ADD? Please help

Jennifer - posted on 05/18/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My oldest is now 6 and just finishing Kindergarten. We have had so many problems getting him to keep his attention on anything long enough to do the things we tell him. To me and my husband, it seems like he really wants to do good, but he just gets distracted. We really started noticing it a couple years ago, but this year, I think his school work has suffered from it. I think he is way too young to have the label of having ADD, and I definately don't want him to have to take drugs. On the other hand, I don't want him to fall behind in school if there is something we can do to help while he is still young. His teacher said she has noticed some problems, and she suggessted we talk to his doctor, but she also said, that he could get better as he gets older. He really is a good kid, and though he is a very active little boy, I don't think he is hyperactive. His birth father (my ex) had ADD and also some other mental problems, so there is a family history of it. Has anyone else had these kind of problems, and if so, what did you do to help? I plan on taking him to the library quite a bit this summer, so I can work with him, but I'm kind of lost on how to do it.

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Jennifer - posted on 05/18/2010

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Kelly, I really get what you are saying about the whole t.v. thing. Just tonight, I told my son to get his spikes on for his t-ball game, and he couldn't do it, because his mind kept wondering to the t.v. I usually don't have it on very often, because I believe that children should be outside playing, or if it isn't possible to be outside, then they should at least be using their imaginations with coloring or playing with toys or some other activity. Also, you said that I should let him draw while I am reading him a book. That sounds great, but he is to the point, where he is suppossed to be reading to me. The problem with his reading, is that as soon as he looks at a couple letters, then he shouts out what the word is, without looking at all the letters in the word. Like the other day, he was trying to read the word "cut" instantly he says "Cat" I told him he was clost, but he needed to sound out the middle letter. Once he got the "u" sound, he says "cup" When I told him the first two sounds were right, but he needed the sound of the "t" at the end, he just gave up, and refused to try again. I have told him that it is ok to make mistakes, because we learn from them, but as soon as he tries a couple times and makes the mistakes, then he can't get his concentration back to try again.

Kristin - posted on 05/18/2010

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While I don't have it nor do my children or husband, I will say that this is possibly one of the most over-used diagnoses in medicine right now. I would definitely talk with his doctor, get a referal to a mental health pro who specializes in children, do some research on the condition and treatments. Make sure to really impress upon them how much you dislike the drug approach.

In the meantime, make sure he has outlets for both his energy and emotions. Really take a look at his diet, sleep routines, and daily routines. Get the food to be as minimally processed as possible. Make sure he is getting enough sleep. Set up his day so that he gets enough run around time mixed in with the more studious or quiet activities. Talk with the psychologist (or whatever) about behavioral therapies you can incorporate.

There was a study that came out a year or two ago about behavioral disorders and their relation to very structured environments. As the structure increased so did the diagnosis rate. 1 in 5 boys, and 1 in 10 girls are now diagnosed with a behavioral disorder. The classroom has been structured to really encourage girls to do better in school, but I think our boys are paying the price. Girls do well in structured and quieter environments, boys do not. And all kids need more play/run around time than the weak recesses they get these days.

Basically, keep talking and advocating for your son in this. Meds do not have to be the first choice and can be substantially reduced if necessary by implementing other options for him. Good luck.

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My son doesn't have ADD but I do, and I'm currently managing without any medication (I'm MUCH happier w/o meds, but I will tell you that some days I would just LOVE to pop a pill and concentrate on something for a few hours! lol)

Anyway, your son sounds just like....me!

Here are some things that help me tremendously that are usually not recommended (and sometimes don't make any since to people who don't have ADD).



Try letting him doodle while you read him a book. It will occupy the physical part of his brain just enough to let the other part listen. Sometimes, he may even draw something related to the story...most times not, but I promise, even though he's drawing, he's hearing you!



When you are working with him on academic stuff, like writing his name, or doing math, try playing some music softly in the background but be careful to choose instrumental (like classical) music. It will calm his mind enough to focus on the important task, but words will start a stream of thought he can't control and he'll be distracted.



Also, sometimes when you read him a book and he gets distracted, let him do whatever he wants for a little while, just see where his mind goes. If I don't let my mind wonder sometimes I get horrid headaches and my thoughts get jumbled and incoherent. Play with him and let him lead!



If at all possible, keep the TV off unless you are actually sitting down to watch it--I HATE the TV. Well, I mean I love TV, but if I'm trying to do something, even as simple as taking a towel to the hamper, I kid you not I will forget what I'm doing as soon as I walk past a TV. Even if I don't stop to watch it!! I'll just keep walking, my mind will go off on some tangent of thought and I'll look down 5 minutes later and wonder why I'm carrying a towel around.



One thing that helped me, but I didn't discover it until adulthood was Martial Arts. It is the PERFECT combination of physical and mental focus, and it is a great release! If you can afford it, let him try it--my son is in it and as of yet, he has no idea that it is used for fighting!

Jennifer - posted on 05/18/2010

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thanks ladies. It's nice to know I'm not alone. It just really scared me, when I took my daughter (she's only 15mo younger than my son) to kindergarten screening and they were showing stuff that most kids can do by the time they get out of kindergarten, and my son can't do most of it. I know that he is smart enough, he just gives up on himself before he even tries, because he can't sit still that long. He'll tell me he wants to read a book, but after him trying for about 30sec of reading, he gets distracted. I have even tried taking him into my bedroom where there is no tv, and have my husband watch the other two kids, but he still gets distracted by something. Sometimes I lose my patience, and then I give up, because I don't want to hurt his feelings.

Shannon - posted on 05/18/2010

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My daugther will be 9 in June. She had problems since she was in Pre-K. So I put her on some Focus Vitiams. They are herbs. You can get them at wal-mart, or some herb store. She did good but as she got older it was worst with her behavior. The doctor said that I was getting rid of the ADHD but her anger was getting worst. So now she is on Meds and doing alot better.

Carolyn - posted on 05/18/2010

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Your son sounds exactly like my 4 year old. Even colouring seems like a monumental task for him. He is just so busy. He loves school but is constantly prodded and encouraged to finish when most have been long gone. His teacher has expressed some concern and my husband and I have lots. I finally got my GP to refer us to a pediatrician (still waiting to hear from them). If he does have ADD, I am not willing to put him on drugs but we will hopefully learn some new techniques and coping methods. I don't want him to get to grade 2 or 3 and have to be on drugs because he is wild and disruptive to his class. My GP recommended putting him in anything active and slightly structured that we could. He swims 2 times a week(lessons once, free swim once) is starting soccer and tball also. I try to get him outside as much as possible and then offer calm activities inside (playdough, painting, water in the sink). He still runs through my house like a madman at times but is better when there is more structure. Ask your doctor. I was upfront right away saying I do not want drugs, just new ideas. They have resources that can hopefully steer you in the right direction.

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