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To be unsure that ADHD diagnosis would help with milder symptoms of that condition

(22 Posts)
LemonsOranges Tue 10-Oct-17 10:55:26

Wondering whether to go down this route with my teenager aged 13?

If it was more severe I wouldn't hesitate. However I think unlikely that DD would get support at secondary school. We would also have to go through a few stressful hoops to get a proper consultation.

More especially, I am not sure her problems, whatever they may be, are severe enough for medication. Yet any diagnosis will go on her medical records, and be a label for life.

Quite unsure what to do for the best and honestly cannot decide. If any people have any experience or advice I'd be very grateful.

(Have posted here for traffic though I know there is an SN board its hard to get responses there as many parents have their hands full.)

Sirzy Tue 10-Oct-17 10:58:00

At 13 if her understanding will allow can you sit down and talk to her? Has she given any indications that she isn’t happy/is struggling?

I think the key thing with a diagnosis is it is something people ‘understand’ (to a degree) and more importantly down the line it may help her understand her thoughts and actions more.

Could you talk to the senco at her school to see what they think?

ThePeanutGallery Tue 10-Oct-17 11:00:24

What does she think?

I wasn't diagnosed until I was 32, as they didn't think girls could get ADHD when I was in school. In hindsight a diagnosis & medication would have helped a lot, even though I had good grades and have done well in life. It would have helped me understand why I was so impulsive (and potentially stopped me from making some big mistakes) and why I struggled socially, and with pay attention to people, listening on the phone, etc.

4square Tue 10-Oct-17 11:02:35

Sirzy's advice is good about talking to her first and discussing it with the school senco.

I see this a lot where people are worried about a label.
Who'd know if you don't tell them? School and employers wouldn't.
But having a diagnosis might might help her and you as a family to understand her better and for her to learn how to make adjustments in her own life for the better.

The only thing I can think of is taking out insurance, eg life insurance. I really hope it wouldn't - but I wonder if having ADHD might affect your premiums or something like that. Hopefully someone will come along to correct me but you could always make an anonymous enquiry to a couple of companies to ask if this is something that they "count". If this is true then (if you can afford it) a private diagnosis would get around this as it wouldn't be on her medical records if you don't want it to.

JonSnowsWife Tue 10-Oct-17 11:03:19

DS has ASD & ADHD. He is not currently on medication but the diagnosis has been helpful to access the support he so desperately needed.

Sit your Dd down and ask her what she thinks.

ThePeanutGallery Tue 10-Oct-17 11:04:43

Oh, and it should be pointed out that girls tend to only display "mild" symptoms, despite actually experiencing moderate to severe symptoms, because they develop better coping mechanisms.

LemonsOranges Tue 10-Oct-17 11:34:33

thanks very much, thats been helpful.

I have talked about it to her, she has been very reluctant to go down diagnosis route. Does not want to appear "different" to herself, or others (the school, GP, etc)

re. 4Square thats worth remembering - doesn't have to disclose this in future (except possibly life insurance!). I am not against labels at all, but when the diagnosis is mild, or possibly moderate, I am more ambivalent. My DD is though aware that she may have some of these issues, so it might help her in adult life to know this.

School SENCO were luke warm about it - the issues are not "in your face", but I recognise them and have read lots and am pretty sure. However, as I said I don't think its at a level for medication etc.

Maybe will have another chat with DD and we'll see.

Thanks again.

JonSnowsWife Tue 10-Oct-17 11:39:45

School SENCO were luke warm about it - the issues are not "in your face", but I recognise them and have read lots and am pretty sure. However, as I said I don't think its at a level for medication etc.

I dislike lukewarm sencos with a passion. Do be aware that the diagnostic process can take a very long time (5years in our case) so it is sometimes beat to get the ball rolling earlier for support, even if those symptoms are only mild.

Branleuse Tue 10-Oct-17 11:50:48

having a diagnosis wont mean she has to have medication, but in the future if she WANTS to try medication if her symptoms become a real issue, it is much harder to access diagnosis as an adult,
If you think she has ADHD, then I would always say its worth pursuing a dx. It is not a notifiable ilnness so she would never have to disclose it to anyone if she didnt want to, but may be able to access more support at college or university

Allthewaves Tue 10-Oct-17 11:51:24

The academic side pushed me for a diagnosis for dc more than anything. He's gone from bottom of his class to top in every subject. He can focus and is gaining masses of confidence. He hates having his adhd dicussed and doesn't want people to know that he has adhd amd takes medication which is his choice. Naturally the school know. He only 9 but other family members who have undiagnosed adhd didn't make it through secondary school and got virtually no education

LemonsOranges Tue 10-Oct-17 11:53:29

JonSnow, Branleuse, thank you, all very helpful.

