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Pros and cons of an ADHD diagnosis?

(25 Posts)
MadhouseMama Wed 27-Jan-16 19:09:15

Have been called into school tomorrow to talk to SENCO who I think is going to approach me about DS1 (8) having ADHD.

What are your experiences, for good and bad, of how this diagnosis affected your child both socially with his peers and obvs in terms of how they got along at school (ie it was a great help/nothing changed)?

Also, how is it likely to affect future school applications at senior school age, we were hoping to go for a private school sports scholarship (he's brilliant and never stops!!!)...what would this mean? So many questions, just want to be informed about what decisions made now will bring in the future.

Personally I have always thought he was ADHD, the hyperactive/impulsive type. He does very well academically at school, top groups for Maths and English so it has not affected his school work except for rushing his work. He is now getting in trouble though for his incessant talking and my worry has always been that he will be seen as the 'naughty boy' when really he just can't stop himself.

DP has always avoided diagnosis as he is paranoid about labels so we have left it for the school to come to us although we have seen a child psychologist privately at my behest who thinks he ticks all the boxes.

Any advice/experience much appreciated!

Juanbablo Thu 28-Jan-16 06:38:54

So we also have an 8yo ds who we think has ADHD. The senco (his class teacher) called me in back in October and said she wanted to refer him to camhs. He is very impulsive, very bright but struggles to concentrate in class and is very easily distracted. Lots of laughing, silly noises and general messing about. So it is affecting his learning now. He has also lashed out at other children twice in the last few weeks so I'm very worried about that.

Anyway she said if he does not get a diagnosis and this disruptive/distracted behaviour continues into secondary school he will be isolated/excluded.

She wrote a letter and we both filled out a strengths and difficulties questionnaire and I took it all to the GP who agreed to refer to camhs. Last week (12 weeks after referral) camhs phoned, asked a thousand questions and agreed to accept him onto the ADHD pathway. So we are one step closer to assessment but it could be 6 months before he is seen.

I think as long as the ADHD is well managed then there will be no reason for a school to refuse him.

So I don't have much experience but I hope I've helped in that you now know the next steps. We will not inform ds1 of his diagnosis if he gets it. And there is no need for anyone to know if you don't want them to, except school of course.

ChalkHearts Thu 28-Jan-16 06:43:43

If a school would turn him down with a diagnosis, they're hardly going to be the right school for him. Once he starts and displays his ADHD (which is not something you can keep hidden) they'll just ask him to leave. That is if they don't spot it st interview (which they probably will)

So you're far better being honest with the school at selection time.

kelda Thu 28-Jan-16 06:46:56

There is currently a thread in SN chat about the pros and cons of medicating for ADHD. On it you will find descriptions of children's behaviour with ADHD and it is really quite desperate. If the only problem your child has is talking too much, then I would hesitate to look for a diagnosis. If he is in the tops groups for his subjects then it sounds like he is very bright and simply fast, and there is a big difference between that and hyperactive. Hyperactive is frantic, uncontrolled behaviour, making the child themselves deeply unhappy and confused. The attention deficit part means inability to organise their thoughts and finding no enjoyment in activities because they simply cannot concentrate on them - from eating to group activities to school work.

ShimmerandShine Thu 28-Jan-16 06:58:39

I have many of the adhd hyperactivity traits. I don't believe I need a diagnosis as I had the academic ability to mask them.

Dd has autism and adhd. She struggles much more than me and is academically behind.

Adhd has caused me problems in the past but in my adult life it has reallg helped me achieve. Hyperfocus on my special interest has given me a good career. You aren't going to stopthe talking though!

ShimmerandShine Thu 28-Jan-16 07:05:24

Kelda is written that you don't get enjoyment out of eating or activities. I do, sort of, but I just do them as well as other things. I don't really sit down to eat and if I am out I eat at a table but I am only really focused on talking.

When someone with adhd talks they have to say it. Honestly it actually hurts me to keep words in. I think it is a relief knowing that there is a reason. I didn't know until last year when dd was diagnosed.

kelda Thu 28-Jan-16 07:42:50

The lack of enjoyment in eating is just one of the symptoms that my DS has experienced, and one of the more minor symptoms at that.

For it to be called a disorder, it needs to have a significant and consistent negetive impact on several areas of life.

