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Child with ADHD and organisation skills

(27 Posts)
barrackobana Tue 13-May-14 14:25:09

DS1 has ADHD, one of our biggest challenges at the moment is him remembering things and organisation. Home work not written down properly or fully, books left behind at home etc. How do other paretns cope and what is your strategy ? also if you have a grown child with ADHD what type of professions did they go into ?

DS is 10, averagely academic, plays two instruments very well and loves science.

coffeetofunction Tue 13-May-14 14:28:39

Hoping on board for some advice too...wink

barrackobana Tue 13-May-14 14:39:01

Hello and welcome smile

BreakingDad77 Tue 13-May-14 14:55:20

I am curious to learn more about ADHD, as I was under the impression things like skills of learning an instrument would mean it would not be possible/frought?

What is it about science he enjoys?

Is that the key - finding something he is really passionate about to overcome the inattentiveness?

I work in a science research area but I could never see myself having the drive to do a PHD, I got through a MSc ok, I had b' and c's at GCSE was no mathalete by any measure or cannot play any kind of instrument.

barrackobana Tue 13-May-14 15:10:36

I believe there is a lot we still don't understand about many neurological conditions. I know a boy at ds school who has dyslexia and dyspraxia, he is county champion in archery for his age. Now you wouldn't expect somebody with dyspraxia to have the dexterity of skill to do archery never mind at competitive level. DS plays the guitar and clarinet, and has been called 'talented and a natural' many times by his tutors. His fingers simply fly over his instruments, but has terrible concentration.

I don't think simply finding something you like is the key to 'overcomming inattentiveness' its a bit more complex than that. I read on here once a lady whose DD had ADHD, she was a surgeon, so there is hope.

What he likes about science ? life of organisms (life cycles), animals, different habitat's, why are things the way they are ? e.g a rainbow.

murphys Tue 13-May-14 15:38:34

My ds was diagnosed 7 years ago, so I will share some of the information that I have learned over the years. It would appear that AD/HD is due to the right brain being more advanced that the left. The right brain is the "doing" and the "creative" brain. This is why many ADHD people have musical talents and draw well etc. Of course, not every person does as you have to have the talent there already iyswim.

Science is a doing right brain subject, so there again is way there could be an interest there. Maths, depending on what the subject matter is, uses both. Story sums for example, uses the logical left brain, so many ADHD children struggle with, but general arithmetic is quite easy for them usually.

Organisation - well that is definitely a left brain feature. They are not able to organize themselves well. Ds doesn't now at age 15 and hasn't ever. Little things like getting ready for school in the morning, I have always found a nightmare - although he tell him to arrange everything the night before, his organization is thinking where he left it last and will sort it out when the time comes. Tips for these: being aware that he isn't doing it on purpose to annoy you - he probably started to write down all the work in his homework book, then looked out the window, watched the person go past - wondered where they were going and what was in the bag he was carrying - then the class moved on and he didn't get to write the rest down. Just a little example.

Generally ADHD children score very high on IQ tests, just out of interest has he ever been tested? They will focus intently on things they enjoy, but faced with something they aren't too keen it, can make things difficult. When you write "averagely academic" i would bet my bottom dollar that he is actually above average, but the subjects that he doesn't enjoy so much (in our case with ds is things like business studies, accounting etc) are bring his overall marks down. Ds excels in English, he got full marks for creative writing, but is battling Business so his average mark is just average due to the fluctuations.

barrackobana Tue 13-May-14 15:48:19

Murphys - Great post! A lot of what you've post resonates with ds. Getting ready for school is a daily nightmare! i've resigned to micromanaging everything, from waking up to showering to getting dressed to out the door. Does it get better with age? Its interesting what you said about the left and right hand side of the brain. DS is VERY good at creative writing and Maths is his strongest subject, but has problems when it gets too wordy, problem solving.
I read a research document though that said children with ADHD tend to have low IQ scores so would be interesting to know your source to have a read. What does your ds want to study in future ?

murphys Tue 13-May-14 16:17:11

Yes it does get a bit better with age, I think they do learn to cope with it a little better as they get older. The biggest turning point for us as a family was that dh attended the appointments with us, he asked the doctor the questions he needed to know (and we now know that dh definitely had ADHD as a child and i think to a degree, still has). This has helped me to understand dh so much better as well. We discuss it openly, there is absolutely no shame that he has a diagnosis. We also realized as i said before, that he isn't doing things like that to get a reaction from us, so therefore we just try to help him as much as possible if he needs it, which makes it easier for everyone in the end. Just be cautious that he doesn't try to make it an excuse to stop helping himself. If you pm me your email address I will send you some information through. I am not in UK, i do know that things are done a little differently there with reference to diagnosing and medication so i cant really comment on that side of things. My ds wants to be an Astrophysicist, he is so extremely knowledgeable on anything that is space related. He has even researched which Universities he will attend.

