Just a normal fidgety 6 year old or something else?

(17 Posts)

DS1 6 in July, he's in Yr2. He's a lovely, bright, caring boy with an amazing imagingation and alot of empathy for others, but he has the concentration of a gnat. In class and at home he really quickly looses focus, gets distracted by everything, fidgets, and has to be told umpteen times to do something.

He can however concentrate if it's something interesting to him, loves drawing and will do things like write down the names of the monsters etc he's drawn. He can sit still too for books, films, etc, he's not a constant fidget.
And he's ever so proud too if he's sat well at school all day (not that he can ever remember what they've done).

He's really quite behind in reading, writing and maths.

We get ten minutes to get them sorted just before class and help them with their 'morning work'. Yesterday's was times tables and he came up with 1x2=4, asked to try again he keenly answered 'oh, right, 1x2=3, I know that one'. Got it a bit better with 2x table using lots of oranges this morning at breakfast, which I'll try to fit into the day a bit more. Was happier with the measuring with a ruler morning work today.

DH reads with him, and to both to him and DS2 at bedtime, and he's slowly getting there. He needs constant reminding though to get back to the words, rtather than just talking about the pictures, and is still relying alot on sounding out everything rather than recognising and remembering whole words.

His Yr1 teached suggested ADHD, which the GP dismissed as DS was sat quite happily in the surgery and is able to sit for books, etc. His Yr2 teacher is lovely and recognises he's not being naughty, just can't stick to a task for long and needs alot of reminding, but she's got a class of 26 and I know he probably needs much more 1 to 1 than he currently gets.

Really not sure where to go with this, or if he'll just catch up in his own time with as much help as we can give him at home. Any ideas?

mashedpotatohead Wed 17-Oct-12 12:14:27

Hi Jammy, I'm watching with interest as I could have written this about my DS. He's year 1 & just turned 6 though.

I went to see his teacher last week & she dosn't think it's ADHD as he's not like it all the time (just most of it!). The teacher did say she is considering giving him extra one on one help next term I think it's the Senco that organises that? Perhaps you could enquire about additional support.

My DS has started to say things like 'I'm rubbish at reading, writing etc' which is just heartbreaking. We read every day to try & build his confidence, obviously loads of praise too but I do worry about his self esteem. Good luck x

GossipWitch Wed 17-Oct-12 12:29:38

Yes my six year old ds is just how you describe except he's not behind (as far as I know) in the above subjects, he is also fidgety inattentive, lacks concentration, goes off task and needs a lot of reminding (more so in the mornings), I haven't had any concerns about him having ADHD though, I have a ds1 (10) who has been diagnosed with ADHD, and he's not as active as ds2, however when not entertained will fiddle with things, roll, bug the other 2 and cats, constantly natter and so on, he has a poor concentration span, even when doing something he enjoys, and is incredibly impulsive, re hitting and saying things he shouldn't, (never swore though) and doing daft things like tipping talc down the toilet, and putting shampoo on his binocular eye part. Unless the school bring it up again in a few years I wouldn't be too concerned, he sounds like a fairly normal 6 year old lad to me.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 17-Oct-12 14:20:35

My DS(1) has ADD (amongst other things) with poor levels of attention and working memory but with no indication of hyperactivity or impulsiveness. My DS(1) internalises stress and so did not receive the attention of CT in the same way of children who externalise any stress and are more of a problem to staff. Investigation takes time and so I would start as soon as you become aware of any problems. Talk to his class teachers and see if they experience similar problems - eg following instruction etc. My DS(2) is 6 and not experiencing problems with reading or maths but he is being investigated by SALT, community paediatrics, OT and the EP has just been called in.

If the school are on board (ie DS displays the same behaviour at home and school) then grab and request all the assessments you can. If the school are an absolute block do not waste time trying to persuade them but have your own independent assessments carried out.

Take seriously any concerns your child may have about being 'rubbish' or 'stupid'. DS(1) transferred in year 4 due to strong school phobia and is currently unable to attend school. (Don't mean to scare you but with hindsight I was hopelessly optimistic and thought all would be OK and I did not even imagine the consequences if things stayed the same - or got worse) smile

Sorry I never updated, wasn't really sure what to add at the time.

