I found this forum after searching "signs of ADHD" for the hundreth time. I have suspected, for at least two years, that my five year old may have ADHD. My husband, however, thinks that my son is simply an "active boy." We have talked to our pediatrician and parents as teachers instructor, but they both have said that he is really too young for them to be able to discern whether he might have ADHD. We have even had him evaluated by the public school panel that does IEPs....I'll discuss below why that may have led to an inaccurate conclusion. I would really, really, like your input and would be so grateful for some feedback.
For as long as I can remember, my son has had difficulty sitting still. At dinner, he is in and out of his seat. When he is sitting, he's sliding around in his chair, swinging his legs, etc. At preschool, he has a horrendous time napping. He can't lay still and disrupts the other children. Circle time is frequently a time when he gets in trouble for failing to keep his hands to himself or not listening and paying attention. The strange thing is that he is able to focus when he is interested in something. He is obsessed with horses and if you give him an activity related to horses, he can sit and do it for a good 10-20 minutes. If it is something he's not interested in, he is unable to sit and focus on that activity. He doesn't like puzzles or other singular activities and has never liked to watch TV. If you allowed him to, he would spend 18 hours a day outside. If we are required to be inside, he has a very difficult time entertaining himself. He seems to always need a parent to play with him or engage with him in an activity.
My son has always had a tremendous amount of energy. When he was very young, he used to scare us to death because he would dive off of furniture or off of stairs with no awareness of the danger and seemingly no pain when he hit the ground. He has always had little awareness of his own body or of people around him. I have seen him run into other children, actually knocking the other child down, and he literally has no idea that he's done it unless you grab him and point out to him that he knocked someone over.
He has no sense of personal space and there are times when his constant need to touch us becomes overbearing. He wants to sit on you, lay on you, touch you and hug you ALL THE TIME. It is not for lack of physical affection, as my husband and I have always been very affectionate. But there are times when it even borders on inappropriate, as he will give you a hug and then put his hand up your shirt. He constantly interrupts conversations. My husband and I can't have a conversation without him asking us what we're talking about or who it involves, or if he needs something from us, it must be immediately addressed....He can't wait for us to finish the conversation. He will just keep repeating what he needs, over and over.
He does have tantrums, but I wouldn't call them excessive. He mostly just has very emotional reactions to small situations that shouldn't cause such outbursts. His preschool teacher says that there are days when any little thing upsets him and he stomps around, grunting and flailing his arms. We have noticed that if we lose our patience with him or get angry at him, it just ratchets up the situation and my son is more likely to become emotional and lose control. With him, it is imperative to stay calm when talking with him or dealing with him, but we are often so exasperated that we have a hard time. He has always walked on his toes. I know this can be a sign for a number of different things, but his ENT and his pediatrician don't really think it's a sign of anything, since it does not impair his gross motor skills. He is very good at sports, is a quick runner and generally seems to be very athletic. Honestly, I believe that part of his athleticism stems from the the fact that he has an endless supply of energy. Last season in soccer, all of the other kids would complain of being tired after playing 2 sessions back-to-back, where my son could play an entire game and never tire of running back and forth.
I'm scared to death of him entering kindergarten. I have the hardest time imagining him being able to sit and listen to a teacher give lengthy or detailed directions about how to complete a project and then him being able to follow the directions. He has a horrible memory and there are times where he can't remember the thing that you told him 5 minutes ago. Then, again, if you mentioned a month ago that we might go get ice cream on a Thursday, he can remember that.
Are these all "typical active little boy signs?" As I mentioned above, we had him evaluated. Because he is often shy around new people, he was very calm and alert while working with these instructors. They played flash card games with him and they noted that he was able to track and follow the rules of the games. They noted no deficiencies. However, I am concerned that this was such an artificial environment and they were only with him for periods of one hour at a time. In a new environment, with a new person, and me not present, he was likely shy enough that it curtailed his normal behavior. I know from talking to his preschool teacher, that's not normally how he behaves in class. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks so much.