My son Scott was about 2 ½ or 3. I began to notice he couldn’t play with his toys for long time, couldn’t watch TV, was jumping on and off things that may have hurt him and it wasn’t that he was a normal hyper child. It seemed like he didn’t have an off button and he just kept going with so much energy.
She was disorganized with her belongings, moved quickly from thing to thing, and wasn’t able to settle. Julie started walking and talking very early at nine months. She was very verbal and bright, always extremely active, never napped much. She was active in utero, always more active than my first child. I think it was when she started kindergarten, when she started to interface with the school and there were organized activities that we began to notice that she had a little trouble concentrating and staying on task.
I think we went through three cribs with Ryan because he was so destructive with the activity. He wouldn’t nap; you couldn’t keep him in the crib at all. Really poor sleep habits. He actually didn’t sleep through the night until he was about 10. Just extreme activity more than anything.
Almost right away we noticed how active our first child Jason was. He never seemed to need to sleep, he was so clever, yet could not pick up social cues. He could memorize things instantly but would do the same things over and over and get in trouble for it again and again. I just could not believe he was doing all this on purpose
Ryan was about three and up until then he had global delays. Up until then he really didn’t start walking and talking until he was close to three. But once he started walking and talking he never stopped. His older brother had ADHD as well, so we pretty much knew he had it at that point.
Emma was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 4 and prior to that she had been diagnosed with cognitive delays so she was pretty much behind and at the age of 3 she was put into a substantially separate preschool classroom and received services through special education. So at that point I really didn’t think she was ADD or ADHD. She’s always been very curious. She really looks into things; when she goes into a new room she wants to check everything out and she has no fear of walking into someone else’s house and checking it out. When we would go trick or treating she would just head in and walk up the stairs of other houses. But those were things I attributed to her just not getting it that because she was behind cognitively that she didn’t understand boundaries and what was socially acceptable. But it seemed every time I took her into a doctor’s office she would go nuts. She would be climbing all over the table. I would be trying to talk to the doctor and she would be ripping up those white sheets of paper that go on the examining table. She would be climbing up into the window sill. I wasn’t sure if I was setting enough boundaries for her and that I should be using more behavior modification on her. But I talked to my neurologist who had seen this behavior on several occasions and she asked me if I had ever thought about Emma being ADD.
Active only child
Lindsay was an only child, so I didn’t really notice it. She was active, but I didn’t have anything to compare it to. And I kept her very busy, so to me it didn’t seem very unusual. When she went into kindergarten, she had a really bad experience with a teacher. She was bothered by the teacher’s reaction to her– she felt like the teacher didn’t like her and was mean to her. She just didn’t understand why the teacher was doing what she was doing, so she started to soil herself because of the stress of the classroom. Which is how it started to show that there were real problems in the classroom, and when I started to talk to her about what was happening and why she was doing this, she said, “The teacher is being mean to me, and she makes me sit over here, and she won’t let me do this and that with the other kids.” That’s when I had to call the counselor to talk about what was happening. The counselor said, “Well, maybe you need to go into the school and talk.”
Dyslexic and ADHD
When Nick was three, I started to wonder if he was dyslexic. That was one thing. And then, and he was always an active kid, but his attention would sort of bounce all over the place. But I thought it could just be the act of a three year old. When he got into school, I started to wonder. When he would sit down to do anything, he either hyper focused, or he was like a ping pong ball. So after first grade, I brought him to a private Learning Disabilities tutor and I asked her to take a look at him. And her first response was, “You know, I think he has the dyslexia, but I can’t tell until we can get him to attend.”
He never had any behavioral issues; it was always attentional with him. He would be sitting there and he wouldn’t be jumping out of his seat, but if he didn’t either understand something or wasn’t interested, he would just be politely sitting there but truly thinking right through you. And I would say, “What are you thinking about, Nick?” “Oh, who I was gonna play with this afternoon,” and his mind would wander. He wasn’t an acter outer, or jumping out of his seat, or doing any of those kinds of things, he just couldn’t focus.
Hit us in high school
It really hit us by the time Megan got to high school; that’s when school becomes more complicated: pressures are greater, assignments are more complicated. She really started to slip in terms of grades and her ability to do the work. I must say because I am a mother I thought it was because she had some really bad teachers; she’d always done so well in elementary school. I feel like such an idiot when I look back on myself. But I was thinking, “These teachers are doing a terrible job because there is nothing wrong with my child; she’s really bright.” She is, but she couldn’t learn the way they were teaching. It wasn’t that the teachers were terrible, it was more that as the work became more complicated she was less able to focus on all of it and couldn’t give back what the teachers wanted of her.