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Is there always a need for a 'label'?

(13 Posts)
wtfhappened Sat 20-Dec-14 15:17:47

My son is 2.9. He is very intelligent and articulate (rides a bike with no stabilizers, is able to have a 'full' conversation) and also very affectionate but he has huge sleep problems, and always has had.

Good example.....last night I worked a night shift, phone DP at 7am to see how things are (they have a very long drive to go pick up dsd today and wouldn't be home when I got back) and he is nearly in tears down the phone as DS woke at 11pm, 12.30am, 1.45am, 2.40am, 3.50am, 4.30am, 5am and then 6.30am when DP eventually gave up!!! This is actually a little more extreme than normal, normally we get a couple of hours between 11am and 2am!

I was talking to a friend at work after the call and she instantly said that ds must have ADHD. I have to say, she is just one of many who have thrown this my way, even my own mum has suggested this!

I admit my son is very high energy but I thought this was normal for his age. We saw a paediatrician in Feb about his sleep (who was a chocolate teapot and said he wasn't sleeping as he was clearly very clever and was having problems with 'switching his brain off'. Thanks, helpful.)

My ds's behaviour is very up and down and very much depends on how he's slept. We have a sleep nurse specialist involved at the moment who says he is over-tired in the extreme and firmly believes this is why his behaviour suffers. He is aware he's doing it and says 'I don't want to be naughty mumma' but just can't stop himself.

Are people being to quick to try and label our ds?

Pancakeflipper Sat 20-Dec-14 18:04:16

Always a contentious area this.

I think a "label" can be helpful in accessing support and able to find information to help a child.
But I am finding that the professionals (assessors/therapists/school) aren't so bothered with a label but in finding out what will help my child. Several months down the line with his support person and no label mentioned. But beginning to get support.

At the age of your child I would think most professionals would be reluctant to label. Ignore others. They mean well and they might be right who knows but they aren't experts.

What's your next step for your son? Have you spoken to your HV?

DustInTheWind Sat 20-Dec-14 18:08:51

'Are people being to quick to try and label our ds?'

A label can be the key to accessing support and reasonable accommodations in many areas. If your child doesn't need anything extra, you aren't concerned about his behaviour and you are comfortable labelling him 'high energy' then that's fine.
But as he reaches nursery and school age, you may find that if he struggles to cope with everyday expectations, a label and the following support may be preferable to him being given a 'naughty, badly-parented' label by non-professionals.
You'll just have to wait and see what the next few years bring.

tabulahrasa Sat 20-Dec-14 18:18:14

But he's not being labelled?... Neither medical professional has diagnosed anything.

PolterGoose Sat 20-Dec-14 20:50:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Sat 20-Dec-14 20:51:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pagwatch Sat 20-Dec-14 20:54:09

A 'label' is uch a pejorative thing.

If your child has a diagnosable issue which can be assisted though support then knowing that is a help.
If he doesn't then he doesn't.

Sisi13 Sat 20-Dec-14 22:22:13

My son sounds very similar. Someone once recommended a sleeping bag, was a brilliant idea and his first night in it he slept thru the night. He was 6!

Patienceisapparentlyavirtue Sat 27-Dec-14 08:08:06

There isn't always a need for a 'label' but if there turns out to be a real problem then it can be incredibly helpful for getting the help that you and your child needs. Plenty of children have suffered in the past because their parents have been afraid of getting a correct diagnosis and a name for their condition .

That said though, with such extreme sleep issues I'm not surprised if you'd like to at least work on that before looking at other behavioural options.

Have you ever talked about a sleep study or had had this nurse or anyone else actually stay with you for even part of the night to see how he is and how you are responding to his awakenings? It could identify a physical cause such as sleep apnoea (does he snore, by any chance?), or otherwise identify difficult patterns that you can address. When we had this issue we felt very defensive about truly admitting that we were part of the problem , but really it is best course if it turns out to be behavioural, because it can be fixed with no operations and no labels - just a few exhausting nights/weeks, and you're obviously used to that!

This is in no way a judgement, I know from experience that when you are so tired any idea of good sleep hygiene etc goes out the window and you do whatever works - but it can set up a vicious cycle, especially for children who naturally are not easy sleepers. And while a physical cause can be a relief it's also horrible to see such a small child go through surgery (which is very safe but carries a risk like any operation), or a more complex cause like ADHD. In our ds's case it turned out to be sleep apnoea causing the initial main issue , but to deal with that we'd got in some habits like endless night time hugs and songs that we did with absolute love, but which were making him even more tired - so it was a multi-pronged solution of surgery and a (gentle, No-Cry-Sleep-Solution-based) behaviour crackdown, he's still not the world's best sleeper but with one brief waking a night vs 6-14! He is so happy too, he went from a biter and scratcher to a much happier, chattier little soul over just a few weeks .

cece Sat 27-Dec-14 08:23:11

I have 2 children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. One was a terrible sleeper, one is an OK sleeper. At 2 your DS is too young for a diagnosis as ADHD symptoms have to be apparent in at least 2 different situations (for us it is home and school).

My eldest child with AHD is the one who finds sleeping difficult. Since his diagnosis he has been calmer and his sleeping has improved considerably. I think it is because now he knows why he can't sleep he is now more able to cope with it. However, he was 10 before he was diagnosed. My other DC with ADHD has been diagnosed at a much younger age as he has quite considerable behaviour issues at school and home.

CastlesInTheSand Sat 27-Dec-14 08:40:59

A 'label' will help you research what might help him. A professional doesn't need to give you the label. You are thinking about ADHD so research it and see if you can find any strategies to help.

For example you might discover weighted blankets or melatonin.

But it's pretty hard to stumble across these things without researching ADHD.

When he gets to school you'll know if he needs a label. He'll need a label if the teachers can't cope with him and are constantly annoyed with him and talking to you about his behaviour.

Now you just need to research ADHD and see if you get any ideas for how to help him / you.

cece Sat 27-Dec-14 08:47:37

Yes, definitely research weighted blankets. I found just using a heavier duvet worked for my eldest one.

Longsufferingmum2 Wed 31-Dec-14 19:16:54

It might just be something your son grows out of. My son is autistic and for years (he's now 6) didn't sleep through etc etc. Autistic kids are well known for not producing enough melatonin to drop off and stay asleep. But we pegged away with a routine and various equipment, more for me than him and suddenly, at the age of 5, he started sleeping normally. Now and again we get autistic nights where he won't go to sleep and keeps popping out of his room or gets up in the night 2 or 3 times, but sooo much better than before. If you'd like my routine and equipment list, just ask. You might find he just grows out of it like mine did and there isn't a problem other than him being very aware.

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