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Possible ADHD teenage girl

(12 Posts)
vdbfamily Fri 21-Dec-18 09:56:49

My 15 year old DD was considered incredibly bright(G&T) at primary school and in year 4 was working with the year 6's for maths and literacy.
Fast forward to year 11 and mock GCSE'S and she was ungraded in maths, history and science and then a mixture of 4 to 9 in other subjects. 8's and 9' in languages which she loves.
I have said since she was quite small that I wondered if she had ADHD. I saw a health visitor when she was 8 about managing her extreme anger moments which are very intense but over in minutes. She talks incessantly and loudly, she is up late every night. All homework is last minute or not done. She forgets her passwords for online homework on a daily basis. She cries but is not sure why.
I have emailed SENCO but only response was along the lines of ' just find what she wants to do and help her focus on getting there. ' I can see the wisdom of this as she does well in subjects she loves but I don't like the fact that if she has undiagnosed ADHD, currently at parents eve the feedback is often negative about her not doing her best, not concentrating, being a distraction to others by talking etc and that feels unfair on her.
Sorry this is so long but she has 5/6 months until GCSE'S and I guess my question is, should I push for a diagnosis or just follow current advice to focus on end goal and support her to get there??

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Fri 21-Dec-18 10:50:18

Not an expert, but I would do both.
1) Pursue a diagnosis, as if she does have ADHD then having a diagnosis will help for college / 6th form. It is unlikely to be quick to achieve.
2) Focus on end goal for GCSEs, especially the maths. Science and history are less important.

You fast forwarded through secondary. Have results been going downhill steadily, or was there a sudden drop off? Does she understand the maths and not focus in tests, or does she not understand it at all?
How much have you scaffolded re organising homework, bedtimes, recording passwords etc? Or has she been left to do it herself (or refused all help?)

What are her plans for after GCSEs? What results does she need to get there?

Sorry, lots of questions, but they might help others give better advice.

Lara53 Fri 21-Dec-18 16:02:12

You need to get a private diagnosis ASAP the cut off for any support in exams is 21st Feb if I remember correctly. Google private adhd diagnosis/ clinic in your area

vdbfamily Fri 21-Dec-18 18:25:03

Good questions. She was fine in year 7 and in year 8 she was asked to help settle a new girl from difficult background( think living in caravan with mother who speaks no English) DD is very compassionate but her own vocab seemed to go backwards as she spoke in pigeon English to her friend. Was getting into more trouble for being chatty and not doing homework. I blamed the friendship but friend moved away 18 months ago and nothing really improved. She has had a maths tutor for over a year every week. She hates that she was in a top group and consistently asked to get put down to the class where they sit the easier exam. They eventually agreed to this a few weeks ago and she seems happier but the mock exam was stuff she had not been studying in the top group if that makes sense? We have tried lots of strategies to get her to knuckle down but usually ends up with shouting so most recent strategy has been, she needs to take some responsibility and I cannot be nagging her constantly. Re a levels she has been advised to take German as enjoys that and has good predictions. She is talking about psychology and sociology or one of them and a single btec health and social care as sees herself in a ' helping people' job. She is always cross that school have expected too much of her as her SATS were 5 in maths and 6 in literacy so they have been expecting 8's and 9's in everything.

OP’s posts: |
PinguDance Fri 21-Dec-18 18:49:28

An ADHD diagnosis may/may not achieve much for her GCSEs at this point, possibly if she does have ADHD and goes on medication her mood might level out. Then again it might not. If she does have a diagnosis she will likely be identified with SEN but an ADHD diagnosis by itself will not get her dedicated support. It might encourage staff to give her some extra help with time management etc but I’d be surprised if she’s not getting a lot of that already in yr 11.
She might get extra time in exams but will she use it? Possibly she will be able to sit in a smaller room but you’d have to speak to te Senco about exam access arrangements.

I’m not saying she shouldn’t speak to your GP as it is possible medication will help - however it doesn’t sound to me like much will change before she starts her GCSE exams. Thinking longer term if she does have ADHD it might be good for her to know this before she starts college.

vdbfamily Fri 21-Dec-18 20:06:58

I think one of the main reasons I have not ever pursued a diagnosis over the years is that we would not want her medicated ( I don't think she wants that) I would just want her to be given strategies to help her and want her teachers to understand and not just see her as a pain in the arse. Parents eve is a 50/50 split of teachers who could not speak more highly of her and those who say she never listens, won't concentrate, does not try, should be doing far better etc. I know she will find something she is good at one day as she is very passionate about helping people.

