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Can't cope with DS (nearly 5), I genuinely suspect he had ADHD

(37 Posts)
BikeRunSki Sun 28-Jul-13 14:28:24

Posting here for traffic as I am desperate and DH and DD are suffering too.

DS has always been what a friend of mine, infant teacher, describes "at the busy end of the busy spectrum". He can not sit still, he can not finish a meal, doesn't ever listen to me, expects immediate attention when he yells, had no concept of patience, waiting, taking turns etc and if he doesn't like a situation (ie: where he is not the centre of attention) he will disrupt it (eg: push his sister down the stairs, she is nearly 2). He is prone to huge tantrums. It doesn't help that he is big (125 cm, age 7 clothes) and old in his school year (starts school in September, 5th birthday is the week he starts school) and bored to tears of nursery. He will not take "No" for an answer.

I am constantly cross and shouty with him, and have to supress the urge to hit him, and cry a lot. Sometimes I give in the crying. In fact often. I can't handle him anymore. He is rude, defiant and sometimes down right dangerous. DH is extremely short tempered with him. I work 3 days a week and last week I took a half day sick just to have some calm and sleep.

I know a lot of other 4 yo boys, many from a few weeks old (villagey baby groups etc) and they are all calmer, better behaved and more mature than DS. I genuinely suspect that he has ADHD. I have mentioned it to my HV who said it wouldn't be apparent yet. Really? He ticks every single item on this list of symptoms I found on Wikipedia (I know.... but you've got to start somewhere):

Predominantly inattentive type symptoms as listed by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health may include:[

Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new or trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
Not seem to listen when spoken to
Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
Struggle to follow instructions.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms may include:
Fidget and squirm in their seats
Talk nonstop
Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
Be constantly in motion
Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities
and also these manifestations primarily of impulsivity:
Be very impatient
Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
Blurts out comments better left unsaid (not always innapropriate)
Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games

Every single one of them.

Is he "just being 4", albeit a "busy" one? Should I persue HV more? Leave it? Wait for him to start school and see what effect that has on him ? But I really need some kind of help, because I just can not deal with him. I am not a shouty person, but he has had me yelling obsecenities across a campsite and burst into tears....... and this kind of scene is happening too often.

BikeRunSki Sun 28-Jul-13 14:29:09

Grrr, "Has" not "had" in title.

Bypass HV, ask GP for a ref to a (now I am not sure if paed or psych) specislist

MultumInParvo Sun 28-Jul-13 14:38:05

Well. I tick all the 'inattentive' boxes.

My ds 11 ticks all the 'hyperactive' boxes.

I don't believe he or I have an illness. We are just ourselves!

I can imagine its difficult for you, but what would labelling him do? He would still be the same, unless you drug him.

Starting school will help settle him I think, there is structure and more mental stimulation.

FrussoHathor Sun 28-Jul-13 14:40:38

OP you sound stressed to the brim. Often children can get bored and frustrated just before they start school, especially those that are amongst the oldest in their year.

Just a couple of questions;
Is he worse now it is the holidays? A firm routine and perhaps a visual timetable/calendar may help him so he can see what is planned.
Because he is big for his age could people be expecting more? Eg, expecting him to act like a 7yo even though he is emotionally much younger than his size suggests.
Does he have a lot of toys out an available to him? My dc play for longer with one toy when there is less available.

If your instincts are saying that there is something else then speak to your GP.

coffeewineandchocolate Sun 28-Jul-13 14:43:48

it sounds entirely possible but it's very difficult to get a diagnosis before age 7. Professionals are reluctant to label children and like to give them time to settle. Referrals for assessment are usually done by gp, school nurse or pediatrician if already involved. in my experience in w. York's most of the assessments are done by Camhs and can take a while (waiting list, assessment time)

once the assessment is done it can help regarding school support but is unlikely to make much real difference at home. I would suggest speaking to your hv or local children's centre about parenting courses (run by people with experience of spring parents with children with more challenging behaviors) to help you develop strategies to manage the difficult behaviour.

Do you have anyone who could babysit to give you the odd break?

HeySoulSister Sun 28-Jul-13 14:43:48

I think you need strategies to deal with him

If he has ADHD what would a diagnosis change?

mercibucket Sun 28-Jul-13 14:45:33

what is it about the things on that list that makes you so stressed and angry with him? to help get a better picture.

what kind of discipline system do you use with him, and have you ever thought about a course eg positive parenting, triple p? i found them really useful.

he does just sound like my boys were, apart from the pushing his sister down stairs bit, which could just be standard jealousy but needs a firm hand. but my kids are v v active. they do sports for hours every day to keep them tired

Bike, I've pmed you.

