ADHD or Naughty?

Alyssa - posted on 03/11/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )




There seems to be a lot of stigma surrounding the diagnosis of ADHD and ADD. According to this article it seems to be quite a lengthy process with many health professionals and different criteria involed. How do you feel when you hear a child has been diagnosed.


Jodi - posted on 03/11/2011




Most 3 year olds show signs of it. WAY too young to be diagnosed for good reason.

I haven't personally had a child diagnosed, and I don't know anyone whose child has, to be honest.

However, I am strongly of the belief that every child learns about the world around them differently. We, as a society, have certain expectations of *how* we should be learning, and some people just DON'T learn that way You know how we are always talking different discipline techinques, because Child A reacted this way with Method 1, but Child B reacted totally differently to Method 1. I don't think it is necessarily ADHD, I think often it is that the child just doesn't fit in that nice, neat little box that society expects.

Amie - posted on 03/13/2011




I have a child diagnosed with ADHD. It is real and I think (it seems like) it depends on where you live and who you go to as to whether you will get a real diagnosis or just some doc pushing meds at you.

It was a lengthy process to get our daughter diagnosed. As a toddler (2-4 years) I ignored her activity level and her short attention span. She was a toddler, no big deal. Then she started school. I brought my concerns up to her teacher and they had a child psychologist (? can't remember honestly) sit in class. She was concerned as well so our daughter was referred to a specialist [a doctor who deals explicitly with children and disabilities]. He saw her and we filled out a bunch of paperwork, he sent the same paperwork to the school to have them fill it out. He said she's of concern but she's also young (5 years at the time) so she may grow out of it, we'll just watch her for now. We finished out the school year and she was bumped up to grade 1 - she barely made it through.

After the first quarter of school we had our diagnosis. For the entire year before that she had continued to see the specialists she had been seeing. From that diagnosis we were never offered meds as a first recourse. We didn't think she was that bad honestly, since there are varying degrees of severity even with ADD and ADHD. So we changed her diet, increased her exercise (play time basically as well as adding some extra curriculars) and she had extra help at school to help her focus. It didn't work, again she barely squeaked by.

In grade 2 she started meds. Her doctor (the specialist mentioned above) told us when we started - kids caught early only need to be on the medication for 3-5 years at max before they can be weaned off. It's very rare that it needs to go on longer than this. She did well on the medication, her grades improved as well as her hyper activity and her attention span. We noticed it at home and her teachers noticed it at school. Even with the medication and her grades improving she was behind where she should have been.

Grade 3 she started split schooling. She spent half a day at a school for kids with learning disabilities and the other half at her home school. The LD school helped her learn around her ADHD. Kids with disabilities such as our daughters (which is severe) and others do not and can not learn in a normal school setting - well they can but they will always be behind. The LD school helped her "wire" her brain to learn. She spent 2 years there.

She is now in grade 5. She was able to come off her meds this year after 3 years of being on them. She still needs extra help but is by no means as far behind as she was. Her home school is equipped to help her with her needs. Whereas before with the intense help she needed, they were not.

I worry sometimes when I hear people trying to diagnosis their children or when I see posts (which thankfully after staying off the welcome page are rare to see) about doctors trying to hand out medication to young children with supposed ADD or ADHD. After going through it with my own daughter, I know it should not be taken as blithely as some seem to take it.
Toddlers are not a concern, kindergartners are a jumping off point but are of little concern. When children are 6 and have had a year of school behind them (since this is where it is noticed the most by others as well as at home) is when parents and doctors should really look and see. Go through the checklists a specialist can provide, send them to school for the school to fill out as well. Have them seen regularly to keep track (our daughter is seen every 3 months) of their progress or lack there of.

