Hm. I know you won't like me saying this, but it could be an incorrect diagnosis. I would lean that way from this description. There are other reasons a child acts out. I'm not a "no one has add/adhd and it is wrong to diagnosis kids" person that you will run into---------- but there is either more going on or it is a wrong diagnosis. First, he is young. In my area, they do not diagnose kids before the age of 6 with add/adhd as there is so much difference in kids at that age. Most 5 year olds are impulsive and energetic.
My son has a different nervous system problem that can look a lot like add/adhd-------- it is called sensory integration disorder. We do occupational therapy for it and it has worked fantastically for my boy. He is doing great. Medication does not work for add/adhd.
If he does have add/adhd, medication is only one piece of the puzzle. You are going to have to work harder with him and understand all you can about add/adhd. Scroll down to Sandman's posts as he has some books he highly recommends. They involve parenting a child with add/adhd and school issues with a kid with add. Read as much as you can. We have lots of things taught to us by our occupational therapist that help with behavior. And lots of physical activity has been a lifesaver. But really it is up to you to learn all you can and implement it. Don't know why our lot in life was to care for a more difficult child, but it is. I've embraced it. I know you are trying and are overwhelmed. Anyone that can help you? Someone could watch the one year old while you did something with the other two?
Anyway, good luck
I'm actually going to try therapy with him once a week. They have a therapist at the Dr office who does it. I will bring up the sensory integration disorder today at his appt.! I'm just trying to help him! I know it's got to be so overwhelming for a child his age coping with whatever is going on with him. I know it's something whether it's ADHD, Sensory integration disorder, bipolar or anything else. I really appreciate your input! I will definately be bringing it up to his Dr today. Thanks a bunch!
Welcome. And if you read up on sensory and are interested in some of the things they do in occupational therapy, I would be happy to share with you. Good luck
Also, do talk with his teacher at school and see how he is doing there. See if a certain time of the day makes any difference. I am also wondering if he is on time release meds? If he is not than as the meds effects go down, he would began to have more problems. If more of his problems are at home (compared to school) or on the way home, than that could indicate the meds wearing off.
You did mention that he has started acting out a lot more since Dad was deployed. That is not unusual. Its really tough for young kids to understand that Dad is gone. And, of course, you have a new little one around so your 5 year old isn't getting the attention that he once got (and since you were pretty busy, I bet Dad was very helpful). Anything you can do to get him to talk to dad would help (skype, cell phone, etc). Saw a special the other night where the guys overseas are sending home dvds where they are reading bedtime stories to the kids - neat idea!
If you can somehow squeeze the time out of the day, do try and spend a bit more time with him, I think that will help. There are also a lot of good ideas in the book, "The ADD/ ADhD Answer book." , by Susan Ashley about working with kids that you will find very helpful. Good luck!
Sounds just like ADHD to me. Sounds exactly like my brother after my parents divorced (he was six). All four of us have ADHD. I'm sorry your're having such a tough time. the most important thing you can do is ensure that his life is very structured. Impose on him externally the structure that he lacks internally. Everything happens at a certain time, in a particular way. Break up big tasks for him. Help him break up large school projects into manageable sizes. Have a spot for his shoes, coat,bookbag, schoolwork. Get duplicate books if he forgets to bring them home. Let him take short breaks when he gets frustrated, but not to watch tv, just to exercise/walk/snack. Keep sugar, etc. to a minimum, and give him supplements like fish oil, etc. if your pediatrician days it's ok. DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION. and DELIVERED FROM DISTRACTION are two great books for you. It's tough, even with these measures, he'll have trouble. he's at higher risk for drug use later, and other impulsive behaviors. Give him good habits, neural pathways he'll appreciate when he's older. Try to never take vacations from routine, it is Crucial!! Even away from home, or on special occasions, shoes go in their place, his dayplanner or checklist or meds, whatever, are there, it's still the routine. Teach him to lay out everything the night before. Post checklists fir him. As a family, keep the house organized and the clutter to a minumum. Model organization and prioritizing skills. He literally cannot think if this stuff himself. I never knew where my keys were until my husband started putting them in the same place every day for me. So simple! But it took 26 years and an anal-retentive husband for me to learn to put things away in the same place so that I KNOW WHERE THEY ARE. my brother is happy, I am happy. We're happy grown-ups with good jobs and good employment records. We're smart and hard-working, but it was a tough road. I always felt like the girl who didn't get the memo. We grew up in a really chaotic house, with twi undiagnosed parents. Now, he takes Adderall, I take Concerta. I had to go off meds for a while, and what kept me from totally re-ruining my finances (I wasn't diagnosed until adulthood so I limped along for quite some time) was COUNSELING. My counselor taught me how to prioritize and make reasonable to-do lists. She had me time myself getting ready, driving to work, or just doing daily tasks, so that I undrrstood that everything did not all take "five minutes" and then wonder where the time went. I don't think he's bipolar; he's upset about his dad, and God created him without an emotional edit button.
