Your son shares quite a few personality traits as my 6½ year old son. Very high-energy, high-maintenance, intense, and hyper, but also very likeable, friendly, sociable, and just an all-around charming kid. I've had my concerns that he could have ADHD or SID, because he is just SO active...constantly. It's like he never winds down and the more impact he can achieve in getting from something or someone, be it physical or reactionary, the better. I have not had him tested for either of those disorders yet, but what I have done may help you in deciding what route you'd like to pursue with your son.
First, I asked his pre-school and kindergarten teachers over a period of two years (ages 4-6) what his behavior was like in class and with the other students. Not one of those three teachers in that time frame expressed any concern about him; they each told me that while he is "exubrant" and "a typical, high-energy boy," nothing about what he did or how he acted seemed out of the ordinary to them. By the time he was in his second semester of kindergarten earlier this year (he just started 1st grade last week), I was beginning to wonder if I was going crazy and my expectations of him were too unrealistic, because to me, something has seemed "off" for the past two years, and I was getting frustrated over the fact that it seemed like all I ever did was get onto him to settle down, think before he acts, focus, not be so loud, and for goodness' sake--quit body slamming everything in sight! Lol.
My real concern came over this last month, however. By the end of his Kindergarten year, I'd noticed that he was struggling with reading, writing legibly, writing letters and numbers in the correct direction, and reading comprehension. I made a huge effort to work with him all summer to be sure he maintained his grade level by the time he'd start 1st grade--although his teacher maintained twice that he was not behind--he was average and seemed to be doing fine at the pace he was going.
Trouble is, I didn't like the pace he was going because he seemed to struggle just to keep that pace. While working with him one on one this summer doing worksheets, reading library books, and practicing flash cards with sight words, I noticed that his focus wasn't so much distracted by his hyperactivity as it seemed that...he wasn't SEEING things correctly. I got his eyes checked, and sure enough, it was determined that he's farsighted AND he has almost no ability to track or accommodate (he doesn't move his eyes back and forth, but rather, his whole head to track, and he cannot accommodate focus from far to near and vice versa; his eyes don't re-focus properly each time and the wrong signals get sent to his brain and things just don't line up or make sense). So this month, he will actually begin vision therapy to rehabilitate his visual ability and also determine if he is dyslexic, due to him reading and writing words and symbols backwards consistently. When the vision therapist did his initial assessment, I was informed that if he had no therapy to develop his vision now, he'd probably be visually disabled by 3rd grade.
The thing is...all his symptoms of hyperactivity and lack of focus seemed to mimick SID and/or ADHD so much that honestly, those were my first assumptions. I intended to have him evaluated once school started and I could get input from his new teacher, however, by chance I happened to notice that his vision seemed strained so I figured, what the heck...it can't hurt to have his eyes checked. Little did I know I'd find out so much.
My point is that if you truly feel something is not right with your son, then don't ignore that feeling.
That's how I noticed my son's problem because he was comfortable enough to display his frustrations...in full...around me--he had no competition from his peers (I think that's why his teachers never noticed what I did). So when he'd come home with one page of journaling homework, or flash cards, or he'd need to read a library book for a classroom test, he'd seem to shut down within minutes of starting. Frustrated and crying, easily distracted, what seemed to be carelessness with his writing, and practically no memory retention for what he'd just read. He couldn't seem to memorize flash card words if they were shuffled, but if I presented them in the same order more than twice, he'd get it (because he'd memorized the order and shape of the word, not the actual word).
I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions either.
I'm not saying that you're jumping to any conclusions, but rather, be aware that there are many, many reasons why a child could be acting "off." So if you feel that strongly that something is just not right, then take action. He's counting on you to be sure he has every advantage and benefit possible to him to grow up and lead a productive academic and social life. He's a child and doesn't understand what people find "normal," so if you are concerned, then watch and note every behavior that concerns you, why you think it's concerning, ask other people about your concerns that know him well enough to determine if your concerns could be valid, and after a period of time that you think is sufficient enough, then make the decision on whether or not you want him evaluated. He's counting on you. :-)
Have you ever had him tested for Autism? If not that might be a good idea.
Thnaks for your comments. I do know something is "off' FOR SURE. How is your son now?
He's doing well. He starts his vision therapy next week and we're hoping to see improvements in his motivation to read and write from it. I don't know what it'll do for his hyperactivity, lol--even the vision therapist made one of her first assessment notes of him as "VERY impulsive!" so I am not disregarding the concern of him having ADHD or SID just yet.