We're heading back to the doctors on Monday - we went in Yr1 after his teachers suggested ADHD but the Dr dismissed it saying 'if he can sit still watching a whole film then he isn't really hyperactive'.

Had a chat wit hhis lovely YR2 teacher, who he seems to get on with much better, plus the SENCO earlier this week and we've agreed I'll go back to the doctors, this time accompanied with quite a stark letter from school. He's falling further and further behind, and barely doing any work unless someone's constantly reminding him.

They would like him referred to the local assessment centre, and I think I'd be quite glad to know one way or the other, especially if he needs extra help or there are any techniques we and school can use. School said they wouldn't even be able to get him tested for dyslexia (which they and we suspect) as he can't concentrate for long enough to do an assessment.

Bit sad about it really.

grants1000 Thu 07-Feb-13 16:46:02

Don't be sad, I think the UK education system is bot good for boys, who are by nature restless, especially at his age. I have 2 boys and had my eyes opened when the had a teacher from the USA in year 2, she gave them things like this

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tangle-Textured-Yellow-Green-Black-Clear-Fidget-Toy-/320773136459?pt=UK_Toys_Creative_Educational_RL&hash=item4aaf91a04b

to use and fiddle with in the classroom, my son could address his fiddling and he kept concentration in class. She also gave him an office style chair he could wiggle on whilst doing work and I can't tell you how much it all helped. Boys can't sit still for great lengths of time, not because there is something wromg with them but becasue it is totally natural. He could also go and read on a few beanbags they had in the corner of the classroom, so he could be comfy and move but still read

Do school adjust the work he has to do? For example, short bursts, then he can get up wander about then come back to it? DS in Y6 has longer to do his homework as he has dyslexia, but he still does it. Or he can adapt, say 50 words on the school blog he can do 30 or something like that.

It is too early for a dyslexia assesment, my DS had it in Y2 and he's now in Y6. He went on an OP course that the GP organised because they had concerns about dyspraxia, he used to fall over from standing still and was all gangly and unbalance, however since Y2 growing and finding his centre of gravity naturally have really helped him, riding a bike, playing footy etc, so what I am saying is that a lot comes with age and growth.

There is also no such thing as 'being behind' or 'catching up' as I feel these words label children and can cause issues, you need to stop this. I can say this with the experience of being panic stricken in Y2 onwards, but can now look back and see how well he did at his own speed, with the support of school who have been and still are great.

As home it's best to back off for the time being, make any school stuff fun and quick, I can't emphasise this enought, spellings done shouting them out at the table, times tables done whilse jumping about, any writing in short 5 mn max bursts - it makes a huge difference to them and stops home and homework being a place of stress. Backing off really does improve self esteem, being good at reading something for 5 mns is betting than him feeling crap at reading somthing for 30 mns.

There is no quick fix miracle cure and they are not bad things that he is going through. I have a very happy Y6 dyslexic child who has many more good days than bad, and when he's had enough we leave it all well alone, less if definately more.

Thank you. I was able to read your post quickly earlier, just after an aaaarrrrgh moment with his homework - it really helped me to bring it down a notch to something he was happy to get on with.

His teacher's great with him, and has tried fidget toys, work that's suited to his ability, reward charts, as much TA time se can give him. She's got him out of thinking he's no good too, and doesn't put the pressure on him as his teachers did last year.

And they've not said he's falling behind, just that 'he's not reaching his potential', and I'm really quite grateful about how understanding they are with it all. I think they've just run out of things to try to get him to actually get on with any kind of work. And I know a bit of that is about demonstrating that he's able, which they have pressure on them for, but I know too he needs to be able to practice writing to be able to write etc.

It just seems such a struggle to get the smallest of things done, and that's with the one to one help (plus toddler competing for attention). This part of his homework was to 'show what he's learnt about connectives' (and, so, but etc). In the end I wrote some simple sentances about Skylanders and he underlined the connectives then he wrote his own sentence too. Which is what I was trying to help him to do in the first place! The homework is at least always set out so he can do what's suitable to him.