Pomegranatemolasses Thu 28-Jan-16 11:26:07

I disagree with Kelda that a diagnosis is not going to help. DS2 does really well in school, and his work has never suffered, but prior to diagnosis, he was constantly getting into trouble for talking, giddiness etc.

The diagnosis and medication have been of enormous benefit.

kelda Thu 28-Jan-16 14:49:09

No you misunderstand me - I am all for a diagnosis and therapy/medication for genuine cases.

But the OP doesn't suggest anything that convinces me they would get a diagnosis from a MDT, but maybe there is a lot she is not saying.

Pomegranatemolasses Thu 28-Jan-16 16:39:32

Yes, I guess I just assumed there was a bigger backstory, given that the school has contacted her.

MadhouseMama Thu 28-Jan-16 18:53:29

Thanks everyone for your comments.

So the SENCO asked if I would visit the idea of going to the GP for a diagnosis which they would support.

I haven't been looking for a diagnosis, I have just let school come to their own conclusion, I think I needed that to confirm my own suspicions without bias.

He only just started at this school last September and he is the most told off child in his class but his teacher has recognised that he is just not able to stop himself, everything is just impulsive and not thought through.

I have to say Kelda my biggest worry was that he was just at the end of constant negativity, always being told off for being 'naughty'. He is sensitive underneath the chaos and I think he feels singled out for being told off. He told me today he was born to be picked on because everyone is constantly telling him to 'be quiet' or 'sit down'. I can see he's starting to think he is naughty and I worry about that self perpetuating. I want him to have a more positive experience as a child.

MadhouseMama Thu 28-Jan-16 18:54:30

ShimmerandShine I think your comments are really interesting, DS1 literally CAN'T not talk, he just has to get it out or it pains him. It is the scratch you just have to itch.

He can't eat a meal without getting up from the table several times and the food is gone in seconds. He says he has never felt tired and hates sleeping...it's boring. Even now a 5 minute car journey is a 'long time' and a longer one needs a plan.

ChalkHearts You're so right, that's what I love about Mumsnet, someone can just point out the bleedin' obvious to you where I friend might be polite and leave you being silly. Clarified things for me in a sentence or town...thanks!

Juanbablo sounds like a similar situation. I think doing well academically has thrown some people and when he has one on one attention he is brilliant and engaging and charming but he can't do being on his own really at all. He requires constant attention. He is rarely not making noise of some sort, the silly noises drive me mad.

And, can I add, he is lovely and amazing and brimming with potential to be a fascinating and capable adult. He 's also very tiring!

MadhouseMama Thu 28-Jan-16 18:56:22

This has been a great help in clearing my head, I'll be going to the GP to get him the support he needs I think.

Thank You!

ChalkHearts Thu 28-Jan-16 20:09:01

Well done. Really pleased you've come to a decision.

You don't need to tell anyone about the diagnosis (if you get one). No one will know if you don't tell them. So you can just tell people if and when you want to.

Nor do you have to medicate (if it's offered). It's totally your choice.

But I think a diagnosis will put yours - and his - mind at rest. Plus it'll allow you to really research the topic and decide what you want to do.

MadhouseMama Thu 28-Jan-16 20:46:06

Thanks ChalkHearts. It's all been a bit of a lonely and unsure road up until this point but I feel a bit more confident about making the right decisions for him, and us, and a bit less scared of where we might be going.
Have had a lovely evening with him, think I'm more tolerant already!!! smile

Juanbablo Fri 29-Jan-16 06:11:39

Well done madhouse. It's a bit scary but if your ds needs help then you are doing the right thing for him.

Ds1 also gets told off a lot. He has 2 teachers, one who is the senco and another one who doesn't seem to bother to try and understand him. The problem is there are 4 "silly" boys in the class, including ds, and I think she just lumps him in with them (I don't think any of them have Sen) without realising that maybe he can't help it. He also HAS to talk, regardless of someone else already talking, he will interrupt then claim he was talking first! He loves food and eats well but eats fast and then he wants to be off. I'm trying very hard to be more understanding and just show him that I love him.

He didn't get golden time at school yesterday, I know he was on silver yesterday, and when I asked why he said he tried really hard but his teacher didn't notice. But maybe it was too little too late. Anyway, he receives consequences like that at school which is fine and I don't punish at home (unless he hurts someone) but I do talk over the day and how he could have behaved differently but mostly he doesn't remember what he's done.

