Tell me this boy doesn't have ADHD.


New Member
So difficult child is doing some math. He gets stuck on 8+6, which is something he should know. So husband says "You've already done 8+5, so if you add one more..." and difficult child shouts "It's 14--I know! I don't need your help!" (Even though he had just told us he did not know what 8+6 is, so he did need help.) So husband is like "Correct, it's 14." So we leave the room to let him work by himself because he "doesn't need our help." A full 10 minutes later difficult child comes into the living room and says "I don't know what 8+6 is." I said "8+6? Isn't that the one we just helped you with?" He says "No--you didn't help me with that one." So I went to his math book and he was still on the very exact same problem we just helped him with where he shouted out the answer. And I said "Yes we did help you with that. remember, we looked at 8+5 and added one?" And difficult child was like "Oh yeah! It was 14." We asked him why he didn't write it down 10 minutes ago and he said he didn't know. So basically he just daydreamed for 10 minutes and totally forgot we had even discussed 8+6 or what the answer is.
But nooooo....husband refuses to believe the boy has ADHD. It's frustrating.

Mrs Smith

New Member
Sooooo frustrating! Both my son and husband have this problem. It just goes through the sieve. It's seriously debilitating at times.


New Member
It appears as if he has symptoms of ADD, but I am not sure about the hyperactivity component. We have had similar situations with my son.


Active Member
Don't label it for husband. Just say, "I think he has some sort of problem remembering things and staying on task. Or do you think there could be another explanation? Because he should have been able to write down that answer and move on. What do you suggest, to help him get his work done more effectively?"

Think about it tis way - if all the kids difficult child's age are like this when doing maths in class, how long is each maths lesson going to be? How effective is the learning going to be? Clearly, difficult child was not, at the time you describe, working effectively. He was clearly putting in a lot of effort, but it wasn't showing up in results. And difficult child was getting frustrated - with himself, as much as anything else. He had the answer and didn't trust it, he was needing at some level to verify it in his own head, but couldn't hold the various bits of information in his head and manipulate them, while still remembering what he was trying to do.

Yes, it's an inattentiveness problem but it goes deeper than that - to memory and how it's working. So if you talk to husband about your concerns for difficult child's ability to manage bits of recall, manipulate them and produce an answer - point out that this is only going to become a bigger problem as schoolwork gets more complex. difficult child could have prodigious maths ability, but with this memory problem, be unable to use it or demonstrate it.

Don't mention ADD. OK, easy child 2/difficult child 2 had almost identical problems to what you describe. difficult child 1 had similar issues but in a quiet room could at least do basic mats. He needed remedial coaching at one point, to help him catch up once we got his diagnosis and treatment in place. For both of them, this particular problem was put at the door of ADD. But the observation - a memory dysfunction, something wrong with how the memory paths are laid down in the first place. It needs careful assessment but can be almost magically treated - different learning techniques, if you want to avoid the topic of medication (although for us, medications fixes the memory problems like magic).

You need him as on-side as he can get, so only tell him what form of the truth he can handle, and that will encourage him to want to get difficult child some help also.
If he had vision problems, surely husband would want him to get his eyes checked, maybe put up with glasses for schoolwork, at least? This is really no different.

I get really concerned when community attitudes towards things like autism, ADHD etc view these as disability, brain damage, dysfunction. These concepts are very negative and can really get in the way of help being sought (or made available), the child's personal expectations and self-esteem. When parents see these conditions as a disastrous diagnosis, they often reject the whole idea and the child goes longer without the adaptations being made that will help them best utilise the different way their brains work.

I'm a left-hander. I copied my older sister, I probably shouldn't have been a left-hander, but because I was reading/writing well before I started school, I was well into the habit of using my left hand. My older sister was in the generation where you MUST use your right hand, and went through purgatory because the system discriminated against her. She developed a bad stammer (which we now know sometimes happens when brain dominance is made to switch from one side to another) which took a year or more to resolve.
I was much younger and in my era I was permitted to use my left hand to write. Teachers weren't happy about it and kept making a show of how untidy my work was, but I was happier using my left hand and was prepared to accept the disadvantages of critical teachers, as long as they let me do things my own way. My sewing teacher showed me to run the stitching in the other direction, so I became quite skilled despite being left-handed. A later teacher discriminated against me badly in class - left-handed the reason? I don't know.
I do not consider being left-handed to be a disadvantage or a disability, but in years past, it was seen as such and treated as such.

