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Add/adhd possibility - help!

(23 Posts)
simbo Sat 26-Nov-11 10:03:38

School has just suggested that ds has some add/adhd traits, which they are considering how to manage in the classroom. Given that he's in Y6 I rather wish they had raised this before. I would appreciate any advice on how to explain this to him, from anyone who has gone for a formal diagnosis - was it useful, or could you have gone it alone. I am a bit wary of giving him a "label" when he just about to embark on High School.

When they mentioned it I felt like a light had been switched on, but he is not that bad, and it seems that we are already doing many of the kinds of things considered necessary to manage such a condition. It never occurred to me that this was anything other than him being himself. He has lots of friends and outside interests but is a bit of a pain in class.

Wordsnof wisdom, anyone?

lljkk Sat 26-Nov-11 10:23:16

There are 3 strands to it: impulsivity, attention deficit & hyperactivity. DS2 shows symptoms of hyperactive/impuslive without the AD part, in fact he is very good at being hyperfocused, although highly distractible in certain situations.

This explains 3 types that are widely recognised.
If he's that borderline, you may have a battle getting a statement, especially this late. Friend manged it, though, last we spoke her son's only medication was something to help him sleep (melatonin?)

I think the mild cases are mostly treated with cbt, I'll be interested in your experience.

EBDteacher Sat 26-Nov-11 10:37:29

This is the sort of stuff we say to our kids at school about their ad(h)d:

There is a part of the brain (we sometimes call it the 'information organiser' for the kids) who's job it is to take in ALL the information going on around a person- sights, sounds, smells, internal sensations and thought etc. It then selects the right piece of information and flags it up as important and passes it on to another area of the brain to deal with (this is attention). The same part of the brain lables all the other pieces of information as irrelevant and makes sure the rest of the brain ignores them.

So, in your classroom, think of all the noises coming in: the teacher talking, other kids talking, the bin lorry outside, kids walking past, the lights and computers humming etc. The organiser picks out the relevant bits of what the teacher is saying for further processing and packages all the other stuff off so the brain can ignore it.

If somebody has ad(h)d it means their organiser is not as efficient as it could be and sometimes makes the wrong decisions about what information to pass on and what to ignore. So the sound of the bin lorry outside the classroom might be flagged up as more important than the teacher's voice and it might seem more important to get up and go to the window to look at it than to stay in a seat and listen to the teacher. That means the person will miss the important information the needed at that moment from the teacher.

Some people have mild ad(h)d where the organiser just occasionally makes a wrong decision. Others have very severe ad(h)d where the organiser is making wrong decisions most of the time. The organiser can be helped to be more efficient using things like external cues to make it more obvious what information it should choose to pass on and trained to be better at ignoring irrelevant information. It is also possible to take medicine that makes changes to the brain's chemistry that make the organiser more able to do it's job and more efficient.

Hope some of that helps. I'm pretty sure there are books explaining adhd aimed at kids too.

simbo Sat 26-Nov-11 13:48:08

Thank you EBDteacher, that is a brilliant answer and will make it much easier to explain things to him without making him feel stigmatised. I would classify him as a fairly mild case. He is mostly impulsive, but tends to listen to (or read) the first part of an instruction and then set off on what may not be the correct task, hence the concern at this stage. He also fidgets a lot at school, though not noticeably at home, which is why I hadn't considered it before. I also hadn't been looking for any problems.

He seems to work better in a less structured environment, which is making me reassess our decision regarding secondary school choice (largish comp with average academic attainment). He is above average academically. If I put him in a small independent school, however, I fear that he might suffer more from missing his friends than he would gain by being in a less distracting setting.

Any advice on this would be appreciated. His school is intending to try something that makes him more self aware in the first instance.

Familydilemma Sat 26-Nov-11 15:08:50

I was mulling over the ideas of labelling the other day. If you had a cupboard full of packets and tins with no labels on you wouldn't know what to do with them. A label saying "tin of baked beans" gives you a fair idea. You might not know exactly which brand but you'd know to have them on toast and not for pudding. So giving teachers a label to work with means they know roughly what to expect. They'd still have to assess your son to know exactly what he needs help with but they'd know where to begin.