I think helping him in the morning is the best way. Otherwise he gets stressed, you get stressed, everyone else in the house gets stressed, and that isn't a good way to start the day.

coffeetofunction Tue 13-May-14 20:17:30

Barra, I thought I'd say, in our house mornings & late evening when meds are out of DS things can be a nightmare to say the least. For us DS stays in his room till about 8am, it's not a punishment & it's not forced but we do encourage him but only because he finds it much calmer than being in the middle of all the chaos. He chills out in bed with either tv or tablet...he's obsessed with anything film or game related.... Once his meds have kicked in he find getting sorted for school much easier.

We also give him omega 3 tablet every morning which consultant things is fantastic & he has next to no E numbers, additives ect in diet. The doctor says this is good for when meds wear off.

barrackobana Tue 13-May-14 20:27:07

hmm. I really need to look at DS diet again, E's etc and introduce fish oils . Does he have his med before or after breakfast, if before, does he still have an appetite then ?

coffeetofunction Tue 13-May-14 21:04:42

Always before breakfast...we don't even let him have a price of fruit, absolutely nothing, we have found they kick in quicker & work better, consultant said they'd absorb into system better. I defiantly would recommend looking at diet.

I'm not great with dealing with the ADHD, I find it hard & frustrating to understand. We have an odd family that consists of 2 DC & 3 parents, me, Exp & DH which helps as we can all get breaks from each other but I wish there was more information & support for parents & children that have ADHD in their lives.

coffeetofunction Tue 13-May-14 21:10:41

Sorry missed a point you asked, yes he still has his appetite. He has tablets with water then cereal straight after. His appetite is much smaller than it was before he started meds but I'm push with the meals I give him. When he really won't eat I bribe him bad parent but he has no fat to lose....

He has gone off food that's really greasy, not a bad thing, but it can make eating out difficult. If it's been cooked in a deep fat fryer it's a BIG no!!

DS is on metrophaladate (not sure if spelling is rightsmile)

mummytime Tue 13-May-14 21:23:04

Is he going to secondary soon? Because two of my DC (not ADHD, but processing issues) had a card on their planner which they showed to a teacher and the teacher was supposed to write in their homework (so at least I could keep track of what they were supposed to be doing).

TwoLeftSocks Tue 13-May-14 21:30:50

Our DS's very lovely teacher has started putting the class homework on the school website, DS was one of at least three constantly forgetting everything. I've heard of other teachers double checking just the odd few in class have got it written down / glued into their books too.

As for getting sorted in the morning, we're very much the same, have to micro manage absolutely everything. He's just trying out meds and there have definitely been small thing like getting his shoes on first time when asked that have brought peace to the household.

And I'm sure I've read about IQ scores somewhere, how the way you test can have massively different results, especially for inattentive children. DS is really quite behind academically but a very deep thinker and has some brilliant critical questioning about the world.

MidniteScribbler Wed 14-May-14 10:02:16

Most of the students I have with ASD/ADHD benefit from an easy to follow checklist. They have difficulty processing instructions - eg "pack up and sit on the floor" needs to be broken down to a checklist of what they actually need to put in their bag to go home. I find that the checklists help not only me from having to repeat every instruction, but also for them to take some responsibility for their actions. I laminate the regular ones (going to swimming, end of day, etc) and they use a whiteboard marker to check them off as they go, then they can be wiped down when finished. I also make sure that when setting a task, I write out in point form what to do and put it on the smartboard while they are working so they can refer to it.

barrackobana Wed 14-May-14 11:38:54

Thanks for all your comments, sorry i couldn't get back yesterday.
Coffee- I'm not sure what you meant by but I'm push with the meals I give him typo probably ? that's another issue, trying to get ds to eat, he always had a small appetite and now its almost non existent.

Some who posted didn't say how old their children. I dont think ds teacher would be pleased to have to write in his homework for him...he does manage it most times, but sometimes leaves out crucial information. Last week he wrote in his planner....^"Read page...... "^ and nothing else, no name of book or pages to read sad.

