Does My Son Have ADHD?

Updated on June 24, 2009
H.B. asks from Lake Stevens, WA
29 answers

I have been wondering since he was 2 if my son has ADHD. He is now almost 4. First of all, he is very intelligent. He also has an excellent memory and he can concentrate on anything that he is interested in (i.e. sports, books, movies, workbooks, etc). But he also is extremely hyperactive. He runs in circles and screams. He says things over and over again sometimes. He giggles about things that arent necessarily funny. He is defiant and does not listen a lot of the time. He is always loud when he plays. He jumps on everything and often literally "climbs the walls". It just seems like he is always on a sugar high and it does tend to get worse when he is seeking attention or around a lot of people. I am nervous about sending him to preschool because if he does have ADHD I do not want to put him on drugs. My doctor will not evaluate him until he is at least in kindergarten. I am curious what other moms experienced with their young children that were later diagnosed with ADHD? Thank You.

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L.R.

answers from Portland on

I did a quick scan of the other responses, and I don't think anyone mentioned this...

I notice a huge and almost immediate change in my 3.5 year old son's behavior if he eats/drinks artificial colors (especially reds). I've tried removing these from his diet (amazing how many foods are packed with artificial colors...even Kraft Mac & Cheese!), and have noticed his behavior has drastically improved. Now I can tell immediately if he's eaten something with artificial colors...he instantly becomes hyperactive and defiant.

This is something you can try quickly and easily at home.

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M.C.

answers from Seattle on

Hard to diagnose without seeing him...but you DO NOT have to put him on meds if he has it...Just focus on what he eats and change his diet a little and I believe it will help a lot!

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G.R.

answers from Spokane on

Morning H. - You have some good advice already & I hope that you are able to apply as much to your situation as possible. I help run a parent support group for special needs kids. One of the first suggestions that we give all parents is to document/journal their child's behavior and the food/drinks they have. When you are able to look at both of those side by side you might be able to see some triggers to his behavior. This journal will be a very valuable tool to any peditrician or specialist you see. Your son is by law the age that school districts cover. Early intervention cuts off at 3yrs old. If he does have more sensory issues many districts will not/can not test for that. Many districts are reluctant to classify a child add/adhd. I would ask your peditrician for a referral to a pediatric OT as well as a pediatric specialist that deals with sensory as well as add/adhd. Even if you do get some diagnosis that does not mean you have to put him on meds. Many times diet and the right routine help lots but this again is where the journal will be priceless. Take the time to do it & you will be way better off. Take care

PS - Some kids are just busy all the time, boys being boys (I have two of them). You can do it!

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C.B.

answers from Yakima on

Hi H., I work with people with disabilities. My Dad had AD/HD. My husband has it too. Many of my family members have it. I don't, but it carried on in the family line. I see signs of it in my almost 4 yr old grandson as well.
I have a couple questions for you.
Is there anyone else in your family line with AD/HD? It tends to follow a gene pool in families.
What does caffeine do to him?
Does he calm down after having some? If so... that is a tell tale sign of AD/HD.
Caffeine is a stimulant. Very often stimulants (like Ritalin and caffeine) have the opposite affect on people with AD/HD than they do on those of us who don't have AD/HD.

Some kids are naturally hyperactive and then it wears off. AD/HD doesn't wear off.
Lots of exercise and sports release endorphins in the body and they react much like caffeine or other stimulants. My nephews and nieces with AD/HD were very active in sports and they felt "normal" after. The endorphin release calmed them.
You might want to experiment with your son on the caffeine just to test it out. Hot cocoa has caffeine (chocolate has it). Of course coffee and tea has it too. After a cup of "creamed" coffee my niece could actually sit through a whole cartoon on TV instead of getting up and going to something else. Boredom is the biggest enemy of those with AD/HD. When they get board they tend to do anything and many times that leads to getting into mischief.
My grandson craves coffee and chocolate- sometimes begging for it. My daughter has symtoms of this herself and so it doesn't surprise me about my grandson. I believe you can see symptoms before school age.
There are some child AD/HD screening tools on-line. Just google it and see what comes up. If you have to wait until school age for the official diagnosis... then so be it. But, in the mean time, you can help your son do calming things- calming bath before bed time-- no active TV or computer stuff just before bed time.
Different people have different things that hype them up. Sitting still sometimes is not an option. My grandson has to run and jump alot before a trip in the car or a table activity in order to focus on it. I bought him a small enclosed trampoline to help him out. People with AD/HD are able to multi-task and see and hear everything around them. Do your research on AD/HD and you will find many answers to your questions. Keep smiling... things could be much worse than AD/HD. You just need to understand it and there are helps out there. Check out www.additudemag.com I get this magazine sent to me here at work and it offers lots of good info and insights that I share with my students.
Take care, C. B.

