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do adhd symptoms merit a label?

(41 Posts)
cantgetoutofbed Thu 04-Oct-12 09:48:19

After having some concerns about my 8 year old ds, I googled ADHD symptoms. From what I read I'm sure that my ds could probably be diagnosed with it. But I'm just not sure the symptoms merit being given a label.
Maybe I'm too old, & just think, well, you do get kids that don't do their work & don't concentrate. After discussing concerns with his teacher, she feels he does
n't need 1 to 1 attention, but that he needs to learn to work on his own.
I have concerns that if my son was given the label of ADHD, that afterwards there are no services available to provide him with any help.
I remember a parent on here before saying how her childs ADHD symptoms 'remarkably' disappeared when she took him out of school to home educate. Yes, I can totally see where she's coming from.
What do other parents on here think about labelling children with ADHD? I can't help feeling its got a lot to do with getting the proletariat to conform... All very 1984.
Does anyone feel that getting a diagnosis has helped their child?

clare40 Thu 04-Oct-12 10:21:06

From my perspective, I don't feel I have a choice whether to get a formal label of not. He needs extra support, and possibly in the long run medication so I am getting his diagnosis. I was told by a child psychologist, that whether I get him the label or not, others will label him - and that could be as an "undiagnosed adhd" at best, or just plain naughty for people who don't know what they are talking about. My ds symptoms don't disappear at home - he is hyper and impulsive in all settings, and needs a lot of support all the time.

So, from what you have written, the fact he doesn't need one to one, and you are ok dealing with him then I don't see the need to get him diagnosed. Unless of course he is really struggling and needs extra support.

cantgetoutofbed Thu 04-Oct-12 10:26:40

Ok, after doing a search, I see that many parents think a diagnosis is positive, in order to access help.
To make it clear, his teacher this year does NOT think he needs 1-1. (it didn't read very well in my first post).
Unfortunately I have no faith in the local ed.psych, paed, or salt, which are the triad that do assessments here in our small, rural, town.
They are no help whatsoever with my other son who is severely autistic.
But maybe they know more about ADHD, than they do about autism...(heavy sarcasm).

cantgetoutofbed Thu 04-Oct-12 10:34:35

Sorry Claire. X post!
His teacher believes he can do the work, but he's just not! Unless its something interesting (ie. not sums).
We have agreed that if he does not finish his work in class, he will bring it home to complete.
The teacher did not even utter the words "adhd", but its possible she's not allowed because 1. There's no services, and 2. She's not qualified to diagnose.
Maybe we think he is ok because our other son is so clearly not!
He appears to enjoy school and we never have any problems with him not wanting to go. He says its "really good"!.
Oh, I don't know...
But thanks for listening!

TirednessKills Thu 04-Oct-12 10:41:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chundle Thu 04-Oct-12 10:45:08

my dd doesnt require 1:1 at school but she does require understanding support and additional help. She was diagnosed at age 6 and had a hellish time at her old school due to them not understanding her and refusing to aknowledge her diagnosis. She resorted to self harming and had very low self esteem as her teachers ignored her and called her stupid.

Shes now in a fabulous school where she is supported and her views and quirks are valued and she feels a valued member of the school.

IN our case my dd is so obviously different from other girls her age a diagnosis could do nothing but help her

cantgetoutofbed Thu 04-Oct-12 10:58:21

The difficulty I have with that Tiredness, is that there is such a huge difference between ADHD & aspergers & autism.
There is a couple of kids in his class, & I am not joking or saying this lightly, but I knew they had aspergers before their parents did. Sadly because I am so immersed in all things autistic & have done a lot of reading about it.
But I didn't know anything about ADHD, and when I did look, I don't think they're comparable. I realize a person can have both obviously.
And ok, hands up, I DON'T know about ADHD, but asd have a neurological reason behind it. Their brain simply functions differently to nt.
So I suppose my question is, are people who have ADHD, Neurotypical?
I think from reading what adults with ADHD have to say, that they probably are.
If so, its a world apart from aspergers & autism.
But yeah, Tiredness, I think you're probably right about ignoring the teachers opinion, lol.
I think we will see how he gets on with doing more work at home. And how we manage that too. And I will look at his diet & supplements.

DaveMccave Thu 04-Oct-12 11:06:11

I have similar feelings to you. My DC (5) could definitely obtain a label for ADHD. Some people have hinted or mentioned ASD, (strong family link) but I don't think that is the case. She was referred in reception by the senco but haven't heard anything else since. I don't know if the referral went ahead or it is supposed to take that long. But I'm not asking or pushing it, I'm seeing how she gets on in a different class first.

