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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.

incywincyspideragain Fri 28-Dec-12 22:32:36

I have no idea about labels but it sounds like there could be a couple of behaviour things there that make school life difficult. I would focus on those and how you can influence them, first thing that springs to mind is social stories and concentrating on playing nicely eith his brother, do school do social use of language programme or circle of friends he could join?
Are you seeing GP soon? What are you going to say?
Sorry not much help but happy to chat

Valdeeves Sat 29-Dec-12 01:09:06

Is he impulsive? Does things without thinking at all? have a word with the SENCO at school and see what she thinks?
He sounds like he could have mild ADD but alot of kids are just high energy. If he does you don't need to worry - I've taught many kids with it and often they were in the top set! You need understanding teachers and sometimes medication to help switch on the part of the brain that boosts concentration.
There's nothing there that's hugely out of the ordinary to me but in my experience ADD kids are active to the point of bursting with frustration at being still. Is that him? Or is he just spirited?

ididnt Sat 29-Dec-12 09:34:37

He is definitely impulsive and does things without thinking all the time. I'm not sure I would say frustrated at being still, but he definitely can't seem to control himself enough to remain still. He has a great teacher, but tbh I don't want to involve school until I am more clued up on possible problems (or not as the case may be). I don't want to have him 'labelled' as anything when it may not be necessary, iyswim.

Perhaps he is just spirited, in which case, we need to change our approach, I guess. Atm we are tearing our hair out by the end of the day because of his twitchiness , constant movement and noise, bolshiness etc. But it might be he needs more constant structured activity?

FridgeBenefits Sat 29-Dec-12 09:41:52

I have no experience of add so I can't comment on that, but when I've had periods of being obsessed with certain games (including Tetris etc), I struggle to concentrate on other things, I start to "see" the game in everything I do, which is very distracting.

I think I would try to limit or even ban these games for a while to see if it makes any difference. Instead of computer games, try to get him outside to have a run around or play football for an hour or so.

TeamBacon Sat 29-Dec-12 09:44:05

Totally agree with fridge - I'd reduce, or even stop the games for a while

ididnt Sat 29-Dec-12 09:44:29

Fridge, thanks for your reply, dh and I have actually decided that January will be video game free, and I am resolving to take him out on his bike or to the park or something where he has to move a lot, every day. Interesting you say you can see games in everything at certain times - he does the same, will talk about colours and blocks and points and other game related stuff in every conversation!

TeamBacon Sat 29-Dec-12 09:50:20

Playing games like that makes me twitchy. I get loads of pent up energy sitting there playing, then have to do something very physical or I end up feeling very odd.

whistlestopcafe Sat 29-Dec-12 10:10:20

He sounds exactly like my ds1 who is also 8. The worst time for me is weekday evenings he is constantly jumping from sofa to sofa, throwing toys in the air and generally making a mess. It always ends in me crying or shouting at him.

At school they have said he is not the best concentrator unless it's maths as he loves Maths.

He is bright, he got Junior Trivial Pursuit for Christmas and I was surprised at his level of knowledge, he is always jumping around and gives the impression that he isn't listening even when he is.

A lot of his friends are the same as is my
nephew who is 12. Sometimes I'm
at my wits end with him but the school
have said it's just part of who he is and he has made massive improvements since Reception although we haven't really noticed any improvements at home.

TheSecondComing Sat 29-Dec-12 10:17:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrumpySod Sat 29-Dec-12 10:27:26

"Spirited", ugh, I hate that word except when talking about horses. Lively is reasonable word. Energetic. Exuberant.

It's unlikely he would have got to this point without worrying you sick if he had ADHD, especially as you say he is doing well in school. He sounds so very normal in most ways (I have my own 8yo DS who I suspect is borderline for ADHD, and I've 2 other DSs to compare to so I fairly well know what "normal" is like). The only thing that gets my attention is the teacher has flagged it up, and flagging anyone up means more paperwork for them, so I don't think they do it lightly.

It might help you to read these categories of ADHD, see if you recognise your DS in any of the descriptions.

toomuch2young Sat 29-Dec-12 10:30:56

Hi. When you say he has twitchiness and constant movements and noises - can you describe them a little more?

CatchingMockingbirds Sat 29-Dec-12 10:41:11

Is this behaviour a recent thing? You say he's been worrying you for a few months and also that he's just started junior school, they could be related? If it has been just for a few months then I wouldn't worry tbh, but if it goes as far back as nursery then I'd be concerned iyswim?

ididnt Sat 29-Dec-12 14:17:36

He's definitely got worse since ds2 was born and even more so since he started junior school, before that there were some nervous ticks, but nothing quite so extreme as it now feels. I think he's always been lively (not spirited grin) and yes, maybe we just notice it more now, but there are some things, like the twitching and moving and noises, that are worse. I know he's pretty nervous about school, he doesn't mind going but there are some things that worry him. Could it be some kind of anxious behaviour?

The movements and noises are things like finger and tongue clicking, sudden shouting out or singing loudly, squealing, dancing and flailing about (esp. atm constant Gangnam Style dancing smile), twisting on his chair or on his feet if standing.

Grumpy great link thank you. These behaviours definitely were not apparent before he was 7, but he displays all the symptoms mentioned. Of all the descriptions the last, Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, seems to fit the best, as he is capable of concentrating on some things.

