ADHD or 'normal'

(21 Posts)
TallyGrenshall Tue 07-May-13 10:42:47

DS is 4 and I am beginning to wonder if he may have ADHD.

He is constantly fidgeting, talking, starting things and not finishing. He will not listen to instructions if it is something he finds 'boooring' even for things like looking for cars before crossing the road. I seem to spend my life repeating myself for every little thing.

He has a very quick temper if he feels he cannot, or does not want to, do something, even something as small as picking his clothes up or putting together train tracks. Sometimes he is easy to calm down/encourage but others he will stamp off and whatever the task was, he will declare it 'rubbish'. Tears are very frequent but then 2 mintues later, he is fine and doing something else.

He is contantly running or stamping or climbing over the furniture despite being told over and over. Any punishment does not dis-courage him from doing <insert behaviour>, he will simply take the punishment and then carry on, usually to repeat the same thing straight away. I have tried only praising the good behaviour and ignoring the bad to the same result. I have tried withdrawing from him when he is behaving badly but again the same result.

That all being said, he really is a kind, helpful, loving boy. He is often like a little puppy with me and I get loads of kisses and cuddles, he will lay with his head in my lap (hence the puppy comment), he tells me he loves me several times a day - and then he charges off again! lol

He will concentrate on something that interests him (at the minute space) and will watch a 20 minute video or listen to a book about it.

Sorry for the post of epic proportions but I don't know if I'm way off the mark and this is all 'normal' 4 y/o stuff or not

CabbageHead Tue 07-May-13 12:46:58

I think 4 is a difficult age, expectations of being a big boy but still really a baby! But just in case, have a look at website fedup.com.au in case e has a food intolerance.. Some Interesting stories from parents who thought or had kids diagnosed ADHD only to figure out it was actually a food intolerance...

StrawberryDaiquiriPlease Tue 07-May-13 19:53:19

My DS age 5 is like this. I don't know if it means ADHD.. have you been to the GP?
When I pick him up from school he often throws his bag, throws a tantrum, or is in the middle of crying about something.
He wont really sit still and play with his toys I need to organise a game for him or some drawing or painting.
If I tell him he has 15 minutes to watch TV or play computer games he will often physically try to stop me from turning - whatever it is - off.
I ask him to get in the bath and he says no.
I don't really know how to make him get in the bath except by shouting and making threats.
He doesn't want a bath because it means bedtime.
He talks non stop, he asks questions non stop and he wakes me up several times in the night asking if it is nearly morning. I also spend my life repeating myself. "get dressed, put socks on, put underwear on, put top on, put trousers on" x 5 to get him dressed in the morning.
How do you deal with trying to get your child to do stuff, essential stuff, like go get in the bath?

TallyGrenshall Tue 07-May-13 20:13:10

I haven't been to the GP yet because I don't know if it's something or nothing, plus that fact that it is nearly impossible to get an appointment at our GP's so I thought I would try here first.

DS will have a bath no problem, he enjoys baths but for something that he doesn't enjoy I have to use vast amounts of begging/bribing/reasoning/shouting.

Getting dressed is the same as how you describe it. I have to repeat myself over and over again for each item of clothing. Every single day.

OutofFashion Wed 08-May-13 00:02:49

Hi, IMO difficult to reliably diagnose ADHD until around 7yo, before then short attention span very natural and part of development, especially for boys! Have an 8yo boy (who is not ADHD or anything else) and asked myself same question at this age, also work in related field. Trouble with visit to GP is that often this will get a referral to a clinician who may dish out meds without a full assessment of home and school/preschool; better to work with school setting first and see if they experience the same.

Lavenderlane Wed 08-May-13 10:17:41

Oh my this sounds familiar. My DD is 5 and starting to realise the importance of listening. I have explained to her it takes much less time if she sits and listens, which means she can continue with what she wanted to do. Sometimes I would ask if she understood encouraging more than a yes answer, so that I knew she had listened too. I think most parents of active children around this age feel like they are constantly repeating themselves. I found it was always good to engage them in a positive activity if getting into trouble at home and after a little while reinforce the message "isn't this nice and mummy isn't having to tell you off"

TallyGrenshall Wed 08-May-13 11:54:42

Thanks smile

I posted on the SN board as well. I've decided to go see my GP and see what they say. Even if they don't think it is ADHD, maybe they can recommend somewhere for me to get help dealing with him.

I love him with all my heart and he is not in any way spiteful, or nasty but he is just so exhausting

monica77798 Wed 08-May-13 13:17:52

I know this is from the Daily Mail which may not exactly be the most popular newspaper round these parts, but this doctor thinks that conditions like ADHD are over diagnosed or faulty diagnoses in the first place, and that there is no sound medical basis for many medical conditions like this. They have basically been invented by drug companies to make more money. But I agree with what others have said, your DS is only 4 and many of the things you have described sound quite normal for a boy of that age.

