Issue 90 is out now

Welcome to The Green Parent Forum

A place where you can chat to like-minded parents, form new friendships, share ideas, events and recipes. Use the search tool to find a wealth of information from the past 10 years of forum discussions. Register today and become part of our supportive community.

Does anyone have any experience of ADHD?
How do you know if your child is ADHD or just highly spirited/more active than others?
My daughter is 5, and I’m struggling with her behaviour, as is her school. Some of you know we had issues with her in reception class with not finishing work, being disruptive etc, which we kind of excused her for - being the youngest in class, high expectations etc.
She has now moved up into year 1, and already we are being told that she is always daydreaming, not concentrating, not listening….
Now I know this is ‘normal’ behaviour for a 5 year old, but it does seem as if everyone else in her class can sit still..
Anyway, i digress slightly.
I don’t know if her behaviour is ‘normal’ 5 yr old behaviour or not. She does not stop talking, she can’t concentrate, she ignores people or just doesn’t listen. If I have a conversation with her and ask her a question she will sometines reply with a completly random answer that has nothing to do with the conversation we were having. Tbh, I have tried lots of different ways to encourage good behaviour including positive praise, reward charts, punishments even, but nothing works.
Just recently,after getting stressed at mealtimes we agreed that if we had good mealtimes for 5 days we could have a big treat picnic! day 2 and she told her brother to throw his drink all over the table.

I dont know if it is ADHD or not, and would love any advice you could give me.
(there is also autism in the family :-( )

DH has ADD (without the H thankfully!) and his diagnosis didn’t come until adulthood. He is similar to what you describe..

How good are your health visitors?  (actually do you still have hv when they go to school?). A friend of mine had her eldest finally diagnosed after a long battle - quite rightly it’s not a diagnosis that’s banded about (contrary to popular belief!) so it would be worth keeping a good dialogue going with the school/health professionals. A diary would prove very helpful to diagnosis and may help you learn triggers too..  A lot of “help” with ADHD comes with acceptance and understanding - that way you can understand why she does what she does and know how to provide a helpful environment for her. I remember jeremy vine doing something on ADHD children being given priority bands at theme parks - one chap phoned in to say his son has ADHD and to recoumt a story of them using a band, someone had a go at him for it and so he invited him to queue normally with them all for a ride - after 5 minutes this other chap understood why the band was there and couldn’t apologise enough!  So some Reading will definitely help you create a better environment for someone with ADHD and, especially if you can spot triggers, help her somewhat. Hubby’s are lack of exercise, too much sugar and feeling out of control..  Diet makes a big difference!

Good luck!

GP LETS member #130

DD1 May 08, DD2 April 10, DS born on our 4th wedding anniversary, 07-07-11!

“YOU’LL NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE,... UNTIL BEING STRONG IS THE ONLY CHOICE YOU HAVE”

http://ayearofmeals.wordpress.com/ I’m blogging my meals for a year!

Oh - and sensory processing disorder is quite common too - http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_processing_disorder?wasRedirected=true

hubby absolutely cannot stand things sitting funnily on his neck, my friends child can take up to an hour on a bad day to put socks and shoes on so that the seams don’t “hurt”..

x

GP LETS member #130

DD1 May 08, DD2 April 10, DS born on our 4th wedding anniversary, 07-07-11!

“YOU’LL NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE,... UNTIL BEING STRONG IS THE ONLY CHOICE YOU HAVE”

http://ayearofmeals.wordpress.com/ I’m blogging my meals for a year!

sorry to dive in as a newbie, but have quite a lot of experience with this condition (I teach several kids with it….)
rather than worrying about finding a reason for or a label for your daughter’s behaviour, try and be objective.  my ex husband had ADHD and hated the stigma which followed him from the moment of his diagnosis onwards.  he was given meds (insisted on by his mother) and struggled with some of the side effects which included disturbed sleep.  what helped him most was structure and routine.  there is also growing evidence that diet can make a massive difference - in particular a deficency in magnesium is considered a trigger.  studies have shown a decrease in the hyperactive element of ADHD and an improvement in concentration from regular supplimentation with magnesium.  can i also recommend homeopathy - my homeopath works with children who have all sorts of behavioural issues and i’ve seen first hand the results.  good luck with it all.

I can highly recommend the book(s) by Thom Hartman, explaining ADD as positive genetic traits specifically tailored to certain lifestyles?  They are aimed at adults, but I think any parent of a highly distractable child would benefit from a positive slant on these traits and creative brainstorming for managing them in a society geared up for low-energy endurance tasks. 