Remember STRUCTURE in the home, ROUTINE! and read those books. If he can go off meds, awesome, but some kids need them. Just watch his development and health, he's pretty young. Plus, meds change, you'll probably not just stick with the same thing, watch his behavior, he may need a dosing change or dif med altogether. I used to teach, though, and was disgusted by some parents that took their kids off meds. some, not all, but some truly need them to function. Watch his weight, heart, etc., and don't let anyone give you crap. A lot of the ADD kids who abuse drugs are self-medicating. Just be careful and know that meds are only part of the solution. Does he have a 504? Work with his teachers, too, they may have to expend a lot of energy and time just getting him settled. It's a tough, thankless job!
God Bless, sorry so long.
Absolutely wonderful post!! Probably most concise, full of great info, that I have seen in years. Thanks for contributing !!!!!
Thank you! Very informative information! I am a very organized person myself. So at home it's always been routine and the house is always clean and organized. I personally have a little bit of OCD, so that isn't a problem. He always knows where things are and what to expect at home, and I never just say ok time for bed, I always give a 5 min warning before we do things so nothing is brought on him immediately. Lately I've learned something that works for him. When he is about to fly off the handle about something he doesn't like I quickly remind him, I say, I'm just reminding you to take a second and think about it and take a breath. He will literally stop and take a few deep breaths and give me a big hug! It works! So far no problems in his class. i have spoken to his teacher and she says he's doing great and follows directions. No problems there. It was on the bus and at home, I was seeing issues. The school knows all that's going on so they can help out as much as possible. Right now the vice principle offered getting him counseling from the guidance counsler. So this is all pretty new still and we will see how the progress goes with it all. I'm going to set aside a lot more one on one time as well with him. He really loves to talk to me and spend time with me so I need to give him more of that also.
Oh and yes he has ADHD and bipolar. The Dr. says.
If he has bipolar, then putting him on stimulant medication could make the bipolar worse. Does he have highs and lows, go times w/out much sleep???
His dad being away could make things worse, it's an extra stressor.
He's coming off the ADHD medication. So we will see.
Just a thought. What is his diet like? Do you give him a lot of sweets and junk food? Or does he eat a lot of vegetables and fruit? A bad diet can really screw people up. I remember with horror something that happened when I was overseeing the opening of a store and we had a small party for the personnel. One salesgirl brought her little son in a stroller. At some point he started to cry and she said, "Oh, he is hungry." So she gave him a chocolate bar and a Pepsi. He wasn't even old enough to walk.
I am not suggesting that your son's problems are nutritional. But if his diet is not good, I would rectify that first.
Awesome post moonthatspellstom!!
This sounds like classic ADHD, I have 2 with it my son 14 and daughter 16, i found very early on that keeping to a strict routine was the way forward. When they were quite young i made charts for their room, on it were a list of things:
bath, shower, wash
check schoolbag etc
it made everything so black and white they tick everything off with a wipe off marker as they went, their life was structured. But also taught them to help themselves, i was there to do the normal things but making their beds etc gave them a sense of responsibility and with that praise which they love. Routine is the best thing you can do, never treat him as though he's incapable as i found out they're extremly intelligent! Just don't know how to voice it and express themselves. the minute you break routine they become upset, flusttered and panicky. They look to me for approval and thrive on praise, keeping them occupied is hard work.
I was once told by a specialist that children with ADD/ADHD/Autism/Aspergers can only truly focus when using both hands, i found this fascinating but didn't actually beleive it. Something to do with balancing the brain? Jay my son has taken up fishing with his dad, as he has to use both hands he becomes totally engrossed in it, it's done him wonders, also he boxes. Not to teach him to fight but to give him a release for his frustrations it's worked wonders!!! Again he's using both hands and letting some of his aggression go in a controled manner.
Theres a million little different tips we could all give you take them and use the ones that suit you, just remember routine is vital! It is a long road but very very rewarding, i've watched my 2 grow from confused and frustrated to awesome teens.