- Kids Health
Does my Son Have ADHD? Help With ADHD Symptoms
Living With A Child With ADHD
Do you need help with ADHD symptoms? Does someone you know, maybe your child, display symptoms of ADHD? How can you tell if someone you love has ADHD?
When my oldest son was born (he is now 22) - it was the most glorious day of my life. Although premature (2 pounds and 12 oz), he was the most beautiful tiny baby I had ever set eyes upon. Somehow I knew that although he was small he would be OK - somehow.
What I didn't know at that time was that although physically he was strong and healthy, there was something brewing inside hIs little body that would change his life and our families life forever.
Although he hit all the milestones growing up pretty normally, there was something about my son growing up that was not quite right, something I could not quite put my fingers on, something about his excess energy and lack of focus that did not sit right with me.
As a toddler he was extremely active, and his younger brother and him were into more things than I could blink an eye at.... I dismissed it at the time as them just being very young (after all they were only toddlers) and that I was just having a tough time because I was a single parent.
Our house always seemed to be in chaos as the boys were growing up - even when my oldest was 2 I would get strange stares from other parents as if to say "Can't you control your child?". He rarely sat still and he acted like he was driven by some kind of internal motor that only shut off when his little eyes would close and he would finally go to sleep.
I was frequently exhausted, my 2 young sons kept me on my toes all of my waking hours. I was afraid to even let them out of my site for even a minute, as they were always getting into something dangerous. Repeated attempts at curbing their behaviors met with rebelliousness, tantrums and in most cases, the same behavior.
It became a vicious cycle. I felt like I had no control over my children's behavior and I got more and more depressed. Parents would frequently look at me like I was a bad mother and I wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn't get my sons to sit still or obey simple instructions.
Does your Child Have ADHD?
Books on ADHD
Why Won't My Son Sit Still?
As I said earlier, the most glorious day of my life was my sons birth, and the next glorious day for me was taking my oldest son to his first day of Kindergarten. Little did I know that the proud feeling I felt that day would come crashing down around me pretty quickly.
Within 2 weeks of my son starting school I was called in a for a conference with his teachers and the principal. They suggested to me that they felt my son was too young to start Kindergarten and that I should withdraw him and wait until the following year for him to start school. They said that he would not sit still, would not listen and had a very short attention span. In retrospect - as I look back - that was the beginning of the "passing the buck". Although they did not say it, I could see that they did not want to deal with my son.
I went home crushed, crying all the way home and not understanding why my son would not sit still... Worse yet, what was wrong with me as a mother?
The "lightbulb" moment came for me one day when I was in a cardiologists office a few weeks later getting some heart tests done, As I sat waiting for the doctor to come in I watched my son for about 10 minutes. Within that 10 minute span my son sat under his chair, straddled the chair, laid upside down on the chair, just about every position known to man he attempted in those few minutes. It struck me then that there was something seriously wrong with my son. It should not be that hard for a 5 year old to sit for 10 minutes, yet for him it was almost impossible.
A few weeks later I had a consultation with his pediatrician and the doctor told me that my son had "ADHD" (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) That was why he had such a short attention span, always fidgeting and never sitting still. The doctor made the diagnosis in his office, just by observing my son. He said that he would run some blood work and other things but that just by watching him he could say with almost certainly that was my son had ADHD. (Interestingly enough I later found out that his doctor also had ADHD and that was why he had gone into the field that he did)
Now this was almost 20 years ago and back then ADHD was a seldom used word. I did not even know what ADHD even meant, all I knew was that my son had it and our lives had just changed forever.
I felt like a parent who had just received some very bad news, news that would forever change our lives, that I had no control over the future, and I started to grieve. I looked at my son and felt terrible remorse, that somehow I had visited this upon him through something that I had done wrong during my pregnancy or during his first few years.
Now I know that is not the case but back then the guilt was horrible. Many years of therapy and medication were in store for us, and as I look back now, I realize it had nothing to do with something I'd done wrong but it was just a simple twist of fate that had been visited on our family (And yes as luck would have it my younger son was also diganosed with ADHD at a later date)
If you are struggling with ADHD there is hope for you and your children. If someone you know needs help with ADHD there are many resources available for help - much more now than when my son was growing up. Here are some helpful links and a ADHD symptoms chart for you to look at if anything I've described to you sounds familiar and you are wondering if your child has ADHD.
In future articles I will also go into some other stories of my sons battle with adhd and our families methods methods of coping with our life with a child with ADHD (some coping skills were not good but that's why I'm writing this for you - to help you avoid some of the mistakes I've made)