To think my son might have adhd?

(59 Posts)
Zaramohito Thu 10-Nov-16 12:20:12

I've n/c for this, also know that no one on mumsnet can make a diagnoses but it might help me get some perspective.

My son is 8 and he's always been a bit challenging but up until now I've always thought it was just normal childish behaviour. However, I had parents evening last week and apparently he's started being disruptive at school, constantly talking, getting out of his seat, getting distracted and distracting other children, he is now slipping behind despite being capable, so I am told.

I must admit he's exhibited challenging behaviour for a while. He was a lovely and really easygoing, happy baby and toddler, but he started becoming challenging once he started school.

Son examples of his behaviour are,

Getting distracted so easily, so I could literally send him upstairs to get a jumper and he'll have forgotten by the time he gets upstairs.

Not listening even when spoken to directly and bursting out with laughter. I just cannot get him to be serious about anything.

Shouting out random things at inappropriate times, like this morning I sent him to get his school jumper and he randomly yelled "oh my god Donald Trump is president". Or walking round a shop he'll shout out "pepperoni pizza" or "I'm a cardboard box". Just totally out of the blue, completely random stuff. He also does this in accents and I've asked him to stop because people might think he's making fun of them.

Constantly picking things up in shops despite being asked, pre warned, made to hold my hand, even me just leaving the shop with him.

Breaking out into dancing in the middle of a shop if music comes on.

Stealing sweets, for example last year he was bought 3 advent calendars from different people, and I found out he'd ate them all in one go. Or we had a box of cakes, he had one after his tea, the next day I found out he'd nibbled all the edges off the rest of the cakes, this sort of thing happens a lot if there's sweet stuff around.

Doing without thinking, so he might do a lovely piece of homework let's say designing a board game, then he needs a bit of paper and ripping a huge chunk off the piece of homework he's just done. Making mistakes even when copying.

When I read to him he constantly asks questions but so much so we don't progress through the book.

Self management, so he will wait until he's desperate to use the toilet resulting in him needing to go when there are no toilets available. If we are on our way out I ask him to go and he argues but then desperately needs to go once we are out.

He doesn't sleep. No matter what, I get him to bed early to wind down, read with him, got him a new bed, he doesn't get to sleep. This only started since school, once he does get to sleep he's dead to the world.

He asked questions that I wouldn't expect him to, like my husband has noticed at a certain activity he does that he keeps asking questions, to the point it's distracting to the group. If we are in the supermarket he wants the free samples and he asks the person at the deli/cake counter if they've got any free samples.

Previously school have never had any complaints and no one had mentioned anything to me so I was shocked to hear that he's now misbehaving at school.

The thing is, he's not horrible, never nasty, he loves everyone but I feel people are starting to dislike him because of his behaviour.

His diet is ok as far as I'm concerned, I'm not saying it's perfect but we don't have any sugary cereals, he has a school meal, a home cooked tea and any pudding is after tea, he has no fizzy drinks or squash only milk or water.

He does lots of activities after school I try to keep him busy.

I'm at a loss now, we had a big chat about school but he seems to believe it's other children distracting him, he tells them to shush and then gets into trouble, however this is not the story his teacher tells. He seems to think children are moving the table, knocking him, kicking him under the table, but I'm inclined to take his teachers word.

Even when I'm doing things one to one sometimes it's impossible to get him engaged and concentrating.

Although he can concentrate when he really wants to but his concentration seems to be getting worse. Of course we have times when he behaves beautifully so it's not all bad but things are becoming more noticeable as he gets older.

How does all this sound?

Zaramohito Thu 10-Nov-16 12:25:36

Oh another one, even brushing his teeth he can't/won't stand still for the two minutes to brush them.

I bought a little egg timer to help but he seems to find it impossible to stand still even for 2 minutes and will run around doing his teeth.

RhodaBorrocks Thu 10-Nov-16 12:36:05

He sounds very similar to my DS who has ASD (and possible ADD - no hyperactivity). They are very similar conditions and only a qualified HCP would be able to give you a definitive answer.

Have you mentioned your concerns to school? They weren't very supportive of me, so I went to the GP who was much more helpful and referred him to a paediatrician. He was diagnosed after less than a year. School can also refer if they have concerns, as can the school nurse.

Though some things you say do sound normal - dancing in shops when music comes on? Well I do that and I've not been diagnosed with any form of neurodiversity! Sometimes I sing along too, much to the embarrassment of DS!

You also need to take steps to moderate some behaviours - if he can't be trusted around sweet stuff then he needs to not be able to help himself to it for example.