LemonsOranges Tue 10-Oct-17 11:55:46

That sounds very positive AllTheWaves. It may help mine too. However, a diagnosis is not a given, as I said I think its mild, so we also might go through it all for limited return. Mine's doing OK at school but yes struggles with homework and focusing and some behaviour.

Terrylene Tue 10-Oct-17 12:00:27

I think ADHD is probably one on the things DS may have and was not diagnosed with.

He managed to wing his way through school but crashed out of uni spectacularly and we are still struggling with the aftermath.

I would go with going all out to get a diagnosis. It will help her make sense of the world around her - ironically you realise that it is the rest of the world that is a problem and not always assume it is you wink.

BertieBotts Tue 10-Oct-17 12:51:23

I have ADHD - was diagnosed as an adult, and as a girl it didn't really start to affect me until the second half of my teens. I can see the beginnings of serious problems looking back when I was about 14 (start of GCSE study/year 10) although everything really came crashing down around 15/16 and onwards.

There were issues before, which have probably affected me since - social issues and awkwardness around fitting in which led to social isolation especially in secondary school and bullying which has probably permanently lowered my self image/self esteem. However, I don't know that medication would have helped with this. Maybe it would - probably would have been more use socially at a later stage. I do recognise that I still have social issues, I don't pick up on cues, I can be imposing without realising (probably doing it now with this massive post, which I am not even writing in a linear fashion confused), I let people down a lot because I just forget things and/or don't follow through.

The problems I had starting at 14 were basically related to being given more responsibility and independence at school, and in hindsight, medication probably would have helped here, if I'd even known about my issues of course. Up until that point, schoolwork had been very managed and given in steps and I like things like that, but during GCSE years (things may have changed now) there was a much heavier focus on coursework and longer projects which we were of course expected to time-manage ourselves, which I really struggled with despite the help and guidance offered. I'd have great intentions, lots of ideas, write a schedule etc and then suddenly find myself in the last week panicking and trying to throw things together, with no time to implement my ideas, and absolutely no idea how this had happened.

If you look at my grades - I took mocks in y10 which are basically full GCSEs so you get a grade or two lower than your expected final grade as you still have a year to study. But my mock GCSE grades match my final GCSE grades almost exactly. I was looking through my school records when I got diagnosed and I noticed this (for the first time actually) and I just felt devastated and let down. How did nobody notice that I didn't academically progress at all over an entire school year, a seemingly so important school year? I still got Cs and Bs but I should have been a B/A/A* level student. If you look at my grades in earlier stages of school they follow that pattern.

It continued like that. Same pattern every time, I'm academically able but I struggle with organising myself and motivating myself and fall too far behind to catch up. I've never actually completed any post-16 education, despite starting several, and it's now like my secret shame that I carry around and feel useless about and beat myself up over because I'm 29 and you're supposed to know what you want to be, but I'm still floating, in random jobs because it's all I can do, not really able even to get into any training because I have several half qualifications (in four or five different subjects...) trailing behind me, and no money. Everyone saw me as this young girl with a bright future and I don't know what happened to her, I genuinely don't know if I can get back to that place of potential, which is so frustrating, because I know I have a lot to give if only it could come out.

Also - full disclosure, I have a child. He hasn't stopped me from trying more education but the same thing happened again. But teenage girls with ADHD have an extremely high rate of pregnancy, as in scarily high - it's definitely something to be aware of as your daughter is entering her teen years. If I could go back I would insist on the implant for my younger self even though I'm terrified of how it must be to have it put in. I was not a rebellious character or particularly bolshy, nor did I consider myself to be taking risks, but it still happened, so don't be lulled by a calm personality.

As for now - maybe show her the channel HowToADHD on youtube. It's a really nice, friendly space for people with ADHD and whether she wants it to be part of her identity or not it might be something helpful for her as the tips there are really nice, and Jessica who runs the channel is really nice and approachable too. There isn't any swearing etc or adult content. You could just suggest that she sees if the ideas there would help her.

lborgia Tue 10-Oct-17 13:04:25

Very similar story to Bertie Botts (hello Bertie smile), and wish that I had been given the option of trying medication as a teenager. It is as big a deal as you and she wish to make of it. She might in fact find that her school years are less dramatic and "special" or "different" because she can focus, and just gets the job done. Less concerned meetings, wondering where to go next etc etc. Not sure if that makes sense.

meanwhile, no point in me saying much more because I am evangelical about it. It has given me my life back ..or rather given me a life I had no idea I could live. and that's as someone who did perfectly well by blagging it for several decades....

