ADD / ADHD Community
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Avatar universal

child behavior

My 5 year old almost 6 years old has trouble focusing in class and I got a call from his teacher because he said his brain was going to fast and he started to hit himself in the head saying I can make it stop I was wondering what could be causing that behavior I get notes home daily saying he had a hard time following directions and staying on task
17 Responses
1104172 tn?1312171407
Have you ever had him tested for ADD/ADHD? I first discovered my son had ADD at age 5 but I tried medication and didn't like how he reacted to it so I've tried home remedies and holistic ways to control his outburst and behavior aspects and have found that between school and home corporation things have gotten better. A lot of times children can be misdiagnosed for ADD/ADHD and they just are exceptional kids who just need to be micromanaged to keep them focused. Some kids can do this on their own while others are just different with their learning styles but doesn't necessarily mean there's anything 'wrong' with them.
Good luck with your son and strongly consider checking the pros and cons of medication if they declare his challenge is ADD.
189897 tn?1441126518
   He is 5 almost 6?  When is his birthday?  What grade is he in?  He may simply be not quite ready for that grade level.  
   But the fact he said his brain is going too fast, and the daily notes would suggest that some testing for ADHD might be appropriate.
  Do talk with his teacher.  It might be too late in the year to get him tested and they typically don't do it in kindergarten, but it's worth mentioning.  If his teacher has been teaching awhile, she should be able to give you a pretty good idea how he is compared to other kids and if testing is a good idea.
Avatar universal
Yes, it's worth looking into, but he is young.   It is hard to get bad notes everyday.  Just be proactive and look into it.  A lot of times boys are immature.I take it he's probably in the kindergarten.
757137 tn?1347196453
Boys are slower to mature than girls and teachers tend to get impatient with them. In Sweden boys start school one year later than girls. Beware of going the ADD route at this stage. ADD meds should be reserved for the child who is properly diagnosed, and when all other methods of treatment have failed. You child is too young for such a diagnosis in any case.
Avatar universal
He will be 6 in June he is in kindergarten I am holding him back in school....This is his teachers first year teaching...He is a good kid does not get to hyper but when it comes to his school work he has trouble paying attention and focusing..I have talked with his doctor and he does not think he is old enough to be tested but they have tested him at school and it came back positive just not sure what to do now..He done two years in preschool and also had trouble paying attention....He is a smat kid but the school wants to do some test to see if he has a learning disablity I dont think he does have a learning disabilty he learns things fast.  thanks for all the useful comments
Avatar universal
YOu could always go to a counselor and talk to them and see what they think.  Also, you could go to a child psychiatrist and talk to them as well. It's hard esp since you are dealing with an inexperienced teacher.  Also, has the school tested his academics.  I would request if behavior is such an issue that he be placed on an IEP.   He could get extra help.   Holding back is not thought well of in teh schools.  Research supposedly has shown it, but if he is really behind, then.

I think it's good what they do in Sweden and I think I read in Finland, school starts at age 7.  Boys are less mature for sure and the majority of kids having difficulty are boys in the younger grades.  Ask anyone who works in the school.  School is more geared toward girls.
189897 tn?1441126518
Yes, he really is quite young.  If I read your post correctly that you will be holding him back next year, that might solve a lot of the problems.  Your Doctor is correct about the standard age for testing.  The school test puzzles me.  That is usually a questionnaire which the parent also fills out.  Not just the child's teacher.  And a brand spanking new first year teacher who does not have the advantage of seeing a range of kids to make her judgements?  I wonder how he would be doing with a more experienced teacher?  You might see if that can be arranged for next year.  You might also want to get the book,  "The ADD/ ADhD Answer book." , by Susan Ashley.   I think it will help answer some of your questions.
Avatar universal
Yes, I would ask the school if you could do an assessment as well, usually they do one for home and one for school, since the two can vary so much.  

How did he do in preschool?

Does he go full day or halfday kindergarten?  

I think kindergarten and esp the early grades are hard for a lot of boys, they don't have good self control and also they don't have the patience and of course sitting is hard.
Avatar universal
Beware... when the tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  you posted to an add/adhd forum so of course the suggestion are to "test" for add/adhd.  If you ask the school, who want to believe that every behavioural problem is a diagnosable and treatable - in the hope that all children can be well behaved through the magic pill, and they will steer you that way.   Go to a child psychiatrist who has spent years and $100,000 learning all there is to know about drug therapies, and your child will be prescribed psychoactive medication.  
At 6 that is a very slippery slope.  
1.  there really ISN"T a "test" for add/adhd.  There's not even agreement on what it IS.  They can assess a person/child against a list of symptoms that are collectively named ADD/ADHD - for lack of much better understanding.  When they test for the flu, they can list the symptoms and check them off (temp, ache, cough, etc), but they can also TEST for a virus and yes/no its there.  But in medicine those symptoms alone can mean many things.  Same for attention and hyperactivity.
2. Schools are not in a position to diagnose or 'assess' - they are quick to divert parents towards medication.  with large classes and low resources, they are keen for any quick fix on bevioural issues.