JakeBullet Wed 08-May-13 13:21:06

monica as the parent of a child ADHD as well as autism I find your post offensive. My son struggles enough in life without attitudes like this as well.....still as you said...it was from the Daily Fail who love to demonise patents like me and our children.

I am off to read the OP now to see what I think....as someone who actually KNOWS about ADHD and is not forming an opinion about what I have read in a shit so called "newspaper"! hmm

JakeBullet Wed 08-May-13 13:28:57

Tally, how is he in pre-school/nursery. What you are describing could just be a very boisterous and "always on the go" boy. However, my son who is now 10 does have ADHD (among other diagnoses) and his nursery were the first to say "we think there might be a problem" because although he was VERY boisterous it was far more so than other children of his age. There were several other issues too and the diagnosis for those came far sooner than ADHD which took a lot of assessment and observation (he was 7 before they diagnosed ADHD)....contrary to what you might hear published in the Mail hmm ADHD is not just diagnosed willy nilly to keep the pharmaceutical industry happy.
It took years of assessment for the paediatrician to diagnose DS and only then after she had ruled out other possible causes for his distracted behaviours.

The answer is that your DS could well just be very boisterous....but how do other people find him? What do they say?

TallyGrenshall Wed 08-May-13 14:44:46

Monica Thank you for your opinion but I tend not to listen to 'Big pharma' conspiracies. From the Daily Fail or otherwise

Jake I missed a bit from this post that I added to my other one, sorry. I have been called into his nursery because he wasn't sitting still, always fidgeting and not listening. Also, during an open morning, his teacher did say to me that he tends to have favourite activities and he will do them to the exclusion of all others and that I needed to encourage him to try other things (as if I don't alreay try that hmm

Other people usually comment on the fact that he is here, there and everywhere. Full of energy, constantly talking and never settling on one particular thing. He is going full speed from the moment he wakes up until he falls asleep - I get lots of comments about how it's no wonder I am always worn out

neverlateforwork Wed 08-May-13 14:51:00

He sounds pretty average for a 4yo boy to me. You are unlikely to get any support for a borderline ADHD dx at 4 (even if you can find a physician to dx) but there's no harm in doing your own research and implementing some ADHD strategies.

Omegas, zinc, and magnesium in the form of Epsom salt baths for starters.

And fwiw, my 11 yo with ADHD is perfectly 'normal', thanks.

Most schools will ask for your help with implementing behaviour strategies at 4. Most physicians will want a good few years of maturing before they go near diagnosing a 4 yo exhibiting normal 4 yo traits.

But yes, do read up, it may be that in a few years he will have further diverged from his peer group in terms of behaviour etc, and may warrant a dx of one sort or other.

TallyGrenshall Wed 08-May-13 15:23:59

neverlate I never once suggested that anyone with ADHD wasn't normal. That's why I used quote marks because I didn't know how else to phrase it and didn't want to cause offence.

I asked here because I was unsure if it is all general 4 year-old-ness or not. I know the school need support at home for any number of things, the hmm face is because they spoke to me as if I don't do a single thing with him at home, which is another issue altogether but I should have kept that to myself apparently.

I am not actively seeking a dx for anything, I asked because I have concerns.

Sorry to bother and offend you. I'll keep things to myself in future

JakeBullet Wed 08-May-13 15:33:52

monica, I apologise for my post to you. I do realise you were passing on the view of one doctor and not ncessarily your own view. Apologies as I do get a bit touchy about the whole ADHD does/does not exist arguments.

Tally, my advice to you would be to keep a diary of all these events....being called I to nursery, what they say, what other people say, what you observe as his parent. I don't know if he is your only child or not, I found that although DS was always "on the go" and that although I worried a bit about the fact he did not seem to settle like his peers did that I always just assumed he was "just very active". It wasn't until other people were saying the same and the "normal" techniques for managing behaviour were nt working that myself and teachers realised there was something more going on.

If it was just ADHD with DS then life would be a breeze as medication means he can cope in school . Within three months of going onto medication (much against my wishes) at age 8 he could finally read. I could not deny then that medication had a role to play.

Just keep a diary, note any changes, how your DS responds to things, how the nursery say he is. My DS could never sit still for story time and so they gave him blu tac to fiddle with. They had to do the same in the early years of school. At 10 he now does not need anything and is ale to sit quietly in class.

neverlateforwork Wed 08-May-13 16:56:48

None taken. grin

But the quotation marks can have the opposite effect, too. grin

You should definitely post, and follow up on your concerns - not entirely sure where you read that I thought you shouldn't have posted - but 4, unless very very obviously struggling in two or more settings, means that not a lot will be done.

