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Topic: ADHD pre-schooler

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Subject: ADHD pre-schooler
Date Posted: 12/9/2008 10:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/17/2008
Posts: 2,648
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I have a son in pre-school recently diagnosed with ADHD.  He turns 5 in January and will start kindergarden the next school year.  Any suggestions on what I can do to get him ready for kindergarden? His pre-school is getting ready to kick him out because the difficult time they are having with him. ANy help or suggetions would be appreciated. 

Date Posted: 12/9/2008 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2008
Posts: 1
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Hi! My youngest son was also diagnosed with ADHD in his PreK year, 2005. His neurologist asked us to see a behavioral therapist before starting medication (the Dr had a policy of waiting until age 7) and the counsel we received was priceless. The therapist met with me, with and without my son, as we discussed everything from sensory integration issues to anxiety. I'd read the books--having another professional break it down, and call it ADHD, was very helpful for me. Our older children (they were all under the age of 7 when the youngest was born) had been affected by the whirlwind that is their younger brother. They also needed to learn to establish boundaries, to have compassion on the youngest. And my husband has begun to realize that he probably has ADD. :-) We decided to begin medication right before Kindergarten. We also chose full-day K because the schedule guaranteed fewer transitions. My son doesn't have an IEP, but I remind the teachers to choose a "pro" for his next school year! ADDitude magazine has been very helpful; the website is fantastic. I teach PreK, too. Children with ADHD excel in sports that emphasize the individual: find a swimming class/team! And keep fostering relationships with other children. Please email me, if you'd like to chat! Chrissy
Date Posted: 2/9/2009 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 526
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I'm a social worker, and I have a child who was "diagnosed" as ADHD Inattentive Type at an early age. In my personal opinion (based on experience and tons of research), I do not believe ADHD is a disorder in and of itself. I believe ADHD behaviors are symptoms of a larger problem. Medications for ADHD are narcotics used to treat these "symptoms" much like Tylenol treats the symptoms of a cold. They do not heal the child's problems.

After years of arguing with "professionals", hours upon hours of personal research, and never giving up, I finally got my son to a neurologist that discovered that my son actually has a sleep disorder. His brain was not shutting down during sleep, and thus, he was very tired during the day. This manifested in anxiety and even into psychotic behavior. By age 8 or 9, he was presenting almost every symptom associated with bipolar/manic depressive disorder. But, once we discovered what was causing this, he began taking a low dose of Ambien, and he began to focus more and the night terrors and other symptoms faded away.

So, I told you all of this to say...don't accept ADHD as a diagnosis. Find out what is causing the symptoms and help your child overcome whatever ails him. A good book to read is The Ritalin Free Child. This book talks about how what we feed our children is causing hyperactivity. Processed meats, wheat gluten, red dye in drinks (Hawaiian Punch), and many more food allergies can cause "ADHD". We removed all processed meats, soft drinks, red sweetened drinks (and most all sweet drinks), and white breads from our diet. Shop around the outside edges of your grocery store, not the middle. You'd really be surprised at the difference it makes.

Also, technically, children before the age of 5 or 6 should not be diagnosed with any behavioral disorder, and no doctor should prescribe any medication to a child younger than 7 or 8. (NO pediatrician/family doctor should prescribe "mental health" meds--It is imperative that your child see a Psychiatrist along with regular therapy, as the drugs only treat symptoms and are a temporary band-aid. The child needs to learn coping skills in order to wean off the meds.)

Ritalin is a class-II narcotic. It is the second most addictive drug in the world. These drugs have not been tested or approved for use in children, and long-term effects are unknown. Also, if a child is given Ritalin, it may prevent him/her from being able to join the military later in life due to its classification.

Please try natural remedies and removing food additives from his diet before medicating. Omega-3's are great. A daily dose of fish oil and primrose oil will help neuron receptors function better. Find a wholistic doctor in your area and consult with him/her. Do allergy testing. Have a sleep study done. Rule out every other possibility before accepting this diagnosis.

Good luck. It will be a long journey, as it has been for me. Start advocating now. Be proactive. I wish I had fought harder much earlier than I did. It's been an uphill battle all the way.