Frustratedartist Sun 28-Jul-13 15:07:19

Bit of a flippant answer here, & I do sympathise because you're clearly stressed.
But your own user name is BikeRunSki - you sound pretty energetic too.
5 is young for a dx of ADHD - I'm not saying he won't turn out to have it. My experience of boys is they're like puppies- need a lot of exercise and regular feeding!
Be careful he's not starting to fulfil the label of being the 'bad child' - pushing his sister downstairs - because thats the way he gets attention. And be careful she's not taunting him into some actions -especially if he is a bit impulsive.
I find our family all get on best when we're outside - park or country walk.

BikeRunSki Sun 28-Jul-13 15:19:48

I am worried about labelling him, yes, and I do appreciate that diagnosis would be difficult and unhelpful at this age, and wouldn't change anything. Maybe I am looking for some help in strategies to manage him. I have looked into parenting courses for children with challenging behaviour, but all the Children's Centre did was give me an NSPCC pamphlet. The only parenting courses they do are for new parents under 25. Coffee we are in W Yorks too. We have tried the "Happier, Easier, Calmer" principles, but over praising the tiny stuff and ignoring the bad is not v helpful when he thumps and injures other children. Stickers for good behaviour (and sad faces for bad) used to work, but seem to have lost their sheen.

No babysitters - all grandparents 200+ miles away, only local friends he (and DD) would settle with are single parents or partner works away. Coffee is right though, I really need a break, and going to work isn't really it!

What annoys me mostly on that list -
He can not "be" be himself. HE won't play with his toys by himself and wants me there the whole time. If I need to do something else, he yells and fusses.
He moves constantly - if he is watching TV/DVD he juggles his feet, get up and down from the sofa, climbs on the furniture, shakes his head. It is exhausting.
He also shouts out random noises or words sporadically - that can't be normal can it. It upsets me and makes DD cry.
His default mode is running and shouting. He has no idea of chnaging his behaviour for different situations- fine for playgrounds, less fine for inside. And he makes a sort of high pitched wailing sound most of the time. I am not even sure he knows he is doing it.

He sends hours (maybe two a day) playing out in the garden - trampoline and slide - or swimming or riding his bike and never seems to get tired. He goes to bed at 7.30, settles and the gets up and down until 11 pm or so when we go to bed. We get no adult time! We've tried putting him to bed later, but basically he will get out of bed as long as he knows we are up.

He is so distracted by the smallest things, and so unfocused it can take him over an hour to get dressed. He'll put one leg in his boxers, then look at some fluff on the carpet, pick up a book, walk around a bit, boxers will fall off. He'll put his head in his t shirt, then forget about his arms....

Eating is similar. His record is 1 hr 40 mins for 2 cocktail sausage rolls. he just fidgets when he is "sitting down" for a meal. By "Sitting down" i mean he comes to the table, has a bite or 2, gets off his chair, wanders abou, get back on, insists that he is cold/uncomfortable and needs a jumper/blanket/cushion, has another bite, says he is full up. For cold/uncomfortable/full up, read "bored of sitting down", but picnics or meals or out are no better,

The time wasting drives me crazy. And the food wasting. And the disobedience and ignorance. How am I ever supposed to get anything done if he won't cooperate.

I don't think people have greater expectations of him than his age, not people we know anyway, and I am not concerned about the odd person on the bus etc. ]

His routine is not that different now it is holidays, as he goes to nursery 3 days a week for childcare regardless of term times.

Discipline seems to have broken down into bribery and shouting.

The light as the end of the tunnel is that he has had 5 settling afternoons at school and loves his new teacher, so maybe his behaviour will click once he starts.

BikeRunSki Sun 28-Jul-13 15:23:06

Frustrated I am sporty yes, but in controlled situations. I can sit still long enough to eat a meal or get dressed and don't feel the need to yell all day long. We go out cycling as a family as often as we can - most week ends - and this is one of the times that he does have a bit of focus. He also rides his bike out in the street (cul de sac) most days.

What is he like at nursery? Do they have the same concerns are is their handling of his behaviour and expectations just more suitable for him?

tallulah Sun 28-Jul-13 15:33:36

He sounds very much like my 6 yo DD. One of my older DSs has ADHD so we were looking for it to a certain extent and once she was 3 it was clear there was something going on with her. I tried a referral to the community paeds just before she started school and on the basis that she managed to play quietly with some strange toys in a new place for 30 mins the Dr said she was NT. hmm

Once she went to school the differences between her and the other girls were very apparent. With the SENCos help we got referred again just before she turned 6 and now have a dx of ADHD. It doesn't make it any easier to deal with her but it helps with outsiders.

Everywhere she went (holiday club, swimming lessons, ballet class) I got complaints about her behaviour and found myself saying we thought there might be something wrong with her, which sounded like an excuse. Now we can tell people in advance and they can let us know if they aren't prepared to deal with her.