My youngest brother was medicated for a couple of years, during term time only, to enable him to stay in school.  Eventually my mum took him out and homeschooled him.  She is a special needs teacher, with a speciality in ADHD (she is a CLASSIC adult ADHD “sufferer” - and thriving on it).  After my brother was officially diagnosed, I took some tests too, and come out right at the top of the scale for ADD without the hyperactivity traits.  I find the label helpful, and have no problem describing my oldest DD as spirited and ADD (she really is, the middle one is as far from it as you can imagine BUT has the sensory processing things ie is highly sensitive).  However I don’t think I will be seeking an official diagnosis as we have no use for it while I am able to help her learn to manage her own mind at home.

I do reject refering to ADD in negative medical terms however.  I tell Jenna that these are our quirks.  This is how my mind is working.  How about yours?  I think that I see you feeling like this, coping like that, you seem to feel better when we…  smile  This, in my researched but non-professional opinion, is just a difference in brain wiring that can be a positive mode of being if we have understanding from those around us, and self-awareness.

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

Tips for talking to an ADD child (and getting co-operation from them).

- Get eye contact.  If you don’t have eye contact, she didn’t hear.  I’ll bet you a fiver.  wink
- Give one instruction at a time and make it specific and positive (a good rule in general but essential for an ADD child in distractable mode).  Try to avoid instructions for the distant future!  Instead, rehearse through real life and give positive talk about what’s happening the first few times, so that they can remember this tape along with the actions rather than trying to recall a disjointed - to them - list of words.
- Draw plans instead of writing them.  Draw lists instead of reminding and nagging.  Mind Maps/brainstorms (with colour and images) really work for us ADD types, we process a LOT visually.
- Get into the habit of doing things in a certain order.  This will keep her on track more easily and help her remember.  If you *draw* her a chart, so much the better.  smile
- Tick lists may also be something that is good for her.  I can’t live without tick lists.  That sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.  I also need to doodle all over them.  Sorry, that’s just me.  wink
- Give simple sensory play a try, and consider some Mindgym stuff and yeah silly things like cross-lateral crawling.  Some of us struggle with connecting right and left brain tasks, and a fair proportion have issues with dyslexia or dispraxia.
- We need short bursts of activity and energy, followed by off periods.  Hours doing the same thing will probably never work for us.  Give us a break and try to mix it up, and make sure others know to do the same.  Give us a switch of pace, materials, expression, anything to keep us going without turning off.
- Be patient with the crazy and angry behaviour.  The world might feel like it’s all against her if she can’t get her brain to do what other people want it to.
- Physical activity and outdoor time is NOT OPTIONAL.  Seriously.  wink
- Diet - blood sugar highs and lows make us incapacitated and insane by turns.

I don’t know how much of this stuff you have already been through.  But I’d encourage you most of all to think about it as meeting the needs of an individual so that they can get the best from themselves and so that YOU can get the best version of them.  If you think about it as fixing her, she will know it and probably resent it (or herself).  I am so so lucky to have grown up in a family that loved and respected and VALUED what I otherwise would have probably thought of as personality flaws rather than just something about me and how my brain works best!  smile

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

You’ve already been given some great advice, so not much I can add. I have taught a few children with ADHD or ADD over the years, but only one who required medication. Its true that despite what people say, it is not diagnosed frequently & medication is an absolute last resort.
I would be inclined to try out some of the things which have been suggested, particularly looking into nutrition. Think about seeing a nutritionist for proper testing for levels of vits, mins, heavy metals etc
xxx

To dare is to lose ones footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.

LETS number 137

https://wildheartseducation.wordpress.com/

Thanks for the replies everyone.
It’s not that I want to negatively label her, or that I want to cure her - I love the fact that she is such a highly spirited little girl! I guess I just want to understand better so we can cope with life a bit easier in our household!
I think my next plan of action is to do some reading around the issues of both ADHD and highly spirited children (recommendations anyone??).
Thanks for those tips Sarah - The very first one regarding eye contact is definitely true!

Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is very good, but highly dismissive of ADHD and totally misses the point that there is no contradiction in the terms “ADHD” and “spirited” - they MAY be interchangeable with some children, but they are also traits that it is very possible to have only one or the other of.  There was some other stuff that I felt was unhelpful to a parent of a child who is genuinely both spirited and AD, but other of her advice was wonderful and very positive.  smile

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Attention-Deficit-Disorder-Different-Perception/dp/1887424148/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1283936501&sr=8-3  This is the Thom Hartman book I recommended, although it is aimed at teaching AD/H adults to accept and understand themselves.

(Edited to add that something I forgot to mention yesterday is that when I think about ADHD I use the acronym, but never the words - I HATE the idea that because I think and react differently I have a disorder.  Yes I have to manage my behaviours differently to many people, but we are ALL on the continuum somewhere and there are folks out there who have to manage their thoughts and action for quite the opposite “disorder” ie hyper-focus and resistance to change!  So when I give myself any full-word label - or DD1 for that matter - I say “attention differences” or “attention prioritising issues”!)

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

Thanks grin

Share this with friends

Recent Posts