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D.P.

answers from Seattle on

Your son may have a sensory processing disorder (sometimes referred to as a sensory integration disorder) affecting his behavior which can be helped with Occupaional Therapy, not drugs. Sensory disorders are often misdiagnosed as ADHD since some of the symptoms look the same. If you search online for sensory processing disorder you will come to some websites that have checklists you can take to see if that might be the problem and help you pinpoint what sensory issues might be affecting your child. There are a ton of great books and online resources to then help you. An occupational therapist can do wonders and, in my experience, a child really enjoys the therapy since it's "play" therapy. Crashing and jumping and running into walls -- especially when there's a lot of stimulus around the child (like other kids) -- is a pretty typical symptom of a sensory problem. I recommend getting evaluated, but going in armed with lots of possibilities for what could be causing your son's behavior so he doesn't get quickly labeled. A label is only liberating if it's the correct label so that the child can get the correct treatment.

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W.C.

answers from Seattle on

Parenting is the hardest thing I ever did, except for letting them go when they went off to college.

I would eliminate all sugar, include soda pops, and all hidden sugars in prepared foods from his diet to see if that helps. Next remove gluten from his diet--flour, oat, barley, etc. Reduce the amount of TV he is exposed to. Make sure he goes to bed at the same time and gets a good nights sleep every night. Keep a record of what you have done and the result.

And keep a record of what he eats. See if his behavior changes regarding what he eats. He may have a food allergy. You may be able to manage his behave through food.

If these things don't help, talk to your doctor again and tell him what you have done and the result. Tell him you need some help now, not for classroom management, but for family peace.

If your doctor won't evaluate him now, get another doctor.

Good luck.

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M.F.

answers from Richland on

My grandson is adhd we suspected it. because of they way they test the dr need to wait. He is will be in first grade this fall and others noticed how active he was and is. The psychologist that did the testing because a physician does not do the testing told us that it is passed down from generation to generation and you saying you hate being home and want to be doing something could be an indication that you are also adhd
When my daughter was growing up she would be to concentrate on things that were important to her, like t.v.. Then she had her son well things were passed down to him. You can choose to medicate your child or not, my daughter wrestled with the thought of medicating her child for almost a school year, she did not want her child to be on the same meds as her so what her and her doctor came up with is a time released medicine that will work through the day and her son does listen better and cooperates better with others, when he is on his med.
Paula

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M.N.

answers from Yakima on

He may just be a very bright active little boy. If he is able to concentrate on workbooks then I would think he could keep his attention on a task at hand. He may need more stimulation because he is very intelligent.
Four year olds need to run around and be active. Maybe try swimming lessons this summer. See if he able to follow directions the swim instuctor gives him.He may just be acting out because of the new baby in the house. They can love the baby but still will test the limits with you.Keep the rules simple but follow them and keep the consequences consistent. If you jump on the furniture this will happen and follow though. During baby's naptime give him some one on one time with you.
Trust me I had a daughter that was very bright and active and everyone thought she had ADHD. She doesn't but I learned she need a definite routine everyday. If I add a surprise in the daily routine it throws her for a loop. Makes life difficult at times. I am certain all is well with your little boy.

