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Just Diagnosed With ADHD (Children)

5 year old son being diagnosed with ADHD

My son’s father was diagnoses as an adult 9 years ago with ADHD.
He chose to ignore most of the challenges that come with the ADHD and a relationship and once our son came along the marriage sank like a ton of bricks despite me begging him to go get the help and support he needed to learn to cope with the challenges the ADHD brought about.

So it did not shock me when I was reading copious books on adult ADHD that when they described what children with ADHD present like my son met every single marker.

I have part of a psych degree, couldn’t get a high enough mark in the stats class to continue through.  I have my Early childhood Education diploma and have spent most of my 12 years working with children with special needs in both a centre setting and a home day care setting.

It was clear to me that my son has ADHD.  Unfortunately we only recently were able to acquire a Family doctor (in most of Canada there is a doctor shortage).
The doctor however is hesitant to make the diagnosis firm despite agreeing that he meets every criteria for ADHD as indicated on a SNAP questionnaire answered by both the teachers in his classroom and by his father and myself.  As well as a full detailed explanation of my son’s experiences from preschool, swimming lessons, what I saw in the home day care setting and what occurred last year in junior kindergarten.

And the doctor is hesitating to formalize the diagnosis because my son is also displaying signs of anxiety.

Now from my understanding a portion of that anxiety is directly linked to the ADHD and how they internalize things especially if all it feels like they are doing is getting in trouble at school. Which currently from what I am told every day I pick up, a daily occurrence.

He didn’t start displaying the symptoms of anxiety till this summer.  Which as I keep reiterating to the teachers and the newly acquired family doctor is in direct correlation to my son’s father and I separating.  That the anxiety is likely augmented by the coping with the huge changes that occurred including my son and I moving in with my parents and him having to change schools because we now lived in a different city.

The wait list for a pediatrician is stupidly long in my area (in Northern Ontario, Canada)—could be 2 years at best.  We were referred into a School Success Program that when we finally get registered will give us access to a developmental pediatrician how ever no one can tell me how long the wait list will be.

I don’t know how to help my son cope with his anxiety.
The doctor was less than helpful because all he told me were things I was already doing -clear expectations, breaking things down into manageable chunks, frequent reminders, set routine, lots of physical activity—made more challenging this past week with the incredibly frigid temperatures and the massive amount of snow that fell.

My son out of the blue asked for a picture schedule as he doesn’t read well enough to easily glance at a written schedule to help him remember what he needs to be doing.
I was impressed.  Reinforced that I have taught him to recognize things that work for him.  We did have visual reminders of things when I was doing home day care because I looked after a child with autism.

He manages fairly well in one on one or small group (less then 6 children) situations that are well structured.  This is likely due to the fact the for the first 4.5 years of his 5 years of life I worked from home doing home day care.  I was able to recognize his symptoms and start teaching him strategies in which to cope with.  Unfortunately they don’t appear to be translating well into a kindergarten class size of 28.

At this point the only reason they haven’t suspended my son for his behaviour in the classroom is because I have been so on top of communicating and taking seriously my son’s behaviour.  What concerns me is that he was in a junior kindergarten class last year and though there were definite issues with impulsiveness and attending to task, and touching other kids (not hitting -playing with their hair -especially the girl who had these tight ringlet curls that he claimed looked exactly like springs, general invading of personal space in closeness however there was no violence with regards to hitting/kicking/pinching teachers and some minor typical school yard infractions and scuffles between four and five year olds with turn taking etc.  In the entire year I received 3 phone calls all over his refusal to move onto the next task and standing defiantly crying and refusing to do anything anyone asked of him except to stand and cry and occasionally yell No or I don’t want to!

This year he has been sent to the office at least a dozen times for having a full out melt down, numerous infractions of hitting, pushing and kicking other children and starting just before the Christmas break he has now hit or pinched one of the staff in his classroom on 6 different occasion.  Every single time over another child destroying the creation he has made out of some sort of blocks and he was trying to save at clean up time.  Now one would think that the teachers would smarten up and catch on that they need to go to my son ahead of the formal clean up phase and have him dismantle his own creation, but no the continue to repeat this cycle DAILY and at least once a week he completely falls apart and throws the toys at the other child and now lash out at the teacher. 
The have started a marble economy strategy with my son in that he completes a task or expectation that he struggles with and he receives a marble that he places in his bank.  He reaches 5 and he immediately gets to cash in for 10 minutes of doing an activity of his choosing (lego, computer time, art etc).  The idea is in a couple of weeks time they will up it to 10 marbles.
I think it’s a great system except I don’t have a lot of faith in the teachers actually being consistent in following through so I see it doomed to fail.
This will be the 3 or 4th thing we have tried since October and the rest all started off strong but by the 2nd or 3rd week he can’t even meet the goal once and ultimately I suspect lack of consistency on their part because everything they have implemented we have carried on at home and have met with fairly moderate success.  Some days were complete write offs, but overall I’d say successful.

So here I sit at a loss of what I can do to help my son.
And wondering if I just need to transfer him out of that school because perhaps the classroom may be apart of the problem.



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