How does he react when stressed out or prevented from doing something he impulsively wants to do? Does he have meltdowns? That can be a thing.

Never sleeping is very familiar, although my DS also couldn't sleep through the night until he was diagnosed and put on melatonin at 6. Some nights it was like still having a newborn! But he's older now and self regulates much better now he understands his condition more.

Ideally you need to get him assessed by an HCP if you have any concerns. All kids are different and present with things in different ways (my DS ASD presents much more like a girl's would for example).

RhodaBorrocks Thu 10-Nov-16 12:38:18

Hahaha just seen the teeth brushing thing!

I asked DS recently why my bathroom is always covered in toothpaste- floors, walls etc. "Do you spin in circles while you brush?!" I asked incredulously.
"Usually." He replied, completely serious.

He's hilarious. grin

Crystal15 Thu 10-Nov-16 12:39:12

The only thing that strikes me as unusual is what the school has reported. The rest my 7 year old has done similar.

deadpool99 Thu 10-Nov-16 12:39:29

OP, to me it sound like something is going on and yes could be ADHD. Have a look at Sensory Processing Disorder. It sometimes overlaps with ADHD/ASD. He could be hypersensitive to sound which is why he's complaining about other kids distracting him. The constant touching of things could be that he's 'tactile seeking'. A lot of the behaviours you are mentioning sound like my DC who was diagnosed with ADHD but it was overturned later and now is ASD. So def think worth you investigating further.

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Thu 10-Nov-16 12:39:47

He sounds very similar to a lovely boy I know who's just been diagnosed with ADHD

I would ask GP for a referral to paeds for assessment, taking along a written list of all the things you've mentioned in your OP

Trifleorbust Thu 10-Nov-16 12:42:14

It's impossible to say without knowing whether you have taken any steps to address his behaviour. Being energetic and a bit silly isn't a condition. Being naughty isn't a condition. How do you deal with it when he is naughty?

TheOnlyColditz Thu 10-Nov-16 12:43:52

FIrstly, he sounds wonderful. Positive, cheerful and cute.

But that amount of distracted forgetful fidgeting is not average for a child of his age.

So, take him to the doctor, ask for a referral to child and adolescent mental health services, and see a paediatrician, and remember, any diagnosis given will not change the delightful ray of sunlight he is smile

Funnyface1 Thu 10-Nov-16 12:44:32

From what you've said he sounds more likely to be on the autistic spectrum. Don't be fooled into thinking he can't be because he doesn't have x symptom because it doesn't work like that.

ChocChocPorridge Thu 10-Nov-16 12:49:24

Get him checked out. I say this as the parent of a boy I just thought had foibles which we accommodated and assumed he'd grow out of, but then I had my second, and I realised that he wasn't normal (things that the 3 year old just picked up and can do, that the 6 year old has to concentrate so hard on) - so a lot of googling later I had him assessed by an OT, and he does have some issues, and is likely dispraxic (too young for formal diagnosis).

Nothing that can be cured, but means that the school gives him some support (a bit of leeway) where needed, and I have ideas for strategies to deal with things that he struggles with.

Could the school refer you to an Occupational Therapist for assessment? I don't know how these things work in the UK

Underchipsandpeas Thu 10-Nov-16 12:54:46

Yep another vote for a referral for assessment.

hudyerwheesht Thu 10-Nov-16 13:13:49

I would definitely get a referral from your GP but he does seem to have a lot of the characteristics of ADHD - do some online research, there are usually checklists that can give an idea.

My DS was diagnosed finally this year but only after it started to affect his school work so badly his teacher sought me out in the playground and asked me in to chat about it - get on it before that happens; if it is something like that the sooner you have him diagnosed the sooner the school will have support in place.

As others have said, he sounds lovely.

Does he focus better when it is something he enjoys? Generally speaking children with ADHD really struggle to concentrate if they dislike the task (ie, schoolwork).

Zaramohito Thu 10-Nov-16 13:31:11

Thank you all for reading that, it was long.

Wrt the dancing in shops, sometimes I'm struggling to know whether things are normal or not.

Wrt addressing naughty behaviour, I do try. He's a whirlwind and the trouble is I don't want everything to turn negative, it's knowing how and when to pick my battles. Hence why I'm asking if all of this sounds normal.

I've removed things like PlayStation, ipad which he only gets on weekends anyway. It rarely works.

I've tried natural consequences, so nibbling the cakes meant they ended up in the bin and he didn't get another and no more were bought.

I've tried ignoring, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.

