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How do I talk with my husband about the possiblity that my stepson has a learning disability or ADD? Do I even say anything?

My 6 year old stepson seems to be regressing. All of a sudden he doesn't remember how to spell his name. He can not sit still, I have read up on the symptoms of both a learning disorder and ADD. My husband is very defensive when I bring up anything to do with his son. Last week he told me that, "Joe" is just a sensitive kid and we need to be patient with him. But I think that "Joe" is sensitive because he has been taught that if you cry or whine for long enoubh you get your way. For being 6, neither biological parent holds him accountable for his actions, good or bad. My husband, just 6 months ago said, that it's not "Joe's" fault, he comes from a broken home and I said that "joe" is luckier than most kids whose biological parents live together. I know I went off course but I feel like a lot of our problems stem from behavior that neither bio parents wants to deal with.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 5:01 PM on Jul. 31, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (5)
  • If there is any kind of disability, early intervention is the key for a better outcome. You can suggest to your husband to mention to his pediatrician your concerns. What if you are right and he is not getting the help he needs? Are you willing to let that into your coincience?

    Answer by bebita at 5:17 PM on Jul. 31, 2009

  • I have been "suggesting" (aka alluding to, hinting about, outright saying, demanding and screaming) that my almost 5 yr old stepbaby needs speech therapy for the past 2 years. His mother and father have chosen to not have him assessed in spite of what I've said, his teachers have said, his school administrators have said.

    When the parents are unwilling to act in the best interests of the child, no matter how much we love them, there is a point at which you have to step back and say, "Not my kid. Not my problem."

    Oh, and no matter what you'll be the bad guy. Either you nag at him until he does something or you don't and he blames you for not nagging him. Accept that neither you nor the child will win and move on.

    Answer by Avarah at 5:27 PM on Jul. 31, 2009

  • Regression is not a symptom of ADD, but being unwilling to perform when asked IS a symptom of being 6. Being figgety is a symptom of ADHD but only in extreme circumstances. How are his grades? Can he follow multiple commands at a time or do they have to be broken down? What I would do is make a list of what you think the symptoms are and don't exaggerate, just write down incidences. For instance, "Joe was asked to rinse his dish and put it in the dishwasher. Joe rinsed but didn't follow through with putting it in the washer". "Joe was asked to spell "cat" Joe stated that he didn't remember how". And of course write out any amendments "Joe just spelled "cat" while playing with his toys. This way you do a couple things. You have a running list of what you find worrisome, and you can see for yourself if this is just a case of he wants to do what he wants when he wants.


    Answer by Petie at 5:36 PM on Jul. 31, 2009

  • Also, take into consideration a few things..

    Is he just with you for the summer, or is he usually in your home. Sometimes a child goes to Dad's house for the summer and they are "off" for that period of time because they are out of their normal routine.

    If discipline is lacking, that may lead to being more figgety and more explosive in his behavior. So also keep a list of negative behaviors and the discipline that was given to him.

    Take your list to both parents and show them what you see, they may have a different point of view. Consider counseling for dh and yourself so you can figure out how to deal with a blended family together, because you obviously arent' having your views respected and your dh needs to at least take your perspective into consideration, and he needs to get over his guilt for his son's sake. Guilt will not help his son, it will HURT him.

    Answer by Petie at 5:39 PM on Jul. 31, 2009

  • My ds has HFA.  Here is one website that has some good information on LD's that I actually just had up in another browser window when I came up on your question


    Answer by Melindakc at 5:51 PM on Jul. 31, 2009

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