Possible ADHD Child, What Is Your Experience?

Updated on June 09, 2012
D.C. asks from Frisco, TX
17 answers

Hello Moms,

My daughter is 7 and she's in the second grade. I've had a couple conferences with my daughters teacher and she feels that my daughter may possibly have ADHD. She says that my daughter has trouble finishing her class work and she gets stuck on simple concepts and she sometimes drifts off into space. My daughter does some of those things at home but I just attributed it to her being 7 and assuming that most 7 year olds are all over the place. I don't want to discount the fact that she may be ADHD but I have no knowledge of the condition and I am fearful of possibly putting my child on medication. We are an AA family and it seems taboo in our culture to even discuss children having mental/cognitive issues and I have no point of reference with which to go off of. Any information would help. What I am looking for is how do I even go about getting her tested? What if she's diagnosed with it, do I use medication or not? If I use medication, what's the safest for her to use? What's the cost of medicating her, if necessary? What are the risks of doing nothing if she is found to have ADHD?

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answers from Dallas on

I think one other person mentioned this, too, but I would agree that the symptoms you described sound more like ADD, rather than ADHD.

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answers from Augusta on

Start with a ped, get a referal to a pediatric psychologist or psychiatrist.
and have her tested. I would start with diet changes if she is dx with ADHD.
I'd start with eliminating/limiting sugar , red dyes, and upping her protein intake and her omega-3 intake. Then if these things do not work then go for medication. There are lots of different kinds and every kid reacts differently to them so it will be trial and error on finding the right medication. We tried diet changes and they did not help us so we went to medication. After being on vyvance and concerta she is now on Focalin short acting 10mg 2x a day. Cost for medications depends on your rx drug plan and if it has a generic, some do some don't Vyvance does not, Focalin short acting does so now we pay 5$ a month instead of 40 . If you do nothing she will struggle for the rest of her school time like I did. I am ADHD-I and I wished my mom had put me on medication as a child I wouldn't have struggled so badly through school.

ETA: please keep in mind that the dye and gluten elimination only works if your child is allergic to those things. Also ADD is now called ADHD-I the I means " inattentive type" There is no ADD anymore .

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

You need to have a psychiatrist diagnose. There are psychologist that can diagnose as well but they need to be in a practice with psychiatrists because only a psychiatrist can write scripts.

Never go to a pediatrician! They don't know how to properly diagnose and that isn't something you want done wrong.

The problem with psychologists that do not practice with psychiatrists is they sometimes push you to not use meds because they cannot prescribe. Not always but there is a greater chance of it happening.

The perfect world is a practice set up with both because you get the behavior therapy that psychologist tend to be better at and the medication which is necessary.

Sorry but if a diet cures you you never had ADHD.

The key is getting the correct diagnosis and going from there. :)

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answers from Minneapolis on

It sounds as though focus is her only issue, right? If she isn't hyper, then she isn't ADHD. She could, however, be ADD.

Generally the concept behind ADD meds are to treat the symptom. You will never 'cure' it. If she were given anything, it would be a low dose medication to help with the focus issue. There are lots of meds out there to help with this so it's hard to name a price or what is safest.

As far as the risks of doing nothing if she is found to have ADD, the biggest consequences our son has had from his condition are lower grades and social issues as a consequence of not being able to control himself. (he is severly ADHD.)

My advice? From what you say, she suffers from lack of focus. This is something you can work on with her and avoid medications all together. Playing games like memory or Simon, sorting piles of coins and counting large quantities, or anything mentally taxing like that can help build her focus. To me, focus is like a muscle. You have to exercise it to maintain and build it. Start there, see if it helps, and if not move onto your doctor for a psychiatrist referral.

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answers from Hartford on

These are all questions that would be best answered by a professional. First off, you need to request a 504 meeting with the school. Call the school's psychologist and tell them that you would like to start the 504 process because a teacher brought up the possibility of your daughter having ADHD and you'd like to follow up with finding out if it's true. You must also request a behavior plan for the teachers to follow in the classroom. You do NOT need special services or a 504 plan for there to be a behavior plan put in place.

Here's what will happen: The school psychologist will evaluate her. The teachers will submit their own evaluations, and so will you. The results will be analyzed and read, and you'll be told what the likelihood of her having ADHD is. This is very important: NEITHER THE SCHOOL NOR THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST CAN DIAGNOSE HER. They can only make the suggestion that it's likely or possible.

