Question about attention

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    In the bath tonight, J was trying to put together a lego boat... it was very fiddly and he was having some trouble with it, but he wouldn't give up with it until he had succeeded - despite my several requests, he wouldn't get out of the bath until he had done it. It was a very focused level of attention for about 20 minutes.
    I just wondered... have others of you noticed this kind of thing in your ADHD children? Maybe it is just the thing that I have read that they will concentrate and apply themselves when they are interested, when they want to. Oftentimes his attention does seem very "dispersed" - sitting to eat a meal, for example, he will never just eat the food but will be playing with toys, getting down from the table to do something or see something, taking bites every so often...
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Attention "deficit" disorder is a misnomer. In fact, us ADD/ADHD people have a gift that goes with the curse... you see, the real problem is "attention management". So... we're either scattered all over the place - and typically, that is exactly when other people expect us to be paying attention... OR, we're in "hyper-focus"... which is the gift.

    In hyper-focus mode, time stops. Hunger stops. We hardly hear or see anything else around us, unless it pertains to the task at hand. And we FLY through that task at hand. We can't understand why other people can't do this, can't "make time stop". We're moving at 2x or 3x the "normal" processing speed... and we don't feel that way. It just... flows.

    I hit this on project work... often, at about 1 a.m., which then means... I don't surface for several MORE hours... but I get two days work done in 5 or 6 hours.

    Yes, Malika. If J is indeed "adhd", then this would be perfectly normal!
  3. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    I have one child with severe attention and hyperactivity/sensory issues- although it is infrequent, even he can concentrate for short periods on something that interests him. One of my other sons has a very hard time paying attention to auditory instruction/lectures, struggles tremendously with written materials, does better with visuals, but is an avid lego builder-hands on stuff. I think it is a matter of engagement/interest and perhaps for our younger adhd'ers those hands-on experiences are the main way they can process and pay attention-so it's not that they are choosing not to engage in the other activities..somehow they are not able.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, this certainly did look like "hyper focus". I was impressed with the determination to finish. J's ability to concentrate is fairly good, in general - he does it at school and I think quite likes the work there, really, and he will play with his toys in long, imaginative games, inventing lots of dialogue (which I imagine involves concentration?), will sit and "read" his Spiderman cartoon books for long periods. Then when he is not doing this kind of thing, he will be spinning around, bouncing up and down on the sofa, trying to swing off the stairs... The hyperactivity definitely seems more proncounced than the attention deficit, though that is definitely there when he is not interested in something. Like in eating food...
    This is not an exact science, I realise. Nonetheless an aspect of J's "profile" puzzles me. I have made an appointment for him to start seeing a neuro-paediatrician at the local hospital and I am hopeful that this will lead to a concrete diagnosis. The psychiatrist he very occasionally sees at the moment is a bit of a joke really and says the origin of his problems is that I am divorced and the father in Morocco, so J is trying to "be the boss of the house"... He's not interested in neuro-biological explanations and kind of dismissed them.
    I'm stabbing in the dark but I kind of wonder whether this sensory processing disorder - which nobody here has heard of! - could account for J's symptoms alone.
  5. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Go with it Malika! I left France before having kids, but my feeling is France is stuck with one model of thinking when it comes to differently wired kids: the parents fault! Not true as far as I'm concerned and completly unproducive specially when there are "guilt free" theories that work and are research based: sensory processing and autism treatement come to my mind.
    Just don't take no for an answer and move on if you feel you are barking at the wrong tree.
    There is ALWAYS a conter-theory to any theaory (makes any sense?). Our good pediatrician made a joke when I asked her about the medical world not agreeing on sensory processing disorder (SPD): "we can't even agree on an ear infection!"
    Learn from both side of the ocean, take what you need and forget the rest. After much digging and researching, you will find someone on your side. But I know how exhausting and frustrating the whole process can be.
    What does the psychomotricien say?
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My teen allegedly has ADD without the H. She tells me she can concentrate of a sports coach telling her how to do a play, but has a terrible time in the classroom unless she takes diligent notes to keep her on track. I don't know if this helped, but I hope so.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, J seems to have the H without so much of the ADD! But really none of this has been tested, it's just my say-so, and it could be that compared to a "normal" child his attention is quite deficient. Kttlc, yes you understand! It's a fight - but then it's a fight anywhere, perhaps, one way or another. The psychomotricien says that... J is hyperactive but seems to have quite good concentration skills, unlike the typical profile of ADHD children he sees. There are definitely sensory things going on for J but when I spoke to the only Occupational Therapist (OT) person in the local town, she had never heard of sensory processing disorder (SPD)...
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika... my difficult child-bro was 99% H and 1% ADD... literally. Until he grew up. The H part went down... the ADD remains, and is more noticable because the H isn't getting in the way...

