Neuro-psychologist and pre-school age children

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Today I had a long conversation with a neuro-psychologist here. She explained, after asking for quite a bit of background and information, that neuro-psychologists cannot diagnose for ADHD before the age of around six. Before then the child does not have sufficiently developed capacities to be tested. She also stated (just to add to the confusion!) that one simply cannot speak of ADHD if there are no problems of attention/concentration.
    Is this a very different position to the States? Do neuro-psychologists there have diagnostic tools to measure pre-school children?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    That's a very good question, actually.

    When husband and I were in the parenting class, one of the ladies in the same class had a son with ADHD. He came to class once, and if that's classic ADHD - WOW. Running in circles, refusing to sit still, or be redirected. The teacher asked if he was on medication and the lady said yes, but it had worn off. The poor woman could do nothing. I'm guessing he was around 4 years old.

    on the other hand, I still feel as though ADHD is over-diagnosis'd in the USA. But that is because I see "normal" kids, who run and jump and play - and don't always listen - and their parents and teachers insist they need to be drugged. I'm not sure that is always the case.

    If I were a child in America, right now, I'd be diagnosis'd too. The attention issue more than hyperactive...
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I recall Kiddo's 1st pediatrician asking about her activity levels. Kiddo was about a year, year and half old. I'm guessing pediatrician had seen a LOT of parents asking for ADHD medications for their kids because they were so busy they couldn't keep up. My response at the time was yes, she's quite active, yes she can wear me out, BUT she's a toddler, isn't that what she's supposed to do? Aren't they supposed to be highly active and have a lot of energy? I sure did when I was young. Her pediatrician seemed relieved at that response, lol. I'll note that at that age, Kiddo had NO behavioral issues. Nada. A slightly irate voice was all that was needed to keep her out of something she wasn't supposed to get into. She could bypass the cabinet-locks and electric plug protectors at 13 months, but a single "No!" in a parental voice was all it took and she wouldn't touch them again.
    I miss that pediatrician, and obviously behavioral issues have surfaced since then, but she's still young and I'd be worried if the kid had less energy than me.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ...That's exactly how I feel.

    From what I understand... Most, not all, but most ADHD medications are stimulants.

    So this helps a "normal" kid how??? (Yes, normal's in quotes. I've yet to meet a normal anyone.) No, I don't want my child drugged into oblivion. on the other hand, if it's necessary - by all means!

    And, FWIW - I believe husband has mild ADHD, and I believe he would benefit from CBT and medication together. But that's just my opinion...
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Now this for me raises interesting questions... assumptions I have made, as we all make them... The assumption I had made is that one doesn't medicate for the hyperactivity component but for the attention deficit component, allowing a child to follow a normal school programme... which is why, I guess, I just have this other assumption that if we can't come to a conclusive ADHD diagnosis and if my son seems to be keeping up in school, then I simply imagine living with and dealing with the hyperactivity without medications...
    But from what you are saying I see that some people want the medications because of the hyperactivity... And I guess it's funny what comes to seem "normal"... my son sounds like the little boy you were horrified at, Stepto2! Running round in circles and not sitting still... if he isn't bothering anyone by this behaviour, or endangering himself or others, it doesn't seem a problem to me... just how he is, which is different to the "norm".... So maybe I have of a skewed angle on all this!
    But I was interested about the neuro-psychologists as I've seen so many references to them on this forum. DO they diagnose specifically for ADHD and to they do so before the age of six in the States?
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Oh, hon!!! I wasn't horrified - I was completely dumbfounded - I'd never seen a child with ADHD that severe before! And you're right, if there is no safety issue - it's not that big of a problem. (Bothering others is a safety issue - you never know what they might do.)

    I've heard of ADHD diagnosis'd at as young as 3 years, here. So yes, to answer your question.
  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Malika, I think it might depend on how severe it is. For a lot of kids it's hard to tell how much is that normal energy of youth, and even that varies kid to kid and day to day. When mine is in her manic phase or just happy or whatever it is that goes on with her when she's on her "good" days, I deal. Heck, at this point I celebrate it. If it hadn't been for the behavior problems I wouldn't have worried much about it because I was the same way at her age - disorganized, all over the board with this that and the other, and my parents let natural consequences take their course most of the time (school-wise), because that kind of stuff is "normal" in gifted kids. And like her, I was generally one of the youngest, if not the youngest, in my class. I knew kids a year or two behind me in school that were older than me.
    Some kids, plenty of them, DO settle down as their brain matures and they learn to control themselves enough to manage in school, which is why there's hesitation to diagnosis it too early.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    HaoZi, this raises another interesting question for me! What is "gifted", how are you defining it? I was in the year ahead at school - ie with children a year or more older - and generally thought of as intelligent, I suppose, but no one ever talked about "gifted". I guess people didn't then, much, anyway. Is it a question of IQ? How were you identified as gifted, and your daughter? Maybe with truly gifted people, their brilliance is so obvious it just shines out!
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Malika - many people are gifted, but it doesn't always grab the general population by the throat and scream in their face.

