moms of kids with adhd - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just wondering how young your kids were when you started to see behavioral issues? my 18 month old has some issues that lead me to believe he may have adhd, but DH's uncle who is a pediatrician says its much too early to diagnose anything like that, and that they dont start showing signs till they are in grade school. i beg to differ, but am just wondering what your experience was? also... what things tipped you off to the possibility of adhd?
my son has this awful tendency to bang his head on whatever he can if he is over excited, or upset. many doctors have told us to let him do it, because he will realise that it hurts, and eventually stop, however it is getting worse. the older he gets the harder her hits his head on things when he is excited or upset. he also throws really intense tantrums. i know he is at the age where tantrums begin, but his are insane. he is really rambunctious compared to most kids his age, super daring, and is constantly looking for trouble... what do you think?
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#2 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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Sometimes behavioral signs are there but they are also present in normative behavior. In other words, it's possible to be a daredevil for instance without having adhd. Little kids brains don't perceive long term cause and effect like older more developed brains so it's impossible to say you have a deficet before that function of the brain can be expected to be present. It's also possible for normal people to show signs of inattention at times.

Whatever you call it, the head-banging would scare me as a mom and I think efforts to protect his head when upset would be needed. Like getting him to a softer place like his bed rather than a hard floor.

But yes, my own child with ADHD was a handful at age two. He required less sleep than other kids, more exercise, and lots more efforts on my part to keep him from injuring himself. He was also a happy-go-lucky little tyke and a lot of fun. Never a dull moment. The one thing that we noticed is that he did not sustain his play-flitted from one thing to the next. But like I said that is quite common and kids have a short attention span at that age.

I would keep an eye on it and do thinks to help sustain his attention at play and keep him safe.
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#3 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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I have mixed opinions on the whole diagnosis/treatment question. YoungSon had all manner of behavioral quirks from a pretty young age - 6 or 8 months? It never was something to diagnose or fix though. You mentioned a couple traits that make me think of sensory issues. To me, neurological science is too young to definitively separate all the various related symptoms and syndromes. The lines between autism spectrum, sensory processing stuff, and dyslexia, just to name a few, are fuzzy. So my approach with a 2 year old (or most anyone else!) would be more a specific problem-solving attitude. The head-banging would concern me, but I don't think it much matters if it is called sensory, ADD, or autistic. There are some good books out there to address the sensory needs of some kids (someone else fill in the titles please; I am drawing a blank!), and the exercises they recommend will help regardless of the diagnosis. I think your doctor was being safely conservative in hesitating to dx so young. Sometimes we jump too soon into a medical model, and look to a pill to fix things. I don't mean to imply that you were looking for a magic pill, or that you don't need some help and support with your child. But perhaps you can find some helpful advice without the label. Like I said, someone else please supply the book titles - that was really the point of my post!

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#4 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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I think that there are so many things that could possibly cause intense tantrums that focusing on ADHD doesn't really do you any good! At 18 mos, I would just try to focus on preventing tantrums and coping with the ones that happen. Sometimes at that age they really just need help with communicating their feelings. If the tantrums are truly out of the range of typical than you could have an evaluation done by early intervention. You may want to look into some of the information about sensory integration problems, which may help you deal with/prevent some tantrums.

In our case, my DS was a high-needs, colicky infant, and a very bright but intense toddler. We did not really have concerns until he was 3, and his peers were growing out of those kinds of intense behaviors (tantrums, biting, etc) and he did not. He had treatment with an OT for SID, we considered Asperger's, bipolar. He did some therapy and was considered ODD. Things settled down a bit by kindergarten then flared up again in first grade, with resultant diagnoses of ADHD, Tourette's Syndrome, depression and anxiety, lots of other smaller things. We are still not 100% that any of those labels will stick long-term but we are treating the symptoms. He doesn't fit neatly into any label.

In the end I think you have to deal with the behaviors, labeling them isn't really necessary. And I don't think that ADHD is something you can see at 18 mos because 18 mos aren't *supposed* to be able to focus for long periods of time! Its age-appropriate behavior still at that age, which is why it isn't diagnosed until more like 7 or 8 generally. There are so many other things it could be, and lots of kids are just intense generally but "grow out of it" and do fine when they are older... I'd just keep an eye on it, get assistance if you need it to help with the challenging behavior, and make sure you get enough breaks!
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#5 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks ladies. i guess im not really trying to put a label on his behavior, but more so just understand it, and why he does the things he does. im definitely not trying to medicate, or anything like that, im just simply looking for support and advice. he is extremely bright and spirited, and i dont want to put him into any category or label him with problems. i just want to understand how i can help him with the issues he does have.
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#6 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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It sounds to me like he might have some sensory/regulatory issues. You might want to think about having an OT eval or an EI eval. Try to identify things that help - my kiddo likes deep pressure (bear hugs, being made a burrito with a beanbag or pillows), jumping (on a mattress or mini trampoline), bouncing on a yoga ball, etc. If you find something that works you can try redirecting when he bangs his head. Swimming can be soothing for some kids with sensory issues, mine hates getting water on her face so it didn't work for us, but it keeps a friend's child calm for hours. Keeping a log can be helpful, list what is eaten, when they slept, and what preceded meltdowns.