    The hyper-focus bit... leads me to believe that J does have some element of ADD. Because I don't know anyone else who can do that, unless they are Aspie or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)... or ADD/ADHD.

    But the hyper bit? Could come from any number of things, including anxiety, or overload, or whatever else... so you're right, hyper alone doesn't define ADHD.

    Conundrum kids. They make us old before our time... I thought having kids late would keep me young?!
  9. Buglover

    Buglover Member

    I am just sensory processing disorder (SPD) (no ADHD) and have gone into hyper-focus mode since I was at least 2, maybe younger. I did really well in school because I love school and thats my area of focus, never knew I had a "disorder". I suspect that many great scientists go into hyperfocus when they work.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I wish I knew the stats... but Aspies and ASDs are extremely over represented in the field of science...
    On top of that... ADD (now called ADHD-inattentive type) is very frequently missed as a diagnosis. I'm ADD... no hyper at all. Just... major difficulties handling distraction unless I'm in hyper-focus mode.... but the distraction bit didn't really show up until I was married with two difficult child school-age kids... and juggling a career around that!

    So... you might actually BE one of "us"... but it really doesn't matter... we are not our labels, we are ourselves.
  11. keista

    keista New Member

    Malika, I'm wondering if what you perceive as 'hyperactivity' may be better described as sensory seeking behavior?

    I had never thought of it too much until it was pointed out with DD1. See, she was the opposite of your son. She was 'shlumpy'. She wouldn't sit on a couch, she'd always lay down. Chairs also weren't for sitting, they were for lounging or rocking. I thought she was depressed, sad, tired. Nope, just had to get those sensors stimulated in her body. On the flip side, this was also the child who just had to climb everything, although she was afraid of heights. As a toddler I couldn't get her on a swing, now I can't get her off.

    I don't know where the line (or even if there is a line) between burning off energy (hyperactivity) and seeking stimulation (sensory seeking behavior) is, but may be something to consider.
  12. Buglover

    Buglover Member

    Insane I have noticed I have more ADD type symptoms the more I have to juggle kids around, it would not surprise me if I were the inattentive type but I am not sure if I care at this point. I function, in a wierd way :)
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Exactly, Buglover - I didn't care either... and still wouldn't, except that for me it got to the point where I needed medications to be able to cope (good old Ritalin).... If I hadn't needed medications, I would never have bothered going through the process. <grin>
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all your input. I'm apprehensive about a diagnosis of ADHD for J - which would probably be forthcoming as he ticks almost all of the boxes - when it may not in fact be accurate and possibly (still can't quite convince myself about this!!) trying him on a stimulant in due course when the origin of the problem may be something else. The stimulants are usually given to ADHD kids to help with the attention in school. J doesn't have this problem, yet at least, though he will sometimes say when upset about something else "And at school I have to WORK and WORK and WORK! And I get tired and hungry all the time.." I would like to insist that his attention is specifically tested before an ADHD diagnosis is given. But for the sensory processing disorder (SPD) or Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), I really don't know... I'm in the wrong place for it.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You might have to do what a LOT of us around here who have "older" difficult children had to do... if you can't get the diagnosis but you suspect??? TRY some of the ideas that seem to work... weighted blankets, for example. Study up on sensory processing disorder (SPD)/Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) yourself, play around with interventions...