How do you tell a bored child from an attention deficit child?

Karen - posted on 02/26/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Our son is very intelligent but under-performing. We have tried a lot of things, but now are considering that AD/HD may be part of the problem. We have no experience with it and frankly the doctors seem to know less than we do. How do you tell a bored child from an attention deficit child?

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Melissa - posted on 06/07/2009

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Be very cautious with teachers - although they can not legally say your kid may have ADD/ADHD - this is the 1st thing they suggest when they have difficulty in a classroom.. (mainly cuz it disrupts their routine with the other students - they are not medical experts & this is the 1st thing they often link a childs behavior to)



Our 7 yr old is very bright - sounds like most of these kids mentioned above - could do puzzles at 2yrs, letters, numbers, can concentrate on things that interest him - has an amazing memory etc...> When we got to kindergarten - oh what a mess - academically he knew his info - but when it came to the structure of school - we had concerns - Then we went to 1st grade- same thing -- he would get bored in class - constantly get out of his seat or simply figit with something other than pay attention to the teachers - yet when asked a question on what they were discussing he knew the information - which frustrated the teachers even more - All his 'standard' tests he passed with high scores- so then it became a 'applying himself' issue -(teachers would say - imagine if he payed attention more - what he could do etc...) we had many meetings with the teachers/school counselor (all called by the school)- suggesting we get him 'evaluated' (as they will legally put it) what they meant was ADHD/ADD, they even suggested the "SLD' (learning disablitly program) etc... I was astonished - almost alittle upset - & not because of the ' NOT my kid sydrome., but because I was in fear they were labeling my child & not seeing the real problem - he's bored' & also I live in a state where the curiculum is FCAT taught - yes another challenge - for another discussion....



As a parent - TRUST YOUR OWN INSTINCTS - we know our child, & we had researched ADD/ADHD, & have privately spoken to our doctors (NOT THE SCHOOL) - & all answers return back that he is normal - Interesting, during one of our many meetings with the teachers/counsler - the principal sat in - We were speaking about a particular test - "Standard dibbles 1st grade test - where the avg 1st grader scores 26/50 - our child scored 48/50 - so of course as the parent I suggested to them - we don't have a child who has a learning disability, possibly we have a child bored in the classroom - of course the teachers didn't like this - but it sparked the prinicpal to ask more questions to the teachers about our child & how he responds to thing.... Inevitably, the principaly then stated - to the teachers - (yes in front of us) that 'behaviors of ADD/ADHD children often mimick gifted children - ask the teachers to do their research on both subjects" & then asked us to consider having the child evaluated for the gifted program... Yeah, talk about a 360 - however this principal has 29 years of education vs. the teacher who only has 4... big difference....



I am sharing this, cuz as a parent I am concerned & ready to face any challenge my child brings me - Our jobs are to help them adjust to life & the world - with that - trust your instinct - you know your child best - do your research - just don't put all the faith in a teacher & be ready to sign off on testing they suggest... When I look at my 7yr old - yeah, hes a handful - but its a teachers job to teach the lessons & MY job to protect him & be his voice - always listen to what they have to say - then walk away & do what you think is best for your child... hope this helps some...

Susan - posted on 10/10/2011

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I have two daughters I am inthe process of haing evaluated. My 11 year-old was tested very early and qualified for the gifted program in first grade. She has had all of the benefits of the enrichment programs, which she loves, but now, in 6th grade, her problems have not solved themselves, and in fact, have become worse in some ways. She fidgets and forgets to turn in her homework (even though it is completed), and throws tantrums at home when asked to do homework or chores. I have been at my wits end! Her grades vary widely because of homework that is not turned in (she is failing a core subject even!) but her standardized test scores are amazing.
We finally have had her evaluated by an educational therapist, who believes she has ADD and that we should at least try medication to help her body's chemical imbalance so that she can concentrate and function effectively. This problem has NOT gone away up to this point, and I will happily do whatever it takes to help my child have the tools to succeed in school and at home! She needs the help.
Take note, however, that she has been evaluated with specific attentional and processing issues. I asked the same educational therapist to test my 6 year-old who exhibits entirely different challenges. She, too, has attentional difficulties, but very different ones than her sister. It was NOT recommended for her to be put on any meds, though, because of her age and an effort to aid her through therapy and by giving her coping methods. She also has a separate battle with visual comprehension. All of these will be addressed in future vista. Both will be visiting the educational therapists for weekly sessions.
My older daughter, at the request of her gifted teacher, will not have the ADD label in her files, unless it becomes helpful for her to have it there. The teacher claims that 25% of gifted children have ADD/HD. That's great, but let's give all of our kids the tools they need to be and feel successful!
Most areas have some sort of educational therapy centers. If you have a child struggling in school, ADD/HD or not, there are probably underlying issues that, if treated, could be a huge help for you, your child, and their schools!

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Linda - posted on 05/28/2009

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I have two children with ADHD. Is your son under performing in school or just at home?

Kylie - posted on 05/19/2009

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I just wanted to add a great book in terms of learning about your child's personality which is Tricky Kids by Andrew Fuller. I loved this book, because he loves kids that are a little left of centre and really focuses on the positives of these children.



Cara, judging by the information you have given about Ashton she may fit the daredevil personality which is my littlest one and considering the issues I have had with my 6 year old, I dread sending my oh so adventurous 3 year old to the same school!!! I loved that Fuller recommended NOT wrapping him in cotton wool and stifling his curiosity but to encourage it in a safe environment - which is what we try to do even though it leaves relatives aghast.



We have been using the fish oil in conjunction with the diet mentioned above and my 6 year olds teacher commented on how much better my son is behaving again.