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L.J.

answers from Portland on

I haven't read through any of the other responses, so hopefully this isn't too much repeat of info. But I always wondered the same thing about my son. He is now 5. I think part of what he is doing is just being a boy. I have 2 boys and they are just busy little guys. The other part could be diet and nutrition. I always tried to keep sugar to a minimum once he discovered what it was. He did tend to get wound up more once he'd had something sweet. I also was concerned that one day I'd get a call from a teacher saying they thought he was ADHD. But something I discovered this past winter was some research that has shown that kids often don't get enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids, DHA in particular, and this makes it harder for kids to concentrate. Based on what I read, I got some Omega-3/DHA supplement liquids for my son. It's an oil and he wasn't fond of even the kid-flavored strawberry one, but I just mixed it with a splash of juice. I can't tell you what a difference it made. He's not perfect, he's still a boy and is emotional and gets into trouble, but he's not bouncing off the walls like he used to. And quite honestly, I can tell when I've forgotten to give it to him. He gets extra wound up those afternoons/evenings. I've tried several different types:

http://www.nordicnaturals.com/en/Products/Product_Details...

and am currently using this one (it has the highest DHA that I've found so far, I got it at Fred Meyer in the Organic Section)

http://www.childlife.net/node/56/

It is a little spendy but it has been worth it with the changes I've seen in my son over the course of about 9 months. And DHA and Omega-3 supports brain development and concentration as well, so an added benefit of supplementing their diet.

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J.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hi, H. -Lots of great advice given already, but I wanted to share a slightly different perspective. Not all of your son's issues are the same as what my son has shown, but some sound so familiar and I wanted to address what we have learned. I went through this, too, and still go through this, with my 9 year old son. He meets some "requirements" to be labeled ADHD, but not all, and like your son, he can concentrate extremely well on certain things such as reading, to a point that ADHD children can not. I used to work in a school for ADD kids, so I was always puzzled by this. However, one wonderful teacher he had - backed up by our family doctor at the time - clued me in to the fact that often times, gifted children show some of the very same traits that ADHD kids do. My son, like yours, is a voracious learner and very smart. Many of these kids are a bit behind socially - a bit immature. I, too, refused to medicate as I knew there must be some other better ways. One thing that helped us here was changing his diet - he has a wheat sensitivity that creates hyperactivity problems, and sugar is definitely not his best friend. So we try not to have a lot of it around, and while we do have exceptions once in a while, I can usually tell a difference in his behavior when that happens. Another thing that I do is have him stop and look me directly in the eyes when I'm speaking to him, and have him repeat back what I said. It not only helps me know he heard me and holds him accountable for a direction I've given (he can't say "I didn't hear you!"), but the repetition also helps him own it by hearing himself say it, verbalizing it. I hope this helps! I don't know your son and I'm not a doctor, of course, but this is just my personal experience and it sounds similar in some ways to yours. Hang in there - it can be hard to live with, but also rewarding in so many ways. My son drives me crazy to no end, but he is also very sensitive - moreso than my other 2 kids - and tuned in to other people's feelings (another frequent trait of intense gifted children). His hugs and kisses make me melt like no other because I know he is so full of love and emotion!

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R.B.

answers from Portland on

I was going to say generally the same thing that Dr. Renee said...this sounds so much like my son!! I would suggest the book "The Out-of-Sync Child". You will need to be a strong advocate for your son, as the educational field is still learning about these kinds of issues, and we have even had some difficulty getting our occupational therapist to address the vestibular and proprioceptive areas rather than just focusing on the fine motor skills...but an occupational therapist can also help you develop a "sensory diet" of activities that you can do with your child at home that will help your child calm himself, and work on these areas of challenge, while doing things that he thinks are "play"... we have also seen great improvements.

Best of luck!!

R.

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M.M.

answers from Seattle on

I agree with changing your child's diet. Going through a change of diet can take time. Here's something you can do today: Like many said remove foods with artificial colorant, but specially Red#40!

Here's why:

http://www.cspinet.org/new/200806022.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allura_Red_AC

Red#40 has been banned for years in many countries, including all over Europe, but NOT in the US--is almost everywhere!

You can easily find products without Red40 and other chemicals in supermarkets like WholeFoods, PCC, and Trader's Joe.

Go to your pantry and freezer, and get rid of all processed food with Red#40. The best way to avoid Red#40(and other colorants) is by just offering your child fresh products (fruit, vegetables, juices, treats, snacks, ice-cream...)

And of course, see a professional, a Naturopath if you can. However, many of the tests they run, are not covered by insurance.

Good luck!