Does your ds have lots of friends? Is he happy in school?

EssexMummy1234 Fri 29-Jan-16 12:37:08

I recently watched a fab ted talk on this - it was a public speaking competition www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU6o2_UFSEY

MadhouseMama Fri 29-Jan-16 19:51:36

Juanbablo I've think we've been really lucky that our teacher could single him out from the group of silly boys and realise he was different. Ican easily imagine how another teacher wouldn't.

My lovely 21yo neighbour has just qualified as a teacher and has gone straight into Y3 which has made me really think about how teachers aren't equipped to pick up on it. And in our Infant school, the PE teacher became the SENCO, I assume there was some training but they're just people not necessarily well experienced in their jobs. Especially this particular type of behaviour if it isn't extreme and can appear to be just naughtiness.

As for friends, he is very popular as he always on the go, the opposite of shy and starts off games and everyone joins in. However, developing closer friendships has been a problem I think because he just is so 'in your face' and talks over people and tries to control everything. He missed out on a friend's birthday sleepover the other day and was devastated. I felt really bad for him. He's just a very full on character to be with. I expect more issues on this front, sadly.

I try to review his day and actions with him too, but he's not interested, it;s all about the current moment.

Is yours having friendship issues?

MadhouseMama Fri 29-Jan-16 19:52:14

Thanks EssexMummy1234 will check it out!

Keeptrudging Fri 29-Jan-16 20:31:13

My son has ADHD. He was diagnosed at 8, although he had been classed as 'very active' since he was in the womb. Didn't sleep more than half an hour at a time, never stopped, impossible to tire out. Some helpful people used to suggest he just needed a good long. He was out walks/park etc every day, I was the only one who got tired out! He was also tested as very high IQ, with dyspraxia and hypermobility.

By 8, the negativity was really kicking in as he was increasingly in trouble at school for moving/talking/impulsively. His self-esteem plummeted, as did his number of friends. He became the child who other children could provoke (although he wasn't violent, except at home). I saw my lively, bright, kind boy disappearing, and made the difficult decision to medicate. This gave him enough 'thinking time' to control more of his behaviour and to build better friendships. He also got extra time/separate accommodation in exams. He only took it for school, so no growth issues and was still 'himself'.

Keeptrudging Fri 29-Jan-16 20:32:03

* good long run!

Juanbablo Fri 29-Jan-16 20:52:56

No I don't think he is having friendship issues, he is very popular as he is very funny and charming! But also likes to control situations and that can cause problems. But he rarely gets invited to people's houses or parties. He has a handful of very good friends whose parents say he is lovely so I'm happy with that. He just doesn't seem to fit anywhere at the moment. Not part of a particular gang. However he seems happy and always has lots of people to play with.

It's just all a constant worry! I do think a diagnosis is helpful in that it can help others to understand the child rather than dismiss them as defiant, disobedient or naughty.

I'm going to a workshop about meds in March, I think I need a lot more info on that front.

Keeptrudging Fri 29-Jan-16 22:11:47

Yes, it took me a long time and a lot of research to decide on meds, and the Dr saying that if my child had any other condition which affected his quality of life to this extent, I would medicate without question if it was recommended. Statistically a child with ADHD who is not treated is at high risk of exclusion/criminal record/prison as they get older.

I have no regrets about medicating, we did it on our terms, which was to only medicate during school hours. This meant we had to find ways to cope at home/help him manage it better as he got older.

He's an adult now, and still has raging ADHD, but works in the music industry with long, physical, antisocial hours and lots of gadgets to fiddle with, which suits him to a t!

Keeptrudging Fri 29-Jan-16 22:18:42

I went to a very interesting talk about ADHD, given by a Dr. She compared ADHD 'wiring' to that of someone with alzheimers. The coating on the wiring is patchy, leading to messages not being transmitted clearly/getting muddled. What the medication does is make the messages be transmitted more clearly. Sorry, can't remember any of the biological terms, but it made sense. It's also worth looking at brain scan research showing the differences in brain structure.

donajimena Fri 29-Jan-16 22:27:05

I was diagnosed as an adult. I wish I had been diagnosed as a youngster. Life has been very difficult in many ways. My two children are going through assessment now and I am absolutely relieved.

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