However, his activity level and impulsiveness don't really seem to interfere with his ability to cope and learn at school or elsewhere (so far...), so the behavior aspect of his issues are not where I'm placing my priorities at the moment. Now that I have a written assessment of his vision ability from the therapist, SO MUCH of how he acts and behaves while trying to read, write, or work with small detail such as Legos or video games now makes sense to me. It's easier to be patient and not get so frustrated and confused with him when he seems to lose motivation within minutes of beginning anything that requires his vision. I can tell we already feel more comfortable working together, and he hasn't even officially started therapy yet. :-)
It's great to have verification and answers to all the things you had concerns about, but began to wonder if you were going crazy, or "looking for something to be wrong," when it seems like no one else notices the things you do, or think everything seems normal because they don't interact with him as often or on the same level of trust and comfort as you do as his mother.
As I mentioned in my first post, make a list of the things that concern you about him. Research that kind of behavior, ask questions to his teachers, close friends, family members, and monitor the behaviors that concern you for a period of time. I have journals dating back over two years ago in my profile on this site with concerns about my son's behavior and academic abilities. Something seemed "off" but not quite abnormal enough for anyone else to seem very concerned, so I waited it out this long.
How long you wait it out is up to you, but trust your gut feeling and be assured that there's nothing wrong with seeking a professional evaluation at any time when you feel you should. It's our job as parents to make sure our kids can grow up with every advantage and benefit to their academic and social abilities. :-)
Geez! We sound so very similar! I too have had evryone tell me "he's fine!" But,I know something is different.I have decided to hold him back from K for a year. He'll be in a pre-k for 5 yr. olds.The school I originally had him enrolled in was a very strict cirriculum.ABecka.Lots of pencil and desk work.They expect the kids to write cursive and read fully by the end of K,which is great but... I think for my son,right now,this is too much pressure. In the school handbook,it says that kids need to be "behavior/learning problem free" I'm not sure that we can hold up to that so,I'm putting him somewhere else that I will have the freedom to have him evaluated and HELPED without feeling like I'm on a covert operation.I don't want him to be labled the "problem kid" and maybe even asked to leave because he can't be still in his desk seat all day.I know I'm his best advocate right now and I am not the type of person to sit by and let things go,listening to everyone else. God Bless you and your son :)
I wish you the best of luck! I know how frustrating it is, believe me!
Also, a really great person to get in touch with on these forums is specialmom--she has a son around the same age who has SID. She has a TON of knowledge about the disorder and theraputic and coping techniques.
Again, I wish you the best of luck pursuing this, and God bless you and your son too. :-)
we also have an ADD and ADHD forum and Dr Kennedy an expert on the expert forum Good luck
Hi there. Thanks for your comments AHP84.
Yes, our kids would make for an exciting play group as they sound like they have many things in common. My son was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder when he was 4. We've been doing occupational therapy since that time and it has been a tremendous help. He has improved in every area.
Sensory integration disorder is considered a developmental delay and involves the nervous system. It can be with something like autism or adhd or alone (my son has it only) and it can look like adhd and is often confused for it. Treated differently --------- so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. Again, an occupational therapist evaluates for this and does the treatment. It involves things that directly work on the nervous system as well as behavioral techniques and coping skills. A kid with sensory needs help usually with all of these.
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. My son, for example, is a sensory seeker. His engine is always high and he is looking for input to his nervous system. Some kids are actually unaware of where their bodies are in space --- so they step on their friends feet, bump into them, etc. Some kids like the bump of a friend as a little jolt to the nervous system. Something else that can happen that sounds like it might be going on when you say he seems to not hear the teacher or is ignoring instruction is that if you think of the brain with a lot of gates in it to hold things out so you can focus on one thing (what the teacher just said and what I need to do)-------- well, in a sensory kid, all the gates lift so it is chaos in there and no, they don't really hear the teacher or remember what she said. This is common with a sid kid in the classroom. They could have auditory processing issues as well.
There are things you can do to illustrate personal space for a child. Get a hoola hoop or big ring and put it around him. then try to get in too. He'll laugh and pull away because it is obviously too close. That helps them visualize personal space. Talk about this space with him and relate it to his friends. Everyone has a ring around them and we shouldn't get in their ring. I also did 'robot arms" where my son would walk like a robot with his arms straight out in front of him. I'd remind him when with friends that he shouldn't be any closer than robot arms.
Ya know, I really embraced my son's SID. I went to his school and told them about it and still do as he starts a new class. I want everyone on board to know that he is trying but things are harder for him. That proactive approach has been a good one for us. Anyway, let me know if you have any questions that I might be able to help with.