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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.

Frustratedartist Sun 28-Jul-13 17:53:21

Having read your next post - I do think go to GP. Could the shouting out words be vocal tics?
Two of mine have Tourettes, and my DS with it can be agitated and finds it difficult to settle at times. Conversely he's doing very well at school, where the structure really helps him.
If your son does have a dx try to separate (in your head) his behaviours from him as a person. Some of my DS's tics drive me nuts, but I have to realise they're not his fault and they cause him suffering too.
Maybe make a list of any activities that do help and keep it to hand when he's driving you daft. It's hard to think when you're stressed.
Also Grandparents aren't necessarily helpful or supportive - ours are far away too. Much more helpful to find out what works for you and your family.
Travelling today - so may not post again. Good luck !

coffeewineandchocolate Sun 28-Jul-13 18:09:34

I rate 'triple p' as a parenting course and if you are In w.York's it seems to be popular with schools, children's centres etc. Another good holistic approach is the family links nurturing course which also seems to be popular.

I would also go to your gp and when ds starts school in september ask for a meeting with school to discuss your concerns from the start. this can bypass a lot of umming and ahhing about whether the behavior is settling in behaviour..

magso Sun 28-Jul-13 18:30:44

First of all do whatever you have to do to look after yourself and get some breathing time. Its very demoralising when standard parenting methods do not seem to work. I used to use a kichen timer set to 5 or later 10 minutes to have time to drink a cuppa or finish a chore, during which time ds (set up with play/TV etc) was not to interrupt me! He gradually learned to manage. Before this I would give him special time where I played with him doing what he wanted with him for a set time. He gradually got better at accepting time limits and holding off with the requests during my time. A timer with a visual representation of time passing - like a sand timer can be particularly useful. You mentioned bribes but rewards for achieving a set target (such as the 5 minutes of no interrupting Mummy/shouting/pushing) is a useful technique - so give yourself credit!

I would say if your gut instinct is that something is different with how your son behaves and learns to control his behaviour, then you should trust your instincts, and ask for referral to the community paediatrician. The referral will take a time to come through, so he will have started school by then and possibly the picture be a little clearer. Children who do have a neurodevelopmental disability often find school challenging so if there is a difficulty then you are already lined up to start finding support. The other thing that occurred to me is to consider referral to the occupational therapist to rule out sensory processing difficulties. My son has quite a few difficulties (autism/ADHD/LD) including sensory processing disabilities so can be calmed a little by touch and sound- and every little helps!

All children need parenting skills tailored to their needs but some children need parents with specialist skills- my son is one of them.
I do not know if your son neurologically typical (NT) or has some difficulties. I can only tell you that I had similar worries for ds (now 13) and was at times at my wits end and physical limits. Getting to understand his difficulties (a slow process) and how best for adults around him to support him was both helpful for ds and better for everyone him- and by helping me to understand it was not my parenting causing the difficulties and that he was not being deliberately naughty/hurtful/dangerous - as Mrs mind said helped my self-confidence (at an alltime low) and my relationship with ds.

BikeRunSki Sun 28-Jul-13 20:41:38

Thank you for your help everyone. Mixed opinions. I am really a bit lost now as to whether this is normal but bored behaviour, for someone desperate to go to school, but with a younger sister, who is just bloody minded. He has been looking forward to school since his 4th birthday - lots of his peers at nursery had their 4 th birthdays in August, then started school. Come the first week of September he was 4. "Can I go to school now Mummy?", er, no Sweetie, there' s this cut off a week before your birthday. At the same time, his little sister started walking and having her own opinions, so our time at home is sometimmes scaled to her (he does plenty of age appropriate activities of his own,vut there is only one of me ! DH is great at w/ e though.) All this coincided with me going back to work after mat leave with dd.

He is off to spend a week with Granny (300 miles away) by himself soon. She (my DM) is aware of my concerns and I'll ask her to see what she thinks when DS is in a different setting to usual without DD. Part of me thinks he just plays up to me. Whilst he is away I may go to see GP.

Having said all that, he was fairly ok this afternoon, played Lego in his room (albeit with DH), ate his tea and shared a bath with DD nicely. Although he is still crashing about upstairs.

notapizzaeater Mon 29-Jul-13 00:01:11

Huddersfield Camhs currently has a 2 year wait sad the quicker you start rattling cages the better. My ds is going next week to be assessed he is 11 in September and the EP was involved from him starting school.

glimmer Mon 29-Jul-13 04:26:09

Whatever the reasons, as some have pointed out, you need to find new strategies that work for you. Any way to get them is fine. GP might be a good route to access some help.

BikeRunSki Mon 29-Jul-13 07:26:20

notapizzseater. Interesting, we are in Huddersfield (well, Kirklees anyway ).