I am concerned at the comment you made that he was hitting himself and saying "i can make it stop".   The critical question is NOT "how can I make this child behave and focus" The question is "what's going on in his head that he is finding so disturbing that he is inflicting violence on himself to try and stop".

You need to start asking your son age appropriate questions to figure out what's going on in his head/mind and what he is finding so difficult and disturbing.   It could be anything from;

a) hearing voices or seeing visions - i'm not saying that your child has early onset schizophrenia, but without knowing what he's trying to beat out of himself - nothing can be ruled out.
b) if the child has been exposed to inappropriate images or experiences - perhaps horror movies, or has witnessed actual abuse or violence of some kind, the child may be having flashbacks or memories that they cannot deal with.  That would distract ANY child from the task at hand.  How well would you do on your math test if you'd just watched a car wreck?!
c) he might be dyslexic, or there's a version of dyslexia that affects hearing - i forget what it's called - but then what the child hears is slightly confused or garbled, and it is hard to understand waht's going on or whats expected.  If the child is having trouble with any of the learning input - reading or hearing - that child won't be focused or well behaved, and will be frustrated and upset.
d) he might have tinnitus - ringing in the ears - if so, it is super annoying and he wouldn't be focused on much else and might think if he hits himself hard enough it will stop.
e) he might be a child with a low tolerence for stress, and in a classroom situation he gets over stimulated and overwhelmed, so can't focus on a task and feels frustrated and upset.
f) if the child has been abused, physically or sexually, and is experiencing post traumatic stress from that, he will not be able to concentrate and might manifest self harm behaviours. (it is estimatd that even 1/10 pre-pubescent boys are sexually abused - so always be watching out for danger signs - adult survivors often discribe being misdiagnosed for their other behaviour problems which were in fact symptoms)
g) perhaps the child is being bullied at school, so is reactign to severe stress in the school environment known only to him and the bully?
g) maybe he is not getting enough sleep or is feeling foggy or disoriented due to low blood sugar from a high sugar diet, or allergies or.. or.. or...

I'm not saying ANY of this is the case.  I'm just saying that you need to start by listening to your child.  What does HE think is going on in his head.  it is way too easy to look at the symptom of "focus", look up ADD online - see some match in symptoms, and not consider the many factors that can cause these behaviours or difficulties.

If after asking and listening carefully to your son you still have trouble understanding what is going on, find a good child PSYCHOLOGIST.  a psychologist is not starting from a pharmacological point of view (unlike a psychiatrist), but nevertheless should be looking out for disorders, and also environmental factors that could be leading to certain behaviours.   A psychologist will also have a good toolkit of behavioural techniques to help address behaviours if the cause is not clear.

I speak as an adult taking ADD medication, and getting benefit from it.  But the rush to label unfocussed children as "ADD" - especially so young - does concern me, when soooo much else could be going on in their little worlds.

Once a child is on meds it is very hard to go the other way - there is barely any real research on the effect of the meds on the growing brain.  It should be  an absolute last resort.  

Just look at the behavioural changes you see in children on Super Nanny, to see how much the outside world affects young childrens behaviour!  Address everything you can in the childs environment before you start tinkering with their minds.

Good luck and report back.
Avatar universal
yes, I agree, schools like to label everyone with ADD/ADHD.   and I agree people are quick to label and everyone wants a "quick" fix.  There are many things that look like ADD/ADHD and many reasons why kids act the way they do.  They are not always neat, simple answers.  Kids are not always easy to find the answer to things either.  I would ask why is he hitting himself.  
189897 tn?1441126518
One other possibility I would add to your very good list is:
     h)  You have a very smart child, who gets bored.  Whose mind is working faster than he can communicate (because he is only 5).  And, oh ya, its a first year teacher.
Avatar universal
I agree with Sandman that could be true, some kids act out b/c they are bored.
757137 tn?1347196453
Under another entry on this forum it was noted that 10 per cent of 10-year-old boys are medicated for ADD. What does that tell you? That 10 per cent of 10-year-old boys have ADD? Let's get real. That is ridiculous. What those figures mean is that there are false diagnoses and unnecessary medication. This is the fault of teachers and doctors, and parents who succumb to fad medicine. TEN PER CENT OF OUR BOYS ARE NOT EMOTIONALLY ABNORMAL.
189897 tn?1441126518
Actually if 10% are on meds, it means that more probably have been diagnosed.  I would hate to think that all kids, teenagers, adults with ADHD/ADD are "EMOTIONALLY ABNORMAL".  Gotta be a better term than that.
757137 tn?1347196453
I have never been great with political correctness. People to me are blind, not visually challenged, and I am not a senior citizen, I am an old lady (or a geezeress, a designation which amuses me). To put it another way, I am all for honesty. If ADD is an ailment, it is an abnormal condition. And if it isn't, then it needs no treatment.

189897 tn?1441126518
Ummmm, good point.  I guess I was thinking more about the parent with the ADHD child who might have been reading any statement with that description.  
757137 tn?1347196453
Sugarcoating a condition may well reduce its importance to a parent. Again, honesty is the best policy. It is not about hurting feelings, but dealing forthrightly with a problem. You can't do that by denying it exists.
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