When You Suspect Your Child Might Have ADHD

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I have suspected that my son has had ADHD since his toddler years. He exhibits periods of excessive hyperness, followed by periods of calm. His hyperness tends to come out in the evenings mostly but his teachers have mentioned it from Kindergarten up. If you too suspect your child might have ADHD or ADD, it’s important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.  A school can in no way diagnose a child or even hint toward an issue like this. It can be a liability on them. A diagnosis can only come from a doctor. 

In first grade, just this last year, my son was in accelerated reading, he was reading at a second-grade level by the time the second-semester conferences rolled around. But he started to show signs of struggle this year in second grade, receiving low test scores when it didn’t make sense and when I knew that he knew the material he was being tested on and I’ve witnessed the books he’d been reading leisurely. Shortly after spring break, I received the “Move On When Reading” pamphlet that included Jaydon’s below average test scores. My heart sunk and I couldn’t figure out in such a short time how I had failed him. 

I asked the school to re-test him in a quiet environment and the results of the test were drastically different. You can see below how he tests when he’s in a distraction free environment. I knew I had a case here for ADHD but needed more information from his teacher and I finally got it with this latest Star Reading test.  

 

At a meeting that I arranged with Jaydon’s teacher and principal, I brought up ADHD. After I confirmed that I’ve seen signs his whole life, the teacher then confirmed that he has tendencies and suggested seeking a doctor’s advice. That if I felt he needed to have some accommodations made the school could make them as long as they had a doctor’s request. 

This has made me feel so much better about Jaydon’s ability to learn and take future tests. I want to point out a few things that I did here to help you in your decision to talk with your child’s teacher if you feel your child might be going through something similar. 

Take Ownership

If your child has exhibited low test scores, ask yourself if you’ve been assisting your child with the required homework and nightly reading he/she is supposed to do at their grade level. Has your home life changed over the last several months? Is your family going through a stressful period and have you seen signs in prior years of a learning disability or a physical disability like sight or hearing? Are you actually helping your child do the required work they need to do? This doesn’t mean doing your child’s homework for them. That would be a great disservice to them as the years go on. This means offering assistance when they need help and observing homework sessions or going over your child’s homework for signs of struggling and showing them ways they can improve. This is crucial before you bring any argument up to your child’s school. 

Approaching Your Child’s Teacher

If you’ve received a letter home from your school or teacher indicating your child might be performing below grade level, don’t get defensive or lash out at your child. The last thing you child needs is to feel like a failure. Also, the last thing your child’s teacher needs is to be attacked. Your child’s teacher has 25 to 30 other students she has to worry about, not just your child. Email your child’s teacher and ask if he or she can carve out some time to meet with you and discuss the low scores and what you can do at home to help your child. Once again if this is an area where you feel your child has a learning disability, this is where you’ll want to advocate for them in the best way possible, but remember teachers can’t diagnose, they can only make suggestions.

 Addressing the Learning Disability

While ADHD or ADD can be considered a learning disability determined by the severity of each case, not all cases show clear signs. As you saw above, as soon as my child’s test environment changed, his scores changed. In many cases even with ADD or ADHD, this environment change might not help and that is when you’ll want to seek further counsel. The best thing you can do is contact your child’s doctor and ask for a diagnosis. Provide your doctor with the documentation they request and go from there.  

 

Worrying About Your Child Being Labeled

I’ve been afraid to have my child labeled. I thought that if ADHD came up in his school files that he would be viewed as a problem child.  Please note, my child still has not been “officially” diagnosed with ADHD, but we are working on it.  I can’t really attest to what this is like, but from my experience with our school, teacher, and principal, they have been more than helpful with the information they have provided me about ways they can help Jaydon with a proper diagnosis.  Your school, whether it’s public or private should be just as accommodating and informative of different processes the school can and cannot take. 

If you feel your child’s school has not been helpful in this area, this is when you’ll want to address if the school is the best fit for your child. While I currently have no real complaints about my child’s school, I do wonder if the environment is right for him and have sought out online school options where he can have more time to get out his energy without being in the confines of a classroom. Where he can receive the one on one help he might need, or have the possibility of working above grade level in certain subjects where he doesn’t have to wait for his peers to catch up. Online schools can let your child work at their pace.  I think, for the most part, physical schools can provide children with a lot more than academics. They learn social skills, make friends and learn to deal with difficult personalities and work through social issues with their peers by being in the middle of them. When you take them out of that environment they may start to decline in that respect. But not every child fits every mold and I’m grateful for the educational options out there and that we can go this route if it proves to be beneficial. 

Have you ever needed to talk to your child’s teacher about a learning curve or needed to ask for a re-test because you were certain your child knew the material he was given? 

About Heather Jones

I'm a coffee addict wife, "work at home mom", mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy "momisodes".

Heartfully Heather

 

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Heather Jones

I'm a coffee addict wife, "work at home mom", mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy "momisodes".

17 thoughts on “When You Suspect Your Child Might Have ADHD

  1. This is a great post! It’s important to make sure you’ve covered every option so you know for sure that your child might be experiencing the symptoms of ADHD and not just slacking off. We have to be vigilant.

  2. This is a great resource! I have a niece that has ADHD and my sister in law has had to be such an advocate for her in school. I know that her addressing any issues right away has made a huge difference.

  3. A VERY empowering article and so helpful to those going through this right now! I agree SO MUCH about getting an EARLY diagnosis! Once they are older – in their upper teens it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get a solid diagnosis!

  4. This is awesome information for parent that suspect their child may have ADHD/ADD. I was not diagnosed til in my 30 ths. My sons were diagnosed in grade school. It is really hard for a child in school when they are not diagnosed because it was a big struggle for me through out school. Thanks for sharing the information.

  5. I can only imagine what you and your son were going through before being diagnosed. I am happy you had him tested and now he is getting the help he needs. This is great information to share.

  6. The best treatment for ADHD is usually medication, combined with behavior therapy (including training parents in behavior therapy) and setting things up for your child at home and at school to make it easier to pay attention.

  7. I would never give up on my child but it is amazing how many people do it so easily. I think as moms we should continue to seek answers when we know something is wrong. I am glad you are with me on that 🙂

  8. This post will be helpful to many parents. Very important to see a doctor is your child is showing these signs you mentioned.

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