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Symptoms of ADHD in very young children?

(8 Posts)
Hoplikeabunny Tue 15-Dec-15 23:32:53

Had anyone got any experience of very young children with ADHD? I know that a diagnosis is unlikely before at least 5, but I was hoping to hear what behaviours are usually exhibited in early years prior to a diagnosis?

We have suspected for a while that DS may have ADHD, and our suspicions were shared by his nursery (which he no longer attends as he is now in a preschool setting), who didn't use the term ADHD, but did express concerns over his behaviour and sought external advice on how to manage him. He is three at the beginning of January.

Behaviours which concern me are-
1. He hasn't slept during the day at all since he was three months old. Genuinely.
2. His sleep has only recently become manageable, but given the choice, he would stay up until midnight. I tested it once to see what time he would naturally crash without me forcing bedtime, and he finally fell asleep at 1:30am, after having been awake since 7am- that was at just turned 2 years old.
3. He has what I would regard as bad social skills. He can't seem to interact well with other children (I also struggle with social skills though, so I worry that this may be learned behaviour?). When he does interact, he gets overly hyper and tends to lash out a lot- hitting, pushing, throwing things at people. Coincidentally, it is rare for children to want to play with him.
4. He has no attention span at all. I can set up a lovely activity for him, but he will engage for a minute or so and then want to move on to the next thing.
5. He is very physical, climbs on everything and has done since he could stand. Runs around like a headless chicken and just can't sit still, even when he's eating.
6. He seems to have no remorse or understanding of emotions? Most of my friends children don't like being in trouble/told off, but he absolutely doesn't care and usually responds to this by being even more naughty. For example, earlier I was trying to get him to help me with something, and he tried to bend a little plastic ramp (from the guinea pig cage!), so I asked him three times not to do it and explained that he would break it, but he didn't listen so I got cross, and he responded by jumping on it- therefore snapping it. Then pretended to cry when I told him off, then just left the room, not bothered at all.
7. I feel like he's bouncing the walls most of the time. When he's awake it's impossible to get anything done as he demands attention the entire time and just wont sit still.

Those are the main concerns I think. He is absolutely loved to bits by DH, me and our families, and we've got an amazing support network, but people have started making comments about his behaviour now and I don't know what to do about it. If he has ADHD then that's fine and we'll deal with it, but for the moment I don't know how to handle this/help him? I feel like I'm constantly cross with him and consequently he favours his dad massively, which really hurts. I'm so stressed by his behaviour, particularly towards other children. I suffer from anxiety and social phobia, so I find social situations very stressful, even more so when I'm having to apologise to strangers and their children because DS has just made them cry.

Sorry this is so long, any advice would be really appreciated!

ouryve Tue 15-Dec-15 23:59:04

I'm tired and need bed, so can only comment briefly, but this is a lot like DS1 as a baby-toddler. He was a lot like Taz!

He has ASD and ADHD.

For immediate stuff you can work on, look up sensory processing. You might find some things that look familiar and some inspiration of things to try to help calm him, especially in the evenings.

Hoplikeabunny Wed 16-Dec-15 08:06:00

Taz is a good description!

Thank you, I will have a look at sensory processing and see if I can find some ways to calm him.

Cartooner Wed 16-Dec-15 13:14:12

I am wondering what age he is? I also think it sounds quite extreme on the behaviour front and I'm no expert, having just had my son diagnosed with ADHD at 7, but my mother commented when he was 3 that all did not seem typical with him. I relate to your descriptions, although your DS sounds like it's more intense to be honest than I had it. It's hard work. It's guilt fueled too. I couldn't understand how I'd done an ok job with my first child but with my second I may aswell be talking to the wall when i tried to stop him climbing, acting out, and so on. It takes a lot out of you as a mother to be in a daily struggle with no real clue what do to. I wish I'd found specialist help sooner so I think it would be no harm reaching out.

Hoplikeabunny Sat 19-Dec-15 01:39:43

He'll be three on the 1st of January. I've had the same as you, people suggesting that his behaviour isn't 'normal'. You're right, it is guilt fuelled and I feel like an awful mother sometimes. I hate to admit this, but on the days that I work (three days a week), I sometimes find excuses as to why I can't go straight home, e.g I need to finish something I'm working on, or I need to go to the shop on the way home, or i'll go a slightly busier way home so it takes a bit longer, just because I know how much hard work he'll be when I get home, and I'm already tired after a day at work. That sounds so horrible written down. Invariably he doesn't want me anyway, he mostly dislikes me! I took him to a party today, and he sought me out on three separate occasions to tell me that he doesn't like me!

Where do I go for help? Would the preschool be my first point of contact?

ouryve Sun 20-Dec-15 00:37:43

Express your concerns to your HV, though preschool should be able to fill in some of the blanks, too.

Hoplikeabunny Mon 21-Dec-15 00:32:33

Okay I'll make an appointment with the HV then and talk to preschool after Xmas. Thanks.

Pomegranatemolasses Mon 21-Dec-15 00:43:30

Sounds really difficult for you all - and tbh sounds more than Adhd to me. Ds2 has adhd, and was a very challenging toddler, but not in any way to the extent you have described.

If I were you I would be going to my GP, outlining my concerns as you have done here, and asking for an appropriate referral

There's something going on, you know it, and as his mum you are best placed to help him.

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