Most importantly - do not jump straight to medication. There are 2 other children my daughter goes to school with who have ADD or ADHD and do not need meds. With the changes we made in grade 1 - their families also made. For them it worked, for us it didn't. Not all children need medication. If they do however, start with the lowest dose possible. Our daughter started on 2 - 2.5 mg (half a 5 mg pill); one in the morning and one in the afternoon. As she grew her dose slightly increased. At the end, before she was weaned, she was on 20 mg slow release ritalin (one pill in the morning - opposed to two throughout the day). Ritalin is not a bad thing, it is also a lot cheaper then other meds available out there - for those that this is a concern for. There are side effects but with proper care (again, our daughter was monitored well - seen every 3 months) these are kept to a minimum - this goes for any type of medication though as well.

Brandi - posted on 03/11/2011




@Aylyssa I thought the same about my youngest child. He started preschool this year and I thought for sure he would be going wild. I never had this problem with my oldest, and I discipline and treat them exactly the same.
BUT, low and behold, preschool has helped my hyper active child into a more mellow child. He has only been in trouble twice at school this year, and it has been 8 months. My oldest who is the more calm one has actually been in trouble more than my youngest, which is unbelievable. So, at your child's age, I would try to ride it out. Teach them all that you can, and discipline when needed. I think if your area offers preschool, definitely sign him/her up. It helps big time. And, now I have no doubts about my son going to elementary school. PLUS, he is off the charts!! He is only 4 and they recommended him skipping kindergarten. Albert Einstein was said to have ADD and he was a GENIUS!

Tania - posted on 03/14/2011




Yes ADD and ADHD are real disorders. That being said I don't believe it is something that a parent or teacher can diagnose themselves simply because a child misbehaives.

If there are concerns the child should be tested and evaluated by a professional. This can take quite awhile.

There may be something else masking as ADD/ADHD sympptoms as well.

My son has a learning disablity that can often have similar symptoms.

My point is that these disorders do take time to evaluate and if you suspect anything see your doctor.

[deleted account]

I was diagnosed with ADHD when i was young, i was put on meds for it. Then those meds gave me bipolar like symptoms as a teen. So i was put on several different bipolar meds throughout my teen years. I dont remember a lot of it either because the meds made me extremely forgetful. Ages 12-17 are a blur to me. I quit the meds one day because i had enough of feeling like crap all the time. After fully getting rid of them from my system, there was nothing wrong with me. My mother just didnt know how to parent.

Plenty of people are misdiagnosed when it comes to ADD ADHD. Doesnt make it any less real. Some doctors just dont care enough to take the time and effort thats needed for a proper diagnosis. I think meds should be a last resort, not a first.


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Rosie - posted on 03/14/2011




i feel it is a very real disorder that affects my life everyday. it irritates me when people look at people and diagnose for themselves whether or not someone elses child has ADHD or not. do they have a degree in psychology? i've taken my kid to multiple doctors, multiple times to try to get a proper diagnosis.
i'm not saying people don't diagnose their kids themselves, nor am i not saying some doctors diagnose it when it's not there. however, that is something that needs to be taken up with the doctor-not the parent. it shouldn't be so easy to diagnose it. in my case it wasn't, and i have a hard time understanding how a regular pediatrician is allowed to diagnose it. i had to go to a psychologist, who in turn had a TEAM of people look at him-who in turn talked to each other together, and then talked to us.

Celeste - posted on 03/14/2011




I"m not sure if it's overdiagnosed. I feel that we are more aware of it. I think that many children went undiagnosed. I'm sure that there are children who don't have it that were diagnosed with it, but I'm not sure if it's as prevalent as some make it out to be.

My daughter has ADHD due to her Neurofibromatosis Type 1. We went through a lengthy process, with interviews and testing and finally diagnosis. We reluctantly went with the meds route, and it made a HUGE difference. Pre meds, her grades and self esteem were suffering.

Audrey - posted on 03/14/2011




i agree that it is overdiagnosed. i think im just at my wits end with my 3 yr old son and keep thinking that since im doing evrything i know to do then there must be an actual problem but i think in the back of my mind i know he is just a very active, challenging, spirited child. and thats not a bad thing. i love that about him. its just really hard and im scared of missing something important because i thought it was just normal behavior. i do agree that kids his age are a bit too young to diagnose though. he has his 3 yr doctors apt on wednesday so i think i will just raise my concerns to his doctor at that time. as for meds, i hate putting kids on a bunch of medicine if there is another way. however, i would never condem a parent that tried everything else and had to go to meds as a last resort. there are some people though that dont hesitate to shove meds down their kids throat just because they dont want to deal with them. that isnt right.