    I was pushed ahead as well. I did well in school - when I could be bothered. I was shoved in the gifted classes, and I was so extremely disorganized. Occasionally hyper, but mostly I just wanted to curl up with a book.

    I was also put in "kephart" which was for the uncoordinated kids. I think now, I would be diagnosis'd ADHD or possibly Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)... I just learned to deal with me being me.

    So, no, gifted isn't always obvious.
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    When I was in school, the "brightest" were pulled aside (with parental permission) and given IQ tests. On the scale used (not sure if it's same now or worldwide) if you scored 130 or higher, you were considered gifted. I had already had to test in to start kindergarten early (at age 4, since I have a late birthday) and passed with flying colors. I was tested for gifted in 2nd grade (the earliest you could start the program was 3rd, so a lot of testing was done in 2nd so they could start gifted at the beginning of 3rd).

    Now, so far as I know, Kiddo has NOT had an official IQ test, or if they did I know nothing about it. But her standardized test scores, grammar, and vocabulary have consistently been well above most of her peers and even with her behavioral issues her teachers always (so far) have recognized her as "one of the brightest kids I've ever had in class." And these are not new teachers by any means - her 2nd grade teacher taught her 1st grade teacher (and 2nd grade teacher won the Golden Apple Award the other year as an outstanding teacher in a multi-county area). This is a kid that can trip dinosaur names off her tongue like a professional (and I'm sure there's plenty of boys who can do that at her age, but most girls aren't interested) but also comes to me with the scientific names of other animals and asks if they're derived from Latin or Greek, which I doubt is a very common question for any kids her age. Heck, most adults I know don't ask some of her questions!

    She's one of those kids, that on a good day with a subject that interests her, is "an absolute joy to teach." You can almost see the gears whirring in her head as she asks questions that are totally unexpected and you can hear the answers click into place and launch new questions. She picked up things fast when she was little, could spell her name before she was 2, was speaking in full sentences before that, knew her shapes (above and beyond, like octagons, diamonds, hexagons, etc) by 18 months, knew colors by look and word (not just basic ones), and 1-10 by numbers and words by then, too. Her pediatrician's nurse used to take her in the back and show her off to the other nurses!

    Yes, there are different types of gifted, more recognized today than back when I was in school (and I'm likely a little older than you, but it sounds like in the schools I went to you would have been tested as well). We were determined as "academically gifted" and had a special program for it. I wish they had a gifted program like it here. It was in that program that I met more "quirky" kids like me from other schools as well as my own, and it makes you not feel so alone in your "strangeness" even if their quirks are different from your own. But you know what? As intelligent as most of us were ("booksmarts") most of us were (and some still are, like me) fairly "people stupid." We don't socialize well, we don't "get it." In retrospect, I wonder how many of us are Aspies or close to it.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, HaoZi, that's interesting. Listen, if your daughter is typical of "gifted", my son definitely isn't! And no more was I (though I did have an IQ of 138 when tested, whatever that means, which I suspect is not all that much!!) She sounds positively zimming and zipping with intelligence and acuity... must be fascinating to live with and see her develop. At the same time, and obvious to say - and as previously said - there are gifts of all kinds... Here in France, for example, what is valued as intelligence is really very rational, linear thinking that isn't all that creative or interesting (at least on a school level); it is a very dry, academic affair. And then, which is the really valid point you make, the most valuable and rounded kind of intelligence must be that which includes the "intelligence of the heart", compassion, understanding people and what leads to social well-being... And that, of course, is a subject we are all woefully under-educated in...
    Alas, I am ancient compared to you! No-one talked about "gifted" in my day unless you were an infant prodigy. Your daughter would have made the grade :)
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Have to say, a number of us so-called gifted kids were quite poor at "linear thinking." We tend to go from A to Z to X to D to answer. Or just straight to answer with no idea how we got there. Which is why I positively hoovered at geometry - it's not about the answer, it's about how you get there! Though for some reason I'm one of the few people I know my age that can read a map. Go figure.
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Right... which kind of leads on to another of my perennial wonderings about the best form of education for ADHD (or whatever the heck we call it) children. Presuming my son is typical, which I really have no idea about but just presuming it, then the highly structured, disciplined environment of a French state (public) school suits them very well, but the highly linear, rational curriculum much less so... I think of him as bright because he is perceptive and because he makes imaginative, surreal comments that make odd and creative links between things but he simply cannot learn days of the week, written numbers, colours, thinks it is "morning" when school is over, speaks English and French with a lot of his own constructions rather than grammatically and correctly and so... in terms of the conventional school system he is rather backwards and slow.... I used to wonder a lot about what form of education would be best - conventional or "alternative" - and still (of course) don't know the answer.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    First of all, not all or even most gifted kids misbehave. I've just known too many. The kids that are the worst behavior problems tend to do poorly in school (percentage-wise).