You then take that information to either a child psychologist, a child psychiatrist, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, or a pediatric neurologist that specializes in behavioral disorders including ADHD and ADD. You can get referred by your pediatrician to some good specialists to do the independent evaluation, but you want to be sure to take the evaluations and results of the 504 from the school.

Then you and the doctors can discuss what/if medications are necessary or if behavior therapy are more appropriate or a combination of both. Medications have come a long way since the past 20 and even 10 years. No one can force you to give your child medication, but they can make the quality of life so much better for your child and the entire family when you find the right one... and you would know almost right away (within a week or two) after starting a medication if it will work. If it doesn't work after two weeks then you stop using it.

Anyway, if/once you get an official diagnosis then you take it back to the school and they can put the 504 into place and accommodations can be made as needed.

My eldest is 11 years old and we're in the middle of her 504 for ADHD. My middle daughter is 9 years old and we're years into her having special services associated with her autism and sensory integration disorder and her learning delays. I'm also in the middle of the process of getting my youngest daughter, almost 7 years old, speech therapy. ::sigh::

So yeah, BTDT

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I think it's frustrating that the teacher would "possibly" diagnose ADHD. And it sounds more like she's talking about ADD than ADHD anyway... two very different things.

Have you had any trouble with your daughters behavior or academic work before? ADD/ADHD doesn't just spring up over night, so if she was in preschool or in kinder or first grade they would have said something... things like, she can't keep her hands to herself, she seems like she's always busy, has trouble transitioning, can't focus etc... It could just be the teacher.

I wouldn't be closed to the possibility, but I would also be aware that theses two disabilities are over diagnosed. Having her evaluated would at least make you aware that there could be an issue and you could decide what to do from there. It's my understanding that in many cases Dr.s don't officially diagnose kids with ADD/ADHD until about 3rd grade, because certain behaviors that look like ADD can be something else and they wait for it to resolve (or not). After that, if she's still having problems, the teacher(s) will probably be strongly recommending that you have her tested. The work gets harder and the work load is more and it will become more evident that she can't focus enough to do/complete the work.

Good luck~ I wouldn't take the recommendation of one teacher. You know your daughter best. It wouldn't hurt for you to do some of your own research with some books to get better educated about it. The more information you have the better you'll be able to assess your daughter and the more prepared you'll be to decide to have her evaluated or not choose to.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

What did her first grade teacher say? Did she have these problems in first grade? Does she have a Sunday school teacher or girl scout leader you could ask for a second opinion? How is she keeping up academically? Is she reading on grade level? Learning math? Is your daughter one of the youngest in her class?
I've heard Omega 3 can help with focus so I give my son a gummy Omega 3 since I'm sure he's not eating enough fish! Cant hurt! Our school would give the teacher and the parents a Connors Rating scale to fill out. Ask if they have them. or google it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

She may be dyslexic. Dyslexics often are misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD. Dyslexics are usually highly intelligent but process information differently. They get bored in school because they understand what the teacher is saying but by the time the teacher is done explaining what she wants the child (in their mind) is done with the assignment.

She may also have a hearing problem or need glasses.

I was told that my youngest was ADD when he wasin first grade and the teacher became insistant that he be medicated. I don't believe in medicating kids so I refused. This woman became so insistant that we almost got into a yelling match at conferences--I just had to keep my cool and repeat 'the subject is closed' over and over again.

My oldest is dyslexic and so am I. My daughter is the typical dyslexic and has difficulty reading, I have difficulty in math and spelling. My youngest as it turns out is dyslexic as I am. He also had a lot of difficulty with fine muscle control so his coloring and writing were always messy. I think he was in high school before he learned cursive so he could sign his name.

My advice to you is to start doing a lot of on line research or go to the local library and start reading up on learning disabilities. You often need a lot of information so you can back up your reasoning to not medicate your child.