4madboys Sat 26-Nov-11 15:25:37

i am in the same situation as you only my ds2 is 9 and in yr5, it was initially raised in yr3, but the teacher he had then didnt believe in that kind of thing hmm

my school is getting someone in to assess my ds2 in school so that they can help with strategies to manage his behaviour, we have also been referred to camhs by the gp (who to give her due was absolutely brilliant, took a very thorough history and asked ltos of questions about behaviour, sleep, diet etc)

i am veyr wary of labelling him, and also worried about high school but am hoping that it will help with strategies and coping methods for him and so am looking on it as a positive from that point of view.

i am also going to try fish oils, omega 3? as they can sometimes help (heard through a friend) and figured it is worth a try.

good luck and let us know how you get on with the process smile

4madboys Sat 26-Nov-11 15:33:57

that is great EBDteacher and helps me understand my son a lot, he really struggles in a classroom setting but is much better when he sits on his own to work or is one to one.

my son is also achieving above expected levels and the school say he is very bright, he is also very active and into sport, we encourage this as he needs to be active or he is a nightmare to deal with tbh.

i ahve to say my sons teacher is good at being very positive and highlighting all the positive aspects of his personality but his ability to concentrate/focus and organise himself is dire. he is very easily distracted and led on by other children, as such he has become seen as the scape goat, he is the child that others know they cna wind up/encourage to be silly and then he gets in trouble. thankfuly the school have recognised this themselves nad are trying to deal with it.

he is a very social boy the life and soul of a party etc, but jsut doesnt know when enough is enough and takes games/jokes too far withotu meaning to, its like he cant realise he is getting overexcited and then calm down.

he can be rather exhausting at times, but is a lovely lovely boy.

the dr and the school have said that our parenting is actually partly why it has only become an issue now, as we are consistent with boundaries and rules and consequences etc, ti has kept in check much of his behaviour but the older he gets the worse the issue has become in school.

incidentally we are lucky that the school taught ds1 who has no issues and awas a model pupil and they teach ds3 who again is a dream child (has his moments at home like they all do!) but at school is very well behaved. as such they can see a distinct difference with ds2, they are very clear that htey dont see him a 'naughty' child but he def has behaviours that need to be better managed and they want to help him focus and concentrate and be better organised.

jubilee10 Sat 26-Nov-11 19:26:21

Ds1(16) has ADHD diagnosed when he was 7. Your son sounds so much like him 4mad boys.

EBD teacher thank you for your clear consise information it's really made me think.

We have not always had a lot of support from the school and I have often thought I should have pushed harder (he takes concerta xl) but he too is a really lovely, caring boy. He did well in his standard grade exams and has a lovely girlfriend so the future is bright.

4madboys Sat 26-Nov-11 20:55:39

its nice to hear of children with add/adhd doing well jubilee i am so worried about high school and that he is just going to end up as one of 'those boys' that is in trouble all the time etc its so frustrating as he is bright and academically could do very well, but i worry he will end up in the wrong kind of crowd iykwim and then not do so well.

he has been a bit of a pita today, but we managed a nice trip out ot a christmas fete and lunch out etc and he has gone to bed ok so thats good!

i am concerned about how family will take the news as well, my mum is a nurse and is not suprised that the school are looking into add/adhd and for the first time she was actually positve about our parenting and said we have obviously helped him cope for a long time. my mil however and family on dp's side already see him as the 'naughty' one sad and are very much of the view that add/adhd is just a new fangled label for what are essentially 'naughty' children sad hmm we arent going to mention naything to them until he has been assessed and we have a better idea what is going on.

does anyone know anything about camhs and how the system works, we have a referral and apparently it should be long till we get an app, but i have no idea what they do, what the process is etc?

