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ADD, hyperactivity or just a boy?

(54 Posts)
ididnt Fri 28-Dec-12 18:27:44

Ds1 (8) has been worrying us for a couple of months. He's a bright boy who has always done well at school, in all areas. He's particularly active - enjoys sports and physical activity, plays well with others but doesn't have a best friend as such.

He's just started in junior school and just before half term he was recommended for some special 'attention and listening' classes as his teacher was worried that he wasn't able to listen and pay attention properly. At home, he doesn't appear to listen, forgets things all the time, is incapable of concentrating on chores/homework/school reading without fidgeting or getting bored within minutes. He can sit and read books that interest him, but not for long periods of time. The only thing he can do for long periods is play video games, and he is obsessed by puzzle type video games (Tetris or Bubble Bash style things), he's also amazingly fast at them.

He constantly makes noise, moves about, seems to fling his limbs in all directions and leaps about. He doesn't play with his toys anymore, but can sit for a few minutes playing with ds2 (1). He doesn't seem able to accept responsibility when he does something wrong, hates being reprimanded, repeats bad behaviour, laughs when he accidentally hurts his brother. The list goes on.

Sorry this is so long, wanted to get as much down as I could remember. Would really appreciate anyone's input before I go see the GP.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Wed 02-Jan-13 13:16:27

Don't be quick to stop him playing on the computer. For many children, it may be his way of reducing his stress. There needs to be a balance of doing exercise and letting him have his time to play on the computer.
Any changes should be done very slowly to cause minimal stress on him.

Exercise is key though. I've worked very hard to get my DS to take regular exercise. It's taken me a year but now he does exercise everyday. Even though he has ADHD he prefers to stay inside.

ididnt Wed 02-Jan-13 18:36:32

Accidental it's interesting you say that because dh and I had always presume the video games made it wrose, but I've been watching him closely since I started this thread, I mean really closely, and he is actually very still and calm and concentrated when he plays. He definitely needs more exercise, and he's worse when he's tired and when ds2 makes a lot of noise (he's 15m). We were planning on banning games for a month in January to see, but now I'm not so sure...

toomuch2young Wed 02-Jan-13 22:14:43

It's the focusing. Alot of us adhders can 'hyper focus' on things that interest us and therefore sit still completely absorbed! Similarily tics often decrease while playing games but increase while doing more passive things like watching tv.

sipper Wed 02-Jan-13 22:56:43

Hi ididnt

I really sympathise with you and DS1. My DD had similar probs. Massively improved now. Info on this thread: Worth a look as might be of help.

Best wishes and I hope 2013 is a great year.

sipper Thu 03-Jan-13 11:27:33

Not sure if I mention focus enough in the thread the above link sends you to, but it was a massive problem. You would never know if you met DD now. She is a changed person. Amazing!

sipper Thu 03-Jan-13 21:10:45


bumpety bump bump

sipper Thu 03-Jan-13 21:11:30


Hoping you're still plugged into this thread, as would love you to have a look at the link I posted above in case of any help.

ididnt Fri 04-Jan-13 19:55:47

Sorry sipper, I am still here! Had a look and although there are similarities in what you describe, I wouldn't say the symptoms are exactly the same as your dd. Very interesting though all the same, and while I'd be interested to know on the off chance if this problem could be affecting my ds, I'd never have the confidence to persuade my GP. You're lucky your dh knew a bit about it! So glad you found a solution for your dd, and if ever we don't get anywhere with anything else, I will certainly bear in mind your situation smile

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Sun 06-Jan-13 09:29:22

Ididnt I wanted to check whether your son has always been a bit like this and its been highlighted for you recently or whether this is new type of behaviour for him.

sipper Sun 06-Jan-13 13:25:05

Sadly I don't think there are many GPs who would even look for gut fermentation let alone test for it.

I feel this is a crying shame as am certain gut fermentation is far more prevalent than is known about.

i am convinced lots of kids could have their behavioural and/or learning issues 'fixed' if this was looked at.

Come on GPs, get it on your radar!

If you do feel some symptoms are same as my DD, but not all, it's worth bearing in mind that different people can display different symptoms.

If you think about how different adults can behave when drunk - some become aggressive, some are away with the fairies, some are merry and amusing, some morose, some wild and untamed, some dont sleep well (certainly not restorative sleep), some might also experience subsequent probs such as constipation or diarrhoea, some might have a variety of different behaviours or go through a spectrum. Looking at the variety of effects that alcohol can have on an adult body it's easy to understand how a child might be affected in numerous ways if they are fermenting foods in their gut.

You could do a mini trial to see if you notice any changes by cutting out sugar and yeast for two or three weeks. These are the main culprits and although there's a bit more to it if clearing out yeast/bacteria, it might be a good starting point for your own peace of mind to see what link you do or don't find.

