ADHD - how did you know?

(12 Posts)
paintedpanda Fri 26-Jun-20 20:40:35

Parents of children with ADHD - how did you know your child had it? I've said for a long time that there is something about my DS(7) and I struggle to get people to take me seriously, and even when people do take me seriously, no one is actually willing to help. I don't know what to do. He's a lovely lad, but sometimes his behaviour is a real challenge. I have looked up signs of ADHD and, while most of them can be attributed to DS, I also wonder if it's "typical 7yo boy behaviour". I have a DD(9) who I have never been concerned about, but this makes me wonder whether I'm questioning DS because DD has always been an easy kid. He has been sent to bed this evening (8pm is bedtime) and he has thrown a wobbler because he didn't get time on the Nintendo switch, which has led to him screaming, shouting about how this is "the worst day ever", and punching his pillow. Now I'm sat here wondering where I went wrong.

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ScarletZebra Sat 27-Jun-20 09:29:33

Two of mine have ADHD.

With the younger one it was when she was 3 or 4 and I suddenly realised she hadn't grown out of toddler behaviour while all her peers had. She doesn't sit still, she has to be moving at all times. Her elder brother was completely different but again not behaving the way his peers did.

Our first step with both of them was to talk to the school. You really need them on side. If it is ADHD their behaviour needs to be "abnormal" for want of a better word in at least 2 settings, so if a child is a PITA at home but fine at school then it isn't ADHD.

Have a chat with the teacher and the SENCO. If they agree get the SENCO to write a report for your GP. As ours said, they take more notice of school than parents angry. Make an appointment with your GP (without the child), explain why you think there is an issue and ask to be referred. Be aware that referrals can take a very long time to come through.

ScarletZebra Sat 27-Jun-20 09:31:15

Oh and I hadn't clocked that your elder child is a girl. Be prepared to be fobbed off by their explanation that it's just the difference between girls and boys. (been there, done that sad)

paintedpanda Mon 29-Jun-20 07:41:19

Thank you for your reply.
The school are kind of on side, but not really willing to refer for some reason. His headteacher has phoned me in the past and even said herself that "he desperately tries to do the right thing, but just can't seem to manage".
They referred me to speech and language because of his poor emotional development, although there's nothing actually wrong with his speech. S&L confirmed his speech is fine and, while he knows which emotions are which and how they affect him, he seems unable to recognise emotions in others, nor is he interested in other people, only talking about himself, which is true.
They also sent me on a Webster-Stratton course to see if I could pick up some tips to help. I've implemented some of the strategies but none seem to work for long.
I got asked once by his swimming instructor if he is "of sound mind". I was regularly concerned during his swimming lessons that he was going to drown because of his inability to sit still and focus. I ended up pulling him out at stage 2.
I've also been to the doctors who told me that they can't make a referral, only school as it's an educational issue. I'm not sure who else to turn to. There's something not right and I just want a bit of support.

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ScarletZebra Tue 30-Jun-20 13:04:33

From what you've said it does sound like something. Your GP is wrong to say it's an educational issue; neuro conditions affect their whole life.

School can't refer but they can write a report to your GP explaining what difficulties they've noticed in class and backing up your request for referral.

You need to see a paediatrician at the very least. There will be someone in your area who has responsibility for children's mental health.

Be prepared for a long fight ahead, and don't be put off.

GruffalosGirl Wed 01-Jul-20 21:11:41

I suspected from before the age of 3 because of his sleep and speech. He just didn't act the same as other kids, he was like the energiser bunny and also had a lot of sensory issues and no impulse control. I couldn't even put my finger on what all the differences were, he just doesn't think the same. He blew out other children's birthday candles at every party for years if not restrained! He climbed out the living room window and ran down the street when he was 4. There are a hundred stories like this. No one else believed me and he was apparently just lively. He was not angry at school, just wouldn't sit still or shut up, but as he is hugely enthusiastic school just said he was immature. We knew he was really bright and he was underachieving, but got nowhere as he was hitting the expected levels and he is charming so his shouting out and wandering round the classroom weren't concerns!

Then in year 5 they did a non verbal IQ test on the year group and then realised how bright he was and the level of his underperformance compared to his ability. Following this they were completely on board with his diagnosis thanks to a great head.

I would definitely say keep pushing with it. School fobbed me off for years, as they had children with worse behaviour and he was achieving, so in comparison he wasn't too bad. I wish I had pushed it further and not doubted myself, as he would've had a lot less impact on his self esteem if he had been diagnosed earlier. What you say about what the head said about being unable to do the right thing, that is what our head said about ds that made him realise it was likely adhd.

Before I went in to school I basically went through the diagnostic criteria on the NHS site and wrote specific examples for each one that ds demonstrated to evidence why I felt he had ADHD and school agreed. We had also got a tutor the year before and told her our concerns to see if she could notice anything we could evidence to school, but ended up not needing it due to the IQ test. I also spoke to his leaders at out of school clubs for evidence for school to support the assessment. In our LEA the school do the adhd referral, not the GP, so it was important to have them on board.

Maddison2000 Thu 02-Jul-20 20:38:25

Hello all,

I am desperately in need of some advice.

My (just) 4yr old Son has always been ‘spirited’ - we have always put it down to phases etc but he is now becoming worryingly disruptive when at his Childminder’s. He was previously at a nursery setting where I would often get called in for such matters as kicking, punching, spitting and generally being ‘unkind’ to his friends. He has zero attention span when it comes to us trying to teach him how to write his name / do some counting etc. The nursery wasn’t all that great at putting anything in place for him and their staff turnover was pretty shocking so I pulled him out and placed him with a highly recommended childminder with years of experience behind her.