EBDteacher Sat 26-Nov-11 21:20:34

No worries. We have discovered that even children in KS1 can develop an understanding of how attention problems impact on them if it is explained to them in the right way and they can use the information to help in their own management of the difficulties it causes them.

My OH teaches in a very selective independent senior school and has boys with adhd. It is certainly no barrier to achievement if managed well.

CAMHs referral will give you access to the people who can diagnose ad(h)d. They will observe, interview, fill in tick lists and get you to fill in tick lists and then come up with a diagnosis. They will recommend medication (or not). That will probably be it for your involvement with them other than periodic reviews to ascertain efficacy of the medication and weigh the child to ensure they are getting the right dose. IME if you prefer not to medicate, or they don't think it is necessary, then any intervention will be down to the school.

simbo Sun 27-Nov-11 10:13:28

Thank goodness our two boys are not in the same class, 4madboys! Mind you, yours is being much better managed than mine. He has often been the scapegoat for things that others have done, as it is easy to imagine him guilty. Obviously he gets upset at the injustice.

He has certainly been labelled and treated as a rogue element by the school head in particular and I feel resentful that he has endured so many punishments for a series of small things that actually may have been beyond his control. I shall insist that he no longer be made to stay in at playtime for flicking a rubber and shouting out the answer to a question.

jubilee10 Sun 27-Nov-11 14:08:25

I was panic stricken at the thought of ds going to secondary school as he didn't really have friends in primary (although he got on fine with almost everyone). I was worried he would be bullied as even I can see he is a bit odd an unusual child. However he quickly found some good friends and now has a group of about 17 friends, boys and girls, several of whom are odd unusual and they go to parties, pictures, bowling, etc. together. He is much happier at secondary as he doesn't stand out from the crowd.

He has even been abroad with the school with no problems - ^remembers primary, when he went on a school trip on an open top bus and I had to accompany him to hold him down incase he fell off the top.^hmm

4madboys Sun 27-Nov-11 15:23:52

yes rubber flicking goes on lots with ds2 and shouting out the answers and not putting his hand up, he just doesnt seem to be able to 'think' before he acts, very impulsive.

i hope your school get on board simbo and help your son rather than just blaming and punishing him. my ds2's teacher has come up with a scheme where his day is split into three and in each section of the day he can score 5 'goals' for managing his behaviour, he is obsessed with football so the 'goals' help, and it does seem to be helping him a bit, his teacher sits with him each morning instead of assembly and they talk about the day, what they will be doing adn what will be expected of him and how he can acheieve his 'goals'.

ds2 is never in big trouble iykwim, its always lots of little things, getting up from his desk, flicking rubbers or elastic bands, shouting out and just generally not being focused and getting on wiht his work. its just the constant nature of these 'little things' that has earnt him the reputation of 'naughty' from his classmates and makes him rather hard work for his teachers at school. i can understand their frustration as i find him hard work myself, but we keep plodding on!

simbo Sun 27-Nov-11 16:06:09

It sounds like our boys could be identical twins! I'm afraid mine has been on fish oils since reception, so if they are having an effect imagine what it would be like without them!

I tried to talk to him about things today using EBDteacher's explanation as a basis. His response was that I was making it sound like he had a mental problem, and he didn't want to change as is fun being him. I'll be interested to see what next week brings.

Have you had any practical assistance from camhs yet?

4madboys Sun 27-Nov-11 16:09:25

we are about to start the fish oils, when i get around to going to the chemist!

no input from camhs yet, we have had a referral put through and apparently they will be in touch? also someone is coming in to assess him at school but ihave no idea who that is?

we have explained a bit to ds2 about the add/adhd but told him it is NOT to be used an excuse to be naughty! ds2 is a smart cookie and if he thinks he can get away with stuff he will try it on, so wanted to make him aware this is not an option, we have explained it to him as being a way to get help for his impulsive behaviour and so he can concentrate better in school etc.

simbo are you on fb? you can add me if you are, i am sarah rebecca pearson on there with a pic of my dd in a red tutu as profile pic smile