Sugars include fresh fruits so they need to be out of bounds - but you can keep pineapple, mango, kiwi, papaya, melon, blueberries and green apples as these apparently ferment less, just keep a check on how much per day in order to avoid lots of sugar sneaking in - one or two portion and no more, but then that's in line with what we should be keeping it to anyway so that's not a crazy plan by any means. Cutting out sugar also means dried fruit, fruit juice etc and anything that it is an ingredient in - for instance lots of breakfast cereals, lots of sausages contain sugar (good little sausage company is ok as no sugar), some bacon brands have sugar in. Just need to have a blast of serious label reading and plan ahead for a few days at a time. The sugar in cows milk is also not great so switching to oat milk or goat milk for the two weeks would be useful too. (Ditto use goat butter and goat cheese). White potatoes best kept in check aswell as v starchy and they turn to sugar quickly. Don't have everyday and certainly not more than once a day. Sweet potatoes are ok.

On the yeast front, the obvious thing to cutout during mini trial is bread. Also other things such as use gluten free pasta instead of regular.

Sounds heavy going but is ok if you can make a list and plan. Just need to become an ingredients-reading addict! Fresh veg, meat, fish, eggs all fine. There really is plenty you can still have. I am about to cook the full Sunday roast chicken malarkey and the only thing I am changing is no stock cubes as most have yeast in - but I suppose I should be making gravy with juices anyway so it just makes me kee it fresher. Means you end up have a v healthy diet! Oh yes, meant to add, really helps if everyone does it together as is v supportive and also makes life easier for the cook.

Keep a daily note of what happens/behaviour, mood, bodily functions, learning, concentration, memory, focus. etc

For a two week pain in the behind it could be a major gain smile

The other thing that comes to mind is the whole sleep issue. I recall reading an article in new scientist ( a few years back so I can't get my hands on it at the mo) that said most common misdiagnosis of ADHD was actually sleep apnoea. Any sleep disturbance, or lack of sleep, commonly manifests as symptoms that can be mislabelled as ADD. By the same note, gut fermentation also affects sleep and makes it less refreshing sleep, threfore can have same 'ADD' effect.

Soz for long post!! Thought best to explain a bit more detail in case of use as this info seems to be sadly lacking from many of the usual routes. Am very fortunate to have a health professional DH who knows his onions....!

ididnt Sun 06-Jan-13 14:04:47

Accidental he's certainly been like this since around 3 years old, I'd say, but it appears to be worse now, or maybe we just notice it more because we can compare with other boys his age, whoc seem to be far more mature/in control of themselves to say the least.

sipper thanks so much for taking the time to give me all that info. We're no strangers to diet change - ds2 had trouble with cows milk from 4-10m and as I was bf, we cut it out of both our diets smile. Sugar and yeast however seem even harder to cut out! I will vertainly bear it in mind, particularly if we don't get anywhere with the other avenues.

Strangely, he seems to have calmed down a bit this last week, not completely gone, his impulsive and OTT behaviour, and I'll be interested to see how he is when school starts back, but he's been sleeping better and I've been making sure to exercise him every day (much like a dog grin), as well as cutting down on sugar, and he does seem better. We'll see...

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Sun 06-Jan-13 19:08:32

Sipper, that's interesting about sleep apnoea. I believe you have to have a certain neck circumference to have sleep apnoea, certainly that applies to adults, do you know if that applies to children? Could it be weight linked?

I think what sipper says holds a great deal of value, my son is a carboholic, he doesn't like fruit veg, meat or fish (my sons behaviours may be different to yours as my son has ASD as a co morbid diagnosis but as he also has ADHD so there will be quite a few similarities).
We do notice an improvement when we can get protein into him. It increases his concentration as do omega 3 fish oils.

We found the CAMHS process very slow but very supportive once you are in the system. Children often get diagnosed between 9 and 14, it's when the differences become most noticeable.

We've found it a constant process of learning but our most important lesson was not to tell him off for forgetting, fidgeting, making noises etc. we don't always get it right because its exasperating so he does get a raised voice sometimes but we try very hard.
The thing that helped was routine, keeping things always in the same place and having written plans where he can see them to help him plan.

ididnt Sun 06-Jan-13 22:10:26

Interesting what you say about not telling him off. Since starting this thread, I've been very careful to stop getting cross with him about these behaviours, and, as I said, he has calmed down. Certainly the telling off increases his stress levels, which increases the behaviours.

He is also a carbaholic, but also a sugar addict, totally our fault I expect, so again, it is interesting what sipper says about reducing those in the diet. I'd say he eats an enormous amount of carbs - bread, cereals, biscuits, smoothies, pasta etc and very little veg, protein and fish.

He is back to school on Tuesday so will see how he goes the first and second weeks back, keep adding to my diary and then see the GP. I'm so thankful for the support here, I was going round in circles in my head before and your collective advice has given me a focus and direction.