She is constantly moving and TBH it makes me itch sometimes. You wouldn't believe how irritating it is unless you were experiencing it yourself. Luckily we don't have a younger child.

FWIW I tried applying for parenting classes. The sure start ones were during the day - not very helpful when you work. The council ones had a long waiting list and after waiting about 6 months I got a letter to say if I didn't fit some criteria (they didn't specify what) they were cancelling all the people on the wait list.

BikeRunSki Sun 28-Jul-13 15:35:50

He is often in trouble at nursery for "being too giddy", not listening and hitting/punching/pushing. They manage this with a sticker chart, but don't seem to make any effort to get him to behave better, but reward it when he is better behaved of his own accord. He used to love to please people, but really isn't bothered now.

BikeRunSki Sun 28-Jul-13 15:37:16

Tallulah, what is NT?

chillinwithmyyonis Sun 28-Jul-13 15:47:36

I think you should wait until he starts school and see how does there. How his behaviour is in the classroom, how he compares to the other children, if the teacher flags up any concerns, if he's compliant with what hes being asked to do. If youre going down the assessment for ADHD etc, a paed or psych will normally want to see that the behaviour is the same in more than one setting.

My dd is nearly 5 and I believe she is somewhere on that hyperactive spectrum, she was a premature baby too which are at higher risk for suffering from attention/hyperactivity disorders. She sounds quite similar to your son at home, but she is able to function well at school, gets on well with other children and when we out and about ie. She can sit still and eat in a restaurant. But at times, I feel like you, it is exhausting to deal with a child that is never still.

Also, from what I can see, quite a few of dd's classmates seem to suffer with excess energy and play deaf ears to their parents demands. Maybe its the age? Especially if he is nearly 5, he could be really frustrated by the company of younger children in nursery and will do better amongst peers more closer in age. My dd is one of youngest but even she found the last term of preschool before starting reception, a bit 'young' and unchallenging as it were.

mrsmindcontrol Sun 28-Jul-13 15:48:10

OP, my now 7yr old DS was given a working diagnosis of ADHD at just turned 5yrs old. He has since had this confirmed as a true diagnosis.
Your sons behavioural symptoms sound very very similar to my sons.

Whilst I'm not in the business of wanting to make things more serious than they are, I would agree with you that your son DOES need review. Definitely bypass the HV and see your GP who will likely refer you on yo CAMHS or a psychologist. We had school involved at this stage which added weight to our view that he wasn't NT...but its likely your son will be at school by the time you get anywhere with a referral anyway. Do nursery have similar problems with him? Their report will be useful.

Parenting courses were, for us, something of a waste of time as they often see for parents of ADHD children. Yes, there are ways of parenting better but they are basically common sense (praise the good, ignore the bad etc etc).

What helped ME & my relationship with my son which, by the time of his initial working diagnosis, was very poor indeed, was the diagnosis. An acknowledgement that it wasn't my fault, that he wasn't being deliberately 'bad' and that we had some form of support available (medication, OT input, statement, SENCO work etc)
So, I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with those posters who say that a diagnosis makes little difference. To me it made a VAST psychological difference.

Good luck OP. please PM me if you want to discuss, I know exactly where you are & how painful and lonely that place is.

formicadinosaur Sun 28-Jul-13 16:43:19

Show your lust to your GP and ask for a formal assessment

formicadinosaur Sun 28-Jul-13 16:43:34

List even

carlywurly Sun 28-Jul-13 16:49:00

Sorry, inappropriate grin from me at that auto correct!

In seriousness, I really sympathise and would push for a paed referral. Bypass the gp, their knowledge of these things (in my experience!) is limited.

Rainbowinthesky Sun 28-Jul-13 16:55:15

I echo others. Make a list on paper from what you've posted and go to your GP for referral to CAMHs.

HouseAtreides Sun 28-Jul-13 17:14:13

I first asked DD1 to be assessed for ADHD/ADD at age 4. They said it was too early to tell really, but gave her an assessment and said she was fine because she sat still for the doctor (after whirling round the waiting room like the Tasmanian devil!)
Finally, at age 11, she has a diagnosis of ADHD! (I did not press for a particular diagnosis- in fact we were seeing the paed for something else completely).

HouseAtreides Sun 28-Jul-13 17:14:31

asked *for!

merlincat Sun 28-Jul-13 17:48:45

Op, take a look at the recent thread on AIBU on this subject. The thread became somewhat heated and much bollocks was spouted, but some excellent advice too. There is everything to gain from a diagnosis, if appropriate. Expectations can be managed at home in the classroom and understanding of how your little chap experiences the world; surely a good thing for your relationship with him.

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