MadameSin Sun 27-Nov-11 17:34:15

I personally wouldn't mention 'ADHD' to your son. It's a title doctors have given a set of behavioral traits and unfortunately, it's had very bad press which has led to ignorance and prejudice of the condition. I talk to my son about his problems with attention and hyperactivity in a way that's very matter a fact. He is aware of all his challenges, but I would never tell him it was a 'disorder' ... surely that would make them feel there was something 'wrong' with him. These kids don't need to be made to feel anymore insecure about themselves then they probably already do. I feel awareness is key to helping them understand themselves and moving in the right direction as they mature. My son has a dx of mild ADHD. CAHMS aren't the only department that can dx your son ... a paediatrician can also dx - think it depends on how things work in your area. You don't have to go via school for referral either .. your GP can refer you as your request. Good luck!

4madboys Sun 27-Nov-11 18:10:09

yes our gp referred us and the school are doing there own thing with regards to assesment.

ds2 had not heard add/adhd until at the drs when it was mentioned we explained it as way of describing/a name for some behaviours. he certianly doesnt see it as a negative thing and has no issues with feeling insecure, he is a very self confident (almost too confident) boy. he knows a few other children that have been diagnosed with add/adhd so i think that helps, that he isnt singled out and we have put it to him that its a way of getting strategies to help him, us and the school to help him so he can focus and concentrate better.

MadameSin Sun 27-Nov-11 18:27:00

4madboys .... The sad thing is, it's not my child I'm worried about, it's other kids and adults who don't understand what ADHD is and will assume they are 'trouble' due to bad press of the condition. I just feel very protective about it all. Glad it's worked for you though ....

4madboys Sun 27-Nov-11 18:47:25

yes i know, i am lucky that i know another mum whose son has adhd, and also have supportive friends who are NOT judgemental at all. nor is my mum who is a nurse smile its my inlaws i am worried about sad but i will be protective mummy bear if needs be and lay down the law with them, no-one messes with my boys!

and i undestand you feeling protective, i already do of ds2 as some can be quick to label and judge him as naughty, whereas actually he is a lovely lovely boy, we have been very lucky that our school is good and his teacher understanding of him and his personality smile

and as for whether its worked ihave no idea, we are only on the start of this journey, fingers crossed it leads to some good support, if not then he has us and a supportive school so am sure we will muddle throuhg and he will be fine, i cant see him being your standard 9-5 working adult, he will do something quirky and unusual, thats the kind of boy he is grin

simbo Mon 28-Nov-11 17:44:52

When talking to my ds I didn't use the label either but he is too bright not to pick up the fact that I was suggesting that he may have something different going on when the cogs are turning. He says that he just wants to be treated like everbody else, ie not told off so much, but can't accept that he behaves in a way that is different from everyone else, which is why they want to try better self awareness first.

In my area the camhs team is the norm for this sort of thing and we would have to go through the gp for a referral, but I really want school to get the senco teacher involved so that she can advise me whether his case really warrants it. They have just left this so late that I'm not sure how much further on we would be by the time he goes to high school.

I'll keep you posted but thanks so much for all the advice.

MadameSin Mon 28-Nov-11 19:49:44

Simbo it's never too late !! .... every little helps, as they say smile

4madboys Mon 28-Nov-11 20:11:19

simbo i also think its never too late, my ds2 is only a yr behind yours and i would rather the process was at LEAST started before high school, just so that the schools will be aware and can help. i think its the senco that the school are getting in to asses ds2/

oh the school have said, well ds2's teacher has said that although he is PUSHING really hard for help and support, the lea? or whoever helps and makes provision, arent keen because he is achieving ABOVE national targets and is very bright, they want to use money to help underacheiving children. iget this i do, but just because he is achieving well NOW, he may well not continue to do so if he doesnt get the HELP now! bangs head against a hard place...

Mahi14 Mon 23-Jan-17 13:28:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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