I think my worry is how will he cope as work becomes more challenging, he is in yr 5.

mummytime Wed 14-May-14 12:26:49

My children had their homework written in at 11, 12, 13 by GCSE they both tended to write their own in - but could still request it written in if necessary (we often have email with teachers at GCSE anyhow).

MidniteScribbler Wed 14-May-14 21:02:29

It's not necessarily about writing it down for him, but to help him develop the skills to do it himself. Have you spoken to your child's teacher? You need him/her on board. Don't go in and say 'I want you to write his homework down' but rather 'how can we work together to get DS to write his homework down?'. Whether that be the teacher writing it on the board and getting him to copy the whole thing rather than telling him verbally, or uploading it to a classroom blog/facebook/website for you to check. Do you pick him up from school? If so, then meet him at the classroom and check his homework is written down before you leave for the day. It's a team effort between school and home.

TwoLeftSocks Wed 14-May-14 21:03:21

I didn't say did I - our DS1 is 7, in Yr3. His teacher also uses checklists too like MidniteScribbler, especially visual ones, plus visual timetables with the words alongside. DS has only really started reading properly this year so it's helped alot.

I've become good friends with the mum of his best friend, who has ASD so we're constantly swapping texts to try and fill in the gaps from what the two of them have forgotten to tell us. Their teacher's very thoughtful though and will check we've got messages, letters etc - I've almost missed out on parents evening twice due to stray letters or reply slips.

barrackobana Thu 15-May-14 08:15:44

Thanks for all your comments. DS is at a prep so he has different teachers for different subjects and this makes passing this message round to all teachers slightly more difficult. At the moment i check his planner before we leave school at pickup and micromanage everything at home. But we're not using any supplements at the moment which we definitely need to look into.

The main worry is how will he cope at university? Or even work? I'd love to also hear from parents of adult children with adhd.

murphys Thu 15-May-14 08:25:12

My biggest tip for homework. Make friends with a mum from the same class and become homework buddies. I do this with dd also as its nice to have someone else to check with if your child is unsure if there is a test the next day, when project is due etc.

Barrack, each year when ds has new teachers, I send a note (or sometimes I have called them all together for a meeting) to advise them of the diagnosis and the fact that I will need a Connors Form completed by 3 teachers each month. I address the letter to all and make a signature block at the bottom for each one, just so I know that they know. The at the first parents evening they know already so I don't have to go through the same discussion with each one (he has 8 teachers).

EveryWhichWayButMoose Thu 15-May-14 10:48:42

My ds is like this but with no diagnosis. He's never been hyperactive. How do you get them assessed and would a diagnosis help?

I know so many people who seem to think ADHD is bs that I worry it would actually make things worse - just make us look like neurotic parents or lazy parents trying to make excuses, even though I have a diagnosis myself and ds is frighteningly similar to me.

Any time I've mentioned the possibility to family they immediately start poo-poohing and minimising our difficulties and talking about how everyone's a bit like that.

The couple of symptom checklists we had completed by primary school teachers bore little relation to what they said to us informally and I strongly suspect they may have been minimising problems on those because they thought I was neurotic and looking for problems. I don't know how else to explain the difference between what they used to say informally about his organisation and forgetfulness, and what they put on the checklists.

Also, is anyone who assesses him just going to say that his problems are just down to living with disorganised parents? Dc2 is very different though.

Really don't know what to do or how to approach getting any kind of assessment - I'm afraid of making things worse.

EveryWhichWayButMoose Thu 15-May-14 10:56:36

"I'd love to also hear from parents of adult children with adhd"

Not this, but an adult with it. I think university might have gone better for me if I'd known about my ADHD. I was hopelessly disorganised and permanently behind with work, though I scraped through just. If I could go back in time I like to think self-knowledge would have helped but I think medication would have been better.

I think in general that structured work or work with frequent, urgent deadlines is better for people with ADHD than longer open-ended self-managed projects, unless those projects coincide exactly with one's own interests so hyperfocusing is possible.

TwoLeftSocks Thu 15-May-14 14:31:45

Moose, I think the GP is typically the first place you need to ask, and if he's not particularly hyperactive, specifically say Attention Deficit Disorder. He would then, if the GP agreed, he'd get a referral and the school might get contacted further through the process. DS had one of the ADHD nurses observe him in class, which was really useful.

We've found DS's diagnosis really helpful at school, especially when he starts a new year. I'm hoping it'll help when he goes up to secondary in a few years too. And that's really helpful what you say about university, he's already set on going, though what he wants to study changes every month.

EveryWhichWayButMoose Fri 16-May-14 16:16:43

Thanks TwoLeftSocks.

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