MummyO4 Sun 06-Jan-13 22:42:12

My eldest son (1 of 3 boys, now grown up) suffered from Hyperactivity and some of the things you say sound very familiar. Does he have real highs and then real lows, say the day after? - I have also been told that a typical symptom of dyslexia is doing things without thinking about the consequences. Anyway, the first step that you can do yourself is look at his boring, I know but once you get into it and know what foods/additives are the culprits you will see a huge difference! - My son couldn't have any artificial food colourings, preservatives or any asprin based foods which included tomatoes, cucumber, grapes etc. the list is endless and so many foods that we think are healthy are actually the culprits for a child sensitive to them. I recommend that you get the E for additives book as that explains a lot. But don't let it confuse you as not all the things in there are critical to everyone!
I wish you luck and no, boys are not easy!, I know that now I have a daughter!!!

bodiddly Sun 06-Jan-13 22:59:48

My ds is exactly like this with very similar sounding behaviour/issues and he has just received his diagnosis from CAMHS of ADHD. We heard about 2-3 weeks ago. I understand fully about needing exercise but getting very tired- that is one if the main problems we have at the moment. It is worse in term time though!

MummyO4 Mon 07-Jan-13 10:08:41

bodiddly, please be careful that they have not just labelled him with ADHD which can be what happens. I recommend that you start with his diet.....yes I know its boring and we Mums can lack the time and patience to be scrutinising everything they eat but believe me it can change a child overnight and its not as complicated as you may think.(if I did it, then anyone can do it!) As I suggested earlier it pays to have a basic understanding by reading the E for additives book, its actually very interesting. Its more of a reference book than a book you would read from start to finish. Tiredness can be a real indicator of diet.

Good luck

sipper Mon 07-Jan-13 11:18:52

I agree that diet is a crucial factor. As is sleep.

In case anyone hasn't had a chance to read the whole thread, I just wanted to say that this time last year my DD would have been labelled with ADHD.

Thankfully, knowledgable DH said no way and said she needed to be referred for a specific blood test, which revealed what was really going on.

Please see my first post earlier in this thread and read the other thread I link to for more details. Also, the info in my other posts in this thread.

Am certain that many children believed to have ADHD really do not.

Having seen what I've seen with my DD, and listening to what my DH knows, (he is a health professional), am sure there are lots of children who could be rid of these probs. It's not an overnight fix but is massively worth it against a lifetime of 'managing' and living with the label.

One year on and I cannot express quite how transformed my DD is grin

ididnt Mon 07-Jan-13 21:10:51

I am beginning to be persuaded by this, peeps. I can't get my head around that much label checking and diet-altering at the moment, but I think when we get back into the swing of routine I will have a look at that book you recommend MummyO4.

sipper sleep is definitely a factor here. He woke early this morning (I can only think it is nervousness about school because all through term time he wakes 5.30-6 ish and in the hols has been waking 7.30ish shock) and was worse today than he has been over the last week.

Will be monitoring how he is after school this week, but am fearing the worst.

sipper Mon 07-Jan-13 23:23:34

Hi ididnt , if you're planning a bit of reading, the other two for the list are: (I bought from an online shop called Evergreen as Amazon was taking months)

and the book by this GP:

Sarniagirl Mon 07-Jan-13 23:31:03

Have skimmed through the last few posts a bit, as I need to go to bed, but was reading the ones that mentioned importance of diet. My ds has a lot of the issues mentioned and I have been wondering about ADHD for a while. It has been really hard to manage his behaviour for a while and he was often a very sad little boy. I took him to the GP In September and a blood test showed him to low on iron. Anaemia can be the cause of ADHD like symptoms in children and ds is now lots better now he has been on iron supplements. You mentioned your son didn't like protein much, if he has any other symptoms of iron deficiency - and there are many - it might be worth getting that checked out. Hope you get some support - it can be exhausting!

sipper Mon 07-Jan-13 23:46:53

Posting again, with links working (time for bed!!)

Hi ididnt , if you're planning a bit of reading, the other two for the list are: (I bought from an online shop called Evergreen as Amazon was taking months)

and the book by this GP:

P.S. Sarniagirl great news that the iron supps helped your DS. That is soooo good. My DD's iron levels were fine. Agree def worth checking as could be prob or part of prob.

sipper Mon 07-Jan-13 23:47:45

Posting again (and again!), with links working (definitely time for bed!!)

Hi ididnt , if you're planning a bit of reading, the other two for the list are: (I bought from an online shop called Evergreen as Amazon was taking months)

and the book by this GP:

P.S. Sarniagirl great news that the iron supps helped your DS. That is soooo good. My DD's iron levels were fine. Agree def worth checking as could be prob or part of prob.

ididnt Tue 08-Jan-13 18:13:56

Thanks sipper for the links. Have had a look at the first one and looks very interesting, and possible quite similar to the one MummyO4 recommended. He wasn't too bad after school today and in fact managed to play for 20mins after school without so much as a yell or twitch out of him hmm.

toomuch2young Sat 12-Jan-13 18:52:55

Hey ididnt how are things going with your DS? Did you get the bell rolling with an appt?

ididnt Tue 15-Jan-13 18:17:47

toomuch hi and thanks for checking back in. I haven't managed to do anything yet except keep adding to my diary. He seems a bit better since he went back to school, and since we cut down on the sugary foods. He gets in a mood about not being allowed them, but seems calmer. he still has the same twitchiness, random noises, lack of attention etc but just less. I will get around to an appt soon hopefully and see what the GP recommends.

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