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Suspecting ADHD - how do I go about getting an assessment, and any tips/advice on the process

(14 Posts)
Frenchie85 Sat 29-Apr-17 19:56:36

Hi all,
Long time lurker after some advice/tips/opinions.
I have a 5yo DS who has always been hyperactive. More recently, I've started to look into whether this might be diagnosable ADHD. From looking at the NHS page, he fits nearly all the symptoms for both the inattentiveness and hyperactivity, so it is looking more probable that ADHD may be present.
School and nursery before that has never flagged to me overly difficult behaviour (I.e. They've always described his behaviour as typical for his age/stage of development rather than something that is concerning or unmanageable), or even suggested this could be a possibility, but I'm aware that diagnosis would require symptoms in at least two settings.
Should I contact the school to discuss this possibility and go from there, and if so would that be his teacher or the SENCO? Or do I go straight to GP for referral, and how does that process work?
He's also had long term digestive issues, and I'm investigating whether this is a dairy intolerance, I've read online that this may be linked to ADHD symptoms too - does anyone have experience of this?
And also, any tips or strategies that have worked well to help support and manage a child with ADHD?
Many thanks in advance for any advice, it will be much appreciated!

Tortycat Sat 29-Apr-17 20:28:21

In terms of getting an assessment, in my area this is done by child mental health teams, accessed via the gp. I think this can differ by area though as in some places commynity paediatricians will do it. Gp would still be point of access though. However I think diagnosis isn't done til over 6 as a lot of younger children can be inattentive and active, so they may not assess before this. It wouldn't hurt though to chat to your child's teacher/ senco first to talk through your concerns and get their perspective, as they will have a comparison of how your child compares with others of the same age/ ability. Also maybe some tips on supporting your son. Sometimes struggles with learning can be underlying seemingly poor attention (children switch off because they can't understand). The health team should also ask for education's opinion.

Nice guidelines recommend parenting groups for adhd, as 'authoritative' parenting e.g. lots of positive reinforcement, routines and consistency, ignoring minor misbehaviour etc is esp helpful for children with adhd type difficulties.

Frenchie85 Sat 29-Apr-17 20:34:46

Thanks for the reply, very useful. He isn't having any difficulties in terms of his learning, he never has, he absolutely loves school, learning, and is ahead in his reading, writing and maths skills. I have always considered his behaviour to just be like you say, an active child etc., and I am a bit wary of the whole 'labelling', but at the same time, I want to make sure if there is something that he is able to get the support he needs, and doesn't get 'told off' for things he can't help/control. Also he has only just just started formal education, so thinking ahead, if there is something, this could well cause him issues later on, which I'd like to avoid. I think I'll take your advice, and have a meeting with his teacher first, to see whether they feel it's something worth exploring, and then go from there. Thanks again smile

Heirhelp Sat 29-Apr-17 21:11:15

Definitely ask your son's teachers as they will have a good understanding of the range of 'normal' behaviour for a child his age.

Tortycat Sat 29-Apr-17 22:27:02

Good luck. It's also worth bearing in mind your sons age. I read somewhere that a lot of summer born children esp boys can be mis diagnosed with adhd when actually they're just younger than most of their peers.

Winniethepooer Sat 29-Apr-17 22:35:57

I sat this as a mum of 2 boys diagnosed with ASD & ADHD.

What do you think a diagnosis will bring? Support in school for children with ADHD is sadly very limited in my experience.

Unless ur ds is struggling, and showing behaviours in school, he wouldn't meet the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD.

Speak to his teacher or SENCo. You've nothing to lose or they might have some information on managing your dc behaviour at home.

Look up Webster Stratton, (a positive parenting theory/ course used by many Camhs)

Also 123 Magic.

Good luck.

ImAllShookUp Sat 29-Apr-17 22:40:28

We really don't tend to diagnose children under the age of six, and personally I have an issue doing it up until they're about eight. I would watch and wait and see if the teacher mentions anything.

Frenchie85 Sun 30-Apr-17 09:29:01

Thank you for the replies, much appreciated. I'll take all the points on board.

lamado Sun 30-Apr-17 09:41:51

Look up ADHD and gluten free, there are those who believe that following a gluten free diet reduces ADHD symptoms. Also check out ADHD and omega 3 & 6.
I say this as a teacher who has worked with children with ADHD and have seen children's symptoms reduce by following these.

waterrat Sun 30-Apr-17 17:13:20

OP if your son is enjoying his nursery/ school settings - what are you worried about? The professional teachers who see him every day think he is within the normal bounds of behaviour for his age - is there a reason particularly that you think they are wrong?

ASDismynormality Sun 30-Apr-17 17:17:29

OP I would really book a meeting with his school teacher and ask if they have any concerns about ADHD. He may just be a busy child.

Realistically there is not much that is done to help those with ADHD. My son has it, we are his paed once a year to ask if he needs medication, if not he is then not seen for another year. Thankfully his school really helps but that's because he has a mix of difficulties.

Frenchie85 Sun 30-Apr-17 17:43:15

To be completely honest, I haven't really been that worried about it, I have just always thought he is one of those children who are very active and full on by nature. But I've had comments made by others more recently that has made me think about it, and then having looked at the list on the website, has made me wander whether there is something there. He is November born, so not a case of being younger, I'm still really unsure whether there is something that is 'out of the norm' so to speak in his behaviour, but I also don't want to ignore things if there is something either, if that makes sense?

ASDismynormality Sun 30-Apr-17 17:48:10

Look online for the connors questionnaire. This is something the DR will give to you and school to fill in. If you can find a copy and score sheet you should be able to see if/ where difficulties lie.

Frenchie85 Sun 30-Apr-17 17:53:47

@ASDismynormality thanks I will look it up this evening.

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