    Secondly, you don't know if your son has ADHD. It could be something else entirely going on.

    Also, I believe in "Mom Gut." If you feel like t here i something wrong with your child....Mom Gut is usually right.

    We have a forum here for Natural Remedies. I don't go there because I tried all of them and they didn't work, but perhaps you'd like to get some feedback over there. Good luck!
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Never said that. Said we're more of an unconventional lot. By "quirky" I did not mean bad behavior, just that we do things differently from the majority of our peers, and that what we do differently is as individual as we are. Like the girl that ate raw eggs for lunch (gross to me and most, but that was her quirk). For another female classmate it was raising tarantulas and chihuahuas. I was obsessed with world mythology, birds (especially raptors), dinosaurs, and sharks. I'm still the only person I know that eats peanut butter and bologna sandwiches.
  16. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  17. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    DSM or no, it's hard enough to find regularity in the American system alone. A lot of it comes down what they will put in writing that the insurance companies will pay for, which don't always mesh with what the SD's will do IEPs for, etc etc etc. And it's a soft science about an organ we're still learning a lot about.
  18. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Actually, I think the DSM classifications are used here - I've seen a lot of references to them in British and also French literature. And identical questionnaires (which I believe are called Connors?) are often used as part of the diagnostic tools.
    I feel the differences seem to lie firstly in the fact that the whole concept of ADHD is questioned more than it seems to be (I may be wrong about that) in the States. Some reputable scientists here question its objective existence and there has been a fair bit of controversy about it. And then there is a pretty universal assumption, which one hears and reads over and over again, that a reliable diagnosis cannot be made before the age of six or so because of how rapidly and uncertainly young children develop and because many of the symptoms of ADHD are too close to "normal" behaviour in young children. Having said that, I have always been aware of the difference in my son's constant movement and high energy levels and the "normal" spectrum... I think the difference is clear and observable. But whether hyperactivity evolves into ADHD is a whole other question, it seems.... And then lastly there seems to be much less of a movement to give medications here to very young children, which is very much the exception. At the same time, France is a very conformist and regulated country (at the same time as they love to go on strike, more than any other nation - go figure, as you say), and so any form of "misbehaving" stands out and will be remarked on and sanctioned; in that sense, I expect many parents of ADHD children here welcome the diagnosis as a way out of the criticism they inevitably face for not "educating their children properly" (to sit still, be quiet, etc).
    On the subject of misbehaviour, I wasn't sure whether your comment was meant for me, Midwest Mom. In any event, I have never thought of or said that my son is "gifted"! I do think he thinks differently to the norm, which is not the same thing... although actually I do prefer to think of giftedness as "alternative thinking" as it makes it less elitist, more available to anyone. And this world is in great need of alternative thinking and thinkers...
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    "Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
    This is known as "bad luck.""

    "A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill."

  20. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    "Aspie-lite", perhaps. I was the same way - book smart, street stupid - and I never did understand people. Always got along with much older people, much better, because they were smarter than most. I, also, had a late birthday, so I entered first grade "early", and was therefore always younger than my classmates. And always emotionally behind all of them.

    Malika - having a high IQ is nice. However... It's not the be-all and end-all. I have seen people with high IQ scores crash and burn, and those with lower scores rise to the top. in my opinion, "gifted" can and does belong to anyone. Everyone has their talents, some are more obvious than others.