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G.H.

answers from Richland on

Get the book "The ADD Answer" by Dr. Frank Lawless. He will suggest you try eliminating some foods from his diet to help with theses behaviors.
A friend of mine did this, and now her son no longer has the behavior and her daughter no longer has Tourettes. They also take supplements. Find a good naturopath MD.

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J.C.

answers from Portland on

H.... i haven't read all the responses so if this is repetitive i apologize... my girlfriend had many of the same concerns and found that her son was highly allergic to gluten...eggs... beef... and dairy... she has eliminated all of these from his diet and says that he is a completely different child... he is able to listen and sit at the table during dinner... his color/complexion and sleep have also improved...that's not to say that your situation is diet but it might be something to discuss with your doctor or start doing some research on diet related issues... just something to consider... good luck

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S.R.

answers from Seattle on

Dear H.,

Neuropath Learning has an excellent online cognitive development program for 4-9 year olds called Early Mind Matters. The program plays like a computer game and the activities train attention, memory and other executive functions that promote "self-regulation" skills. They benefit not only cognition and promote learning readiness, they also affect social, behavioral states. For example parents have seen children become calmer, no more restless behaviors and even come off stimulant medication (Adderall for ADHD). The children on the program develop listening skills and patience - they learn to wait and then ask questions. They also become much less impulsive. All of Neuropath Learning's online programs are brain based education programs that also offer assessment of 47 cognitive abilities and can be customized for each child. Be School Ready and Knowledge First are the two other programs Neuropath Learning offers that continue to bulid cognitive skills and academic knowledge with real world stimuli after a child has completed the Early Mind Matters program. They do not offer a clinical/medical diagnosis but do identify strengths and weaknesses of each child's thinking/focusing/social skills. Please visit www.neuropathlearning.com for more information.

All the best,

S. R

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J.C.

answers from Seattle on

Great question, H.--- and I can't answer your question exactly--- but I'll give you some ideas about how to discover more - and maybe even make your life a bit easier. First --- NO one can accurately test a 4 year old for ADHD - but you can get more clues --- perhaps have him evaluated at your local school district ( all of them have programs to serve the needs of children from birth to school age -- IF there is any question of special needs--- and the ''special needs'' can be quite subtle -- learning issues --- hyperactive behaviours--- social issues--- PLEASE do not think that if your child qualified for support before Kindergarden ---that THAT would mean your boy won't ''fly like an eagle''' IN Kindergarden--- please- know that getting him some help now ( IF he qualifies for it) would mean he CAN fly like an eagle in school---and that's what you want for him --- ( truly ,---- he sounds a lot like you--- busy--- active--- high energy--- a do-er-- of COURSE he's like that- you sound like that kind of person, too. Doesn't mean there's a problem- might mean a bit of help now would make school ( which is WAY more academic than it should be ---even in Kindergarden ---- than it was even 18 years ago -- ) -- Do that- it could make things a lot easier for all of you-
Blessings-
J. ( retired special ed, preschool teacher)

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M.H.

answers from Portland on

Getting a diagnosis of ADHD is kind of a mixed blessing..
You may want to just treat the symptoms and then go from there often kids with ADHD do not digest B6 properly and they need a metabolized form of B6. There is an amazing multi vitamin for kids that has this and it is wonderfully absorpable. I would highly suggest alternative medicine of some form prior to drugs. Most people do not have a medicine deficiency but, many folks suffer nutritional issues.
If you are so inclined to try the unique multi check out this link http://www.nutrametrix.com/michelleh/index.cfm?action=sho...

I am sorry it is so hard right now. My son had all sorts of those issues and I was able to work a lot with food sensitivities etc. I wish these Spectrum nutritionals were available when he was young. Would have made my life a little easier.

They really suggest that you try all of the Spectrum products together that they are a program that works synergystically. Often, these kids have trouble digesting wheat and dairy and sometimes the hyperactivity is the only symptom. So the digestive enzymes have things in there that helps with that. I had to take my son off of that kind of food and it helped.
Actually, my son's biggest trigger was oranges.