Four is very little. And the things he is struggling with are very common in four year olds. I supposed you might find that reassuring. grin

I'll withdraw my sensible advice about how to handle potential ADHD regarding omegas and whatnot then.

The combination of practicality about 4 yo boys and advice regarding how to treat (potential) ADHD in a 4yo obviously wasn't what was required.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies for trying to help.

MadameSin Wed 08-May-13 17:26:32

Jake & Tally ... it took our paediatrician all of an hour to dx my ds ... along with completed questionnaires from both school and ourselves. I'm still not sure it's the correct dx tbh and I do feel 'they' are quick to label to keep everyone happy, so be aware 'Tally*

Hyperhelpmum Wed 08-May-13 20:15:48

I haven't read anyone else's post but my DS who was 5 last week sounds identical to your son right down to the incredibly loving, puppy like behaviour, I love you with all my heart mummy! I have a DS aged nearly 3 and the difference between them is striking in terms of DS1 ability to attend. He can't follow instructions (his understanding of language was assessed as in the top 10% for his age group) he does not really respond to punishment, will do it then carry on as if he forgot straight after! He finds it hard to organise himself eg find shoes or cost when going out. We have had him assessed by a private child psychiatrist as I was rally worried and a year of NHS appointments got us no where. This guy said my son shows characteristics of an attention deficit disorder but is too young for formal diagnosis. I have bought a fab boom and just try and help him anyway I can (and keep my patience, not easy!!!!). Pm me if you want to chat mOre. It's so hard as not much info out there.

Hyperhelpmum Wed 08-May-13 20:35:35

Having just read others posts I was tearing my hair out last year because of preschool concerns with him zoning out, (my son is largely inattentive, some over activity but it's never been the main feature) and my own concerns. Everyone kept saying 'he's just a boy' but I have two very boisterous boys and the way my oldest son presents is markedly different. I just knew something was not quite right. He is so bright yet can't get dressed without the constant prompts, does not follow conversations or notice things unless you literally kneel in front of him, say his name, then get him to repeat back. This is a child who as I said, was assessed by an SLT to have understanding in top 10% for his age and has no hearing difficulties. I think ADHD can present in different ways. My son has always been able to sit and listen to a story or colour in or watch a whole DVD at 2.5 ( nothing to boast of!) but he is impulsive and can't attend if bored or finding it hard e.g reading he is constantly distracted by pictures in his book so does not read words unless I cover pictures. Although OP's son is only 4 I think it's valid to ask for advice. As a mum you just get a feeling about things. I'm personally glad I followed it up as even though he is not formally diagnosed and not medicated, I feel I understand him better and get less frustrated/ worried.

Piffyonarock Thu 09-May-13 20:30:12

Hi Tally,

I could have written your post and will be interested to read any further advice. We have had a meeting with my DS's nursery school today because of all the things you describe. The teacher says that although his behaviour might turn out to be outside the range of SNs, he is the most challenging child in the class and they are concerned about him getting a reputation for himself among his peers over the next couple of years. He enjoys school at the moment and we're keen to keep it that way.

They are referring us to our local Surestart with a view to us doing a Webster-Stratton parenting course (I have done it before when DS was 2, but we have DD aswell now so our circumstances at home a quite different). I think this will be kicked off with a form completed with us and the school, can't remember what she said it was called but it is for assessment. She did say that if this didn't work they would be likely to be involving other agencies e.g. Educational Psychologist in the next year or two, but that he is too young for a dx yet.

DS has been hugely challenging on and off since he was approx 18 months, and can also be very aggressive. By and large we've tried to keep the view that it will even out in the end, but we are starting to come round to the possibility that he might need a bit more intervention to keep him on track.

I did find Webster-Stratton course useful, so you might want to see if your Surestart offer the same.

CabbageHead, are you from the north west by any chance? You don't have to say if you don't want smile

CabbageHead Fri 10-May-13 04:48:56

piffy no not from northwest, I actually live in Australia, but am on mumsnet cos I have a high needs DS so often on here browsing the posts in general (usually while I am waiting for DS to go to SLEEP he thinks sleep is for losers!)

pofacedlemonsucker Fri 10-May-13 05:30:07

ADHD can of course present in different ways - with either inattentive ness or hyperactivity being prevalent (or both). Being able to concentrate on specific activities well is also covered under the 'hyperfocus' theory. It can be as problematic as inattention, and is very common in ADHD.

Of course, hyperfocus in bright kids can also be called 'flow' and referred to as what happens when gifted children get into the creative zone - a good thing...

It's all so very messy in many kids that it's impossible to sort out whether a child is ADHD or not... With bright kids particularly, it is worth reading 'misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis of gifted kids'.

Usually by 7 or 8, once the effects of maturing are known, it's easier to tell.

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