He has always been ‘emotional’ and is either emotionally angry with some horrific lashing out / temper tantrums or the total opposite where he is just sobbing and coming out with some very strange words (almost like his own little language). We don’t allow him to watch anything violent and everything he does watch is age appropriate and or monitored.

Just lately at the Childminder’s he has showed increasingly worse behaviour, lashing out within a second of being an angel, doing things on impulse such as punching or midpoint tables up etc. Today he was caught waving a pair of scissors (the crayola safety ones) at another child and when challenged as to what he was doing, he said ‘I’m going to cut him’.
I honestly have no clue where he has picked this up from and I am completely devastated as now the parents are voicing their concerns due to their kids coming home and complaining about the naughty boy who is very unkind.

My son has a wonderful, loving and caring side to him that no one else sees apart from those of us that are close to him. We have a loving family and he has never been subject to any form of domestic behaviour at home.

I have made the first steps in getting an appointment with a health visitor (which I really had to fight for, it wasn’t until I started sobbing that they seemed to think I wasn’t just a mum who was a bit worried about her wayward child!) but this isn’t for another two weeks.

We are at our wits end with it all now and feel like every day is a case of walking on eggshells and waiting for ‘that’ phone call from his childminder to tell us that he’s been so disruptive that it’d be best to collect him as the other children are saying they are scared sad

If anyone has any experience or anything, please feel free to reply. X

Maddison2000 Thu 02-Jul-20 20:47:50


He sleeps well, always been in a routine since he was a baby, goes to bed with minimal fuss 90% of the time and has no issues with eating, he isn’t fussy at all.

Seems to have mental ‘fogs’ when you try to talk to him about anything serious, ie questioning him as to why he’s done something, he will often look away or start laughing no matter how you approach it (I’ve tried every angle but nothing seems to hold his attention unless I break down and cry which then results in him trying to stroke my head and get upset himself) sad

paintedpanda Thu 02-Jul-20 21:00:44

Thank you for your replies. You're all just confirming what I thought I already knew. Gruffalosgirl, you hit the nail on the head. I can't put my finger on what isn't right but it's definitely something. I just don't know what to do for the best. I'm starting to get really impatient and frustrated with him but I know it isn't his fault.
He is also very bright but isn't achieving what he could be. Anything that requires any form of mental effort is just quickly skipped over, making careless mistakes because he can't be bothered. At the moment, we're getting a lot of "I don't want to". No reason for it, he just doesn't want to do anything. We were just trying to do a fun water fight video for beavers but he just didn't want to. If he doesn't get his own way, he will sulk and put up such a fight, it's not even worth it anymore. He's never happy, ever. Nothing is ever right for him.
I know I need to push the school for help with this. I just feel like I've been fobbed off by everyone, and right now isn't the time because of what's going on. I don't even think the SENCO is in at the moment. I don't even know where to find the time to go and ask because I'm at work when they're in school.

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Benzer01 Wed 15-Jul-20 07:27:09

Hi OP, I've had my 6yo DS referred by GP. I listed his obsessive traits, his 'energy', tantrums & the fact that I feel the toddler stage has been endless. He's my 4th & like you I just 'know' my DS doesn't 'get' things like my 3 other children do. I have pages & pages of lists of idiosyncracies & issues I've made over the years. I work at my GP surgery, so I know that helped the referral for me. The school won't help at this stage..his Teacher feels that any behavioural issues are due to his gender...
What I want to know from anyone on this thread who knows....WHY does the behaviour have to be exhibited at school?? My DS & lots of others CAN manage their behaviour to an extent, but then implode as soon as they leave that environment. I've read that this is typical in ASD. So WHY does assessment still ask for the school input? Anyone know?
I really think you need to keep pushing OP, but I understand how difficult that is. The Covid thing meant that I didn't have to include a Teachers' report-I contacted the Children's Centre for advice on this. So that was a huge relief; however, I know that the school will have to participate if we ever get that far....

GruffalosGirl Wed 15-Jul-20 08:50:44

We were told that there had to be signs in two settings as otherwise it could just be a negative parenting interaction that had built up. And that if it is behavioural and not adhd it wouldn't be seen in multiple settings, but if it was adhd then DS would not be able to control the behaviours and they would be seen across every environment.

DD also demonstrates lots of adhd behaviours at home but would never meet the diagnostic criteria at school because she has such rigid self control there because of her fear of being 'bad' and the consultant said that can be common in anxious girls that have adhd.

When school wouldn't support diagnosis we spoke to the football coach and cubs leaders for additional evidence, but he didn't demonstrate enough behaviours until year 5 to get school to support the referral as it was considered immaturity before about age 9 when the gap between him and his peers began to increase noticeably.

paintedpanda Thu 16-Jul-20 06:58:40

I think my DS is seen as "excitable" at school rather than as having any behavioural problems. I don't think he is quite as bad as other children with diagnosed behavioural issues and so I'm not sure the school is fully on board. Nor is my childminder as she has also had children who have ADHD and were worse than my son. I'm not sure how he quite manages to mostly hold it in when he's at school but comes home and goes off the rails.

I have asked the school to assess and they've said they can either refer him to a specialist teacher who will come in and observe him, or they can refer us as a family to early help services. I'm not sure which would be better as they haven't given me much information, and we are currently living outside of the schools local authority so I'm not sure we'd get a referral to any services.

I'm also really worried that if they assess and say everything is fine, he's just lively, it will leave us without the support that both he and I need. I can't handle his behaviour at home and I'm panicked thinking that this is our only shot and if everything is "fine" then that's it.

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