If you have any other questions about the nutritionals or want to talk further please do not hesitate to call
M. Hawkins, LAc,MAcOM
###-###-####

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K.R.

answers from Bellingham on

H.,
Short answer: it's too soon to tell. I wouldn't trust a tested diagnosis for this until he's around seven years old.
Kids all have different energy levels, attention needs, temperments, etc. As he gets older, if he does have ADHD, he will REALLY start to stand out amongst his peers at school.

Long answer: After I read your personal info. you said you often get bored during the day and you hate staying at home.
Some people just need more stimulation than others. I am the same way. Personally, I am very high-energy, and so are are all three of my kids. My eleven-year old has ADHD. I did not decide to give him medication until fifth grade. This was after five years (K thru 4th) of repeatedly having meetings with school staff, sending him to an allergist, counseling, parenting classes, finding a nueropsychologist who put him through a two-day test, it goes on and on.
ADHD is one of the most over-diagnosed condiditions out there right now and I would really hold off and try as much as you can before getting this diagnosis. I had to have twenty different people tell me that, yes, my son has ADHD before I really trusted it. For some people (like my son) this is an actual chemical imbalance in the brain. Medication has been wonderful for him.
Food allergies look a lot like ADHD so get your son tested.
This is a multi-dimensional issue that I recommend you start reading as much as you can get your hands on. Public library is a great source.
Good luck, and if you ever have any more questions you can e-mail me directly at [email protected]____.com.

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L.N.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.!

Dr. Tanya Hudson is a naturopathic doctor who works with kids with ADD and ADHD, and I think she is a wonderful resource for just your situation. This is especially true if you don't want him to be medicated; she has so many resources and is a mom herself, so she understands things from a parent's point of view. Here is her info:

Dr. Tanya Hudson
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com

Good luck!
L.

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T.F.

answers from Seattle on

Getting your child evaluated early is a good idea and I would keep pushing your doctor to do it or send you to children's or uw to have it done. However, I would really recomend staying away from drugs for as long as possible. They should really be a last resort, especially at this age.

There is a Dr. Wooley in this area that is an expert on these kind of things and has written a few books about it. see if you can track down her books and read more on what she has to say about it and alternates to using drugs.

I know I met someone recently that her son has ADHD but just giving him a shot of espresso daily acts the same way as ridalin in his body.

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D.E.

answers from Portland on

I would not worry about it too much. He is young and a boy and lots of boys are like that. I taught kindergarten and we never evaluated the kids until the end of the school year. We also never put them on drugs. That is something that is between the doctor and the parent. I think I only recommended that one child be evaluated for ADHD by the doctor ever and that child did go on drugs a year later and it did a world of wonder for him academically and especially socially. I think that it is rare when a kid actually needs drugs to help regulate their system. Usually they just need an extra outlet for their energy. I would definately get your son involved in sports. It will wear him out and make him more easy for you to care for.

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S.L.

answers from Portland on

I think you are taking the right steps right now. It sounds like your son could have some borderline issues, and drugs might help, but I'm a person that thinks we should try everything else first before jumping to drugs.

There is a lot of information out there about possible causes of and ways to treat hyperactivity--everything from diet (cut out wheat or dairy or test for food sensitivities to determine which foods to take out--you can contact Naturopathic doctors to find out who can do this vega test for your son) to just getting him some more directed physical activities.

I would encourage you to go to Mothering.com for more info and discussion boards and just really start researching. When you have a better handle on the opinions and research out there you can decide what feels best for you and your son.

Good luck!

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H.O.

