Anyone dealing with ADHD in addition to PA?

Posted on: Mon, 05/07/2001 - 2:32am
California Mom's picture
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pI may be totally jumping the gun by even posting this. I actually have no idea whether or not my 6 year old pa daughter does or does not have ADHD. I have only just begun to consider this possibility. It would explain why she tends to be very impulsive and so often does not respond at all when we tell her to stop doing something that she shouldn/p

Posted on: Mon, 05/07/2001 - 4:46am
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Miriam,
My two step-kids have ADHD. One is on time-release ritalin and the other on adderall. Another good book to read is "Raising Your Spirited Child." I can't remember the author's name.
Because we don't see my step-kids much, it is hard to provide them with any consistency, but there are some things you can do already that might help.
Kids with ADHD often have trouble with linear thought. Information retrieval and processing is pretty random. This means that they have problems understanding and following directions. It really helps if you ask them to do only one thing at a time. For example, telling them to put their shoes and coat on and go get in the car is too much. First tell her to put her shoes on. When she is done with that, tell her to put her coat on. And so on. One step at a time.
Also, I have found that kids with ADHD need a lot of predictability in their day. They thrive on structure and routine. If you are planning to go somewhere, give her plenty of warning to transition. Tell her, "In 15 minutes, we will be doing X." Five minutes later, remind her again. And so on. They don't like surprises.
Anyway, that is how it is with my step-kids. It can be different with other kids. ADHD doesn't have to be terrible. It just takes a lot of organization and structure (and patience) on your part.
Hope this helps a little.
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 05/07/2001 - 5:38am
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Miriam,
you have described my kindergartener PERFECTLY!! Sometimes though I think so much is expected nowadays in kindergarten and maybe its just immaturity. Anyway, I am going to wait another year to see if it gets a bit better. When I was in kindergarten I didn't read, went 1/2 day and played with blocks!! now they have reading groups, morning work, homework, etc. Seems like a lot for any 5-6 year old. Maybe the more emotionally young ones take longer to adjust.
good luck and let me know how it goes!

Posted on: Mon, 05/07/2001 - 8:57am
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Miriam,
Raising Your Spirited Child is by Mary Kurcinka. Don't ask me how I know!
I certainly agree that there is too much expected of kindergartners these days. In first grade, my older son got hours worth of homework each night - totally age inappropriate if you ask me.
My PA son is in first grade, and also is impulsive, doesn't stop when told to, and has more energy than 10 other people combined. However, he is very capable of focusing and completing his work. I'm sure he doesn't fall within the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, but he certainly has some of the traits.
Good luck!
Amy

Posted on: Mon, 05/07/2001 - 9:28pm
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My 9-year old, non-PA daughter was just diagnosed this year with ADHD. We went through an extremely thorough evaluation given by Children's Hospital. How did we get to that point? I started noticing strange things in 1st grade. My daughter, who is an excellent reader, HATED reading and it was torture to get her to do so. As the reading levels increased it got worse even though she reads at or above her age level. What I didn't know then that I know now is that it was not a reading problem but a concentration problem. Additionally, she struggles with math. Not because she doesn't get the concepts (my problem) but because her processing speed is terrible due to distractibility. Things really got rough in third grade and this year (4th grade) She slipped from an A/B student to C student on her way to failing. She has absolutely no behavior problems, but she is totally disorganized and cannot pay attention in class. She is the "daydreamer". We had her evaluated, they found mild distractability along with some impulsivity (she jumps to an answer without thinking through). We put her on the "new" Ritalin (Concerta) and her grades have gone up just about two letter grades and her teachers say her progress is astounding. She was never a behavior problem for the teachers so I didn't feel they were pushing it on me. My advice to you is to see how it goes in 1st grade. You could simply have a maturity problem. My son is 6 years old, in Kindergarten, and has many of the traits you have described in your daughter. I do not believe he is ADHD. His reading is great and he stays on task in the classroom. But he does exhibit distractibility. I think that will go away with some more formal time in the upper grades. Give it another year and if you don't see an improvement then jump on it and get it taken care of quickly.
Christine

