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Avatar universal

Please Help-Does this Sound like ADHD?

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.
11 Responses
189897 tn?1441130118
    I can certainly understand your suspicions and your concern!    It may be that kindergarten will be the best thing for him in terms of getting a diagnosis.  Essentially ADHD must be present in two different settings for it to be diagnosed.   Once his teacher has spent some time with him (not the one hour pseudo exam he went through), then she will be able to compare him to the other kids in the class as well as all the other children that she has seen in the past.   Because of that (as well as your other concerns), I would try and visit the kindergarten classes now.  And then make an appointment with the principal to discuss the situation.  Do not wait till the start of next year.  This needs to be done now.
     In terms of his symptoms, if you look at #6 here - http://www.medhelp.org/health_pages/Parenting/Dont-Believe-These-10-ADD-Lies/show/1145?cid=71  ; you will see that kids with ADHD can focus on things they like.
    He does do a lot of typical 5 year old boy things.  But he also has symptoms of ADHD and possibly SPDs.
    Here is a good site for ADHD symptoms.  http://www.help4adhd.org/en/about/what/WWK1
    SPD stands for sensory processing disorder and its worth taking a look at that too.  It often gets confused for ADHD and the treatment is totally different in many way.  Info on SPD can be found here - http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/index.html
    And you should also check out http://www.medhelp.org/add-adhd/slideshows/9-Worst-Foods-for-ADD---Plus-1-That-Can-Help/20
   and   http://www.medhelp.org/add-adhd/slideshows/8-ADHD-Culprits-Lurking-in-Your-Home/21
     By the way, even if you can't get a good diagnosis till next year, there is a lot you can do now.  I think one of the better all around places for ideas on working with an ADHD child is here - http://www.additudemag.com/topic/parenting-adhd-children/parenting-tips.html    and check out all the tips under "parenting ADHD kids".  Many of these pages have comments on the bottom which give some pretty good ideas (of course some are also not so good).   The book I recommend the most of this site is, "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley. Its about $10 on Amazon and worth every penny.
     there is a ton of info I have given you.  Hopefully, it will be helpful.   If you have any questions of want more specific info - please post.  Best wishes.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your response.  Honestly, I am unsure as to how much to "pursue" this.  I'm afraid that if he has it and he has a super late diagnosis, he may have missed a chance to receive help that he needed.  At the same time, I'm pretty adverse to the idea of medication (at least right now) and I don't want to send him down a path that's unnecessary.  It's helpful to have some targeted sites to read and I will definitely check out the book.
757137 tn?1347200053
Not all treatments involve medication.
Avatar universal
I can completely understand how you feel. I too took my daughter to ge diagnosed and was told she was too small. Kindergarden was fine according to her teacher but now on 1st grade she is having a dificult time. According toher psycologist the only way to treat it is medication. Therapy will help learn how to control her and help her focus but my daughter will also be under medication. We have changed medicine a few times and it makes a mayor difference on the way she behaves when shes on and off of it. I have found that the medication she is on is helping her focus more in school n other activities. Like your son my daughter is extreamly active and always wants to be outside. One of a few things I found that helps her focus is drawing/coloring thats something you could try with your son. My daughter also enjoys electronics like a tablet or a Nintendo Ds. I keep educational games on them so she is also learning at the same time. Hope this helps hope all goes well with your son and all I can say is be patien it takes lots of patience to deal with a child who has ADHD but you can do it :-) best of luck
Avatar universal
Do you mind if I ask what led you to believe that your daughter had ADHD?  She sounds a lot like my son...coloring and playing DS are a couple of the very limited activities that keep him interested.
Avatar universal
Holy Cow.....Sandman2, I just wanted to touch base and say that I just had a chance to look over the checklist for sensory processing disorder and for every "sensory seeking" symptom I kept saying, "oh my gosh....that's J-man!"  The need to touch everything...the constant chewing on the shirtsleeve....the jumping and crashing into everything!  I had no idea!  Our parents as teachers educator had suggested this to us (while at the same time saying she didn't think he had ADHD), but I thought it only had to do with kids who were sensitive to input....and that's not my son.  I thought it had to be ADHD because of his hyperactivity.  Anyway, thank you for giving me this information.....it's all making a lot more sense to me now.
189897 tn?1441130118
   Please remember that it is always your choice as to if he takes medication.  No doctor or school can force that on you or him.  However, if you don't know what he has, then its very hard for you to do the correct thing to help him.  For example punishing or changing the behavior of a child with ADHD is different then with a child who does not have ADHD.
   I did notice in rereading your post again that he is in preschool.   That means that a doctor could determine if he has ADHD by checking both of their opinions and yours.
   And I was kind of surprised (now that I think about it), about the public school panel that does IEP's.  Kids with ADHD rarely get an IEP (maybe a 504).  Even if they had decided he had ADHD, you still would have to see a doctor.   No good doctor would diagnose a child with ADHD just based on an interview with the child.  If you really want to find out what is going on - you need to find a doctor that specializes in ADHD or a pediatric psychiatrist.  Then you can quite playing these guessing games.
189897 tn?1441130118
   Hi, welcome to the ADHD forum and THANK YOU for your comments.  They are very helpful.  It is always good to hear from somebody who has a child with ADHD and their experiences!
Avatar universal
It stared with the babysitters always complaining on how active she was and how little focus she had. She had a lot of sitters for the same reason and all complained about the same so I decited to take her to the dr around 3yrs old and they told me she was too small to be diagnosed. I personally thought it was normal for a child to be that active but the complains kept coming from everywhere sitters, family members and now the school. So I took her again to the dr about 6-7 month ago (aprox 3 yrs later) and the pediatrician game me a questioner for the teachers and myself to feel out. After that she was diagnosed with ADHD both attencion and hyperactivity. We started acounseling with a psycologist about 2 months ago and they too noticed it right away. We had a medical evaluation at the psycologist with yet a different psycologist and the dr also agrees witht he diagnosis. From what it was explained to me is that they are 3 different types of ADHD/ADD. Its losing focus, hyperactivity and both. Unfortunatly my daughter has both. My daughters psycologist also recomended a book to help us parents its called 1.2.3. MAGIC. Hope this helps you. We will be in therapy for about a year and we will also be joining group sessions where she will learn to be more social as its also another problem. She has problems making friends.
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your help.  We are in the process of setting up an appointment with a psychologist and hope to have some answers, soon.
189897 tn?1441130118
Opps, I missed your post about the Sensory info.  Glad it rang bells.  We have a very good sensory forum here - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Sensory-Integration-Disorder-SID/show/1396
    the CL, Specialmom, has a sensory son and she really has a lot of info and helpful ideas for it.
    You might want to ask her how to approach the psychologist with the idea he might have sensory problems.   Its still new enough, that many people are not familiar with it.  Best wishes.  Let us know what the psyc says.
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