Some of the things like the not sleeping, what can I do? He's got a clean comfortable room, I've tried several things to wind him own, he just doesn't go to sleep. Even when he lies quietly in bed he doesn't sleep.

We chat, we talk and talk, I explain why it's not appropriate to keep picking things up in shops, i pre warn him. I've walked out of shops. It just doesn't work.

I'm fully prepared to accept I might be crap at parenting but I'm not sure where to go from here.

One thing I've noticed is he's well behaved with people he really likes. He can engage wonderfully with a couple of people, he does better one to one, but that's not always possible.

Underchipsandpeas Thu 10-Nov-16 13:34:04

Often children can mask their behaviour so just cos he can hold it together with some people doesn't mean that he's been deliberately naughty the rest of the time.

In my experience consequences after the fact really don't work as he will have reacted "in the moment" so really the only thing you can do is to preempt his behaviour before it happens.

Zaramohito Thu 10-Nov-16 13:36:47

Yes he probably does focus better doing something he enjoys.

Although when it's time for homework I sit down with him, he wants to rush ahead insisting he knows what he's doing, without reading the task, without discussing or making a plan.

I'll say read what you've got to do, I'll say how shall we do it, shall we look for some ideas online or in a book, but he gets very agitated.

When he does read through he can do it.

He enjoys learning spellings and tries really hard with that.

Trifleorbust Thu 10-Nov-16 13:41:30

I wouldn't say you were crap at parenting at all, but I would try being more firm with him for a while. He sounds like he likes to push boundaries (although like he isn't at all malicious) and I would be inclined to give him some clear direction before going down the route of a diagnosis.

Zaramohito Thu 10-Nov-16 13:53:46

Thanks trifle, I'm not trying to label him, it's just so tough. Sometimes I'll admit I really don't know what to do. Dh is at a loss.

How do you get a child to stop clowning around when they're doing it constantly? How do I make him remember that I've sent him to grab a jumper? How do I make him walk in a straight line and not shout out random things?

I've tried pre warning him what I expect and what's going to happen. In a shop I have even made him hold my hand but the second I take my eye off him he's picked something up. He even cries and says I'm hurting his hand.

BertieBotts Thu 10-Nov-16 13:53:54

Assessment isn't diagnosis and if they believe that clear direction might clear things up, they will suggest that before continuing.

I was diagnosed with adult ADHD this year and I would say what you've written merits assessment.

Trifleorbust Thu 10-Nov-16 14:00:57

It's not about giving him a label; if he has ADHD, he has it. But the behaviour you describe could equally be that of an NT child who simply hasn't learned yet how to behave. I would always look for the simplest explanation first. Once you are confident that you have given clear boundaries and consequences and your son still struggles to behave appropriately, assessment is the next logical step. That is just my opinion, obviously.

Zaramohito Thu 10-Nov-16 14:03:27

Oh I did read a pp about keeping sweets out of his way. I will do this now.

He was getting better because I've been trying to get him to think about what he eats.

So we all love cake and chocolate, but how they're not great everyday.

So if he asks for something I might ask him what he's had already, and he'd say he'd have a banana instead.

Where would I start? Would it be a trip to the GP to get a referral? Should I leave ds at home initially if I do this?

I was sort of hoping it would be nothing serious and I might get some advice on managing things.

Trifleorbust Thu 10-Nov-16 14:03:53

Bertie: I strongly suspect the assessor will want the boy to be given clear direction, because if this works, it isn't likely to be ADHD. So it makes sense to do this first.

Zaramohito Thu 10-Nov-16 14:05:52

I do agree trifle I'm not entirely confident I've done all I can. I have tried. I'm not sure how to approach some of these things he's doing other than what I've already tried.

Trifleorbust Thu 10-Nov-16 14:11:29

With some of the behaviours that are inappropriate but perhaps not 'naughty' as such, you could try positive strategies. You could use a jar and add a marble or something every time he manages to follow an instruction through? You could use a sticker chart to track his general behaviour at school and at home. A certain number of stickers would equal a treat or trip.

For behaviour that is inappropriate, like when he clearly isn't listening to you, you could remove marbles or privileges like TV/iPad/pocket money/later bedtime.

Have you tried any of this?

My2centsworth Thu 10-Nov-16 14:14:18

I think this level of concern merits assessment. Assessment is not a guarantee of any diagnosis and contrary to popular belief assessors are not out to 'label' children. The outcome of the assessment will most likely lead to a suggestion of parenting sessions which can help to overcome some of the difficulties he is experiencing even if there is no diagnosis at the end.

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