realize that their test scores don't match the mental picture you have of them and you start trying to figure out why.
I have found that older ADHD kids (probably starting about 5th grade) get very frustrated. They know they should be doing better than their friends on tests, yet they can't. Frustration has always been a great signal.
I watch them taking a test. A hyperactive child may blow through a test (and get them all right or all wrong). The ADHD child will never finish the test (at least until, they have learned they will always fail and they just give up or mark things that don't make sense). I have had kids that I gave 3 days to take a test, and they barely finished.
Homework is probably one of the best clues. If most kids take one hour for homework, the ADHD child will take 3 hours and probably still not be done.
Watch them at play. ADHD kids have a lack of filters (until they get older). Consequently they will hit other kids or say things that cause them to lose friends. Many times they are not even aware they hit the other child.
Finally, you say that "you don't want to make a big deal out of nothing." If I had a brilliant child that was failing school - I would make a huge deal out of it!
A quick note on handwriting. I am assuming that you are talking about penmanship. I used to teach that many years ago. It requires practice. ADHD kids kind of lose interest in things like that. On the other hand, my son who is 25 and a data analysist has got to have some of the worst handwriting I have ever seen. Of course, now a days I only see his email and text messages - so who cares! I understand your question and it probably true. But you got to remember that these days, a lot of kids don't have good penmanship.
Just a quick note. English is probably one of the hardest languages to learn. It is even more difficult if your family will not speak it at home. If the child also has ADHD its very difficult to read and write. His conversational English may be ok however.
Many people do write to this forum with bad experiences with medication. My personal feeling is that a lack of interest by their doctor is the reason why they have had these experiences. There have been some people like Hoshi who have had almost life saving experiences. These are always young adults or older. You are not going to get a sixth grader writing to us.
Keep reading the posts to this forum, but also read up on ADHD so you can understand what is going on.
>>> 1- what was your field of study,i mean you are 20 so you maybe finished school?
I'm attending a University. I'm a dual major: Psychology and Pre-Med.
>>>2- do you have a job right now?
Yes, though it's just a little money to get me through school. I wait tables. It was very hard for me to keep track of many things at once...the medication helped IMMENSELY, and I can tell the meds have started to wear off when I start forgetting to do things.
>>> 3-did you study any other languages?how was it,, i mean studying a foreign >>>language??
I've had a hard time learning new languages. English is my first language, and thus I have no problems. Also keep in mind that I'm 20 years old, have completed numerous English classes, and also a female. Females tend to be better linguistically than males.
>>>you mentioned meds.may i know what meds were you on??
>>>am really afraid to use any as almost everyone in the forum advise not to use it >>>with children because of sever side effects especially during teenage time.
I take Adderall (instant release, aka IR) 20mg in the morning and several 10mg "booster" doses in the afternoon. I'm still trying to find the right dose for me.
There is a TON of wrong info out there about ADD medication, so I'll do my best to give you useful (and correct) info. First, as far as side effects, stimulants are relatively safe, believe it or not. It's kind of odd that they get such a bad wrap. As long as he doesn't have a heart problem, it should be quite safe. The only thing I know of that you should really watch for is his height/weight. Adderall can sometimes stunt growth by an inch or two, but that can usually be avoided by making sure that the child eats adequately - even if he isn't hungry.
As far as side effects I've had - I had dry mouth and loss of appetite. After a few weeks, many symptoms go away completely. Now I just occasionally get a dry mouth a few hours after taking it, and every once in a while, the muscles in my hand twitch a little. That's a tiny price to pay for some normalcy in my life!
But here's the thing with ADD meds... you never know what will work. It's just a matter of finding the right medication and the right dosage. It takes time. Some of them, ESPECIALLY Strattera, can have emotional side effects - such as causing the child to be angry, sad, or just have mood swings. Don't worry, though - it will go away as soon as the medication wears off in a few hours. It's not that common, but if it does happen, it just means it's time to try another med.
>>> 5-you mentioned also changed behavior?could you be more specific and give me >>>specific example from your personal experience??
I mean a positive change! The medicine allows me to control my own thoughts. I can ignore things going on around me if I want to. The racing thoughts slow down, and I'm able to remember things so, SO much better. I'm able to plan ahead. I'm able to start a task and actually finish it. I'm able to be patient. I'm more confident in my ability and much more sociable. I think before I act. And I'm much less impulsive.
All thanks to the medication. It helped in every facet of my life. Heck, I even sleep better! It also helped with eye pain I've had for years due to a hereditary eye muscle condition. It rarely hurts anymore, but before starting Adderall, after being awake 10hrs, my eyes would feel like they were being crushed, and my vision would double and blur. It almost never does that anymore.
Some people say they lose their "creativity" while the meds are working. That never happened to me, so I don't know about that. Regardless, it doesn't change the child. If they're "zombie-like", then the dose is WAY off. That is not normal by any means. I've tried Strattera, Clonidine, Adderall IR, Adderall XR, and dexidrine for my ADHD - and not a single one made me a zombie. Though, out of all of them, Strattera had the scariest side effects - and it isn't even an amphetamine like Adderall or Dexidrine. They wanted to make a med for ADHD that wasn't on Schedule II like Ritalin, Adderall, Dexidrine, Vyvanse, etc, etc.... and the outcome was actually more dangerous than those Schedule II stimulants!
Anyway, to be honest... I'm more than willing to go through whatever I need to so that I can have control over my life. It has had a profound change over my life. I'm finding the little bit of peace that has eluded me these past 20 years. :)
Just to add... what Sandman2 said is quite true! Once you've had experience with ADD, you can tell the difference. You just know. Things don't add up.... they seem very intelligent one moment, and mentally challenged the next. Or their test scores don't match what they show when it comes to knowledge.
I would get very impatient with tedious things such as tests. Even last year, before I was diagnosed, we'd have an open book quiz. Meaning we could look the answer up in out books! But I'd get so fed up with having to flip through and hunt the answers down, I'd just select random answers so I could be done with it.
There's just certain things. You just...know. Especially when you have it yourself
thank you for your detailed answers,,,,,,your have been of great help
We started seeing the same type of signs in my 9 year old daughter. We have found not only is she ADHD, but so am I. We are now working on a plan for school. I think it would be good to have him tested, but get more than one opinion as many automatically go to an ADHD diganosis when the child may be only an unruly kid. (PLEASE NOTE I SAID MANY, NOT ALL) :) Good Luck!