answers from Anchorage on

I would say its time to make a change in routine. Not a sudden one. However, its a good test of how he will react to the routine at school. Start talking about going to school around him. Make it sound fun, but make it sound like the routine it is. Talk about the "and then we might do this, because at school, you'd be doing this about this time." For instance if breakfast is at 9am right now, because its summer or whatever (whatever time...) Make it at 8:50 a.m. instead. Make that extra bit of time that he might need to put shoes on and stuff afterwards. If he plays loudly and your baby is sleeping, you can start making a "quiet play" time where he only plays with things that are stuffed for 30 minutes to an hour. Some kids just thrive on routine. You said he has a very good memory, maybe he's just imitating things he sees from a four year old's P.O.V. Whether its in the home, on tv, at the grocery store...kids soak in info and react to it later. My son doesn't say much or even laugh much at all the cartoons he likes, but afterward I will hear him playing whatever cartoon character he got a hold of in his head and couldn't stop thinking about. If he's defiant, start giving him "no choice" choices. For instance I know you don't like tuna casserole. However you do like "ice cream" for dessert. In order to get ice cream, you must get through the tuna casserole." If he wants to eat the ice cream, he has no choice but to eat the casserole. That's how we made my youngest understand consequences, and start thinking about how other people felt. She's the big arguer in my family. Before you worry about ADHD, simply change the way you word things. Make it choice..a good or bad choice, and cause and effect will kick in. If there are certain instance where he acts out, write those down to see what is causing it. Perhaps there is a pattern. Is he doing this more after he eats? Before he eats? My son was diabetic for a long time before doctors saw it. He may have been born that way, and we will never know. But often there is a deficiency in one vitamin or another or simply a food sensitivity. (For instance Red dyes are not good for my daughter. She becomes lethargic, she complains a lot, not always about anything specific but she complains a lot. Sometimes she goes to the bathroom a lot. Look at diet. There could be an auditory problem. Sometimes kids have problems in the auditory area and it sort of affects other areas. This is sometimes caused by foods too. Sugar is in everything. Sugar unless you feed it to the boy in spoonfuls probably is not the cuplprit :) Most schools won't test for ADHD until the child is in 1st grade because Kindergarten is not a good judge simply because it is less structured than 1st grade. (Which I think is silly because frankly, how can we expect kids to sit still in class when in Kindergarten they spend a lot of time doing things they did in preschool only on a more advanced level usually. )
Don't worry about ADHD. Set some boundaries. Don't let him cross them. If he's too loud with a toy, he can be quieter or you can take it away for awhile until he is ready to choose the better choice. Make everything about him choosing and soon he will start to put cause and effect together. I would look into the audio-sensory area too. Sometimes kids have allergies or what have you and their ears or nose gets plugged, and they don't even notice it because it was always like that. Good Luck!

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L.R.

answers from Portland on

Back when our grandparents were young, kids got to run around outside and learned to work early. They worked hard, too. Or played hard outside. Nowadays they are cooped up inside most of the time. No wonder they seem too hyper! He sounds like a normal kid. My daughter (going on 3) gets more hyper when she's the center of attention, and more defiant afterwards. I would say don't worry about it. He's just a kid. The fact that he can focus on things he's interested in seems to tell me he's not overly hyperactive. So what you want is to help him be interested in school by the time he starts. And don't start too soon. It's not good for kids to have to learn to read and all that too soon. Let him be a kid for as long as you can. Burn energy, develop muscles, and have a good time. Since you hate being at home, go to the park every day and visit with other moms while he burns off his lunch, or breakfast, or whenever you can go. Let him be a boy!

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D.C.

answers from Seattle on

I have the same thing happening,,or I did have,, my grandson is 2 1/2,, and he was bouncing off the walls,, and doing all above and more to what you said your child is doing,, I took away ALL SUGARS from his diet,, you have to read all the labels on the food you give him,, no sugars,, but soon you will know what has sugar and what doesn't,, you will see a HUGE difference ion a matter if days,, do NOT let the DR's tell you he needs drugs to calm this ADHD down or what ever hyper activity's he does have,, that is normal for kids to be very active,, you just have to have the energy to put up with him,, it is better then any child just sitting not doing much,, try the no sugar thing,, and hot baths and just play hard with him so he burns up energy,, gramma D.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

My granddaughte, who is now 9, was diagnosed with ADHD this past school year. She is high energy but the problem was that she couldn't stay focused in class, would forget to finish assignments, and couldn't stay in her seat. She did fine in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Her teacher in second grade discussed the above mentioned difficulties with her mother who took her to the doctor who said she could be ADHD. My duaghter wanted to address it with diet but couldn't follow thru. Duh! She was a full time working single mother with 2 children. Her youngest, a boy, is special needs.

He wasn't talking by age 2. The pediatrician recommended that the school district evaluate him. As Judy said, they are required to provide evaluation and treatment if they find a disorder that is likely to interfere with learning in school.

