Approaching a diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 18, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, in this long-drawn-out process, we are now approaching a diagnosis... We saw the child psychiatrist for the third time today and she says she is "virtually certain" J has ADHD. To have an official diagnosis, however, we have to do the Connors questionnaire for home and school, have a "psycho-motricienne" (a profession that doesn't seem to exist outside of France, a kind of kinesthetic therapist) evaluation, a play group evaluation and something called a WISC (?It sounded like). So it's not exactly going to happen tomorrow :) She said some of her ADHD parents medicate, some don't, and seemed optimistic about the prognosis for ADHD children who have early intervention...
    Even though I've known it in my gut for some time, having it "official" seems scary... Does that make any sense? Probably does...
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Yes, it makes sense. BREATHE. It will all be OK.
  3. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Yes, I understand how you feel. I'm new here but my difficult child has just been diagnosed with ODD (and still investigating for other issues). I had the same mixed feeling: finally an answer to something I knew all along, but then it became "real"... weird. Let us know how they diagnose and treat in France. I'm actually French, living in the US, and wonder if I should start investigating some "french answers" to psychiatric disorders.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    ADHD is a life sentence - as in, you don't grow out of it. Good thing - because there's PLUS sides to ADHD as well as down-sides - and most of the downsides are worst during the school years...!!

    I'm ADHD too - on medications (didn't need until I was married with kids!). The ability to hyper-focus, look at things from different angles than other people, keep vast quantities of related details in my head (but not if its something that doesn't interest me, like history!)...

    One good book is "Driven to Distraction" - and there are several other related ones since, same authors - one or more of the authors are also ADHD... so, first-hand experience! I found it really helpful to understand the WHOLE picture better, not just the downsides.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I understand, Malika.

    I found books by Russell Barkley and Rick Lavoie to be helpful when navigating things for both Hubby and Miss KT. In fact, Hubby and I were attending a weekend seminar featuring Rick Lavoie when Hubby recognized himself, and it prompted him to be evaluated.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the supportive words.
    Actually, Insane, the psychiatrist told me that 30 per cent of people grow out of ADHD at adolescence... I've read something like this figure before, but I think it is disputed (like most figures)?
    I really do think there are "plus" sides to ADHD, in my short experience of it. I appreciate my son's playfulness, creative and unusual thinking (this morning he woke up and announced, "I'm half a boy and half a tiger!") and in a sense his energy. "Ordinary" children now seem to me curiously pale and lifeless... I might change my mind if I had one, but I don't so... Also the journey for me has been interesting - has forced me to grow and change in ways I would not have done otherwise.
    As for treatment in France, I think it's probably a very different scene to the US. ADHD is well-known there, as in the UK, but here few people have heard of it (obviously doctors are different!) School is very important here, very academic and rather linear and rational, so ADHD kids have a hard time in school I think. It is an acceptable and respectable option not to medicate here, which it may not be in the States. So the two ends of the spectrum - there you have information overload, perhaps; it is all virgin territory.
    Now I have to decide what to do about school, whether I tell them he has ADHD. I am tempted to leave it for the moment. The teacher clearly thinks I'm being a bit neurotic about him, imagining he has difficulties that he doesn't, and school for the moment works well for him. I just sense it will all change with reading/writing and when the curriculum starts getting rather less creative and fun. Then I will have to explain, so that they understand and make allowances.
  7. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    What I am probably going to say will not come across well, but a diagnosis of ADhd seems so manageable to me. There are some great medications that help, they can have all their cognitive skills intact (WISC is an intelligence test) it just requires different ways of parenting and teaching so that the child continues to feel positive. Ahalfway understanding school can help (not sure about French schools). I think parenting styles can make a big difference.

    I am sure you are worried and concerned. The french society that I know often has rigid ideas about things so that may not be a comfortable fit for you. You child will go on to be capable of achieving great things. Believe in him. And find people and friends that will give you the support you need to function.