DD's OT started doing the "Engine Program" with her when she was 3, that has helped a lot. You might want to read Stanley Greenspan's "The Challenging Child", it's all about kids with regulatory issues. I wouldn't just ignore your concerns, I'd start trying to identify his strengths and slowly work on his weaknesses/things that are developmentally lagging.

Even if you wanted to do it, medication isn't an option until much later.
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#7 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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#8 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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I would pay attention to the head banging and tantruming. While yes, this can be a part of the age or temperment, for some it really is a sensory and frustration issue. My nephew has engaged in head banging while having tantrums, and no, it hasn't lessened. In fact, it's painful to watch, and he is, at over 2 years, starting to hurt himself. The advice by his pedi to alternately ignore it, so it could be outgrown, or essentially give him a "time out" in a safe place, has done nothing to help him, poor baby. I think the head banging is doing something for him, and unless the reason is understood, it's difficult to take the behavior away without giving an alternative.

I think OT's often have good input here, if you have access. While I also don't like early labels, and ADHD wouldn't be one I'm seeing here, I think that if you see that a child needs some support there's no reason not to look for it.
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#9 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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alright. i have done some reading and i definitely agree that it is not adhd, but more sensory...

he has many of the hyposensitivity symptoms... so thanks for the help. i think i will do a little more reading and then bring it up with his doctor at our 18 month visit.
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#10 of 13 Old 07-05-2009, 10:01 PM
 
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It's really common to have the mixed reactivity. Some books that I found helpful were Raising a Sensory Smart Child (there is also a good website), Sensational Kids and The Out of Synch Child. There is 1 more that was really good but I'll have to hunt for it.

If you have access to OTs with sensory integration training where you live, it can't hurt to have them do an evaluation. They can recommend a home sensory diet so that some of his needs for input can be met consistently and appropriately, that way he will be less frustrated and less likely to blow. Many insurance companies will cover part of the eval/treatment. Your local EI can also do an eval for OT issues. Many peds are not that familiar with sensory processing issues. The sooner that you can start keeping him well regulated and helping him to deal with strong emotions in a safer way, the better off he will be. My daughter ended up with developmental delays due to undiagosed sensory issues (lots of tactile sensitivity) and difficullty regulating her emotions (she would shut down in reaction to strong emotions, especially hers). She spent so much of her time (hours upon hours each day) screaming or withdrawn. With a lot of OT she has pretty much caught up, but we wasted a lot of time. The PP is correct, the behaviors are in reaction to a neurological need. Just trying to change or stop the behavior doesn't work. The idea that kids will learn doesn't apply to kids whose brains don't process sensations in a typical way, he might not even feel the pain. I've even known kids who ended up with G tubes due to oral sensitivities - most kids won't starve themselves, but some will.

One other thing that we have found very helpful is supplements - we give Nordic Naturals 3-6-8 and Vitamin E Complete 8 (only that one brand was recommended). We've had it ok'd by our ped, might be worth asking about. Our ped also recommended feeding cod or salmon often, even 3x per week to get the omegas directly.

Good luck!
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#11 of 13 Old 07-06-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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I knew something was wrong with Sophia at around 18 months old. Even as a first time mother, I thought surely her behavior just couldn't be "usual" behavior especially when I compared her with peers. She just was not fun to be around and still isn't. Sophia was officially diagnosed a few weeks ago at age 8. Some behaviors include: destroyed every toy/book, never played with anything, never would let us hold her, never slept, constant irritation, never satisfied, never listened to a thing I said, no fear of consequences, never tired out despite having been born with 1/2 a heart! Sophia also has pulmonary atresia intact septum with multiple coronary fistulae. She's had 3 open heart surgeries. It's a struggle to say the least.
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#12 of 13 Old 07-07-2009, 09:55 AM
 
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Besides bringing it up to your pediatrician, I would seriously consider getting an eval with Early Intervention. It's free. They'll assess a child from birth to 3 years of age. And IMHO, they have more knowledge about SPD and other developmental issues than the average pediatrician. The assessment involves more of a team approach looking at your child from a 360 view (speech, occupational therapist, behaviorist, physical therapist).

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#13 of 13 Old 07-07-2009, 10:07 AM
 
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If you do a search for Early Intervention and your city/state, the contact info should come up. They know way more than the average ped about developmental and sensory stuff. It usually talkes a few weeks to get an appointment so you should get on the list. Your child might qualify for free services, they usually come to your home. If not, they will still give you a lot of suggestions about how to help him and have life go more easily for him and for all of you. Reading all the books is helpful but having someone with experience (not the average ped) give you advice is way better and you can't beat free.
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