PolterGoose Mon 29-Jul-13 18:27:00

Hi Bike it does sound to me like there is enough going on to seek assessment, take your list to the GP and ask for referral, ideally to a developmental paediatrician, keep a diary and notes and video anything that others don't see. I would also advise reading up a bit on sensory processing/sensory integration as it sounds like your ds is sensory seeking, a referral to an OT would help identify this, a good book to get started with is 'The Out of Sync Child'. A lot of children with ADHD, ASD and other SNs have sensory problems and the interventions can be very effective (and easy and cheap)

I'd also suggest trying out strategies that are used with children with ADHD and similar, they'll help ds if he does have a diagnosable condition and won't harm him if he doesn't.

Trigglesx Mon 29-Jul-13 18:46:59

Bike Whew. Okay. Having read through this, I have to say .... do not wait to have him assessed. If you feel something is going on, you are probably right. As Polter said, take your list into the GP and insist that you need a referral to a developmental paediatrician. If the GP fobs you off with the nonsense of "boys are slower to develop" and stuff like that, push harder. If they still don't cooperate, contact the nursery and see if you can speak to the school nurse that works that area and get a referral to a paediatrician through the school nurse. I say that mainly because that is what happened to us - fobbed off by numerous GPs at our surgery, school recognised there was a problem, so school nurse referred to paed.

The assessment process takes AAAAAAGES!!! That's why I'm saying don't wait. From the time we got assistance from the school until DS1 had his statement for school was at least 10 months - and I was told by many many people that 10 months was unbelievably fast!! (our school was brilliant and pushed things along very well) Also, he was 4yo when the dx was made (almost 5) and it was spot on. Your HV is wrong - it can easily be apparent at 4yo. Believe me, it was VERY apparent with DS1 (still is!).

Also ask for referral to OT if possible, again as Polter said, to start looking into the sensory stuff. The sooner you get on the waiting list the better - again, it takes forever to get in!!!

The books Polter recommended are also excellent help. Hmmm... maybe I should have just copied Polter's post. hmm grin

Anyway.. now.. from the standpoint of myself, who has a just turned 7yo DS1 who has the dxs of ADHD, ASD, dyspraxia, sensory problems, speech and language delay, and hypermobility, the more info you get about how to moderate his behaviour, the better.

Some things are going to probably be used by his school - such as visual timetables, sand timers (or electronic ones), stickers/reward charts, now/then boards. If they're using visual now/then or timetables, ask them if you can have one to use at home that is the same. Just explain that he is struggling with this and you feel that the consistency of having it at home and school may help him with his behaviour in both places. Anything that they are doing that is having any positive reaction as well - see if it's able to be implemented at home. We did this and it really helped - school using it reinforced use of it at home.

A lot of children with ASD/ADHD do not respond well to negative consequences. DS1 responds very well (most of the time) to positive consequences - rewards if he does well. He gets loads of praise (or stickers or computer time depending on the situation) for good behaviour. When he struggles, I do try to see WHY he's doing what he's doing. Sometimes if you chat with him a little, you can almost get a glimmer of "his logic" behind it (which believe me, bears NO resemblance to normal logic grin).

There's a short video clip that's been linked on MN SNs board previously about how it feels to have the sensory processing disorder - I watched it and thought "Oh how horrible it would feel not to be able to shut all that extra noise out - I'd be so stressed and upset!" And I realised that is the reality for DS1 pretty much all of the time - and again, if I can see it from his perspective sometimes it helps me to maintain calm and deal with it better.

Don't get me wrong - it can drive you nuts - he "helped" his 3.11 yo brother today and they were washing their hair using toilet water shock ... in about the 2-3 minutes it took me to move laundry from the washer to dryer and reload the washer. He thought it was fine "I flushed it first so there was no poo in it." grin What can you say to that, really?

Trigglesx Mon 29-Jul-13 18:47:14

wow... shock apologies for the book!

Hallybear79 Mon 29-Jul-13 18:47:53

I had a similar situation with my son but suspected ASD as well as ADHD. I told my HV on so many occasions about my concerns only to be told "no, he's just being a boy". So i this point i thought it was just me being a paranoid mother. He then started school last September. After the 1st term, his teacher had me in & told me she was at her witts end & suspected he had aspergers &/or ADHD.
Although i've always known it deep down i was devastated. I went to the GP with a list of his symptoms & also some notes his teacher had made. I was then refered to a paediatrician who then refered him to CAMHs. We're due to have our 1st appointment with them in 2 weeks, so it has been a really long process so far.
I think if your son has ADHD, i suspect school will also pick up on it. But maybe its worth discussing your concerns with his teacher as well.
In the mean time winebrewwinebrewwinebrew it's bloody hard work. I've literally learnt to take a day at a time or else otherwise i'd of gone insane with worry.

PolterGoose Mon 29-Jul-13 19:08:31

Triggles you made me grin and blush

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