My son was just diagnosed with ADHD. What do I need to know? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 03-27-2014, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son turned 3 in January. Intellectually, he's advanced- between 12 and 18 months more than average for his age. He has unspecified sensory issues, meaning, there's something up there, but he didn't show enough of the symptoms for an official diagnosis while he was being evaluated, plus, the evaluating doctor specialized more in ADHD types.  But, I've worked with children for 22+ years, and I can see it, the sensory issues, and the list of symptoms I gave to the doctor, the doctor says there's something there, he just can't diagnose without seeing it personally.  Also, working with children so long, I was not surprised in the least when the doctor said ADHD- I already knew in my heart.

 

Anyways, my son has ADHD, severely enough that the doctor wants a second opinion, but is not completely opposed to medication in children this age.  Leaning more towards hyperactivity than attention deficit, but still, ADHD.  Before anyone gets all riled up, I'm opposed to medication in children, especially three year olds, and the evaluating doctor specializes in ADHD, etc, plus is a regular pediatrician.  He's worked with every child born into my family for the last 37 years, and has yet to be wrong about a diagnosis, yet to proceed without extreme caution with medication.  In other words, I trust my son's doctor.  His doctor also tends to avoid medication in children, especially very young children.  He did say, though, that if my son has the activity level he showed during the evaluation, then once he's in school, it's very unlikely that he will be able to function without medication.  (I did not tell the doctor that this was actually a low activity level day for my son that day!)

 

So... my son has ADHD, has been referred to a therapist for behavioral and occupational therapy.  That hasn't started yet- it's only been a couple days.  I'm told that if, week after week, my son shows the same activity level that was seen when he was evaluated, it's likely that he will then be referred to a psychiatrist and the three of them (pediatrician, therapist, psychiatrist) will consider medication.  Did I mention he just turned three?!

 

Anyways, I'd like to avoid medicating my son until absolutely necessary, if ever.  I'm not completely opposed to it, but he's so young, plus I haven't tried other ways yet.  He does take Melatonin to sleep at night because he still wakes 3-4 times each night and then goes from 7:30 am until 10:30 pm without stopping.

 

I know there's ways to work with his diet, which I would like to hear more about, but I am somewhat limited by how far I can go with that because we are extremely low income right now and about 1/4 our monthly food we get from food pantries, which is pretty much beggers can't be choosers- feed your kids red dye whatever or not at all, etc.  But, what else can I do to help my son besides diet?  He's not in school yet- he just missed the Head Start cutoff, so he's home with me until September, unless I can find a job and get him into daycare.  I've been a preschool teacher for most my adulthood, but he's wearing me out, keeping him occupied, I'm afraid I'm not able to give him everything he needs for his activity level and for his intelligence needs and just to keep him busy, etc.

 

So... what should I know about having a 3 year old with ADHD?  I want to give him every edge I can, but I'm a little overwhelmed on where to start.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 10 Old 03-27-2014, 09:55 PM
 
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Wait, are you saying a doctor diagnosed a 3 year old with ADHD?  Because I can't see how that could possibly be an appropriate diagnosis.  Theroretically they can be diagnosed at 4, but it's unusual to diagnose a child under 6 with ADHD; and at 3 I just wouldn't trust it.  I mean, my daughter was a raging disaster at 3 and I'm sure she had some symptoms, but she WAS evaluated multiple times at that age and every single evaluation recommended therapy for certain symptoms, but never offered a diagnosis and certainly not medication.

 

So NO, NO I would not medicate a 3 year old.  I wouldn't even consider it.  Not in a million years.  And I'm saying this as someone who is very pro-medication for ADHD; my daughter takes Adderall and Intuiniv.  But she's 8.  She's been properly diagnosed by a people who specialize in comprehensive neurological evaluation, and she's under the care of a pediatric psychiatrist.  And even then we didn't medicate until we'd tried other things for 18 months.

 

I don't care how long you've seen that doctor.  Go get a full comprehensive evaluation with a pediatric neurologist or pediatric psychiatrist.  Especially if your child is that academically advanced, because properly diagnosing gifted kids with special needs is even more complicated than diagnosing non-gifted ones.

 

 

All that said, occupational therapy is good stuff, and I'd sign him up for that.  I don't know that I'd do behavioral therapy.  It's hard to find a therapist who'll do much with kids that age other than MAYBE play therapy.

