Need help on where to start

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Need help on where to start
4
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 1:59pm
Hello to everyone. I am new to this board and am not even sure I belong here. I am the mother of a six year old boy and I am looking for information or experiences to help me determine if he's just a normal fidgety boy or if there is a bigger problem brewing.

My son has been in trouble at school (first grade) almost constantly since the beginning of the year because he doesn't pay attention in class. My husband and I have tried a multitude of things from positive re-inforcement to punishments that would turn your hair white (no spanking or hitting!), trying to find some way to impress upon him the importance of learning in school. His teacher seems patient, but is also at her limit. No consequence, either good or bad, seems to get through to him. He has good days and bad days. He takes his punishments very stoically and always starts the new day with a promise to do better. His teacher says he spends a lot of time playing with "found items" in his desk, cutting up erasers with his scissors, doodling, etc.

I've been reading some of the posts here and must say he exhibits some of the behaviors you mention, but on a very mild scale. He was a fidgety baby, but not really high-need. He doesn't seem to need as much sleep as most kids, but he does get a good eight hours a night. He is a bit impulsive and hyper sometiimes, but I can usually attribute it to too much sugar. He is very bright, with a huge vocabulary and a heart of gold. He is not violent or destructive, but does cry easily.

My question is: Where do I start to find an answer? His pediatrician? The school psycologist? I am not writing all the things we've tried at home, because I don't want to make this too long, but my husband and I are really running out of ideas to correct this as a behavior problem and are beginning to wonder if there isn't something neurological going on here. This probably sounds petty compared to the things the rest of you are dealing with, but I'm just looking for a bit of guidance as to where I should go from here.

P.S. I'm completely prepared to accept that there is something I'm not doing right. My mother thinks my son is totally manipulating me and just thinks the rules don't apply to him. Any thoughts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 3:32pm
I have been EXACTLY where you are. My son is 6 and is in kindergarden. I knew that our son was much more hyper and emotional (cries and gets his feeling hurt very easy) than other kids and we had the same report from school, could not stay focused, easily distracted etc..also our son is not aggressive in nature either, he was never "bad in school, just could not stay focused and was very figdety. He also was not a "high mat." baby but he has always been very hyper and could not sit still for very ling. When he does he is usually sitting on his legs, very rarely on his bottom.

We too tried EVERYTHING under the sun and nothing seemed to work. I read up on ADD and ADHD and found that while he did not have all of the signs, he had many of them. I made and appt with our founding pediatrician at our Dr. office (who lucky for us stopped seeing patience 20 years ago and has devoted himself to learning, understanding, teaching, and treating, children with ADD and ADHD. Quentin has *classic* ADHD andn was diagnosed about 4 months ago. They put him on 10mg Aderrall xr and that made him a different kid in about 2 weeks. I was very concerned about medicationg because he has such a wonderful personality and such a love for life and I did not want to squash that. The aderrall helped him to focus and when we talked to him you could tell that he actually *was listening* to what we were saying instead of just hearing us talk. We have also found that getting down on his level and touching him when we talk to him helps a GREAT deal. Also, positive reinforcement seems to work the best, and if he does have to be punished taking something away for a day or so works great to. Believe me we have tried it all.

Good luck and remember you are not alone in this and do what you think is best. My mother also thought that I was being to lenient and he was walking on me. You know your child better than anyone.

Good luck and I hope that this helps!!

HUGGS

Shaun

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 4:22pm
First hit the library and take out all the books you can find. See if it fits your child. Do a search on the internet and get all the information you can. The peditrian is a good first step, talk to him about your concerns, get a physical, blood test, eye and hearing test. Also check out the website www.feingold.org and see if this fits your lifestyle. How is he doing academically? Maybe he needs to be tested for learning disabilities, talk this over with his teacher. Good luck on your search to help your son.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 5:40pm
Many, many thanks to you both for your replies. In answer to your question, my son seems to absorb everything that is taught him in school. That is to say, he can read and do the math, but he doesn't always get the best grades, primarily because he doesn't finish in time. I was really beginning to think it was just a classic case of laziness. He just simply did not want to work hard and didn't care. It's not like we don't give him consequences and it's not like we don't follow through. About a week ago, as a punishment for getting sent to the office at school, we made him empty the contents of his toy box into a 55 gallon trash can and told him to say goodbye forever to his things. (Of course we didn't really throw his toys away.) He didn't cry and has never once asked for anything back. On the contrary, he woke up the next day smiling and happy and full of love for us.

We are so frustrated and it seems like all we do is interrogate him about why he didn't do better in school that day. My husband and I are becoming concerned that in our effort to get through to him, we're on the verge of mentally abusing him.

I do appreciate your help and will make an appointment next week with his pediatrician. Thanks again.

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:48pm
Hi & welcome. What I would do first is send a request letter to the school superintendent of special education. Request in this letter that your son be tested for any learning disabilities. I sent mine certified, just so they couldn't say they didn't get it. After they get your request they have 60 days to complete it. This testing will be done by a phychologist & will help determine if your son has any learning disbilities. ADHD is a learning disability.

Also, take your son to his pediatrician. Tell the doc what is going on, the trouble your son is getting into, and his grades are not reflecting his ability. The doc can give you some questionnaires for you & the teacher to complete. His score on these sheets can help determine if he is ADHD. I also took my son to a child psychiatrist, who echoed the doc with an ADHD DX, it helped that my son was all over jumping on the mans furniture, LOL. I also took my son to an allergist & had him tested for allergies. Food allergies can also mimic ADHD. After all testing is done, then you can decide on what to do.

One good book for you to read is 1,2,3 Magic. Many moms swear by this book. It uses Behavior Modification, which can help correct behavior to an extent. If your son is severly ADHD then meds & behavior mods may be the way to go. Only you can decide on what course you will take.