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answers from Chicago on

Start with your Pedi, there are some forms that you can fill out together to see if you should continue in that direction ... if yes, then you will see a pshycologist. Just because your child has ADHD does not mean medicaiton is the answer... my son does VERY well having the extra support in his school (5 right now diagnosed at 4). My nephew needed medication for a while 2ish years and during that time he was busy learning life management skills from his therepist and mom and other influencial adults in his life, he is now on the honor roll and OFF meds. I have had no success in drastic diet changes but it does help to lay off the sugar and processed foods and keep things as fresh as possible. Consistancy is good, from a schedule (does not have to be to the min) to discipline and not all kids respond the same with the discipline either - be willing to experement and try new/different things. You also need to keep teacher(s) in the loop of what is going on, if the morning started good or bad (that often dictates the day) and keep your patience. ADHD kids are not the terrors some think they are ... you just have to be open, consistant and keep your expectations up. One thing that I remember is it's not how you get to the result it's that you got there, my son can leave a fun place w/out tears but he has to be primed (told frequently that it's almost time to go 10min, 8min, 6min, 5min, 3min, 2min, 1min time to go!!) and I have to keep him on track - as he ages he will be able to keep himself on track but it's all about building those habits now.

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answers from McAllen on

I feel your pain Sister!!!!
what is ADHD?
For me, my son was diagnosed early, and you could immediately tell he is ADHD I took him to his pediatrician, and his speech and OT also brought to my attention that I needed to have him tested for ADHD. I asked for a referral to a Neurologist, after that he saw a psychologist. My son is under the autism espectrum, so you may not need to go through all the channels I had to.
When it comes to school your daughter might need an IEP or Individualized Education Program with certain goals to help her learn better. My school has worked very hard with us to do what's best for my son.
When it comes to medication, that is entirely up to you, in my case I need it, I use it and we are so much better with it.
The risks or doing nothing are basically letting her struggle more and more with her education and other tasks, that's gonna affect her self esteem, and many many other things. I strongly encourage you to do something about it.
There are many things you can do besides medication, you can try homeopathy and I believe a gluten free diet is what's recommended for kids with ADHD I just tried it for a couple days but couldn't keep up with it. so...
Good Luck,

PS. I understand your child is young, and believe me, I know that it is a very hard decision to make, but you and only you knows what's best for your child. Regardless, don't close yourself to the possibility of medication just because of what others may think.

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answers from Boston on

My daughter is dyslexic and has mild ADD. On the website from our doctor http://drmoldover.com/ there is a "Parent's Guide" on the right hand side under "Quick Jump To". This would be an easy read and a good place to start. Then, for dyslexia there is a great website with early indications: http://www.dys-add.com/
AS for medications, we tried both types of stimulant meds, and while they had good daytime effects of improved attention, one (amphetamine) made her totally unable to sleep, and the other (methylphenadate) made her depressed. She is currently not medicated, able to keep up with school work but is on an IEP to allow for additional time with testing and assignments, as well as accommodations in the classroom like having tests read to her before starting and doing them in a separate quiet room. She also received Orton-Gillingham tutoring (a phonics method that works for dyslexics) and something called Learning Center where she can finish classwork if she needs more time, and they help her with organization.

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answers from Dallas on

I know I am several months behind but I just discovered mama pedia. I too have an 8 year old who went in for an EEG in November because the school was concerned of seizure activity since he was "spacing out" several times per day. Thankfully there was no seizure activity but the neurologist spoke to my husband and I for maybe 10 minutes and then ask if they could do a 15 minute test an a computer with our son. Well after about 10 minutes they came and got us from the waiting room and told us he was ADD. That was his whole problem to spacing out, off task, slipping grades etc. We chose not to medicate him and I am so thankful we stuck to our guns. He kept falling further behind in math & reading. Other subjects he does great. School called me in for a conference and we decided to do all special ed testing on him. I just found out the results and I am so happy we didn't medicate him because it would of probably just mask some of the other issues he is having. Someone above mentioned Dr. Richard Collier and that is exactly who we will be going to see soon. The OT & PT that did their part of the testing suggested him. My son is definitely having some visual issue...not tracking and so on. Which makes it hard for him to read left to right, take notes from the board & so on. He has Sensory & Auditory Processing issues. I am very fortunate that we have found all of this out and I am looking forward to 3rd grade with his IEP in place and using the Alphasmart for some of his work. He will get to go to content mastery.He will receive OT/PT . He did great in 1st grade so when he started having issues we were very adamant to figure out what was going on.



answers from Tyler on

Before you jump on the medication bandwagon, find a qualified optometrist who specializes in Vision Therapy and have your daughter evaluated for possible visual problems. These aren't focus problems like ordinary visual impairment that require glasses, but rather the failure of the eyes to work together which reduces comprehension. This was what my daughter had, and at about that same age was unable to stay on task. We had her on meds which only subdued her, but didn't address the big WHY she wasn't staying on task. Once we learned about Vision Therapy, it totally changed her life. There are two such doctors in your area, a Dr. Richard Collier in Allen and Dr. Charles Shidlofsky in Plano. We've recommended this option to many parents after our own experience and have seen so many successes. It's non-invasive, and I know you probably don't like the idea of giving your child drugs, so it's worth the expense of an evaluation. Many ADD and ADHD problems are due to visual problems that never get addressed.



answers from Dallas on

One mom said she didn't see any improvement with drastic dietary changes with her child, but I have heard lots of positive feedback about the GAPs program...www.gaps.me. I heard the MD who came up with the GAPs program speak in Dallas at a conference in November and was impressed.

