Getting Tested?? Help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2009
Getting Tested?? Help.
Fri, 04-09-2010 - 1:52pm

Greetings All,
I am new here and am trying to figure out what to do. I have a five year old who has always been very spirited and very active but when we started preschool last fall it became apparent to me that he cannot seem to stay still, maintain focus or follow directions or rules very well. He is not a defiant kid, it's as though he can't help himself. He has to start kindergarten this fall and here it is all day. If it were half days, five days a week (we are at three right now) then I think we could work with him little longer and see how things play out but my fear with all day school is that he will get very frustrated with all the sitting and focus required and start a lifetime of hating school. He already has some behavioral issues due to his inattentiveness and inability to remember instructions he has been given.

My questions are, how did you know it was time to get tested, how did you find someone who wasn't going to take one look and say "yep, ADHD, here's some pills," and what have you experienced with treatment? I think it would be best if we get him tested over the summer and on some form of treatment before school starts. Thank you for any input you may have.

Hugs and Angel Kisses,

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 04-12-2010 - 4:46pm

Testing--well, we went with an eval through the school system & then went to our pediatrican; I knew before we even went there that we were way beyond "just give them a pill". The advice I'll give that's in addition to what you already have: Consider doing the eval NOW. I say this because you usually/always get data from the teacher--in this case preschool teacher--and it's really valuable. The teachers see lots of kids, the good ones have a clue about what's developmentally appropriate & what isn't, that kind of thing. And it'll take awhile in the fall for the teacher to figure your kid out--if the preschool teachers already have, it's worth evaluating now, so you get that data. You don't have to start meds right away--I'd almost recommend starting a few weeks before school in the fall, depending on how your schooling works. On the flip side, again, it's lovely to have the feedback from great teachers about how your child is responding to the meds!

We made it through KG fine (full day, sort-of--2 days/wk full day, 3 days/wk not)--but that's totally because the TEACHER was amazing, movement breaks & suchlike in there for everyone, etc., etc.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Fri, 04-09-2010 - 11:17pm

What previous poster said about doctors. Also, if you can, go and observe classrooms now. (If you can - when my son was going into kinder they had one bad tenured teacher and the principal wouldn't let people observe.) Look for things that teachers do that will be helpful for your son - a hand on the shoulder to redirect rather than shaming in front of the class. The teacher should do call-response to get class attention (she says "Ta-ta" the class says "hoot, hoot" and stops what they are doing and looks at the teacher.) Talk to the teachers and see if they will give kids chores for movement - collecting papers, sweeping, cleaning the whiteboard, taking notes to the office, etc. Ask them what they may have done to work with kids who are especially active. Look at ratio of boys to girls in the class, and how big the class is compared to others. That above teacher I mentioned had slightly more boys than girls when school started for my daughter, with 20 kids. 8 boys transferred out in the first 3 weeks, and she had no special education kids (or kids with IEPs) if she could help it. See how much movement is in the class and how long the teacher expects the kids to sit still. Be upfront with the school about your concerns - you want a happy kid and a happy teacher because the doctor may say it is best to wait a year or two for medications.

Talk to other parents if you know them, about what teachers may be best. Ask them how the teacher deals with fidgeting kids, disapline and other issues in the classroom. Avoid at all costs a teacher that no one has anything positive to say.

Read the book "Superparenting for ADD" it has some tips for dealing with teachers. (Probably other books as well.) Read "Healing ADD" by Daniel Amen - you can figure out the "type" of ADD your son may have and what medications, diet, exercise and supplements may be helpful. (Of course, actual diagnosis will be made by the doctor.) Visit the Ivillage Special Education/IEP message board to get a heads up on some issues that you may need to be aware of if you end up going that route in the future. (Better to know ahead of time what you may be up against.) Learn from books, forums and such what works to teach kids with ADD, because you may need to educate the teacher about what works best for your child.

My son also had a very hard time sitting still, following directions and all of that. Not that he was being defiant, he really wants to please adults and does well with ones that acknowledge that he is trying hard. But they gave him to the same teacher his sister had had, and I knew it was a bad mix for her as well as him. I had intended for him to go to kinder while I homeschooled his sister, then add him in to homeschooling the next year. The school refused to change teachers, and I didn't want him a day with that teacher after what I saw her do to kids in my daughter's class. Had the principal listened to me, perhaps he would have stayed in school that year and potentially beyond. With the circumstances that we had, I am grateful that I had other options. Most schools probably are not as inflexible as the one I had. (At least I want to believe that!)

Wow, looks like I gave you a lot to go through, but if you need to observe classrooms you should contact the school about doing that soon. Reading and such can be done on the side before the new year starts. Beyond all the above, keep your sites on your happy, positive, willing to please little guy, never let him know that he is anything but wonderful the way he is.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Fri, 04-09-2010 - 4:32pm

HI, and welcome! If you suspect ADHD I would get a referral to a Neuropsychologist for an evaluation. You can ask yourPediatrician for the referral. I would see a Neuropsych because of his age, he is still kind of young, and because if it is ADHD/innattentive, it is the hardest to diagnose. Also, a Neuropsych will be more thorough,and do alot of testing to rule out other things that can Mimic ADHD.

Good luck, and let us know what happens.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.