ETA: In my post I forgot to mention that I have also devoted the last 13 years working with youth with behavioral problems. I've worked in group homes, wilderness camp, an alternative school, and juvenile justice programs. I've taught anger management and conflict resolution as well as communication skills classes to juvenile delinquents and their parents. I currently work with teens in foster care for the Department of Social Services. In my Master's program, I extensively researched ADHD and Bipolar Disorders.

Last Edited on: 2/10/09 12:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/21/2009 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2005
Posts: 4,469
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I've never understood how you can diagnose a preschooler with ADHD--but if you have a diagnosis, talk to the school district now and get moving on getting an individualized education plan set up.  Just call them, tell them the diagnosis, and ask for an evaluation, things should move forward from there. 

Subject: Many opinions and many options
Date Posted: 4/25/2009 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,838
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I am a RN with a specialty in Pediatric Rehabilitation. I have a background in pre-school teaching. I am well versed in occupational, speech/language and speech therapies due to my specialization. I have been practicing for over 25 years.I have a 31 year old daughter with ADD. Iand a son with ADHD, Bipolar, Asperger's Disorder and a sleep disorder. My grandson has Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS ( on the Austism Spectrum). My advise is be careful with other peoples advise :)  Every child is different. But the basics are the same. Your child needs a thorough work up before you can make an educated decisions for your son. Make sure you find doctors that have treated lots of children with behavioral problems.Your son will need to see a neurologist. This is the most basic doctor that I would recommend. They specialize in the brain and the nervous system. And that is what you are looking for. Make sure he is well versed with behavioral disorders, because there are many neurologist that treat behavioral disorders, but they for instance, have a primary practice with children that have seizure disorders.  If you inquire at their office they will all say they treat ADHD and they do, they just don't all specialize in behavioral disorders.  Go to a pediatric neurologist. You'll need a CAT scan. an EEG, all sorts of blood work, definately an over night sleep study; you need to go to a Pediatric Psychiatrist for an evaluation and to consult with the neurologist; you will need a Psychologist for psychological and educational.evaluation. If you can afford it an evaluation by behavioral psychologist in home and at school would be beneficial in addition. Your son will also need a thourough evaluation by an opthamologist and an audiologist. Also and evaluation by Occupational, Speech/Language and Physical therapy. A Diatary Nutritional evaluation is another important evaluation, but often times insurance doesn't pay. Insurance pays for evluations. Although, there are copayments and deductables. . There are good reasons why these evaluations are necessary.Your child is young and needs a baseline for you and your professionals to make an accurate diagnosis for the present time and to be used as a tool for comparison with follow up evaluations as he grows older. Sometimes the first diagnosis is not the final one or the only one.  These evaluations are vital so your son can get the appropriate pcychological, educational medical treatments and give your son and the family a good start. The public school system does testing, but the type of testing they do is specifically geared towards students school academic functioning. It is not thorough, it is not comprehensive and it is watered down. They do more in depth behavioral testing if your child is in and ESE classroom with an IEP and some states do very well in this area. The school system does require testing for any child with a disability/disorder diagnosis whether it is their testing or done outside the school system for proper placement. There are children's hospitals that do all this testing as a team approach. If you are able to do this it would be ideal. My son had this done 20 years ago at Miami Children's Hospital. Insurance paid for it. He stayed for 2days and 2 nights with me for this at the hospital. It was well worth it. It is more difficult to get insurance to do this now, but by no means impossible. Your advocacy is important in the insurance area. Plan on learning it. You'll need it.

If this sounds overwhelming it is. But even if it is done in increments it will be very helpful and bring less stress and distrubance to you, your family and your son in the long run.  By the way, in answer to a previous response. Medication is both a saving grace and a terrible waste of a good mind. Make sure that if your son is recommended medication, it is done after all other options have been exhausted.  That means:your son has had a thorough work up as described above and you have done behavioral therapy home unsuccessfully for approximately 6 months. That he is eating good and sleeping good. His vision and hearing are normal or has glasses and the like and that your are not going through a serious personal crisis. In the end it is your evaluation of your son's behavior at home that will be the most important. If he is ok at home and not at school I would wonder about the school setting. (you should give your son academic work to be done at home when you implement this. Make it structured and fun, It can be cooking or art, measuring and mixing colors. Anything that requires structured learning.)

If you have any questions or want to talk just PM me. I'll be happy to help you in any way I can as a Mom to a Mom.



Last Edited on: 4/25/09 3:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1