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My 5 year old's teacher thinks he has ADD or ADHD...

I went to a parent-teacher conference, and while she had good things to say about him, she also had plenty of not-so-good. One of the things she pointed out was that he is the only child that chooses to roll on the carpet at carpet time, and that they pretty much have to have a para-pro sitting beside him to keep him on task. She said he is a bright child, and that when he *does* listen, the things he says in response to questions are profound for a child his age.

She had plenty of questions for me, such as what we tried at home, and if I knew why his attitude was one of, "I don't care" at the very beginning, but changed drastically within a few days, and cried when I told her about his treatment at our local head start. After hearing how they labeled him a problem, bad, etc, and basically just put him in time outs all day, she said she completely understood. Her theory was that he finally realized he wasn't going to just stay in trouble, that someone was actually going to listen and help him(before you ream me out for not addressing this when he was in pre-k, let me tell you that the ONLY "conferences" I got were yelled at me through my car window in the parent pick up line in front of 30 other parents. The director did not care, the teacher did not care, the para-pro who was doing all this yelling did not care. It was ridiculous.) Now, he tells her every day that he loves her, and he REALLY tries hard because he wants to please her, but he's still having trouble concentrating and sitting still- every little thing is a big distraction.

At the direction and suggestions of his teacher I've scheduled him for an evaluation. They sent home a packet with questionnaires for 2 caregivers and 2 teachers, plus they asked for handwriting samples, a letter from his primary teacher, and his latest progress report of report card. Does this seem comprehensive to you? The thought of my little boy on meds that turn him into a zombie(this is what I was told my whole life, and I've never known anyone on medication for ADD or ADHD) or 'change' him somehow brings me to tears. I feel like I've failed him somehow. I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance that I'm doing the right thing, or guidance, or something. Plus I needed to vent.

Oh, and I just wanted to add that my son is very sweet and loving, and he is never malicious or hateful. He is a handful, but NOT a 'bad kid'.


Asked by lovingmy4babies at 10:43 AM on Nov. 27, 2012 in Kids' Health

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Answers (15)
  • I feel ya. I am going through the EXACT same thing with my 4 year old who is in Preschool. He has an evaluation scheduled in a couple weeks. Like your son, my boy is probably one of the sweetest children I've ever met (and I've seen him at his worst so I'm not just saying that) but he just needs a little help focusing and calming down at the appropriate times. I think what makes me most upset is that I've SEEN kids who are ADD/ADHD and are just completely out of control and unstoppable, and that is not my child. I don't want him labeled as that because he is far, far from that. In fact, if we were out in public you probably wouldn't know he had some "troubles" elsewhere because he can and will be very well behaved. And he's a very smart kid, does great academically (for a 4 year old anyway) but he has a hard time controlling his energy. Read this blog (link below), I cried, you might too, but it made me feel much better (cont)

    Answer by maecntpntz219 at 11:18 AM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • Why does everyone automatically think ADHD meds turn you into a zombie??? I've worked with HS kids for years and the one on meds are zombies... they actually like the meds & how they work. But meds are only a tiny piece of the puzzle... get him eval'ed... go from there. Remember... early innervation is so important!! I've worked with kids dxed in HS... so hard fro them!!


    Answer by Crafty26 at 11:24 AM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • I'll bet you his issue is that he's bored with the curriculum and needs to be challenged
    I hate how they throw the ADD thing out if a kid doesn't act like a robot

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 11:22 AM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • I was a substitute teacher for over 4 years. Talk to the school counselor and request an IEP. I subbed was for teachers and the IEP program (Individualized Education Program alternatively called an "Individualized Education Plan). This program will include your child's classification, placement, services such as a one-on-one aide and therapies, academic and behavioral goals, a behavior plan if needed, percentage of time in regular education, and progress reports from teachers and therapists. This way you have a broad understanding of your child. We all have kids and quite honestly it hurts to hear it from a teacher at school, but they are the educators and they are trying to help you and your child. I am also a former "ritalin child" - I took that pill everyday before I got on the bus for school and the pill wore off at the end of the school day. My parents never did it 24/7 it was just for school - I stopped after puberty.

    Answer by madmueller at 12:03 PM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • ADD/ADHD is not evaluated by a bunch of forms. A comprehensive examination rules all other possibilities out first. Like sleep disorder. The complete evaluation generally takes about 6 months to a nine months and should be done by specialists in conjunction with a Neurobehavioral Pediatric Specialist. There are plenty of good meds now. Straterra is the zombie medicine to stay away from. Make sure they start him on the lowest dose possible. I have seen many teens on 10mg and little 40 pound children on 60mg. Ridiculous. Be sure you child is seen and followed by a NB Pediatric Specialists there are alot of drs who just write scripts that is not what you want. You child should also be monitored for weight loss, sleep issues, stomach problems, headaches, growth and most especially for any impact on his heart. Good luck.

    Answer by booklover545 at 12:06 PM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • Getting him evaluated is a good first step. Knowing if he does or doesn't have it can help you to find new ways to work with him. You don't have to go straight to meds. There are people out there that have methods to help you and him cope and work around it, if he does have it.

    Answer by kmath at 10:46 AM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • Try going to your local health food store and talk to them. I just barely put two of my kids on adhd meds and so far they have been getting lots of headaches,so I'm going to try to find and alternative solution. I've also been reading up on adhd at

    Answer by MarGeee at 10:59 AM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • Its very comprehensive but i'm concerned about

    Try this link. For meds try some caffeine and the feingold diet

    Answer by feralxat at 11:13 AM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • His age- ugh. Concerned about his age

    Answer by feralxat at 11:14 AM on Nov. 27, 2012

  • I also don't plan on medicating my child unless it is the ONLY thing in the world that will help him. I don't think his "problems" are severe enough to need medication, I think he just needs patience, understanding, and a few tricks for when he needs a little help.

    PS - He attends Head Start as well as a private Preschool at our church and while his Head Start teacher is very kind towards him, I do see a major difference in the way that Head Start lables him as "needs help" vs. the private preschool that has actually taken the time to sit down with me and my husband said has said "these are the things we've come up with that we think might help him" and quite literally gave me a list of activities they do with him when they see his energy building. Link Here


    Answer by maecntpntz219 at 11:24 AM on Nov. 27, 2012