OP’s posts: |
Alsoplayspiccolo Sat 22-Dec-18 09:53:15

Mother of a year 10 DD with ADHD here.
My experience is that diagnosis is only the start of things ( and even getting a diagnosis can take months or years). DD is medicated, which helps some things but, she would say, causes as many issues as it resolves. There is nothing else offered by health professionals, so if you are clear you don't want to go down the medication route, you may find that you won't get very far.
School wise, DD gets extra time because she scored poorly for working memory in formal assessments. However, she doesn't get any other exam access arrangements, other than rest breaks ( and even these arent given often) and some of her teachers choose to ignore her diagnosis.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting a diagnosis isn't a magic wand; DD is really struggling with all that comes with it, and we're struggling with knowing she needs and deserves more support than she's getting.

jaws5 Sat 22-Dec-18 11:35:00

I really feel for you, my y11 dd was diagnosed with adhd over the summer, privately. She struggles with maths too, extremely good at languages, art and music. If you can, please get her assessed as soon as possible. NHS would take years in my experience. Where do you live?

PM me if you want, xx

cakesandtea Sat 22-Dec-18 19:17:07

She is always cross that school have expected too much of her as her SATS were 5 in maths and 6 in literacy so they have been expecting 8's and 9's in everything.

Her SATs with all the caveats reflected her potential, she should not be cross with high expectations, which are legitimately placed, but with barriers that cause her underachieving, which might be ADHD, which then needs to be addressed ASAP.

OP it seems you want to salvage your DD GCSEs with 5 months to go. These are important milestones and a failure will affect her confidence, self esteem and motivation, so I think indeed you need to throw everything you can at the GCSEs.

But, for all the various SEN for which there is no straightforward and quick routes for improvement, for ADHD there is. I am sorry, but if you really want to help your DD you need to reexamine your stance on medication. In my experience there is a rapid and obvious upside and no downsides I could notice over many years of my DC being medicated. There are plenty of discussions on SEN board about medication.

You need a quick fix for GCSEs and the only quick fix imo is to assess her privately, get extra time for exams and start the medication.

oneteen Mon 24-Dec-18 13:37:10

@vdbfamily Your DD sounds similar to my DD who was considered exceptionally bright at the end of Yr 4 ...we made mistakes with her education and didnt take up a place at an Indie school and it all went downhill between yr5 and beginning yr8)...We did move her in Yr8 to an Indie but unfortunately she had by then lost focus and in Yr9 and 10 she was lazy and didn't apply herself at all especially in subjects she didn't like!

She took her GCSE's last year and did actually focus from about January onward and managed to get a very decent set of GCSE's (7-9 A*A and just one B which ironically was long term coursework that let down - she got an A* in the written part of the exam) she now looks back and knows she could have done even better with a bit more effort.

I would suggest you gently coach and nudge your DD explaining that its just 5 months of application and its NOT too late to get very decent grades even in the subjects she really dislikes and then she can give them up and concentrate on subjects she loves (My DD took a D and an E grade in two mocks to an A grade in the real exams).

Roll forward to A levels and my DD is just excelling in subjects she really loves and at recent parents evening - she was even told to slow down because she was doing TOO much work...she has gone from the girl that did no homework to the girl that does 5 hours homework in an evening!

Not all children mature at the same time and some get easily distracted or have things going on around them that take them off track...but your DD is still that bright child - its just a case of nudging her back on track - lots of encouragement and praise because she's probably lost some confidence in her ability.

vdbfamily Mon 24-Dec-18 22:12:00

Thanks all....lots to think about. She was shocked by mocks and has even agreed to swap her iPhone for a brick between Jan and exams to ensure she spends more time undistracted by social media. Our problem is that she does not want to be labelled and in some ways enjoys her quirkiness. It is just exhausting for everyone around her. Will start with urgent meeting with school in New year I think.

OP’s posts: |
tempo Fri 04-Jan-19 15:06:51

hi, my DS was diagnosed with ADHD in May of Year 10, after years of me wondering and thinking he might have it.

For me it was such a huge relief to know that is indeed what it is, although coupled with a huge sense of guilt for not having done anything about it sooner. Working full time and a single mum means a lot of things don't get addressed when they should, but that doesn't alleviate the guilt....

School has been amazingly supportive, after having got to their wit's end with DS about constant distraction, low level disruption, disorganisation etc. He is now much better on the first two, latter is still a problem. They have offered homework club and various strategies. I am quite on the case at home, as much as one can be with a 16 year old, but small things like getting school bag(s) ready the evening before, etc. and I try to keep a check on homework but admit that is something of a battleground.

I decided to medicate. Did a lot of research and reading. Talked to DS about it, he was quite desperate for help at that point and so wanted to try it. I worked on the basis that if he was diagnosed with diabetes I would give him insulin or if he couldn't see properly I would get him glasses. ADHD is a neurological dysfunction of the brain, so if there is a medication that makes the dysfunctional bit work properly I don't see it any different to using any other medication/appliances to make your body work more effectively.

Side effects have been mild - slightly suppressed appetite, but no sleep issues. And focus and behaviour have improved dramatically.

We went the private route as I couldn't wait for CAMHS, but we are also now in the CAMHS system and so no longer paying eye watering amounts of meds.

Do DM if you have any questions.

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