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Avatar universal

Could my son have ADHD? Or possibly autism?

Hi everyone, I hope it's okay to post here. I'm at my wit's end with my son's behaviour and I'd really like some opinions and advice.

Since my son, nearly 5, started pre-school I've been worried about his behaviour. He started at the same time as another little boy who was almost the exact same age, and the difference was huge. This boy could sit for stories, listen - but my son couldn't. Every day I'd pick him up and it would be another list of things he'd done wrong, things he couldn't do. He was known as 'naughty Jack' and it broke my heart

I feel like an awful parent. I use sticker charts, time-outs and take away toys/privileges when he's not behaving which he then has to earn back. I'm pretty consistent with discipline but it's not working.

His attention is awful, not being able to stick to one task or game for longer than 5 minutes. When I talk to him, he doesn't listen - but it's more like he CAN'T listen as opposed to refusing to listen. He finds eye contact really difficult when we're talking one on one, and he sometimes has a sort of 'glazed look' on his face. He interrupts people. For a while, the nursery staff and I were worried about his hearing, but he somehow manages to hear the word 'chocolate' whispered from halfway across the room, so we ruled that out

He can't sit still. There's no such thing as quiet play. I can't seem to stop him jumping around on sofas, chairs, beds, anything! He doesn't walk, he bounces! He really, really scares me sometimes as he has NO sense of danger. He'll climb and jump off anything. He's incredibly clumsy as well, constantly falling over or tripping but he never seems fazed by it.

I say 'no' to something and he just flips out. His temper tantrums could rival a 2 year old's... He also hits out and throws things a lot.

He started school this week but I'm really worried about how he'll cope. He hates sitting down to write and draw and will constantly try to avoid it. He's fine in general with other kids, as in he'll share and take turns (usually, not always! ) but he didn't seem to make many friends at nursery. I've seen him just walk away when another child tries to play or make conversation. However, at soft play he'll walk up to anyone and just start to play at once!

I've suspected ADHD since he started pre-school, but I've read up on autism and he seems to have a lot of those symptoms too. For example, he's OBSESSED with cars, trains and alarms. Ever since he was very small, he would sit and spin wheels for hours, on his buggy or toys, etc. He's also obsessed with lights, always wanting to play with torches and with light switches. He's just started physio because he's always walked on his tip toes. He'll sit and make random noises for no reason, and he doesn't talk - he shouts! I can't seem to get much conversation out of him at all. However, his speech in general is very good and I've never been concerned about it.

Whew... this is long. Thank you so much if you've managed to read it all. My son is such a lovely, fun loving boy - but I'm so worried about him at the moment. I don't want to 'label' him with anything, but if he DOES have something 'wrong' with him, I want to get him the help a.s.a.p. so it doesn't affect his life too much. Also, I'm exhausted trying to cope with it all  I have been to our GP, who told me to come back once he's had a few months at school to see how he's coping.

I just wonder if anyone could share some advice or let me know what they think about ADHD/autism/maybe something else entirely, I'd be so grateful.

Thank you so much in advance.
4 Responses
1699033 tn?1514116733
I'm going to jump in here because I have been through the same as you with my son.  Sandman2 will hopefull come in here with a lot more information.  

To really know if your child has ADHD or something else it really requires indepth testing.  Not the questionnaires that some doctors give to the parents to fill out but real testing by a qualified psychologist.  In Baltimore, Maryland we have the Kennedy Krieger Institute.  It is very well known.  I am sure you have something similar in the UK.  It is easier to deal with a problem when you know for sure what it is.  

Lastly, a diagnosis of ADHD or autism would mean that your son needs specialized plans in place for his learning differences and at least here in the states, those plans will not be put into place unless psychological testing has been done.  

I used to punish my son too and take away his favorite things and his behavior didn't change.  What I finally came to realize was that he COULD NOT change his behavior even if he wanted to.  My son takes medication for his ADHD and he is getting ready to start high school.  He is still a little more immature than is peers and that is with me keeping him back a year and waiting for kindergarten but he will catch up eventually.  

There are many people who are not medication advocates and so you would need to look at all the possible avenues to help your son.  I don't kow which category you fall into but the first step is getting the diagnosis by a professional who deals with this all the time.
Avatar universal
I'd like to thank you so much for your reply. I would try medication of course, if it was going to help my son.
189897 tn?1441130118
   Its pretty difficult to diagnose over the internet since there is so much involved.  Heck, your GP won't even do it in person (but I understand why).  But some thoughts.
   A child with ADHD can hyperfocus or what you call obsession.  Also kids of this age aren't very good at eye contact anyway.  Because of that and a few other things you have said, I tend to doubt that autism is the problem. He certainly has many of the symptoms of ADHD.    
       And you mentioned one or two things that also make me think of SIDS or sensory integration disorder.   There is a really good website called simply "sensory processing disorder" or "spd".  Google that to learn more about what areas it can affect a child.    And if you check out this post, scroll down to the last one by specialmom - you can learn even more http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Child-Behavior/SIDS-ADHD/show/1575545#post_7156293
      But, as I said, he certainly has many of the symptoms of ADHD.  Probably the most complete information I have found for the symptoms etc., is here
       It will probably give you more information then you want to know.
       Finally, just some thoughts on discipline.  JGF25 had some very good points which I certainly agree with. But first and foremost - at this age there is nothing that you can do to punish him for what he does at school ...because it won't work.  Maybe when he is 10, certainly not 5.  At this age any behavioral change modification must be immediate and consistent!  To do something to him for something he did hours earlier is a waste of time because he does not have the capability to link these things together.
         What you can do at home is to work on behaviors that will carry over to school. There are several great series of books that are meant to be read to 4 to 7 year olds.  One example is here and you will find more listed below on this site.  Here are two sample choices "http://www.amazon.com/When-Feel-Angry-Way-Books/dp/0807588970/ref=pd_sim_b_2
         A book that might help you is one we recommend alot on the child behavior forum and its Oh, I would also suggest getting the book, "SOS Help for Parents," by Lynn Clark.  It gives a very detailed system using the timeout method that will work.  It does sound like you are using pretty good techniques to change behavior at home.  But you need to remember that you are changing behavior and it doesn't happen overnight.  It takes at least 3 weeks on consistent, immediate reinforcement, and thats for normal kids.   As JGF25 pointed out some kids just don't have the ability to change. Well, they do but it takes a lot longer and a lot more work.  
        A final book which I recommend a lot is "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley.   If it does look like he has ADHD, then this is certainly a book that you are going to need.   Hope, I haven't given you too much info here.  Please post if you need any clarification or need more info.  Best wishes.
189897 tn?1441130118
    Forgot to mention.  I am glad that you are taking care of the tiptoe problem.  I have a good friend whose 6 year old son had to wear leg braces for many months to correct a similar problem that went unnoticed for too long.
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