13 year old son mild ADHD? What should I do, if anything?

(10 Posts)
soundofthenightingale Fri 11-Mar-16 11:02:56

Yesterday I had something of a realisation. I was reading an article in a newspaper about ADHD and thought my son sounded like he had some of the attributes, albeit on a mild basis. I have considered this possibility a few times before e.g. at age 8 the only way he could walk was to dance, swerve, and generally giggle about as he moved in a forward direction. I asked his primary school teacher who said “no”! So I just put his general ‘energeticness’ down to being a highly active child, which he was.

Fast forward to secondary school. His main reports always comment on his being easily “distracted” and also talking in class. A friend of his made a joke to me the other day about my son not hearing instructions in class because he is always “staring into space and fiddling with his pencil case!” It is true my son finds it hard to sit still and is a terrible fidget – at home he seems to always grab hold of something and be tapping it or pulling it about, be it a tissue box or whatever is to hand.

His school work is OK, he is bright and above average, but hates to knuckle down and do any homework. He is easily bored. I have to tell him everything 10 times and he can get quite frustrated and angry at times, which I’ve put down to the early stages of “teenagedom” but now I’m wondering if this is also part of very mild ADHD, plus enjoying winding me up. I think he is also starting to get into trouble at school with these issues e.g. detentions.

He has a couple of verbal ticks that he can’t control and I gave up trying to correct them last year – when I read that these things need to be left alone. But it all is beginning to create a picture.

I’ve looked at some of the criteria and I doubt his attributes are severe enough for him to be medically diagnosed with it, perhaps just close to the cusp. He is a bit impulsive and clumsy, but in many ways mature beyond his years and socially fairly OK. He may be on the extreme end of “normal” on the spectrum if you understand my meaning. However I am concerned for its impact in the future e.g. for the school to be saying that he is distracted all the time.

I know there is a lot of special needs knowledge on this board, obviously dealing with much more severe issues. But I wonder if I could ask for advice for what to do next, if anything.

1.Are there books or articles I should read to inform myself, as this will help me understand my son a little more and hopefully get ideas to help him (and me) to cope.

2.Should I mention this to the school? I just get the feeling they are going to get increasingly frustrated with him otherwise.

3.Should I at some point (in the future?) talk about this to my son? So that he might understand his own actions and choices more?

I feel quite isolated with my concerns, I’m a single parent. I am not sure if going to go to my GP or son’s school will help either, and don't want to make things worse. Does anybody have any suggestions here?

OP’s posts: |
soundofthenightingale Fri 11-Mar-16 11:58:25

have now just rang "Young Minds" as they are listed as a helpline. however, their line busy so have filled in a contact form, and hope they call me next week.

OP’s posts: |
knittingwithnettles Fri 11-Mar-16 21:04:30

You might find it helpful to get him to referred to an OT (NHS). They can often pinpoint some of the issues that cause the symptoms - ie fidgeting, impulsiveness, lack of concentration

Poor processing can often lead to these behaviours too; when you don't immediately understand what has "gone in" the tendency is to tune out. Instructions in class need to be broken into steps or be very explicit rather than open ended.

My eldest has dyspraxia, which includes a lot of sensory processing issues, and distractability, poor concentration when he doesn't understand (although very good at concentrating when he is interested or does understand) He often got into fights with other boys at school in Year 7-9, and was impulsive, although well behaved in most lessons and polite/courteous. Ironically his worst behaviour was in Art; he really couldn't cope at all with it, and was constantly disrupting the classroom because he couldn;t understand what was going on, or what he had to do, or how to do it.

Have you contacted the SENCO to seek guidance on any aspects of his behaviour - initially we had the school behaviour person to observe ds1, not much use in itself as she wasn;t an Ed Pysch or OT but it did start the ball rolling, and made me aware of some of the subtle ways he was finding things difficult.

Essentially, get the OT referral as soon as possible, it will take forever and you probably need the school to give some backup to even get him referred.

knittingwithnettles Fri 11-Mar-16 21:15:23

I agree that teenagerdom is a big issue. For ds1 his best advocate in school was to see the mentor, who wasn't a teacher but a pastoral advisor really, I think most schools have one. This kind man was great at just connecting with ds1; he didn't tell him off about his work or his behaviour, but just talked through how ds felt, (although he wasn;t a counsellor either) It just stopped ds getting to that angry everyone is against me stage. Invaluable.

How to Talk so Kids will Listen is a good book for general communication skills with children who are being difficult and obstreperous.
I've seen the difference between ds being so rude and aggressive when hls feels under attack and harassed, and so polite and kind when he feels someone is on his side, listening to him unjudgementally. He likes boundaries but I think they have to be given with a v light touch and I am picking my battles carefully, ie: I've realised his room is never going to be very tidy, but he WILL lay the table and carry shopping and do errands for me.

soundofthenightingale Fri 11-Mar-16 21:28:06

Thanks Knitting, really appreciate your reply and sharing your experience. Its a bit of a lonely road and I am pretty clueless on this, especially as its quite an emotionally sensitive issue and I don't want to upset my son's confidence by rushing in and saying or doing the wrong thing, as he's a sensitive boy as well, and has also had some other physical health issues too. On the other hand, at some point, more self-knowledge might actually help him navigate life better in the future. Perhaps I should speak to my GP in confidence first, before I think about speaking to the school. Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
soundofthenightingale Fri 11-Mar-16 21:30:54

I'll look at SENCO too.

OP’s posts: |
DigestiveBiscuit Mon 14-Mar-16 12:17:02

DD was diagnosed with ADD on Friday by a psychiatrist. He has suggested trying Ritalin after some blood tests. It's quite instructive to listen to DD talk for 2 hours about how she switches off - her greatest difficulty was not listening to instructions, and then never knowing what she was supposed to be doing in class! Her organisation problems are such that apparently she can't tidy up her bedroom, unless I am there to tell her how to do it - and this is a bright 21 year old!

It will be interesting to see if Ritalin works!

DigestiveBiscuit Mon 14-Mar-16 12:18:07

Oh and "Fidget" should be her middle name!

Chewedstring Sun 24-Apr-16 09:01:54

Hi, have you made any progress? You mention not wanting to knock your son's confidence, which I totally get, but, if it is adhd (which it certainly sounds like) his confidence may worsen without supporting the condition. I have twin boys aged 12 with adhd, diagnosed a few years ago. I would strongly support talking to school senco, & GP. Diagnosis takes a long time, out GP referred boys to CAMHS & it took a year, despite my pushing.
Both boys have meds just for school day & it has helped them be who they can be. They are achieving so well a time cool, which helps their confidence.
Life at home is pretty stressful for me,nut I am continually trying to find ways to support them whilst keeping my sanity.
Be brave.

Chewedstring Sun 24-Apr-16 09:04:48

Sorry that should have said doing so well at school.

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