To mention to teacher about suspicions of ADHD

(7 Posts)
Whathaveiforgottentoday Fri 15-Mar-13 20:28:19

I have long suspected my DD1 (year 2) may have ADHD. She's always been very active but its the attention problems and impulsive behaviour that concern me more.
My question is whether to mention it a parents evening? She's not having major problems at school and the problems she is having are being dealt with effectively so I have no concerns with the education she is receiving this year. However, she may not be so lucky with her teachers in the future and I'm wondering whether a label is useful or not.
I work in education (secondary) and do wonder if I'm over thinking this, but to me she is just my DD but when I see her with others of the same age, her behaviour does stand out as very different. From my research (and experience as a teacher) she ticks all the boxes but is obviously not too severe otherwise she wouldn't be coping in school.
She's got a great teacher this year and I'd value her opinion.

Is it worth bringing up or not?

purples Fri 15-Mar-13 22:06:29

Personally, I would raise your concerns with the teacher, it's always useful to see it from another perspective.
My eldest DD has many aspects of ADHD and dyspraxia, but never had an official diagnosis. However at primary school I never pursued an official diagnosis, partly because I didn't want a label that would follow her around the rest of her educational life but also because she is very clever and it was obvious that there was very little help that the primary school could offer; had she been academically challenged the school would have offered much more help. The school did offer a few of sessions with "mind gym" excercises, but that was the limit. Over the years, I discussed it with several primary teachers, some were more approachable than others, so some years it was mentioned, and I can say that only one very experienced older teacher was really able to offer practical advice. Eldest DD is now at grammar school, still rather uncoordinated and some social problems, but in general enjoys the formal structures in her new school.

Definitely mention it. Older teachers will have seen it before and new teachers will have all the latest info.

I had similar concerns about DS1... His teachers have really put my mind at ease. Turns out he's just garden-variety naughty blush.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sat 16-Mar-13 00:11:02

Thank you for your replies and purples, like you i don't wish to pursue an official diagnosis, mainly as school is meeting her needs very well and whilst too early to know how bright she is, she's definitely average or better so no concerns.
Part of the reason I'm interested in speaking to the teacher is to help my dh cope as he sometimes finds her very challenging. I think if he could understand why she is the way she is, he might be more understanding and deal with her behaviour more effectively. I'd like to know if she is just naughty or whether there is more to her behaviour.
However she's never been in trouble in school (well nothing that they have had to tell me about so assume nothing beyond the norm) but she can very trying at times. I'd like dh and I to be managing her behaviour in the same way which isn't always happening at the moment. Btw dh is lovely and doing his best but he doesn't understand her.

purples Sat 16-Mar-13 10:58:07

Like your DD mine can have attention problems and impulsive behaviour. When she was in infants (and junoirs) this caused a lot of friendship issues, as she would be doing one task but constantly looking around to see what else was going on; the problem was the children she was supposed to be working with misinterpreted my DD body language and just assumed she was uninterested in them, hence she had problems with friendships. It wasn't that she didn't like them, but thats how it came across, at times she can still do this.

The attention problem caused DD problems with teachers as she progressed through primary, she would end up looking out the window etc and not focusing on the teacher, she was listening and normally surprised the teachers because when they asked her a question about the lesson she normally got it right. (when the teacher explained the lesson, DD would usually understand first time round, but as DD has short attention span, got very bored as teacher then explained it another 2 times).

When DD started at school, I really didn't have a clue about parents evening, and I've discovered that each teacher seems to have a different take on them. I only had one teacher who raised the issue of ADHD/ Dyspraxia, a lovely experienced teacher, she was brilliant with DD and brought on her reading etc tremendously, I think she could really see past the behaviour and see the potential in my DD. However, the help she could offer was limited as bear in mind she had 29 other children in her class, she did however lend me literature on the subject which I found very useful.

But, teachers are human and vary alot, I wish they were all like the lady above, but from my experience there are a variety of teaching styles. There was one teacher who had a real personality clash with my DD, there was no empathy between him and my DD, so that was a dreadful year, I think he just saw her as naughty. He just said she had to concentrate more, sit still, stop fiddling etc (ie all the behaviour problems were because she was just naughty and she should just buckle down, he just could not deal with the reason for her problems). However, younger DD had same teacher a few years later and loved him, but she is a very different personality.

Another of DDs teachers, very new to teaching, and still getting to grips with teaching. She may have had latest training at college, but when teaching a class of 30 children, anyone with issues that weren't easily addressed was to a great extent overlooked,( especially as she was also getting married that year and several of the mums felt she was getting very distracted by that!)

So, you can see from my experiences it depends on the teachers, and where their interest lies. At parents evening and talking to headmaster etc, I would sometimes casually mention ADHD or similar problems and see if they would pick it up in the conversation. Normally it was ignored, as it opens up a can of worms, and the school does not have the facilities/finance to deal with. If DD had been less bright, then she potentially could have been statemented, which would have brought financial help to the school.
I never wanted to permanently label DD, with a tag of ADHD. I also didn't want to go down any route which would potentially involve medication for the problem. So I never pushed too hard. Its a difficult choice to make.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sun 17-Mar-13 17:18:35

Thanks for the reply purples. You've competely described what I suspect will happen with my dd over the years as I'm very aware that it can depend on the teacher. I discussed it with dh last night and we decided that we would bring it up but only to gauge the teacher's opinion and not because we want anything done this year as all is going well at school as far as we know. I'll post and let you know what she says after parent's evening (in 2 weeks).
Its so hard to judge whether your own children's behaviour is normal or not unless you see them with lots of other children of the same age, although if turns put she's just a bit naughty we will be feeling a little blush

purples Sun 17-Mar-13 18:32:49

Normal is a very difficult term. I have 2 fantastic DDs , normal in many , many respects, but both have aspects of personality that I think many people would think deviate from what might be usually called "normal".
Every child in your DD class will be very different, so comparisons are difficult to make, what is normal for one child will not be normal for another.
I think as a parent, you know your child best, and can tell whether it is just naughty or if the root cause is more serious.
A child has ADHD (or similar problem) is challenging, tiring, exhausting, stressful etc etc. But as DD1 has got older, it has become easier. She is a wonderful, clever, insightful child, but still impulsive and fidgety.
Hopefully, your teacher will be able to reassure you, if she is just naught, then great, you can deal with that; if its something more maybe she can offer advice. But I'd always go with your gut feeling and trust yourself.

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