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Real potential for ADHD...

Dave October 26, 2019 18:20

*although I realise not necessarily a disability but didn't know where else the question fitted!

We have been matched with a child and are due to meet her social worker next week. Needless to say from what we have seen and read we are already in love with her and think we would be a great home.

Reading through the CPR in detail now the main risk for their future is around ADHD. There are older siblings, all with learning difficulties and a diagnosis of ADHD. The report is very clear about the risks of her developing although they're are no signs now (although only 2yo). It doesn't scare me, I've worked in education for years and have had many children with ADHD come through my classroom. I am also aware that having a child with ADHD in my classroom and having one in my life full time is very different! Just wanted to throw it open to the forum for any thoughts?

Thank so much! Dx

Edited 26/10/19
Donatella October 27, 2019 09:37

I have a child with adhd - dx at 6. Pretty sure that’s the earliest you can get a dx and meds so if lo does have it you may well be in for a tricky few years. As you recognise, living with it 24/7 is not the same as having that child in your classroom! My son’s then mainstream decided they weren’t going to cope - or try to cope - with him so perm ex him. Best thing they ever did for him though very hard at the time.

A few things:

Impulsivity - if bm is adhd, how did she manage pregnancy? Was she self medicating - drugs, alcohol etc. Stressful pregnancy? Chaos, dysfunction - it’s likely that adhd will be just one thing in the mix for the child. What happened in pregnancy is key. Raised cortisol levels in baby etc. If bm was drinking then fasd is possible. If you haven’t already check out Bruce Perrys neurosequential model.

Adhd can be comorbid with other things, often autism. My son is also autistic.

Adhd is manageable but ime meds make a huge difference but you won’t get those for sometime so bear that in mind. And even with meds things like sleep and appetite will factor. Not to mention the fact that many people still deny the existence of adhd and prefer to see ‘naughty child’ so not everyone will understand or be supportive!

My son is 15 now and amazing ... but it has been a journey!

Edited 27/10/19
Lettice October 27, 2019 09:44

Hi Dave

Totally agree with you about the use of "disability", but, in the world we live in it IS a disability - using the social model of disability. Children with ADHD are frequently labelled as "the naughty child" in early years settings, "the disruptive child" at school, and "not really what we are looking for" when applying for jobs. From an ADHD person's viewpoint, society is cruelly disenabling, to the point where basic needs such as friendship, education and work are 100's of times more difficult than they should be.

As a "hidden disability" there are difficulties around the judgement of others too.

But the difference between classroom and home is that your home won't be a hostile environment!

A couple of other thoughts.......

-your potential daughter may have all sorts of other difficulties mixed in with ADHD. Or turn out to have the other difficulties, but not the ADHD, or ADD without the H. Dealing with all the professionals involved can be more stressful than parenting the child! There are often long delays in diagnosis; no joined-up services; support that is too little, too late.

-the classification of ADHD changes from time to time in terms of paperwork and support mechanisms. At one time it was SpLD, but then changed to "behavioural issues" ignoring the underlying needs. Within adult services it falls through the gap between learning difficulties and mental health.

-also thinking of adults with ADHD, did you know that there is a strong link with bipolar. I haven't seen a recent figure for the percentage, but I think it's high, so worth considering how you might manage that risk in due course.

My daughter is now in her 20's and her ADHD symptoms, which were classed at the severe end as a child, are much more manageable as a mature adult. She still keeps some of the bounce and liveliness and her "in the moment" attitude. As a child she made other children look like cardboard cut-outs! She is probably the most courageous person I know.

Good luck with your meeting, hope it all works out.

Bluemetro October 27, 2019 16:00

My 11 year old was only diagnosed less than a year ago and since having meds when at school, it has improved life at school regarding concentration. However as others have said there are often other things as well so need to be prepared for it not being straight forward. The challenge we found was school supporting referrals as DS masked a lot in school. ADHD is in the birth family which helped to confirm our suspicions.

In respect of pre diagnosis my DS never settled for long on one activity, so I had to be prepared with lots of things to do and we went out a great deal so he was always active. On one occasion we went for a walk around the block in pouring rain to find puddles and to help with my sanity. The fact that I did not have a car during the day meant going to the park or other activities, filled in more of the day, although for longer distances waiting at a bus stop could be challenging. (a lot of thinking on your feet to occupy). Looking back maybe the lack of concentration was the ADHD but it was only as school became less active that the concentration became more of an issue.

Another thing that is important is to have times yourself that you can unwind.

Safia October 27, 2019 17:25

Sometimes it’s easier to deal with something when you have a strong suspicion what you are looking for - and ADHD in the family is a strong indication the child could be affected. Of course there are often comorbidities and the whole thing is further complicated by trauma and attachment difficulties making it difficult to unravel. My daughter had ADHD and although I was fairly certain this was the case from a young age - and so were staff at her special school (though they didn’t actually tell me this) - she was not diagnosed until she was 19 and I had to do this privately. It’s not always easy to get the professionals to see it when there are other things that they feel might explain it. Medication helped a lot. When she was a toddler though she was very difficult and it’s definitely harder than dealing with pupils at school. Bear in mind too a great number of the prison population have ADHD as well as victims of some crimes, drug users etc. Of course your child might not even be affected and there are far worse / harder things to deal with so definitely worth considering

Dave October 27, 2019 18:15

Thank you so much for your thoughts, really really helpful!

