how do you know if this is really adhd

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
how do you know if this is really adhd
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 12:11pm
I'm asking since my son who if you saw him would appear to be a typical 5 year old.

he also would look like he is constant motion. I can never keep up with him.

he is extremely inteligent, and reads, does math work on his own with no help from us.

I have him enrolled in two different schools. kindergarten is a half-day in our town so I have him in a private kindergarten, and from there he catches the bus to the public scholl, then back to the private school after, I work so this kind of acts like day-care for me.

The private school loves him and both his teachers there (both skilled with adhd) say he

doesn't have adhd, maybe he has some behavior issues, but he isn't adhd, he is their top

student. We had him see a counselor, and she didn't think he had adhd as well and told us

there was no need to bring him back that she would love to take our money but there was no need to. The public school says he is adhd, they want a core evaluation done on him, they suggested starting him on strattera, which I question when school gets involved with drugs. Anyways this led me to bring him to a different counselor, and he isn't sure that my son has adhd, he has some of the symptoms but not the key symptoms.

His pediatrician was totally against drugs. Since she has known him since birth, she

said that he does not need drugs.

ok he has been suspended twice this year, and thrown off the bus atleast 4 times. Remeber this is a 5 year old and he is in kindergarten...

Can anyone offer any advice because I'm spinning here about what to do?

thanks for listening.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 2:06pm
What I would look for rather than activity level is his ability to complete activities that require concentration, and his frustration level and resulting behaviour.

Being over active is def not the only reason ADHD is dx and I think if you've already been told by therapists and doctors your child is not ADHD, and you are having only "regular" 5yo problems at home, they are probably right.

My son cannot concentrate on anything for more than a nano second without medication. This causes him to be highly frustrated and then have terrible meltdowns because he cannot problem solve. He is 4.5 and will start school in September. He's at home with me now and he is medicated. He also has a mood disorder.

Without medication he cannot sit down at all, he jumps up and down on furniture and flies between one activity to the other. He is impulsive, butts into conversations, freaks out when he has to change from one activity to another. He also gets fixated on things, for example when I put ketchup on his plate if he's eating chicken nuggets it has to be exactly the right amount in the right place on his plate and god forbid if it touches a nugget. He only wears clothes in which all tags have been removed and socks without toe ridges, he'll only wear soft cotton material.

He will go for days where he will only eat one food item. He is very ritualist and must have the same daily schedule, one change will set him off for the day. We don't like to take him anywhere.

He did well at a private daycare, only because they were aware of his issues and also they had a rigid schedule that he was more than happy to comply to.

I'm not saying all kids with ADHD have these issues but more do than not.

If you see a happy spirited 5 year old in your son, then that is probably what he is. You didn't say how he's doing in school, are his grades good? If they are and he's not having trouble concentrating on his school work then he's probably just a busy little guy.

Good luck


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 2:22pm
thanks for your reply. No my son can sit and complete his homework. and draw and work on

his artwork, he can help me with dishes, and clear the table. He is one of the smartest

kids in his classes. the only thing that is particular about him, and you brought it up is he hates toe ridges...but if I tell him to get over it. he'll wear them he won't be happy about it but he'll wear them. I sometimes hate to take him out but then who am I punishing? He does ok if we go out and I say where we are going. If I see he is having a hard time I'll tell him if he'd like to watch a video or get computer time he'll have to behave, and for the most part he does behave.

If you see him in a group, he stands out in a crowd because he is the active one.

I'm really not sure drugs are the way to go with him..I keep wondering if its for me or for him. I mean he's a happy kid.

I wonder if I just need to be more strict with him....most people that meet him tell me he is an extremly smart child.

thanks again for your reply..sorry I'm just rambling here. So hard to be a parent and not worry.

thanks again

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 8:59pm
I think it is so easy to make mistakes with diagnosis'and the best thing, is to have many opinions. ADHD characteristics overlap with so many other things, including just plain percociousness. A psychologist that I know says that Bi-polar is being overused now, as a concern.. Kids have so many quirks, are all wired so differently- it is so hard to know "WHAT" is going on. When we had my son diagnosed we took him to three different doctors. A behavorial/developmental pediatrician, a neurologist and a psychologist. I wanted each of their individual opinions. I think if anyone has worries over their child- they should do all they can to seek lots of opinions--knowing that it won't always be an easy task. Some very active kids, can manage fine at school and get through without needing a diagnosis or treatment. Some kids have lots of these characteristics without ever having a "label"..Just hang in there and see how things go..and maybe try a behavior chart with rewards as well\..and don't hesitate to seek other opinions in time, if you still have concerns about your son.
Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 1:53pm
There are other things that look like ADHD or have very similiar symptoms such as Aspergers Syndrome or even food allergies. I don't know how to tell you which one to pursue, if at all. My daughter, from 18 months old, was highly impulsive. She is severely ADHD. There were no brakes in her mind. The instant she thought of something, she did it. Children are like this in general, but most children learn after the first couple of times when something doesn't work. Mine never did. They have difficulty learning from past mistakes or experiences. They have difficulty predicting future consequences. They truly live in the present. My daughter would take one hour to write a simple 5 sentences, that was with tears and angst as well. She just couldn't concentrate long enough to do any work. The minute another stimulus enters her senses, it distracts her. In her own words she told me (at age 7) that she tries to think of something, but then a car drives by or she sees a cat and she thinks of that. Most of us can filter out those things. In ADHD, every new input gets priority. There is no filing of priority in their minds. As always, everyone is different, this is just a generalized description of ADHD.

I also got differing opinions from different sources. The public schools were the hardest on her. They told my my daughter was "bad" and "flaky" and she was constantly going to the principal and counselor. She was threatened to be kicked off the bus for repeatedly standing up when she was supposed to be sitting down. They kept implying I was inconsistent or lenient or basically spoiling her. I would consider that as a possibility, being open-minded and my utmost priority being to help her over me being prideful. However, I stay at home, have a great marriage, have a very consistent day to day routine...I make her follow rules and have consequences. I'm the daughter of an Army sargeant. I understand enough about authority and discipline to have sat around and blamed myself for too long. I didn't think her inability to do her work was because I was spoiling her. Even spoiled children can learn at school. Mine wasn't despite being very smart and picking up on concepts well. She learned to read the summer before she went to kindergarten. Really, things just weren't adding up.

If I were you, I would read everything you can because no one is going to be able to tell you for sure. The test they give are based on surveys taken from parents, teachers and caregivers anyway. I don't know that the school should be telling you he is ADHD and making medication recommendations. They don't suggest what kind of medications my daughter needs for seizures or run allergy tests for a good reason...they aren't doctors. I only feel a doctor should do that...just my opinion. I feel it's a conflict of interest for them to recommend it. That is totally my opinion though.

If it were me, I would wait to see how is does with other teachers. Obviously the preschool sees no big issues. Children aren't usually diagnosed until over the age 7, I believe. These types of medications have NOT been studied on young children anyway. This would give you time to see if his behavior is consistent over the years and that it's not just a phase. If the schools don't like it, then they can recommend behaviorial modification in the meantime to use at school. This would also give you the time to do research and check out resources. I would very seriously rule out food allergies as well, even if no one else tells you that. Okay, this is all my opinion and the truth is you should trust no one because you are your child's only advocate and you know him better than anyone. If your instincts tell you there is something not right, you should listen to that. Good luck!