 

Have you talked to your local school district? Look up the special services/special ed department at your local school district and talk to them about evaluation and therapy services. It may or may not be a service called "Child Find" that you are looking for--that might just be the local term.  They likely offer therapy alone or as part of a preschool program for children with difficulties, including behavior that would make it hard for them to succeed in school. 


Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#3 of 10 Old 03-28-2014, 10:09 AM
 
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Kblackstone, you sound very informed and knowledgeable, so I'm not sure if anything I might suggest will be new to you. But here goes anyway! =)  Have you already viewed the information on CHADD's website? [Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder] They usually list medication as a last resort and know of the latest in new treatments and studies.

 

There's also a book you can probably find at the library _Why ADHD Doesn't Mean Disaster_ that compiles a lot of information.  My son had ADD and responded well to less sugar, lots of physical activity and kinesthetic learning. It's actually a simple approach for helping most busy kids who are usually very bright. He had to be moving and doing and couldn't absorb information just through auditory channels while sitting still. Another good resource is _Every Child Can Succeed_.

 

There's wisdom in collecting a lot of perspectives and seeing which ones fit your own unique child. You are in the best position to monitor what works and I hope you find the right combination of approaches.

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#4 of 10 Old 03-31-2014, 01:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kblackstone444 View Post .  He did say, though, that if my son has the activity level he showed during the evaluation, then once he's in school, it's very unlikely that he will be able to function without medication.  (I did not tell the doctor that this was actually a low activity level day for my son that day!) 

You make me laugh! Thats my ds2, especially at that age..all.over.the.place. I really worried about him starting school, i thought-he'll get a diagnosis for sure, i'll probably have to pull him out of school.

 

Even now, at home he hops from one activity to another, although will spend a long time drawing. He's a hands on kind of guy.

 

He just turned 6, and  is excelling in school, with no problems whatsoever.(its  a new experience for me, because wait till i tell you about ds1, coming up next)

 

So your baby is all over the place at 3? So what? So was mine. I was usually very embarrassed, and very exhausted, and thought everyone hated me and my child.

 

Now everyone loves my child, and  now im the mother of mr  popularity. I really cant explain it, im just relieved.

 

I took him off gluten, and other  problematic behaviors disappeared. He's still an active guy, but not to his detriment.

 

I recommend removing gluten from your child's diet. I agree doing this on a budget is a challenge. My son also reacts to  oats and corn as if they were gluten. You'll spend more money on rice, and less on bread.  We make gluten free pancakes every morning in place of our usual toast with peanut butter.

 

I have to admit, that WIC became enemy number one, once i became conscious of the serious impact that junk  (including the crap milk full of hormones) was having on my child.

 

Ds1 was somewhat active as a child, but not like ds2. Sure, we went to the playground everyday, i thought that was just good parenting. (still think it is) I know i feel better after fresh air and exercise.

 

But he focused well on activities. He loved brain quest and couldn't get enough. He still will focus for hours on his activity of  choice, that could be anything from reading, to activity books, to drawing, to screen activities.

 

But at school,  something about the environment makes him fidget and not control is body like he should. He cant hear half of what is  said either. So he is the one they say has adhd, not ds2. 

 

I dont know why you even have to worry at the age of 3. Just let him run around. (or could he be worse than my ds2? Wow, if there is such a thing, i would be amazed...)

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#5 of 10 Old 03-31-2014, 01:45 PM
 
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Yes, do OT if you can. Thats out of my budgets reach at the moment, but im looking into it. Maybe you can find  a way   to do it. I think it would be a wonderful thing for a 3yo to do, especially if you notice sensory differences.

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#6 of 10 Old 04-14-2014, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your input, everybody.  I'm taking things slow and taking everything into consideration.  My son starts Head Start in September, and I've worked in daycare before- I know from the inside how certain very active children can be thought of as the bane of a teacher's existence (not me, personally- former co-workers, etc).  That's why I'm worried even though he's only three- I don't want him to be thought of as the "problem child" once he starts school, I want to have some kind of plan in store for helping him regulate his behavior, so to speak.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#7 of 10 Old 04-15-2014, 12:07 PM
 