I think maybe I just worry about him, but if it's something more he'll need help with, I'd like to know.

(hope this makes sense, will read over it again tomorrow when wine hasn't been involved)

Kate1603 Fri 08-Feb-13 16:47:13

Hi, my 6 year old boy was flagged up as bright, but unable to write well or concentrate. He was asked to do extra writing practise at home and school. This only generated great anxiety for him, and very low self-confidence. I took him out of school for a short while to give him a break. After long discussions with the school, he is now allowed to submit work by other means. This has seen a leap in self-confidence, as he is now ale to achieve in class, he now concemtrates with ease. I am sure that constantly asking children to do something they may be unable to do, often leads to short attention spans. It is very distressing for all, I would advise getting an independent educational psychologist, going the school takes too long. You could then be advised as to what provision would suit him best. Good luck with it all

Thanks Kate, that's exactly what happened in Yr1 I think, alot just hadn't clicked for him and he felt rubbish and his confidence dropped. His teacher this year has brought him back up, and seems to understand him alot more.

I know from friends with kids with aspergers in the same year that the assessments can be a lengthy process, but the independant psychologist is a good idea. I'll see what happens with the GP appt but definitely consider that.

It's been alot nicer today just enjoying listening to his great stories and him and DS2 playing together dressed up as pirate and fireman. I guess I compare him quite alot to the other kids, especially as I help out at the Beavers he goes to and so see how alot of them can just get on with things. Then again though he's got his own talents / characteristics that not all the others have, so it works both ways.

lljkk Mon 11-Feb-13 14:00:26

Does he get stressed out (angry or teary) if asked to multi-task?

How does he compare to other children (boys) same age, in terms of impulse control and emotional control?

How good is he at delayed gratification, can he wait patiently for things?

Is every other phase out of his mouth at home "I'm bored!"?

Does he misjudge social situations and social boundaries?

When not aggressive, boisterous or "bored!" is he sweet and puppy dog like?

Does he flip between No Focus and Hyper-focus (nothing inbetween)?

Can he (in a relaxed way, confident, no stress) follow a sequence of instructions (2 or 3 items)?

Is he deterred by negative consequences, so "Hit your sister again and you'll have to go sit on the stairs": does that deter him?

Most of those are no, actually...

He doesn't tend to get teary/stressed about multi-tasking, just easily distracted onto something else. It's easier if it's something new, for example if I gave him instuctions to dig the soil and plant some seeds he'd probably be okay, but for mundane stuff like go get your school uniform on and then find you shoes, I end up constantly prompting. He's unfazed by this and just says 'oh I forgot'.

He's not massively impulsive, no more than normal, but does tend to get very oversensitive at things, especially people being not nice to him.

He can wait quite patiently, and also understands things like he won't get pudding unless he eats his dinner, which he's ok with - sometimes gets a bit grumpy but no more.

I don't think I've ever heard him say I'm bored, he usually switches on a game on Skylanders in his head, but then has trouble switching it off again when he has to pay attention. He's always been quite good at entertaining himself, and will often do that rather than play in little groups. He struggles to make new friends too and is quite happy in his own little world.

He's fairly good with social situations and understand others' feelings. He occasionally gets frustrated by his little brother or a friend but it usually takes quite alot to really rile him. He can also be a bit over-affetionate at times though this seems to be getting less so.

He's mostly somewhere in the middle of No Focus and Hyper-focus, drifting towards the daydreaming end of things, with a load of fidgeting thrown in.

He does understand consequences and but will sometimes just simply forget. Warnings do generally deter him though. We've always been quite firm on that though and he know's we don't bluff / give in.

All of your questions do make me think of a couple of boys we know with aspergers / autism, is that what you are asking about?

bigtractorlittletractor Mon 11-Feb-13 14:45:17

shock lljkk - your post made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. My Ds (7) ticks most of those characteristics big time. Talk to me, please.

lljkk Mon 11-Feb-13 17:50:29

There are different strands of ADHD, ways it can manifest. What JammyS is describing could still fit in the picture of mostly AD type ADHD, but I don't know much about that because it hasn't been my problem. I thought the inability to see consequences is supposed to be a key part of diagnosis from what I understand. And JammyS's child sounds pretty clued up on consequences.

