10 Yr Old Boy Has Trouble Controling Himself

Updated on September 15, 2008
J.M. asks from Saint Louis, MO
10 answers

I have a ten year old boy who up untill 4th grade was a average student.Last year was really hard, lots of homework (2 plus hours a night), and he really struggled, making mostly d's and c's. At his teachers urging, we took him to his doc, to see if maybe he was ADD. It is hard for him to stay on 'task'...but he would get 98% of the work done.
So, doc says 4th grade is a real adjustment for most students, and he's able to sit still w/out moaning or fidgeting, and he is the youngest in his class of 20...He was willing to write us a script for Riddlen or whatever it is..saying, and I quote,"He may benifit, he may not."
That just didnt sit well w/ me, so we got him tutoring instead. By his teacher. And yes...we paid her for it.
Now here we are in 5th, and have a brand new teacher, one who has been well advised of my sons possible...what do i call it? Handicap? Disability? And she called a meeting last week w/ my self and husband. She seems to think our son has trouble w/ self control.He isnt bad, or mean, he's very sweet but does talk alot...I know he's disrupted the class a few times by talking, and we do remind him to use his ears more, his mouth less.
Ok, Mamas! Here's where you come in.Any advice on medication that is perscribed to calm or quiet a child..or maybe the recomendation of a doctor my child could see...for a second opinion. Maybe you've been through this, maybe you are a teacher and could offer advice.
Of course I want to do what is best for my child, and if it's medication, or tutoring, or a switch of schools to find a better fit, or even councling, I want whats best for him! I'll do whatever it takes.

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answers from St. Louis on

Before you give him medication, do some homework. There is a wealth of information about how diet and exercise affect mood and attention. There are tests for attention (CPT) and rating scales too. The book THE ADD ANSWER by Dr. Frank Lawless also gives some alternative strategies as well as great info on medication. If medication is the key, it needs to be from a doctor that you respect. Dr. Karen Hampton is a wonderful therapist for kids with ADD. She might be able to help you and then could refer you to a psychiatrist for medication. Best of Luck.

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answers from St. Louis on

It sounds like the problem has more to do with the teacher/school-- is he getting enough exercise? Probably not, with 2 hours of homework a night! And the teachers are freaking out b/c he talks when he's not supposed to? This is not an out of control child. This is a CHILD.
I might get him tested (I recommend Dr. Simons of Forest Park Pediatrics-- he's a behavior specialist and NOT into drugging children for no reason) for Asperger's (high functioning kids often have symptoms like not getting when to speak), but unless you see a problem, assume first that it's that the environment just doesn't fit your son's needs. Don't be bullied into drugging --or labelling-- your child by people who are NOT trained to diagnose or to medicate.

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answers from St. Louis on

First, the Dr. should have referred you to a neurologist. My daughter goes to Dr. Denis Altman at St. John's. There are others that are really good, but make sure it is a pediatric neurologist. Your son needs to be tested thoroughly before anyone 'assumes' they know what is wrong. Dyslexia and several other learning disabilities can mimic ADD/ADHD and drugs are not the answer.

Also, there are many alternative therapies to drugs for ADHD/ADD. I go to an OT that provides auditory therapy and many strategies for focusing the mind. My daughter has improved her speech and is able to sit still for almost 15-20 minutes at 4 years old. It does not sound like this is your son's problem...and most kids have

Special School District has many classes on alternatives to drugs and you can even request information be sent home in your child's backpack. Brain Gym was a really good class and uses body movements to clear the mind, energize it, or calm it down. It is free and I highly recommend them for finding help that is appropriate for your child. Special School District can also provide adaptive accomodations in many various forms to assist your child with getting homework done.

It sounds like you are not feeling this Dr. took the time to properly diagnose and treat your child....trust your instincts. It is true that any number of people can write you a prescription, but much harm is done when it is not for the right problem. Ritalin is a narcotic and should not be taken lightly in prescribing to a pre-teen child that is still developing and growing.

Psychiatrists are also able to prescribe medicine to your child, but again, if you do not feel your child has a psychiatric disturbance then go to a different pediatrician or try a pediatric neurologist. Washington University School of Medicine has the ability to test for a wide range of learning and cognitive disabilities, but it is more costly than going to just a neurologist. Of course, it depends on the neurologist on whether it is worth it to pursue it or not.

You are welcome to email me with any additional questions.

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answers from St. Louis on

This may sound strange... but boys and girls are different and many teachers do not recognize that fact. I would recommend finding a teacher/school that does and teaches and lets students learn in ways that work for them.
Here is a Newsweek article with many links in it for more information: http://www.newsweek.com/id/47522.
I know I will have a hard time finding a school I like when my son is ready for it (he's not yet two) because he is more active and energetic than anyone I've ever met! But he is smart. He just needs to be able to be smart and active at the same time. Maybe your son learns by talking. Is there a teacher around that will allow him to be him?