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Hi there! My son is 11, and has ADHD. He was diagnosed at age 7.... And I also absolutely knew at age 3. But drs were reluctant to diagnose that young. I have managed( with a lot of hard work and stress) to avoid medication thus far. I have worked with naturopaths, speech therapists, behavioral therapists, neurologists, allergists... You name it. One big thing I noticed was anything with red dye would send him over the moon. I limited sugar as much as possible, and that seemed to help. Reminders were huge with him. Even at a very young age... He would almost forget a normal rule that most kids would eventually get, but not him... It was constant prompting. Example, we would go to a playground, most kids know not to throw the sand and rocks in the air, and if they do you tell them not to and why. But with him it was almost as if he forgot every time, impulsive is the key word here. But if as we got closer to the playground I said... Every time... Now baby we don't throw sand because it can hurt other kids, and then remind again a little while later, and again, and again. Then we could avoid it. If a reminder was missed, he would forget and do it... Over time these reminders had to be enforced with almost everything. Grocery stores, play dates, school work, siblings. It was, and still is, a lot of work since they seem to develop at a much slower pace, cognitively speaking. Friendships get alienated, bullies will gravitate, and parents will shun.... But these kids... Are so bright and loving. With all the weaknesses there comes strengths... At first it's hard to determine where they lie, but when you see them, go with it. My son for instance has an uncanny ability to think outside the box with art and building, and sports. Big hugs to you, it's a long road, some days grueling, and at the same time, so rewarding smile.gif
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#8 of 10 Old 04-15-2014, 01:26 PM
 
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Hi, just wondering why he did speech and how did you perceive that was related to his adhd?

2nd, adhd comes in so many shapes and sizes that you cannot lump them all together as if it were the same thing. My son, for eg, sounds completely different from yours. He is a pleasure to parent. His problems are at school. Just wanted to mention that.

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#9 of 10 Old 04-15-2014, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamabearof4 View Post

One big thing I noticed was anything with red dye would send him over the moon. I limited sugar as much as possible, and that seemed to help. Reminders were huge with him. Even at a very young age... He would almost forget a normal rule that most kids would eventually get, but not him... It was constant prompting. Example, we would go to a playground, most kids know not to throw the sand and rocks in the air, and if they do you tell them not to and why. But with him it was almost as if he forgot every time, impulsive is the key word here. But if as we got closer to the playground I said... Every time... Now baby we don't throw sand because it can hurt other kids, and then remind again a little while later, and again, and again. Then we could avoid it. If a reminder was missed, he would forget and do it...

 Yes, I've noticed the red die, thing, too, and certain additives.  I had a bit of a head's up from my sister=- my nephew has ADHD and giving him red die makes him completely crazy, so I've tried taking that out, or at least cutting it back bigtime, along with sugar and other things, and that's helped.  The rest of your post... are you sure you haven't met my son?  The whole playground thing... that's my son in a nutshell.  He's smart as a whip, you tell him something and he'll remember months later, but that impulse... OMG!  Going to the playgorund with my son is exactly how you describe going to the playground with your son.

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I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#10 of 10 Old 04-15-2014, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

Hi, just wondering why he did speech and how did you perceive that was related to his adhd?
2nd, adhd comes in so many shapes and sizes that you cannot lump them all together as if it were the same thing. My son, for eg, sounds completely different from yours. He is a pleasure to parent. His problems are at school. Just wanted to mention that.

Yes all ADHD kids are of course their own personalities and vary in numerous differential delays. My son in particular had speech delays, that have been psychologically assessed in direct relation to the specific ADHD disorder he has. Not all kids have speech issues with ADHD. My son also has allergies, which are not a direct link to ADHD persay, however his allergies defiantly impact his ADHD. For instance if his allergies get severe, his body is focused on the fact that he is miserable, which in turn takes the basic focusing fundamentals away. His impulses reach a high during these moments. ADHD, as autism and other mental disabilities are grouped under an umbrella of symptoms. And differentiate from child to child. So many factors influence the severity of each child. Age, gender, other disabilities, family dynamic and so on. My son has numerous friends with the same diagnosis, but vary in so many others factors. One has ADD only, he is sweet and kind, and has zero impulsive issues. Another has the ADHD combined, same as my child, and has the impulsivity as well, he also needed some speech therapy. I have been through numerous routes to help my child. He, just recently, has also been diagnosed with a learning disability, which makes things a little more interesting around here lol.
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