    Don't rule out medication ultimately. The good think is that you can try and know in a day or two whether you like what you see. If school becomes difficult you can see.

    I'm sorry, I have the perspective of a mom that if my sons only had ADHD it would seem easy. It wouldn't be of course, but we have come so much farther in our mental health and parenting journey. Its ok--you've been proactive, you are supportive of who your son is, just listen to what you think is right for him and question things that really go against your instincts.
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Malika, being French and knowing the school system very well over there I would suggest not telling the school as long as he does ok. France is very behind when it comes to adapting the curriculum to special needs kids. My memoire in college (BA) was actually about the law and special needs kids in the school system. France do have wonderful legislation about those kids but, unfortunately, it is not enforced at all. If you live in a small comminity and your son's needs change, then dig the texts of law and try to have the school cooperate. As far as the medical world... trust your doctors and their approach. The french medical system is excellent, but keep your mind open and do not hesitate to get some inspiration in the american approach. Over here, I think there is an overdiagnosis problem... being in France, if your son is confirmed ADHD, then you know it is for Real! Which you knew despite having the school doubting you.
  9. Confused

    Confused Guest

    Hi Malika,
    Congratulations! I hope everything works out for you and your son! I agree with the others not to tell the school yet, wait until you have to. I know you want to prepare them and let them know that you have not been wrong on your diagnose, but for your son, it would be better to leave it alone for now. Good luck!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    From what I'm reading, it seems that some other countries call ADHD what we call other things. At any rate, I do think we are quicker to intervene and help here.

    My son's first diagnosis was ADHD so I read about it a lot and 30% outgrow the HYPERACTIVE part, but not the inability to focus or concentrate. That may not take medication (I am not a big fan of stimulants and my daughter will not take them...she has ADD). She doesn't like the way they make her feel and I respect that.

    ADHD in France may be Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the US. I have no idea. But I do think at-home interventions are a good idea rather than to hope the child outgrows the problem. Just my opinion but I do the "better to be safe than sorry" approach. I do think that perhaps the French are more rigid than we are. My attitude is, if you see a problem, hey, just do what you can to help it and the label isn't as important as getting help.

    Although France has a marvelous reputation for health care, I feel the US is ahead in mental healthl/childhood disorders if only because we are not afraid to address it. That doesn't mean we are always right, or that every chld should be on medications (that would only be a bit of the solution). But if it is frowned upon to address a child who is different...that makes it doubly hard for the child AND the parents. From what I can tell, you are doing the best you can and understand your own schools. Do what you feel is best, but don't expect it to magically disappear.

    Remember that your child is the same little boy today t hat he was before he got this label. It really changes nothing about him :)

    Hugs and good thoughts in your direction.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    ADHD is the same, whether in Europe or in the States! The diagnosistic tools used, and the condition identified, are identical. It zould be very confusing if, for example, diabetes was one thing in one part of the world and another in another :)
    I must say, though, from having read around on the forum, that my son seems to be getting a more complete and thorough diagnosis than may be the case (not always, I am sure) in the States. The child psychiatrist is taking her time before issuing a diagnosis. ADHD and autism are distinct conditions as far as I understand it. They are not inter-changeable, either here or in the States. Some people argue that ADHD should be classified as a form of autism, I believe, but that is another question. According to the psychiatrist we are seeing, however, my son is not on the autistic spectrum.
    I do think there is probably more stigma attached to being ADHD here, largely because it is relatively little known among ordinary people. And, as always, what we do not know, we fear... I guess though the important thing is that I am less afraid of it than I was at first. And my son has a capacity to surprise, so that I guess never shut down on a child or their potential.
    Thanks for your kind words, pepperidge, which I didn't take amiss in any way :) Everything is so relative... Lots of people (ie everyone I know!!) look at J and say or think "wow, I don't know how you cope" - mainly because of the constant, constant activity, which means taking him places is difficult and often stressful, but also because he can be oppositional, not listen to what you ask, sometimes talks back quite rudely at people, etc. And then you... think I've got it easy... And I do understand this. What worries me is not the ADHD so much as the oppositional stuff - used to be I would look at J and see a rebellious, angry, anti-social teenager getting into drugs and crime... But I think I've pulled back a bit from that abyss now :) I really do try to take it day by day, as I guess lots of us here do, and appreciate the sweet, loving, peaceful moments with my son, not taking them for granted as other parents perhaps do sometimes :)
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Just another thought that occurred about diagnosis... Someone on the forum said it takes an average of seven years to get a full diagnosis and this makes sense to me. I feel that the ADHD diagnosis for J is correct (he is much more on the hyperactive side than the deficit attention side) and that he probably has sensory integration problems though I understand little about this at present. I am confident that he is not on the autistic spectrum. However... in terms of learning difficulties, all sorts of things could be revealed in time! He is a bright child but has difficulties recognising numbers, letters and colours - these point to dyslexia and who knows what else. And then the school psychologist says he is normal for his age and that all children develop at different rates. So for some things it is clearly a waiting game.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There's an "unofficial" theory that's been flying around for years, but which kind of makes sense...