Milly October 29, 2019 19:42

Our now 18 year old has ADHD. When younger the main issue was impulsivity. When out she would run / cycle ahead. In shops she'd wander off and pick up things. If she wanted a toy someone else was playing with, she'd snatch it. If someone annoyed her she'd hit them. She was impatient with most slightly challenging tasks. I didn't buy her clothes with buttons for years, for onstance. She hated writing with a vengeance (and was later found to have fine motor skills in the bottom one thousandth.) Socially she was friendly, embarrassingly so. Kids loved her to start with because she was fun and lively, but soon got fed up with her constantly changing the rules, being very bossy etc. Though of normal intelligence (she's had 3 IQ tests!) she lacked the executive functioning skills to be an effective learner. She got through lessons by answering lots of questions because that kept her busy but had huge difficulty in getting anything down on paper. Other kids thought her "naughty" and often told me so. They didn't want to be her friend. Mixing with families with children her age became more or less impossible for us. Friendships with other parents are much more tricky when your child annoys theirs, so I felt we missed out on a personal level.

BUT...pluses are she was interested in doing anything, going anywhere. Loved adults as much as peers her age. Adored animals. Fantastic at technical stuff like using computers, CDs etc.. Developed enthusiasms for all kinds of things. Very loving.

Meds did help her concentrate but not to the extent of bringing her up to a normal level. Mostly they made her more thoughtful and rational. In a silly mood, off meds, she literally couldn't listen to anything that was said to her.

She's matured a lot though in recent years. Much better with relationships. Much calmer. Able to self regulate a lot more. Able to do voluntary work and be considered an asset (she's not yet got a paid job but I think she will before long).

Above all we adore her. But she did present lots of challenges. We learnt how to handle her early on but her schools all found her very difficult. At college things began to settle, especially last year.

Of course , not every ADHD child is the same. Some of dd's issues will relate to trauma, maybe FAS. Some of it is just her personality. But having another child without ADHD, also adopted and definitely with trauma-related difficulties, mostly the child without ADHD has been easier to parent (when she's not having a massive meltdown, when she is harder!)

We had no idea re ADHD when we adopted, though I am a teacher. But I knew from the start that dd was different from other toddlers. I marvelled how they could sit and do one thing for more than a few seconds.

Must stop rambling!!!

Safia October 29, 2019 23:01

That’s a lovely thorough description Millie and amazingly like my daughter too - though she has borderline learning difficulties and is dyslexic - she also had a non accidental head injury but no FASD related issues. Especially about how she was when little and with other people. I remember AD was always talking to people on buses etc and asking things like what colour was their front door! People always found her quite appealing and entertaining if they didn’t see her for long. Lovely sense of humour too. I remember a photo in the park at the end of year 2 - six friends all lined up smiling - AD turned round bent over with her bum in the air - I always think that photo just illustrates it perfectly for me!

Bluemetro October 30, 2019 14:36

Thanks Milly, your comment about marvelling how other toddlers could sit and do one thing for more than a few seconds is familiar. I did exactly the same thing and was also fascinated that some children were happy to walk along hand in hand deep in conversation with a parent.

However despite the difficulties DS has a lovely nature and likes to help peers if in distress.

Safia October 31, 2019 13:00

Yes walking along holding hands - not running full speed ahead - not getting lost in shops (or anywhere else) - which still happens at 24 - my granddaughter always says “don’t send me into shops with AD - she goes wandering off and I can’t find her” - not roaming about on buses and trains but able to sit still!

Edited 31/10/19
Milly October 31, 2019 19:17

Oh yes - definitely no holding of hands! Running ahead. Heart stopping moments where she approached a road and I wondered if she would stop...

I gave up trying to keep her near me in shops after one day she cried in the supermarket because she couldn't find me. I realised that although I didn't always know where she was, she did know where I was! Much easier once she was 11 or 12 as it felt that it was her responsibility to keep tabs on me at that age.

She does actually stay with me in shops now. And even agrees to try on clothes in changing rooms.... something she refused to do when younger. Too impatient. Plus she just wanted whatever it was - had no concept of checking it fitted or looked nice.

Bluemetro November 1, 2019 08:55

Yes shops that's another thing, although I think part of it is also the ASD as can find shops overwhelming. If we have to go shopping, trying on clothes it has to be done with little delay and sometimes panic to get home again. My DS moved to Secondary School this year, so we had to spread out the buying of uniform and in some cases having to return to exchange after trying on at home. We went early to avoid queues. So planning shopping trips here is important.

However also on that note, we thought lots of different teachers would be a challenge as this was something he was not looking forward to. However the changing classes has worked well as there is more movement. Regarding Primary, a tip may be to see if the school allow brain breaks. Thus was eventually planned for DS and helped.

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