Good luck flowers

Cakescakescakes Tue 10-Oct-17 13:10:18

I think the term ‘label’ is very unhelpful in general. Labelling implies that it is something that you can optionally ignore and it’ll go away etc. It’s much better to think of it as a medical diagnosis of a neurological condition.

And I agree with the pp about it helping her make sense of the world around here. My experience is more with ASD but it seems that teens who understand why their brain works differently are better able to manage that as they can use appropriate strategies etc. If you don’t have the diagnosis that your brain does things in a different way then teens often internalise that they are the problem and there is just something wrong or ‘bad’ about them. This is a slippery slope to terrible self esteem and mental health difficulties.

Secretusernameofshame Tue 10-Oct-17 13:15:02

I saw an educational psychologist when I was 18 who suspected I had adhd and urged me to get further testing. I didn’t but I wish I had. I did get diagnosed with a “learning disability” (but no name!) what this meant was I was able to get extra time in exams , type my exams up and sit in a different room to everyone else. I have done professional exams as an adult and this report has carried through and made a massive difference just for that.

It’s never been mentioned otherwise. There is no “label” to be worried about.

CorbynsBumFlannel Tue 10-Oct-17 13:59:20

If her symptoms aren't severe and she is going to be in mainstream school I wouldn't pursue a diagnosis tbh. My son has mild autism and diagnosis has opened literally no doors in terms of understanding or support for him. In mainstream ime you are required to meet the same expectations as everyone else regardless of disability. And in some cases his diagnosis has actually made things worse for him. In infants when a child was physically bullying him it was assumed for a while that my son was 'making a fuss' and didn't understand the difference between children playing roughly and hurting him out of meanness. I knew that was bollocks as he played for a local youth football team and was well used to rough contact without overreacting. It was dealt with eventually but his diagnosis hindered that. In hindsight I don't see any benefit in me having pursued a diagnosis unfortunately. It's not right but that's how it is imo.

Terrylene Tue 10-Oct-17 14:20:27

People make their own assumptions and work from that, I am afraid. They will still say that it happens because the child does not understand how to do it properly. Or they won't sit down and concentrate so it is their own fault.

A diagnosis will not necessarily give you 'help' but you can use it yourself to find what is needed. It is also helpful to the child to learn how to get round things better. You can also use it to help with self-acceptance too.

It is also helpful to realise that people will use their perceived idea of 'what you are' to excuse their own bad behaviour/lack of interest/laziness, etc. so it helps you to stand up for yourself and work out what is reasonable.

LemonsOranges Tue 10-Oct-17 14:23:49

Thank you for your alternative view, Corbyns.

And I'm sorry to hear about your trials Bertie, life's not easy for some of us and I can really understand your frustration flowers. Thanks for the Youtube recommendation too.

I will bear all the posters in this threads' advice in mind when I decide what to do.

BertieBotts Tue 10-Oct-17 14:44:27

I do see what Corbyns is saying, but there is currently no treatment for autism, whereas there is a known treatment for ADHD. It's one of the most successful treatments in the field of pyschiatry. It works better than treatment for depression, which is startling if you think about it properly.

I agree don't pursue a diagnosis because you think it will lead to some vague notion of support as this is IME nonexistant (bearing in mind I didn't go through the education system diagnosed, but having known of people who have). But for access to a trial of medication, I think that's a different matter. My psychiatrist told me if I don't like it or it doesn't work for me I can always come off it, it is as simple as that. And that people describe it as being like putting on glasses for the first time and suddenly realising why they struggled to see details before.

Terrylene Tue 10-Oct-17 14:55:49

There may be no treatment for autistic spectrum conditions, but there is a lot you can do to get better outcomes.

I knew someone who was against 'labelling' as it meant the school could get out of reaching their targets by taking out the SN children, whilst not doing anything to help. She may have been right, but I think that a large part of that was a problem with that particular school and the system that was in place at the time.

I don't think it did anything for the DC's personal development as it continued to be a problem all through high school.

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