    Given that:
    1) ADHD tends to run in families, and
    2) ADHD people tend to do really different things with their lives... inventors, explorers, etc.
    It is possible that the great expansion of population into the "new world" drained much of the ADHD gene pool out of Europe - and dumpted it on "us" (CA, US, AUS, NZ, etc.)

    As far as ADHD and the autism spectrum... one expert here told me that there are a whole range of disorders which researchers now believe have some relationship to each other... that is, anything that would be labeled "developmental". That includes Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), ADHD, Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), and probably a host of other things. Most of them get somewhat better with time and intervention (therefore the "developmental" classification). Its an interesting theory, but in real life - we need a finer granularity of diagnosis so we know what kinds of things might help...!
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, interesting. A Canadian child psychiatrist I know has an unusual theory about hyperactivity, that there are four types (from memory) one of which is a hyperactivity that has been passed down genetically from prehistoric times when men had to be hyper-vigilant to hunt and so on. He believes that children with this type of hyperactivity, or ADHD as we now say, are highly perceptive and NOT receptive to medication...
    On this business of people's reactions to ADHD, I am beginning to understand why so many people have said to me that they don't think J can have ADHD (starting with his French nursery school principal in Marrakesh when he was 2 and 3)... I was talking to a childminder today who sometimes looks after him and I told her that J has virtually been diagnosed with ADHD. She expressed her usual surprise, as she has before. "But he's so affectionate!," she said. "And he does listen, and he holds my hand if we go out and doesn't play around. And he's not like the children I've seen on the television..." And then I remembered - EVERYONE says this, everyone says he is not like the children they've seen on television (including the Marrakesh lady)... So what is this, what has she seen on television? Oh, a programme showing hyperactive children, she said, and they were screaming and rolling around on the floor and shouting at anyone who talked to them, throwing things at them...
    Oh my giddy aunt, I thought! What an irresponsible, sensationalist view of ADHD is being portrayed on TV here if that is how they come across - and no wonder people keep saying J cannot have it... ADHD children are not monsters, I told the childminder! And of course they are affectionate, and not constantly out of control... Oy vey...
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    See if you can get the book, "Driven to Distraction". It provides a REALLY balanced look at ADHD - including a raft of positive traits that come with the package. After you've read it, it might be useful to "educate" some others...? Its really readable, too - not boring - probably because it was written by people with ADHD, to be read by people with ADHD.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks - I don't know this book but I will certainly get it. Another to add to the library :) As I've kind of said since the beginning of coming here, I would prefer to avoid labels - a child is a unique individual, not just a collection of acronyms - and people's attitudes when you mention hyperactivity here (all those lunatic children!!) rather validates my hesitation. Maybe the ADHD label is one to tuck away in the corner of the mind, along with the ODD, rather than to keep at the forefront all the time?