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answers from La Crosse on

I am in complete agreement with Kim W. Ask the school for Care Team to be set up. This was very helpful for my sister when she was trying to figure out what was going on with my nephew. He did such a good job to cover what was going on, it took process by elimination to figure it out and the Care Team was very helpful in doing this as my sister was not in school. I don't know if you son is in a private school or public school and don't know what the class size is. He may need to be in a smaller classroom atmosphere where he can get more individualized attention. Private and alternative schools offer this. Just something to think about.

It is very concerning to me that a doctor prescribed a medication like Ritalin, rather offhanded. A child that talks alot and disrupts class needs to learn how to control himself and I do not think medication is the answer, UNLESS this is a symptom of another problem. Shoot.....if that was just the issue, do you know how many kids (and adults too) would be on medication?

The MOST important advice, I can give you, is YOU know your child best! If you feel that what you are being told is inaccurate or incorrect, you need to investigate more, whether it is something that happened at school or it is a diagnosis by the doctor. I am sure that you probably have asked your child about what he believes is going on or why he is behaving this way. If you haven't, then try that and listen to him. Maybe he is trying to tell you something and doesn't know how.

You and your son will get through this. I know this, because through your words, I can tell that you obviously love and care for him very much. Good Luck!

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answers from St. Louis on

Jodie, I have a son and a daughter that have a focus problem. They are both on adderall XR and have adjusted very well with it. One day my son did not take his medicine. He came home telling me, "Mom, I have the wiggles."
We did have to try several different medicines before we felt like adderall was a good fit.
Since starting his medicine, his attention span improved and his relationships with other kids improved. I do advise if you start your son on the medicine, to keep him on it during the weekends and the summer. Some parents think they are giving the child a break from the medicine. Instead, I think it causes problems. It seems like they lose their focus much worse when they don't take their medicine on the weekends.

We don't feel that our children have a disability. I feel that we are blessed to have physicians and medicine to assist our children. Mye husband should have been on medicine when he was growing up. His family did not recognize or realize that their son needed medicine. He self medicated when he got in his teens. The drugs he took calmed him down but he didn't realize that he needed prescription drugs.
Best of luck.

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answers from St. Louis on

I am both a mother and teacher. My first question is, have you tried a behavior chart first? This is where they have target behaviors the teacher will check at certain times whether the behavior was acceptable or not? It may be worth a try before you consider meds. Hope this helps.

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answers from St. Louis on

I've been a special education teacher for 18 years. My recommendation would be to make an appt. with a neurologist--know that it will probably take you 4 - 6 months to get an appt.. Right now, I would talk to the school about setting up a Care Team meeting for your child. This is a process that is used to come up with interventions and strategies to use with children struggling with academics, behavior, you name it. Basically a team of staff members get together, go over current progress/concerns, and then brainstorm a list of strategies that could be attempted in the classroom. The teacher should then be taking data on whether or not these strategies are effective. If not, then they meet again. There are many things that could be attempted in the classroom!


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answers from St. Louis on

If you don't want to go right to meds, I've heard about hyperactivity being controlled through dietary means. Namely, cutting out sugar and other highly refined foods. It may have to be gradual at first, but I think it may help. Also, limiting television and video games has been shown to help with impulse control problems. Just my two cents. Good luck.

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answers from St. Louis on

As a woman w/ADHD & a mother of a daughter w/ADHD, I can tell you that it is really important to get your son properly tested. I would meet w/a psychologist or psychiatrist to get an accurate diagnosis. He may or may not have ADHD, but he is exhibiting some of the symptoms. While it seems irresponsible to medicate first, his reaction to the meds can be a tool in his diagnosis. BUT, I think your ped should have referred you to someone. While you are trying to figure things out, check out the website for CHADD (Children & Adults w/ADD)www.CHADD.org, they are an excellant source of VALID info. As I am sure you ave already found out, there is an abumdant amount of false info out there. There are three primary subtypes of ADHD. Maybe one of these sounds like your son? OR maybe like you or your husband? Most people w/ADHD have 1 or more parents w/ADHD.
AD/HD - Primarily Inattentive Type:
• Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
• Has difficulty sustaining attention.
• Does not appear to listen.
• Struggles to follow through on instructions.
• Has difficulty with organization.
• Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
• Is easily distracted.
• Is forgetful in daily activities.

AD/HD - Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive Type:
• Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair.
• Has difficulty remaining seated.
• Runs around or climbs excessively.
• Has difficulty engaging in activities quietly.
• Acts as if driven by a motor.
• Talks excessively.
• Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
• Has difficulty waiting or taking turns.
• Interrupts or intrudes upon others.

AD/HD - Combined Type:
• Meets both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive criteria.

While it may be scary to think your son has some disorder w/a label, don't be scared. You'd be surprised how many of us ADHD'rs are out there.

Unfortunately there are many undocumented 'fringe opinions' out there re: ADHD that have not been scientifically tested.

Good luck & good for you for listening to your son & trying to help him when he is having difficulty. Regardless of an ADHD diagnosis, you are trying to help him out.

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