I highly recommend that you have your son evaluatied thru the school district. Their offices are in the County Intermediate Education Service Disctrict. They are still providing speech and occupational therapy for him. He also is assigned a social worker who helped my daughter learn different ways of parenting him as well as telling her what her son neeced so that he wouldn't be so hyperactive and unmanagible. He does not have ADHD; at least that has been the diagnosis so far. He was in a special needs kindergarten even tho he's smart. He will remain with that same group for first grade while also being mainstreamed.

The school district is also helping my ADHD granddaughter by writing up an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which includes methods of teaching that work well with her. My daughter also felt strongly not to medicate her daughter. But she gave it a try. My granddaughter is focusing better, staying in her seat and completeing work much better with the medication.

I certainly would not medicate a 4 year old. There are other ways to treat ADHD or any other difficulty he might have.

His behavior sounds similar to your son's with the exception that he has difficulty forming words. One of his diagnosis is sensory procussing disorder. For my grandson, he needs heavy touch in order to feel. He's calmed down quite a bit but his hugs sometimes are so hard that I nearly lose my balance. He runs at me and into me without slowing down.

There is no charge for the school's evaluation and you still have the choice to follow their recommendations or not; to use their services or not.

I'm adding a note because of your self-description. Cud you be ADD/ADHD? My daughter is ADD. She was easily bored and always doing something. She had difficulty sleeping at night which then caused her to be cranky in the daytime. She also didn't want to take medication but eventually had to because she was having enough difficulty focusing that she was having difficulty at work. She also was impatient with her all of us. Why couldn't we think and move as fast as she could? She started medication which has made a very noticeable difference in her ability to do well at work and have more patience with everyone. She still has energy but is calmer.

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R.R.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.,
I have a son who just this last year was diagnosed with ADHD, Until he was 3 he went to Holly Ridge and they said he might be borderline fetal acohale syndrome,( he is adopted) but we know all about bio mom and dad who also are adhd and did drugs.
We were totally against meds, But we saw how smart our son was, but at the same time so behind in his class. after many test, and time spent with his doctor we decided on meds, we were adimit that he would not go on Ritaline or anything additive, we decided on Focline, we can stop it today, next week, next year, no withdrawls, no side effects, it truned out to be wonderful and now he will be going to first grade with the rest of his class. we still have some bad times, but we work through it.
Your child is never to young to be tested, it will help you understand him better and how his little mind is working, only you know if things are not right with him, I knew with my son and I took the chance and so glad I did. We as parents need to do what is in our childs best interest.
As for his being on meds, we have not told alot of people in our family anything because they feel meds are wrong and we are putting a lable on our child. So we let them keep there oppinons and take one day at a time.
Good luck
R.

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V.G.

answers from Seattle on

I don't know if your son has ADHD or not. I'm from the generation that didn't know there was such a thing as ADHD so for all I know my brother and I may have both had it!

Since you mentioned you were an only child, you may not be familiar with how energetic a normal 4 year old boy can be!

I raised two sons, and both of them had very high activity levels, too. If you want to avoid drugs, I would suggest just trying to make sure he gets A LOT of exercise, especially outdoors, to see if that will help.

Take him to the park, the zoo, the beach, bike riding, on hikes and sign him up for soccer, gymnastics, swim lessons, track, outdoor day camps or anything that will give him as much excercise as possible.

I know that ADHD is a legitimate disorder, but at the same time I think many kids from earlier generations may have had it, too, but they were able to keep it manageable because because they were so tired from playing or working outside all day.

Getting involved in some daily activities with him may help aleviate some of your boredom from staying at home, too.

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D.T.

answers from Portland on

Everybody has great advice. Early intervention will only help your son be ready for school, and help your doctor evaluate him later. It is good that your doctor won't evaluate him til he is atleast five. But what I hate is they leave you hanging til then. Adhd is impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, focussing issues. There are lots of variations, and types. Each child is different. Nobody but your doctor can give you a diagnosis. Adhd has something to do with dopamine levels being low. I have read a few studies about this. I have two sons, with add and adhd. Each are different in their behaviors. I used to go to an adhd forum where other parents helped each other. It is called adhdnews and they have a message forum for all sorts of issues. They are great people and will give you great advice and help. Positive reinforcements work best. Work on one behavior at a time. A chart or a marble system rewarding good behavior works great.

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