This is probably going to be long....i hope someone who can advise or who has experienced something similar can share....(thats if you can get through it...)
Ive posted before about my 5yo who showed symptoms of adhd at home. I took him off gluten, and they mostly disappeared.
Then he started Kindergarten, and guess what, not only is he not showing any signs of adhd, he's getting raving reports, socially, academically, and in any area you care to name. He participates in class, learns quickly, responds well to teachers and as an added bonus is Mr popularity.
But a mother is only as happy as her least happy child. and this post is not about him. This post is about his older brother, who is 8, and is third grade.
(im tearing up as i write this, because i dont see a solution for him in sight)
On the surface my 8yo, is the most easy going, considerate, and bright child. He co- operates at home, he is reasonable, he is good at coming up with solutions, he has the sweetest nature (wanted to share his toys when a toddler for eg), loves other people, learns quickly, and guess what, has what i would call an above age level ability to focus. From a young age, he didnt bore of things, but stayed focused and learned.
Then he started school, and started making noises in class, was disruptive, never participated in class discussions. We have a small school and they send us daily reports. My sons name never appeared anywhere, he just never contributed to the discussion, but did get sent out of the classroom alot.
We got him evaluated, and sure enough he had a bunch of sensory issues going on. However, i noticed that he exhibited the problematic behaviors whenever he was doing work that involved complex verbal information, but excelled if ideas were presented visually.
Much of my own research led me to the term Auditory Processing Disorder.
3years later, he got an official diagnosis. ( you cant be diagnosed until 7)
Now in third grade, he is showing no signs of improving as far as his disruptive behaviors in a highly verbal context are concerned. For some classes he is taken by the teacher one on one. He simply doesnt function in the group setting, because he is missing 50% of what is going on.
But despite the diagnosis, and the recommendation of an FM system (still hasnt arrived), the teachers are saying he has attention issues.
The thing is, from my non professional understanding (just a mom without a degree in these things), almost everything they describe as attentional, is actually a symptom of his APD-who would pay attention when they cant process the sound? Its too tiring.
He is also dealing with the other sensory issues- he fidgets alot (from my understanding, this is his way of grounding himself-proprioperception)
But the thing is, if he focuses well one of one, how is that a problem of attention?
Even the speech evaluator (the diagnosis of apd also brought with it a recommendation of speech therapy), said he sat through the complex speech questions very well, but fidgeted the whole time(well yeah, its challenging for him to make sense of complex and often meaningless sentence structures, but he stuck with it, because, that is my kid!)
Since when is the propensity to fidget lead to a diagnosis of adhd? I thought it was a sensory issue, ie, a person trying to find their body is space, especially in a challenging environment. So what if he fidgets? Let the kid fidget!! Give him a fidget ball...
However, i am not at school with him, and his teacher (who is very understanding and great to work with, but not an expert either in these matters), said there are so many examples of what shes sees as attentional rather than mere APD or sensory issues. When she names them, i see that they are more a symptom of apd, ie, too much verbal info. Or just as likely a symptom of sensory overload. (but she hasnt named all of them)
Ive heard of so called adhd diagnosed children taking the medication, and it doesnt help. Theres a good chance that its because they dont really have adhd.
But what do i know about this problem? Just that it doesnt make sense to treat the symptom rather than the cause.
But what if he actually did have adhd?
(So many teachers and professionals cant be wrong (except that none of them know anything about apd)
When i asked my doc can adhd be ruled out, she said there was no way to do so. But can it be confirmed? How is it confirmed if its just based on a teachers description of symptoms of other issues?
I took him to dept of education appointed psychiatrist, back when i wanted him to have OT in Kindergarten. He could not get OT based on the occupational therapists recommendation , he needed a dx of adhd. So i sought it.
We sat in a dark room, my then 5 yo in front of the psychiatrist, and older man, and me on the side. We just sat there. Ds starts to fidget...bingo! Adhd. Diagnosis achieved.
So i dont take it seriously.
How can i figure out whats really going on?
Btw, i tried coffee, pycagenol, and several so called remedies for adhd. The coffee perked him up, but did not calm him or center him (apparently for those with adhd, it has the opposite effect as most of us)
I havent tried any pharmeceuticals yet. And i am very afraid to do so. I feel it wont really help him, and will probably at best, actually be harmful to him.....
Also, he is shy by nature, and doesnt dare to raise his hand even if he knows. He might quickly forget what he was going to say if chosen (another APD symptom)
Wont medication just make him even less confident?
He is also short stature but apparently within the normal range. I am taking him to an endocrinologist.
Cant medication also exacerbate short stature?
I just dont know what to do.
First and foremost, i want to truly understand what is going on. I am not resisting a diagnosis of adhd for any other reason than i need to know the truth about things, and will fight hard to get it...
Is adhd the inability for the brain to focus? Or is it inability to focus because of sensory issues? Is adhd always a symptom, or is it a true disorder? Maybe i just dont get it. Or maybe, it depends on which professional you are listening to, an audiologist calls it apd, and occupational therapist calls is sensory disorder, and a psychiatrist calls it attention disorder....
Fortunately, the speech evaluator believes in the existence of APD, as many professionals actually dont.