My daughter follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet because of autoimmune disease and it is the basis of the GAPs diet but is much
more restrictive than GAPs. She feels so much better, but it is work.

I would first get a professional opinion/diagnosis and then depending on what you find out, check into GAPs.



answers from Dallas on

I am the mother of 2 ADHD boys, both diagnosed in 1st grade. There is really no official "ADD" diagnosis anymore. ADHD comes in 3 forms - hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive, and combined. Mine both have combined. One is not at all hyper, but he is very unfocused, and sometimes impulsive. The other is hyper and impulsive and sometimes unfocused.

I took my oldest to a behavioral and developmental pediatrician when I just knew something was wrong, but couldn't figure out what. At first I didn't believe the ADHD diagnosis, because he is not hyper, but the more I read about it, the more I could see the other symptoms.

I was very concerned about the medications - you hear such horror stories, so I read everything I could find about it and decided to give it a try. I knew it was the right decision for my son when his teacher told me a couple weeks later that the biggest difference she saw since he started taking the medication was that he felt good about himself again. It didn't turn him into a zombie or anything. He was still himself, just a bit more focused and better able to function

There are now several studies out about the problems ADHD adults who were not medicated as children are having. Its a tough decision, and sadly, has been made very political. I can tell you that I medicate my kids, and it works for them. I didn't do it lightly or "take the easy way out". I researched it and ADHD thoroughly and tried to make the best informed decision I could make.

I now know a couple doctors who perform diagnoses, so if you want names or numbers, just let me know. Best of luck to you and your daughter. It is obvious you care about her and want to do what is best. I hope it all works out for you.




answers from Tyler on

Hey -
It sounds like you are getting awesome advice here. I just want to reiterate, add a couple of things:
1. Medication: Entirely up to you. That's a choice you get to make. And, it's a choice you may end up loving or it's a choice you decide that you can't tolerate. One thing I recommend is to keep your mind open. Entirely different, my son is asthmatic and I was very stressed out about all the asthma medications he had to take. I was worried about what they were doing to his body. So, I talked to my doctor about it and she actually gave me some papers written in the Journal of Medicine about how the asthma medications have been studied and they are not systemic. They work in the lungs and stay in the lungs - they don't go and reside in the liver. So, that alleviated my fears about his particular medicines. Ask any question you want about the medications (if they are recommended).

2. Advocate: YOU are your child's advocate. My son also has sensory integration disorder - which means that he found it difficult to function in the real world. I KNEW something was off with him. But, it took me about 1.5 years to get people to listen and diagnose. Once he had a diagnosis, I had a TOOL that I could use to get the schools to listen to me and they had to comply and have alternate ways of dealing with him. It wasn't just a request that they had to acknowledge from an annoying parent - but rather a plan that they had to have in place and implement. Honestly, once we had a diagnosis, a HUGE weight lifted off of my shoulder. And, I found that other people (teachers/directors/principals) were more willing to listen and help.

So...the best thing you can do is start the research process. But, honestly, keep an open mind. Investigate and try things. I hear (but I will tell you that I don't know this personalloy), that food choices even help with ADD and ADHD. So maybe you can investigate changing her diet? I also hear that just how they (teachers) deal with these kids in the classroom can help. I have one friend whose son has ADD and his teachers allow him to stand up in the classroom and work at a desk standing - that helps him tremendously.

Oh, and just one more bit of information, my son is 8 and does not have any trouble focusing and doing tasks and finishing homework. He pretty much never "drifts" into space. So, what you are describing is not necessarily a description of all kids that age.

Good luck!



answers from Oklahoma City on

My friend wrote this book. It is well written and talks about her own struggles with ADHD. It is a good handbook to have before you start this journey. You'll know what to look for in an evaluation, what to see when they are in the process of diagnosing him too.

Straight Talk about ADD and ADHD


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