Life with Fast Boy

The Challenges of Raising Our ADHD Son

Our Son’s ADHD Symptoms

Posted by One Tired Mama on July 15, 2007

People often ask me when I first noticed my son’s ADHD symptoms.  My answer is that I suspected before he was even born.  He was a pretty wild kicker and I’m surprised I didn’t get any broken ribs.   He was a difficult baby.  He didn’t nurse well.  He was often fussy.  Then again, he was often a sick baby with chronic ear infections, high fevers and reoccurring bronchial problems, so I can’t point that at ADHD.   

There are plenty of stories that I could tell about things that have happened in the past years.  There were many, many incidences of disobedience and aggression.  He couldn’t transition from one activity to another without a fit of rage.  He was unable to play with anything without crashing and throwing.  He couldn’t sit still to listen to a story.  And we couldn’t even cuddle without his activity level getting someone physically hurt. 

I have a folder of medical evaluations and reports from daycare providers and teachers.  He was the child that bit, that threw excessive tantrums, that was obsessed with monsters and fighting.  He didn’t focus, didn’t pay attention, couldn’t stay still and didn’t play well with others. 

We have had multiple incidences of shop-lifting and destruction of property.  No matter what consequences we impose, he never seems to learn from them.  He will eventually repeat the behavior as if it had never happened before.  There is no fore-thought of the consequences of his actions. 

No matter how much people told me that his behavior was just “normal boy” behavior, I knew something wasn’t quite right.    I believed that if what we were experiencing was normal, a lot fewer people would be having children!  (To this day, I still wonder how we were brave enough to have another child.)

I don’t know when, or if, he was ever officially diagnosed.  But I do know that he meets the DSM IV requirements for the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with Impulsivity (314.01).  He would need to meet six or more of the following symptoms.  He meets all of them!

  • fidgets
  • leaves classroom desk
  • runs excessively
  • blurts answers
  • interrupts or intrudes on others
  • unable to play quietly
  • acts “driven”
  • talks excessively
  • difficulty awaiting his turn

He also meets the DSM IV criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Inattentive Type (314.00).  Six or more of the following symptoms must be present.  Some symptoms must be present before age 7, with impairment present in two or more settings (school and home).

  • poor attention to details
  • doesn’t listen
  • poor follow-through
  • poor organization
  • trouble keeping attention in task and at play
  • avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • easily distracted
  • forgetful

Actually, the only deviations I have seen from these patterns are when he is playing a video game, watching TV or reading.  In my understanding though, the calming response to video is typical of the ADHD child as the screens run at the same high speed as their brains do and give them the stimulation they thrive on.  I’m not sure why reading calms him, but I don’t think I will ever have all the answers.

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