Anyway, I thought very seriously about home schooling. ADHD symptoms definitely exist, I am not denying it. But I do deny that it is a disorder or disability. I believe in neurodiversity, it is just a genetic personality that doesn't suit our formal school system. SEN is an educational need, the clue is in the name :'). So yes, it does usually disappear as a problem when home schooled. Certainly doesn't mean they are easy to handle at home, but I do think they benefit a lot more and the label would then be completely unnecessary. I found summer holidays a breeze compared to the routine of school runs and emotional turmoil of school discipline. She's a free spirit and benefits from all day outdoors, not wasting time not listening to teachers. Unfortunately she is going to have to put up with it for the next couple of years at least because home schooling isn't possible for me at the moment.

I am very anti labelling. But the label is sometimes beneficial because some teachers DO think it is a disorder, and will cut your child some slack rather than label them as naughty. They will get that they just are unlikely to conform to a school environment. With IEP's they may make more progress and feel under less pressure at school.

Have a little read of 'the Edison gene, ADHD and the gift of the hunter child' by Thom Hartmann. It's a great one for changing the very negative language used in ADHD labeling.

sneezecakesmum Thu 04-Oct-12 11:10:07

My DS had ADHD or maybe ADD and I too dont believe it compares to ASD. I did go through endless stress and difficulties when he was younger and even today as an adult important letters are just filed in the dustbin! He cant manage money or much else tbh. I had lots of help from his schools, assessed by ed psych and a child psych plus I had a social worker for a short time as he was too much to cope with sad

He was helped enormously by removing all artificial colourings from foods and drinks, I would have given fish oils but it was not known about so much then and they basically said he needs firm boundaries and parenting but understanding his difficulties. We have all survived but not an easy road at all. I may have medicated if it had been more in use then as his school work and our family suffered so much from his behaviour and he is such a bright lad but achieved nothing jobwise that is fulfilling.

Teenage years were horrendous btw!

DaveMccave Thu 04-Oct-12 11:14:04

Good question, about whether people with ADHD are NT. I don't know what I think about that one. I have found that the genetic link is the same though. We have autism, and a lot of aspergers and adhd in my family.

Chundle Thu 04-Oct-12 11:18:22

Hoping this doesn't out me here but dd has two sports coaches both of which have adhd diagnosed in childhood both were medicated. You can def tell they are different from other adults. Id say you can tell they are ever so slightly not NT if that makes sense? Perhaps like they're balancing on the brink of being NT. I wouldn't say my dd was NT she's too 'much' to be NT

cantgetoutofbed Thu 04-Oct-12 11:19:33

Dave & sneeze I could cry reading your posts, they resonate with me so much.
Sneeze, my dh & I ARE bloody social workers lol! Though I am a full time carer now for my other son (who has a sw). There's absolutely no shame in having a sw , though unfortunately I realize there can be a stigma.
I will read that book, Dave, & I will try dietry changes , Sneeze.
Thank you both for helping me feel we are not alone. And validated.

TirednessKills Thu 04-Oct-12 11:35:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cantgetoutofbed Thu 04-Oct-12 13:02:44

I realise that Tiredness. But whereas I can completely see the point of getting a diagnosis of autism or aspergers, I am not sure about ADHD because I think its very different.
I think if I had any faith in the people that would be doing the assessment, it would be easier to approach it with an open mind. But unfortunately, from previous experience of these 'so-called' professionals, I don't.

sneezecakesmum Thu 04-Oct-12 15:19:57

I agree with Dave that ADHD is just a personality type. My DH also shows typical signs of adult ADD! No ASD in the family anywhere though. Some people are pessamists others optomists, just personality types!

DS only had a SW as I phoned up SS and asked them to take him into care!!! I didnt mind having a SW as I knew I wasnt neglecting my DCs grin I am a HCP too so was overwhelmed that I couldnt cope sad She recommended the no colourings/additives and his school reported a remarkable change, though still a difficult child.

He didnt want to be naughty but just couldnt seem to control it. It was so sad (still is) that he could not reach his full potential in life. He managed to get the 5GCSEs needed for college despite being banned from school for 6 months before the exams, but of course threw away the IT college course by not attending. Thats why I probably would have medicated in hindsight, I think he would have been happier and more fulfilled.

Got lots of grey hair from him but love him to bits still smile Definitely feel for you going through all of it. Cant recommend what you do as its always a very individual process. xx

sneezecakesmum Thu 04-Oct-12 15:21:07

PS DD was an absolute dream and a lovely child. Never a moments bother, so I knew it wasnt crap parenting!

ouryve Thu 04-Oct-12 17:02:39


bochead Thu 04-Oct-12 17:35:13

To the untrained eye many sysmptoms of sensory processing disorder can manifest like ADHD in certain children & for this reason alone I personally think it's worth getting a trained OT/neurodevelopmental work up on any child who shows ADHD symptoms in class. Schools generally have VERY little knowledge that these sensory problems can even exist much less be able to identify them as a rule so you'l get no help there sad

Over the years I've been handed the connors questionaire 4 times - DS doesn't have ADHD, however he does have some pretty significant sensory issues that manifest in pretty serious behavioral problems and affect his ability to learn in a major way.