Nadia - posted on 03/13/2011




well, i don't have any kids officially diagnosed, but sometimes i wonder about my 5 yr old. My husband has ADHD and i see a lot of his behavior in her... and my goodness do they clash! i truly think that its a legit problem, but i also have to say it is WAYover-diagnosed and many times kids are put on meds without even trying alternative methods (such as changing diet and rutines). A lot of kids are active and thats a good thing! to have a child that wants to run and play... they will end up being healthier and fitter in the future as opposed to the kids who sit in front of a tv or computer all day. ADHD isn't just running around all the time... people who have it think in a much different way than other people. The best way i've heard it described is by my FIL (who's a doctor) ... he told me their brains operate on a different level... to just sit and listen to a lecture cannot be done. They need to constantly be going. This is why they fiddle with things, constantly flip channels, pick fights, jump from activity to activity... it's like the "normal" world works too slow for them and it bores them. It's incredibly challenging to live with someone like this (whether it be a partner or child).

Krista - posted on 03/13/2011




I've taught a few students who were diagnosed with ADHD, mostly boys, and there is definitely a difference between the children who were diagnosed, and the other students who just had lots of energy. I think it is a genuine disorder, but I also think it's over diagnosed.

I also think that a lot of teachers will try to get students diagnosed and medicated in order to make their lives easier. I've never recommended that a parent seek medication. My approach has been to have a behavior specialist visit my room and watch the child and me and document every behavior and action. I usually get a ton of great feedback and so do the parents, which allows me to modify my teaching and help the child to pay attention and learn.

I've had students who literally could not sit still for more than a few seconds, and who could not make eye contact or focus on my voice for long enough to understand any directions. It must be so difficult for these children who can't focus, even when they try, and I feel for the parents who struggle with children with this diagnosis.

Jodi - posted on 03/13/2011




SOunds like a 3 year old to me. Just remember that as children get older, and their focus and priorities change, you need to continually change your discipline techniques. The same techniques that work for 1 or 2 year olds will not work for a 3 or 4 year old. Once they start questioning their environment and gaining greater self awareness, their priorities change. So just because your discipline techniques don't work any more doesn't mean they are ADHD and need to be medicated.

Audrey - posted on 03/13/2011




i ahve started wondering if my son who just turned 3 has it. he is so difficult and seems to be constantly bouncing off the walls and he will get so excited that he will wave/shake both his hands in front of him. its hard to get him to focus and i have a horrible time getting him to listen and what he is told. now my dicipline techniques are starting to become ineffective and i just dont know what to do!

Jodi - posted on 03/11/2011




Oh, and just for the record, I don't like the word naughty. It comes across as describing the child rather than the behaviour :D

Alyssa - posted on 03/11/2011




Is it over diagnosed though or is it just that we know what to look for....I don't know. I am seriously considering that my almost 3yo might have it. FULL-ON is all I can say, but I will see how he goes and keep it in the back of my head. I'm not jumping to conclusions just yet, he is still young.

Lets face it almost every kid will display the symptoms at some stage, it depends whether or not they are on-going or have a real impact on their far we tick all the boxes :/

Jenn - posted on 03/11/2011




Honestly? I hear it a LOT with people I come into contact with. I do believe that it's a real thing, but question what causes it, and I also think it's WAAAAAAAAY over diagnosed. Some of the people I think are just looking for an excuse, but I'm also sure there are lots who really do have it. I can clearly remember a little boy in my kindergarten class who now would have been labelled ADHD (back then it was just called hyperactive), and he was a constant disruption to the class and he was very aggressive and always getting into trouble. He started taking ritalin and calmed down a lot. He grew up to join the Armed Forces, has a wife and 2 kids.

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