Posted on: Tue, 05/08/2001 - 2:56am
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Thank you so much to everyone who has replied! I have tears in my eyes just knowing that I am not alone and that there are such caring people posting on this board, who have taken the time to help me while I am so worried. I honestly had been afraid that nobody would reply.
Yesterday afternoon Leah came home with a special card from the principal celebrating "100 days of good behavior". She also got a little stuffed rabbit and a reading book from the principal. I am so proud of her, and I am feeling positive toward Leah's teacher and the principal for acknowleging my little girl's efforts! This came at a good time for me, too, because I was quite anxious yesterday, as evidenced by my post.
I am really hoping that it is just a matter of immaturity with Leah, and not a serious problem. I think back to my own childhood, and I had a lot of behavior problems as well. However, I was an excellent reader. Of course, I didn't read until first grade. I guess since Leah is six I expect more from her. Maybe this is wrong. Perhaps I should just be thinking of her as a kindergartener and not as a six year old. I am so thankful that Leah does have a December birthday and therefore missed the cut off date for school entry. She clearly needs this extra time to mature.
Triciasmom, I really liked what you said about the importance of structure and routine. This is so very true for Leah. Also, yesterday I practiced giving her only one direction at a time. It felt weird to me because she is so verbal, and "should" be able to follow many directions in a sequence. However, I think you are on to something. I was incredibly patient with Leah yesterday - instead of thinking "oh my God, she's six years old and I have to tell her 5 times to buckle her seat belt! I tried to tell myself "this is the way Leah is, it takes time for her to do things; I need to stay calm and help her to stay focused on the task at hand".
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that my own background (BA and MA) is in Child Development. However, I always focused on infants and toddlers, and had't had to deal with the type of stuff that's happening with Leah, in my professional life. Still, I'm always afraid that if people know my background they will wonder why my child is so poorly behaved!
I did read the "spirited child" book about three years ago. I really liked it, but I remember feeling that it didn't have enough suggestions for getting kids to cooperate and behave well. I think it was good to help understand individual temperments (in fact I really felt that it helped me understand myself and my husband better!), but I needed more help with figuring out how to help the family function without this little child totally running our lives. I think I understand that a little better now, so maybe I should revisit the book.
Mom2two, it means so much to me to know that you are dealing with the same stuff. Thank you so much for letting me know! I like your thoughts that maybe all this academic pressure is just too much for some kids. I do also think (as Christine said, too) that I should wait and see how things go in first grade. Maybe Leah will mature over the summer, and maybe the reading thing will "click", too. I know that in the past couple of years I had been quite concerned that Leah didn't seem to have any aptitude for figuring out puzzles, and her art skills seemed lacking, too. She has improved tremendously in both those areas; maybe her reading will go the same way.
Going Nuts, thank you for letting me know that your son is also impulsive and doesn't stop when you tell him. This is the tricky thing for me, and probably for any parent when they're concerned about their child: knowing what is just normal for the age, or even normal for an energetic strong willed kid of this age, and what is a real problem that needs psychiatric intervention.
Christine, thank you so much for sharing the diffiulties you've had with your own daughter. I'm so glad to know how much better she is doing. My niece has also improved tremendously since taking medication. I appreciate hearing that you don't think waiting another year should be a problem. I guess my main concern with waiting, especially since Leah is having behavior problems, is that I am concerned about her self-esteem. I guess this is something my husband and I both need to be cognizant of at home, and I will need to communicate with her next year's teacher about this, too.
Well, I can't believe I've practically written a book, here, but I am so glad that I have a place to pour my heart out. I did make an appointment for next week with a child psychologist I have spoken with, from time to time, about issues we've had with Leah. This will just be an appointment for me to talk and ask questions, not for Leah to be observed. I am hoping that I will come away with some better clarity. I also e-mailed Leah's teacher and asked her if she could please give me information about how Leah is doing at school, so I can share it with the psychologist.
I also have two other issues that I would love it if those of you dealing with "difficult" kids could address: #1. Do you think you could ever home school your child? I think it would be a total disaster if I tried with Leah. She and I just butt heads so much; I think she really needs the structure of a classroom and a teacher to listen to. #2) To what extent do you "book" your child up for summer camps and activities? I have such mixed feelings about this. I want Leah to have unscheduled time to relax this summer. But I also am afraid that if she's around too much we'll just have a lot of conflicts and I'll end up irritated with her most of the time.
Thanks again, and I hope people could read until the end of this post! Miriam

Posted on: Tue, 05/08/2001 - 6:37am
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okay miriam this is WAY too weird now!!
I was always concerned about my oldest not being good at puzzles and way behind in drawing skills (compared to her friends AND compared to where she was at the age my current 2 year old is at!)
But like your daughter, she seems to have caught up, she is using lots of colors, drawing more than stick figures and can do puzzles if she wants (has not great interest in them but then neither do I)
My littlest, on the ohter hand, has been drawing circles since she was 1, calling them different people, puts together puzzles that are made for 3-5 year olds and seems to LOVE them.