I guess my first port of call would be the GP, but I'm fairly wary for some reason.

toomuch2young Sat 29-Dec-12 16:00:13

Ok, well I have Tourette syndrome and with that goes adhd symptoms as is quite common together.
Tics can be made worse by anxiety but are not caused by nerves or anxiety.
Tics can range from minor vocal tics coughing, grunting, humming, tongue clicking, to vocal tics including shouting and whooping (swearing quite rare), motor tics can be anything from blinking, shoulder shrugging, head nodding, arm twisting, jumping anything that's a movement can be a tic.
Have a read of tourettes action website.
May well not be Tourette syndrome/ adhd or either or but worth reading up on. Also videoing your son (subtly!) can help the doctor.
If you have any questions on either condition don't hesitate to ask.

ididnt Sat 29-Dec-12 16:26:09

toomuch The description of TS on the TSAction website very much describes ds1's tics. Have emailed the website to ask for advice - I've no idea if I should see th Gp first or what?! Interesting that TS can go along with ADHD and OCD, thwo things that I have been concerned about in ds for a while. Thanks for pointing me in this direction, another thing to consider I guess.

toomuch2young Sat 29-Dec-12 16:43:13

Ok, first of all try not be stressed about it, take time getting yourself informed and accepting - check out the forum on the TA site - lots of helpful parents in a range of situations, and also us adult ticcers.

The helpline is a brilliant place to ring for a chat and to point you in the right direction with regard to seeing a doctor etc. a good thing to do would be to print off the list and highlight the tics DS has. Keeping a diary can help monitor his tics and behaviour and address triggers. I'd definately get him seen by a gp an ask for a referral as tics are often mild a 8 then become worse in a couple of years - but for many are better in adulthood.
Remember if he is in the TS/ ADHD/OCD mix his will be different than everyone else. Many kids outgrow it. Personally i have severe tics and mild adhd symptoms - others struggle more with different aspects.

What I would say is diagnosis of TS or tic disorders or not, please educate people around him not to shout at him or draw attention to the tics all the time - before diagnosis as a child I had a terrible time getting told off for ticcing!

ididnt Sat 29-Dec-12 20:11:41

Thanks so much for all the advice. I have decided to keep a diary for the remainder of the school holidays, try and do some stealth videoing, and print off some checklists to take to the GP. I'll make an appt to go alone once ds is back at school to chat to the GP and see what they say.

Re the tics, he's had them for a little over 18 months on and off and we've always been careful not to make a big thing about them. That just seems like common sense, what a shame that wasn't the case for you.

toomuch2young Sat 29-Dec-12 22:04:21

That sounds just the plan - do ask for a referral though as GPs can be so dismissive at first. Just drop me a pm if you think of any more questions.
Good luck.

ididnt Sun 30-Dec-12 09:52:45

That's what I'm concerned about toomuch, that I'll be dismissed by the GP. I'll go armed with some print outs though, and will as for a referral to a specialist. Do you know what kind of specialist I should be asking for?

toomuch2young Sun 30-Dec-12 15:41:38

That's the problem it differs from area to area. I was diagnosed by a paediatric neurologist then seen by CAMHS ( child and adolescent mental health services ) which were rubbish in my area at the the time but have improved a lot now apparently. Since 18 iv been under a specialist neurologist who is very good.

If you contact tourettes action they have a list of specialists who will correctly diagnose tourettes and its co morbiditys like adhd/OCD.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Sun 30-Dec-12 16:04:38

He does sound hyperactive and impulsive. Research conners tests on the Internet. If you can find one, fill it in. That is the diagnostic test used, its a questionnaire, it will score him on hyperactivity, impulsivity and concentration.

My son has ADHD, he scores low on hyperactivity (but still high compared to NT children), high on impulsivity and concentration (he doesn't have any). Good luck

ididnt Mon 31-Dec-12 23:32:59

Thanks Accidental have been browsing and have found lots of references but can't find a way of filling it in online.

toomuch got the list from TA today. They do say it's best to get a referralfrom the GP, so will try that first and see where it goes. Thanks again for all your advice.

toomuch2young Tue 01-Jan-13 14:34:04

Great that you've got the list. Good luck for the appointment. The tourettes community is a really good one- very supportive and helpful and lots of meet ups.

kittykato Wed 02-Jan-13 12:11:31

This could be a post about my son! He's been a worry since starting school. I've been called in more times that I care to remember about his 'rough' behaviour with other children. He doesn't seem to be able to 'know' when he should be calm; quick to temper/lash out, always on the move (even when watching TV - he'll do it hanging off the sofa, upside down), wants things his own way and gets very upset when things don't. He's had different tics the current one (I think) is a kind of exhale after he speaks. Constantly makes 'firing noises'...

It's driven me insane thinking something's not right but people telling me he's just a boy! Came to head before christmas when at a school disco we observed the other boys the same age taking part (alright not dancing but at least involved) in the disco, while ds was pulling over the reception children.

Called the Dr the next day and then days later got a call from school as he'd been rough AGAIN! When I said I think there's something else - they didn't disagree...

I also have a dd5 and she acts SO differently, cooperates and knows what is right and wrong. It polarises the difference..

Anyway, advice I can give is to get a referral. Take a list of what behaviours worry you and the school agrees. I asked to see a DR with specialism/knowledge of Austic spectrum disorders (not sure I did but did get a referral to a mental health team so far). Good luck, if it's affecting life in the family, get it sorted. If nothing else, it may give some different stratagies.

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