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5 nearly 6 year old concentration span- is this normal??

(10 Posts)
natenewt Tue 11-Jan-11 11:06:00

Hi, I've copied and pasted this from development and behavior as recommended by another poster. I hope this is the right place I just need reassurance/advice please...

DS will be 6 in Feb. He loves school but I'm worried about him.
He has always struggled with concentration and I'm worrying now that its not normal and need reassurance either that it is or what to do if not. For example He can't make eye contact for long while we talk and when he's not looking at me when I speak he doesn't take in what I say. If I give him an instruction ie please go and get your shoes from the stairs, he will always, everytime leave the room forgetting and going to play etc. I then have to go and ask him again and unless i go with him to get the shoes he won't. This happens with any and almost every instruction I give.
He cannot sit long enough at the table to eat a meal, its almost like he gets bored of eating after 2 mouthfuls (its not my cooking promise, this even happens if we eat macdonalds, icecream anything that requires sitting to eat) he will instead graze on his dinner and gets very upset if I take it away. He won't sit and watch tv for any longer than 10mins and then he seems unable to sit still, he will stand to watch. He seems never able to be still. Just to add its not that I want him to watch loads of tv, just an example that even something like a programme that he's excited about watching won't hold his attention either.

Up until he started school I was told this is normal, he's a boy don't worry etc. so have tried not to, but now he is in year 1 at school and although he tries hard most of the time and does well with lots of practice and help from teachers to keep him from falling behind, it just seems like he doesn't retain any information. He can do spellings that he's practiced every day for a week and get them right but if we try the previous weeks spellings (there are only 6 a week, 4 letter words) he will get all or most wrong, even though he practiced every day the week before!

I feel so awful typing this out as other than this he is a wonderful boy, so sociable and loveable, gets on so well with his sister. Is kind and shares everything. I don't know if I'm thinking about this too much or expecting too much from him and because of this I'm ashamed to say that I do sometimes become frustrated with him, like this morning. I apologised to him for getting angry and gave him a big hug before he went in to school but can't help thinking I'm failing him somewhere. I also have no experience with other young children other than school mums to 'compare' notes if you like as I'm the first of my friends to have children and he has no cousins. Sorry its so long and rambling.

IndigoBell Tue 11-Jan-11 11:28:56

Almost all of us here have been told 'don't worry, that's normal behaviour' when it clearly isn't. People just say it to you to reassure you, whether or not they are qualified to do so.

They have no idea how damaging such well meant comments are.

I think he may or may not have something that could be 'labelled' (eg ADHD), but the only person who can answer this question for you is a paedetrician.

Ask your GP for a referral to a paed. If the paed says he's fine - great. And if the paed says the opposite - you're better off knowing.

Good luck.

MadameSin Tue 11-Jan-11 17:47:33

Friends and family mean well, but as the mother, you will know if something is not quite 'typical'. You should follow your instinct and get a referral - that way your mind is at rest either way. Looking back, I knew my son was hyper from around the age of 2 - it took 5 more years of worrying before he got a formal dx of ADHD, not anyone's fault - they didn't want to assess him before that age as so many of the traits are 'normal' at a younger age

TotalChaos Tue 11-Jan-11 18:10:28

Whatever is going on, whether adhd or not is affecting your ds at home and at school, so agree with other posters about looking for a paed referral from gp

natenewt Tue 11-Jan-11 19:43:43

Thankyou for your replies. I have always, since DS was a toddler wondered if there was something like ADHD there but have always been told its normal. Other examples that worry me (I was so upset this morning when I first posted I can't believe I forgot to add this) but he gets so very excited about having guests over like family or friends round for tea or visiting friends for tea after school etc. He gets so excited its like he can't control himself, with family its not quite so bad, they come every Sunday but he will jump all over them, tickle them be generally silly too and won't stop when told by me or the family members. I actually have to physically remove him from the room most times. When he has friends round he gets so excited he trashes his toys, his room and throws things at the friend (there is no intended malice in this, he genuinely thinks he's playing a wonderful game) and then occaisionally if I haven't intervened quick enough he has been known to urinate all over his room. On going to a friends house he has been the same with throwing stuff and has broken a friends window. That combined with the no attention span at school is what is really worrying me, my gut feeling is this is not normal behaviour.

MadameSin Tue 11-Jan-11 20:56:48

Nate get an appointment with your GP. you don't have to take your son .. I didn't. Talk through all your concerns and ask for a referral to a developmental paed. Write it all down if you think you won't remember some of the stuff. You will worry yourself sick if you don't get answers either way. I spent 3 years with my heart in my throat and I have to say, by the time we got the dx, I was an expert and totally ok about it. A 'label'o fany kind is not going to change who your little boy is (and he sounds lovely btw), but it will get him support at school if he needs it. I would take control of the situation. A paed will tell you if this is 'normal' behaviour or not smile

IndigoBell Tue 11-Jan-11 21:06:42

Go to your GP, tell her you think he has ADHD and ask for a referrel to a paed.

You don't need to bring your son to the GP appointment.

IndigoBell Tue 11-Jan-11 21:06:59

x-post grin

natenewt Tue 11-Jan-11 21:16:20

Thankyou again, I have made an appointment to see is dr, without DS there for in a couple of weeks time. I also plan to arrange a meeting with his teacher but I know she won't be able to tell me much as she is new, his old one left at Christmas. But at least I can get her to keep an eye on his progress. Got the added pressure also of DH being in total denial. He says he knows something doesn't seem right but even after looking at some support sites for ADHD and DS ticking pretty much every box in the signs and symptoms bit he says its not that because there was no such thing when he was little!!!! Argh...

Triggles Tue 11-Jan-11 23:59:05

Between now and then, make your list of any behaviours that seem unusual or are concerns for you. I found that keeping on ongoing list over a week or so meant that I could jot things down as I thought of them, rather than trying to remember it all in one sitting.

We were told for 2 years by GPs that it was normal, boys develop later, he's just not a talker, some kids take longer to get comfortable walking... you name it.... including the wretched GP that finally said "well he's obviously not normal!" and gave us a referral to CAMHS (which was truly useless, as I wanted a referral to the paediatrician - but we did eventually see the paed). I was tempted to point out to her that I had mentioned developmental stuff to her TWICE over the past 2 years and she had told me I was worrying too much hmm but I didn't. (6 months later, she still remembers me shouting at her in the surgery about her unprofessional behaviour blush - although why she mentioned it to DH at his separate appointment is beyond me. again hmm

Anyway, I would also talk to his teacher and the SENCO at the school to see what can be done at that end as well. Ours was brilliant at sorting out additional help. (although as can be seen on here in various threads, some schools are great, but some are miserable!)

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