Posted on: Tue, 05/08/2001 - 6:45am
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miriam,
again, rereading your last post, we must have twins seperated somehow before conception LOL!!!
we have thought about homeschooling but I too figure she would NEVER listen to me and we would have home wrestling all the time instead!!
I am not sending her to camp, she took so long to adjust to kindergarten that I just don't see the point. I am a working mom and its dh who stays home full time so in that respect I am not around her THAT much to butt heads all the time, just in the morning, evenings and weekends LOL!!
Seriously though, good to hear other moms going thru these things. A lot I think has to do with the age and the SEX!!! As much as I hate to admit it, I think the mother/daughter conflicts are just beginning.
EEK!!
Sometimes I get mad and then feel guilty and tell my self too that this is just the way she is, I think part of me wants so much for her to be the way other kids are, but then, she wouldn't be her, would she? am I making any sense/
I think kindies (especially girl onees) are particularly hard to deal with.
My little one is so different, my problems with her are that she is such a happy go lucky DAREDEVIL!!! Just the opposite of her sister. sigh, life is never boring, thats for sure!!
I know how worried you must get, I do too. I look up various symptoms and traits she has on the internet and come up with all sorts of horrendous diagnosis!!
too much time on my hands at work sometimes.
as someone told me, they aren't all easy, I just have one thats a little bit harder but may turn out to the one i can rely on more when I am old and decrepit!! (lol)

Posted on: Tue, 05/08/2001 - 9:38am
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Add my kids to your list of separated siblings! My older one was way, way behind in fine motor skills, got OT, the whole shebang. He would not draw, writing was a major battle, etc. Muy, muy distractable too. Guess what - at 10 1/2 he is quite good in art, and writes and illustrates comic books for fun. He has very superior language skills (reading, writing), but math continues to be a big problem. Actually, I'm in my 40s and math is a big problem for me too!
As for homeschooling, my older one would really benefit from it, however, homeschooling in our case would result in me being in a "home". He and I clash horrendously; he is not particularly compliant, and I am not as patient as I wish I was. It's a shame, but our local school district is very supportive of kids with different learning styles, and his teacher this year is very experienced with average, gifted and learning disabled kids, so he is having a great year.
It looks like all our posts on this subject are pretty long. I guess we have a lot of pent up stuff to release!
Amy

Posted on: Tue, 05/08/2001 - 10:46am
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Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

California mom, I just want to let you know that your daughter sounds alot like my niece. she however has had really bad problems with ear infections and fluid in them. finally they went with a new doctor that discovered she had an allergy to a bunch of foods,but mainly milk,and dairy. They told her that by taking this away from her she would get rid of the fluid and start to make changes. Well the thing is she has calmed way down. she is much more controlled than before. She can sit still a bit more than usual. Has your daughter been tested for these allergies? Just a thought. Claire

Posted on: Tue, 05/08/2001 - 2:28pm
Triciasmom's picture
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My step-kids were in the public school, and we finally pulled them out, because we felt that they were not getting enough structure and attention. My step-daughter is 12 and in the sixth grade at a very small private middle school. My step-son is currently being "home-schooled" by a private tutor. He will be going to the private school this fall. He is almost 10 and in the fourth grade.
I feel like I could not have homeschooled the kids myself if I had had the opportunity. Their mother is financially well-off, and she can afford the tutors and private school. Both kids respond better to teachers rather than to their parents.
Is there an ADHD support group in your area? If so, you might consider checking with them for resources and info. DH and I went to 1 meeting and found it very reassuring to talk to other parents of ADHD children. It really helps to find out what is typical behavior. We thought that my step-daughter was totally strange and crazy, but after talking to other parents, we discovered that she was pretty typical. And a support group can also be a great source of parenting strategies.
You don't have to wait to find out if your daughter has ADHD. You could go to a meeting or talk to some other parents simply to get more info and compare notes.
I admit that sometimes I find myself at wit's end. Some days you not only dislike your child -- you can't stand to be around them. That is okay. That is normal. Sometimes I feel that way, but I still love my step-kids.
And if you have a child with ADHD, you will find that everything centers around them and what they can tolerate. Some ADHD kids are very sensitive -- they are picky eaters, hate changes in routine, can't stand the tags in the back of their shirts. Sometimes they will say things or act inappropriately. Or they will tell you all about how sea turtles lay eggs in the sand when you ask them if they want a second helping of spaghetti.
One book that I really liked is "Power Parenting for Children with ADD/ADHD" by Grad L. Flick, Ph.D. It is a great book of parenting solutions and approaches. I would highly recommend it.
Well, I've ended up writing way more than I thought I had to say. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Hope this helps.
Amy

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