The good news is that there has been a LOT we've been able to do in order to make life bearable for him. He now has a sensory diet at school and a daily excercise programme to help him (see no drugs/medication in sight!). The result is an infinitely happier, calmer child who is able to learn and actually has very good concentration skills. Oh, and as a by product much, much happier teachers too grin

Sensory issues vary so widely (there are 5 of them after all!) that there's no possible way anyone can tell you over the internet. You'd kick yourself though if he's diagnosed at 25 and you realise that he could have been helped, aged 8 & his life made easier. No child should have to suffer needlessly.

It's a spectrum condition so not every child with ADHD needs drugs. There are lots of behavioral and dietry interventions that can be very effective before you get to the medication stage. It's also a condition that the pig ignorant meeja has firm opinions on that bear no reality to the children they judge so please don't let the predjudice and ignorance of others prevent you seeking help.

At the end of the day ALL any label is a signpost to access support. That support can enable your child to reach their full potential as a happy well adjusted, educated adult. Which is all any of us want for our kids really.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 04-Oct-12 18:31:50


The teacher has identified an educational need 'he needs to learn to work on his own'

Ask her therefore: a)WHO is going to teach him this skill? b)WHEN he is going to be taught this skill and her aims for when he will have acquired it and c)HOW will he be taught this skill (so you support the school's work at home)? I.e what strategies will be put in place.

Send your questions in written form.

ouryve Thu 04-Oct-12 18:39:55

And to elaborate on my eyerolling and muttering, which was probably a little unhelpful, but a real expression of my exasperation at this issue.

Does anyone feel that getting a diagnosis has helped their child?

Yes, I do.

DS1 has multiple issues and a dual diagnosis of ASD and ADHD. We have spent many years trying to ascertain what is what (and what is simply a case of primary school boy). Our goal has never been to find out how to make him "conform" but rather how to help him to be happier in his skin and make the most out of life.

The fact was, age 6, he couldn't even cope with school full time. He wasn't a totally different boy at home - just a less stressed one. In a quiet, comfortable environment, with as many cushion, blankets and textured surfaces as he could want, he still struggled even with self directed activities. Starting him on medication had a surprising almost immediate effect. He suddenly learnt how to communicate rather than just label. For the first time ever he could tell us if he was cold or didn't like the sound of something, rather than just scream about it. His ability to do schoolwork improved, for certain (it's not as if it was academically challenging for him) and he discovered the joy of lego city models, rather than just randomly sticking bits together. He'd chosen a few sets with some present money, but couldn't follow the instructions when he bought them. Having an ADHD diagnosis and treatment for it improved his quality of life no end.

ouryve Thu 04-Oct-12 18:43:03

Of course, rather than just label means rather than just scream.

Got a code ibbe dose and a brain and fingers wot don't talk to each other, this evening.

cantgetoutofbed Thu 04-Oct-12 18:50:23

Ouvre, it sounds to me from how you've described your dc, that its the asd diagnosis & treatment that has changed your sons life.
I should have asked if having a diagnosis of just ADHD, on its own, has helped their child.
Getting a diagnosis of asd for my other son has also helped us very much.
Bochead, don't forget proprioception & vestibular!
Star, I might just do that, hehe. I would love to see the teachers face! But it is a very good point.

ouryve Thu 04-Oct-12 18:58:06

He got the ASD diagnosis when he was 3. It wasn't until he got his ADHD diagnosis and ADHD medication, age 6 that he was able to make some huge progress - pretty muh overnight.

bochead Thu 04-Oct-12 19:12:01

As you already have a child on the spectrum - I would be looking at sensory issues in isolation as a first step via the GP, while asking school Star's questions methinks. Two pronged approach.

DS did time at an assessment centre where for several kids - getting a diagnosis of ADHD was life changing as it led to kindness and understanding (while still setting firm boundaries) instead of constant belittling and recriminations for the children concerned by their schools.

The importance of self-esteem is not to be under estimated imho. Those lads are like different children nowadays as they are happy within their own skin rather than self-loathing.

So I'd say that getting a diagnosis meant that the children got a "label" that led to support and understanding rather than being effectively written off by the system before they'd even left primary as "rude, uncontrollable, naughty, beyond help" etc, etc.

ADHD is NOT neurotypical as has been shown by many scientific and pharma studies (the chemical make up of their brains is different to the norm). Different is not wrong, or bad. Humanity have progressed BECAUSE of neurological differences in small sections of the general population.

Sadly the sausage factory approach to modern state education means that those who deviate from the norm are penalised unless steps are taken to protect them. It's not right, or fair but the child labelled "difficult or naughty" is one that suffers under the current set up. We aren't raising our children in Utopia but to survive and thrive in the real world.

TirednessKills Thu 04-Oct-12 19:13:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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