Lots of 6yo boys are away with the fairies, btw, I think that can be very normal. Good luck with making progress to support him, Jammy.

Don't want to panic anyone, BigTractor. I suppose I was putting down things that make me think DS might have ADHD. Or something. I have 3 other DC and while they might tick some of the list occasionally, not all of it most of the time. It's weird stuff, not just "emotionally volatile" which is too non-specific. DS also struggles to follow narrative, although maybe he has finally matured out of that problem: but I always thought it was very odd of him. We met with GP today who said she couldn't see (on the basis of 5 minutes which we both agreed was inadequate!) the H part, but she was open-minded about something else being odd with DS (literally could be ODD, which my niece has diagnosis for). DS is rather emotionally immature, anyway.

Thanks. We saw the GP yesterday and she was very happy to refer him. The letter from school helped alot, plus also I think the fact that he fidgeted so much he ended up underneath his chair.

I don't know how know how long things will take but I'm glad something's happening. The GP was nice and said even if he doesn't get a diagnosis, they should still be able to give us some advice and ideas for how to help him get on with things. So we'll see.

bojangleslady Mon 04-Mar-13 13:38:03

JammySplodger - My son is about to turn 7 and I could of written your description of your son to fit mine. Even down to playing skylanders in his head! We have an appointment on the 28th of this month to get everything started. Unfortunately, although his school are helping out, his SENCO teacher in my opinion is 'looking into' everything he does far to seriously. He broke down and cried the other week in front of her telling her he's no good at school and it doesn't make sense. So it now says on his files that he is becoming emotionally unstable!! He can't sneeze without her writing it down.
Good luck and after reading all these posts, its good to hear we are not alone :O)

That sounds so similar! DS gets very upset and can take things to heart, and I think the pressure the school are under to demonstrate (i.e. get the kids writing stuff down) doesn't always help.

His Yr2 teacher's always been wary of piling on the pressure, but has eased up on him even more since the referral, and since then he's been happier to just get on with it in his own time - even got Star of the Week in his class for the best clock times work last week smile

I've eased off a bit too, reminding myself to just enjoy him for who he is rather than expect too much too soon, and that's eased alot of tension.

We're even reading books together now (with him doing the reading) and enjoying it! I think some things are starting to click into place too, which helps, like he's starting to recognise alot of simple words now and isn't always having to sound everything out.

Hope your DS doesn't get upset over it all, maybe the SENCO will ease off a bit when you start through the GP route. Will they be able to write you a letter giving any concerns / examples of how he is in class? That was massively helpful for us when we went to the GP.

Biscuitsneeded Wed 10-Apr-13 19:19:49

Another 6 year old boy here, who is keeping up academically without shining but is fidgety, inattentive, in his own little world, singing to himself, forgetting or not listening to instructions etc. He has LOADS of energy and occasionally gets himself so giddy and wired he can't be brought down for love or money, but I don't think he has a problem with impulse control usually. His teacher clearly thinks there's a problem, although on a good day I think he's just a bit immature and not really ready for formal learning yet. If you take him to the theatre he will watch, rapt, and not move a muscle, and he'll lose himself in a jigsaw or computer game, but he won't sit nicely on the carpet and listen to a teacher talking about maths without trying to wander off to fiddle with things or start an imaginary conversation in his own head which unfortunately can get voiced out loud if he's sufficiently engrossed in it. I went to GP after a difficult week for me dealing with him not following any instructions at all and school moaning a bit. She was lovely (it helped that he climbed all over her room, hopped from foot to foot and talked randomly about whacking sticks!) and we have a paed referral - waiting to see what happens next but I suspect DS has ADD - inattentive type. I think your GP was crap to dismiss ADHD just because your son sat nicely during the appointment. Can you try again? Get a strongly worded letter from school to support your case.

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