Sonja - posted on 05/18/2009

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"No Mind Left Behind" has a good review of executive functions, the ability to stay in control, focused etc. I found it very helpful in dealing with my child and understanding him. If you want to do nutritional supplements, fish oil or omega 3/6 fatty acids are worth a try too.

Cara - posted on 05/18/2009

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I have dreaded the ADD/ADHD label for my daughter ever since she could walk and talk, probably even before that because she has always been inquisitive and ready to move on to the next thing. We have sadly had to move our daughter to four different child care settings until we found one who embraced her approach to learning and life in general, this past fall, she was old enough to start school and the process began all over again. I would love to know more about the conversations some of you have had with the schools to allow children to move around and learn at their own pace, working on several projects at once, etc.



Ashton has an amazing grasp on the world, the concept of God, Heaven, and people's emotions. She reads and is curious about every new environment, her favorite questions are What is that? and Why is that?. What I found out at 3 and 1/2 about her, after being dismissed from a child care provider's program for being "too energetic and dangerous", is that your child does not need a label, he or she needs an advocate. They need to know that no matter who anyone else thinks they are, as a parent you are comfortable with who they are and love them unconditionally. I still constantly hear from parents, teachers, and family that she is "energetic", "busy", "hyper", but regardless she is MY amazing daughter and the magic of blending mother's knowledge and love with a child who dances to the beat of her own drum will hopefully do wonders for her self-esteem and who knows, maybe she will change the world one day!



I have had to offer suggestions to her current teachers on ways to encourage her and set her up for success particularly in a school that promotes sitting and being quiet, which really is quite task for her to undertake. I would love to hear more about the resources you were able to give teachers to better accomodate the learning style of your children. I still dread the day when someone will ask us to have her tested, but my husband and I refuse to believe that medications are the only choice for these children. We too have changed her diet, excluding artificial color additives and limiting high-sugar and processed foods. There is some great research on the web about Red #40 and the similar affects to symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Worth a look!

Shannon - posted on 05/14/2009

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Hi Karen! I have been through this same issue for years. At the request of my son's pediatrician I had his PERSONALITY evaluated, because I was fearing any kind of diagnosis,,,given the reprecussions with insurance and life-long scholastic labels. This helped me out tremendously! I found that my son has what MOST of us do...which are Shadow Syndromes, meaning that he has the sctivity level of an ADD/HD child, but that if given something that challanges him, he can sit and focus for any given length of time. Also take into account your child's age. I do not know of a 3 year old boy anywhere this side of Mars that wants to sit and be quiet for any length of time, and I think that follows suit until boys are around the age of ten. We just notice it as moms because we are females and tend not to be quite as active. I have found that in my child's classroom, if my son prompts the teacher that he is feeling bored and restless she will assign something for him that will allow for him a change of scenery, so to speak,,,ie: run these library books down to the library for me please,,or,,,a child has misplaced his red jacket on the playground will you please escort our student teacher and help her look for it. Sometimes this can help, and teachers like to KNOW when the problem is starting so they can avoid any real drama or misbehavior. Try talking to your childs teacher about those types of possibilities. But defintiely look into a personality assessment, it is a great way to learn about your childs personality, given strengths and weaknesses and invaluable community resources to help you give your child the tools he needs for success.

Jennifer - posted on 05/13/2009

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I did some reading on this, as my husband is highly gifted and ADD. What it comes down to, is can the child sit and pay attention to something that they are interested in for a reasonable length of time for their age. I don't think TV counts. For example, my 3 year old can sit and do puzzles for 30+ minutes, so it's probably not ADD, it is probably school boredom. But, I have found that schools would rather identify a child as ADD/HD then gifted. I don't know why. And, is your child not paying attention. My son is often off doing something different then all the other kids in his class, but he can yell the correct answer over to the teacher even so. Usually a child with ADD has no idea what is going on outside of their own focus. At least that is what it looks like in my niece.

Ellen - posted on 02/26/2009

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Kylie - that is a great explanation. If they can focus on something they are interested in for a length of time it's probably the boredom issue. Z bounces from academic activity to academic activity - the best wa to get work from him is give him multiple subjects to work on at a time. He writes his answers to one while thinking about the others and rotates. He also stands and prances around his space while doing this - drives teachers nuts. He's into cheer and can sit unmoving in that class for 20 minutes if needed. He was a perfect litle statue while is peers rolled all over the place. Amazing to watch. I finally had to tell the school that I've had him evalauted for ADD / ADHD 4 times at their request and I get the same response from the doctor each time "he's gifted". Actually the doctors are getting a little frustrated at the school. Now with all that said it's not unsual to have ADD / ADHD with the gifted. The key question is can they focus on anything - not something we think they should but anything.

Kylie - posted on 02/26/2009

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I'm no expert Karen but my son's teacher last year wanted him assessed for ADHD without the hyperactivity due to inattention. I have spoken to child psychs' and had him booked in for assessment but have deferred for another 6 months. He has just started Year 1 this year and to date the teacher has had absolutely no issues with him. We did change his diet to be high protein/low carb and low on colours/flavours etc, which does seem to settle him and help him concentrate.



I also think the boredom factor had alot to do with it. The work is more challenging this year, so he is happier. I must say with him, he does seem to be a bit spacy but when quizzed can answer any question put to him ie. I read to him while he was watching the tennis and he could easily answer everything that happened in the story and the tennis! Obviously some children who seem inattentive or hyper, just have the ability to do alot of things at once and to absorb them all. With hyperactivity I believe it manifests in the child as not being able to sit still even when interested in something - my understanding is that most ADHD kids are unable to concentrate for a lengthy period of time on anything. Not sure how correct this is - hopefully someone with more experience of twice exceptional children will be able to clarify for you.

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