When we 'see' ADHD as simply a different brain wiring, or a different way of learning, we get more results in terms of cooperation from teachers, family, others. The child feels better about themselves once they realise it's not their fault. It also moves us away from the expectation that the child will be otherwise completely normal, when this is not the case - being different in ANY way colours every aspect of your life and the more you are forced to be different to your own nature, the more you feel a fraud, a fake and a failure.

Somewhere in your son is a highly intelligent kid feeling very frustrated, angry with himself and angry that he is expected to do stuff he just can't stay on top of. There are better ways for him and once they are found, he will do better and feel happier. husband needs to know his son is bright, capable, inventive and a good son. He is afraid that a label, ANY label, will take away the golden image he has of his boy. It's a bloke thing. Your husband is also probably afraid that a diagnosis for your son means eyes and fingers on husband - loss of face? Loss of manhood? Again, it's a bloke thing. "If my son is imperfect, what sort of man does that make me?"

Yes, it often comes down to what the man thinks of himself and what the implications of everything else are, in terms of how he feels about himself. Apologies to all the wonderful men who post on this site, but I think you know men like this, when I say - it's a bloke thing.

Kathrine, you don't need confirmation from us. You need support from husband, but frankly, I think he's too scared to face it. If you present it as "he's wonderful, but may need some support to find how HE works best with that amazing brain of his," you might get a shade more acceptance. Or you can simply stop trying to get husband to agree with you - as long as he agrees to cover the medical bills for the assessments etc it could be the best you can hope for, for now. Then once you get a diagnosis, if husband disagrees tell him to argue with the experts, not you. husband can go see the person who diagnoses your son and discuss it with them. Maybe they can make husband see sense. And if he refuses to go - then he's got no right to disagree. When did HE get his degree?

Hang in there. How long now until the appointment? Have you talked with difficult child about any of this? Or are you waiting to see how it goes?



Actually, my difficult child is guilty of the same thing and she does not have ADHD, rather for her it's anxiety. They can look a lot alike. When she was in the 2nd grade I couldn't get that child to sit still for anything. At dinner, she'd take a bite and boom she'd be gone. It would take her an hour to finish a meal. Homework was a constant struggle. Even if she were watching tv, she couldn't just sit on the couch. She would bounce on the couch so that her bottom wasn't touching it for literally more than a second at a time. For the entire program she was watching. Made me dizzy.


Well-Known Member
You know, has he been diagnosed with co-morbid learning problems? He sounds like he has a short term memory problem (so do I) and it's so frustrating. You literally walk into a room and forget while you went into that You may want him checked for learning problems that can be greatly helped by school interventions.

Marcie Mac

Just Plain Ole Tired
Katherine, there is a test for ADHD and called a T.O.V.A. - I struggled big time with ADHD (and math) before it was a recognized diagnosis. A few years ago the psychiatric doctor had me take it, and it turned out the ADHD was confirmed, and it also confirmed I had learning disabilities, and also noted I may have petit mal seizures as well. The test is mainly for ADHD, but does pick up other possible nuro problems.

I think it was an hour long, and done on a computer in a quiet room where I had to hit a button everytime something appeared on the screen. It measured delay's in hitting, and anticipation in hitting, plus the screener was also keeping track of me, my movements and my behavior in doing the test.

For me it was just a confirmation of what I already knew, except for the learning disability part which left me in tears - all those years in school struggling with math - no one ever understood that I just didn't "get it" - it wasn't a case of me being stubborn and not wanting to do it - a pretty miserable experience for years.

If he is struggling at 7, at least get him tested to rule in or rule out. I can tell you from experience, it goes from bad to worse with self esteem issues, feelings that you are really stupid, and at some point, you don't even try anymore.



New Member
My son has exactly the same issue and is the same age. (He, by the way, has recently had ADHD added to his diagnoses...)

Anyway, wise grandma has intervened and helped with the math issue the old fashioned way. When difficult child struggles with 8 + 6 = 14 (which he answered correctly just one page ago), she gets him up and has him march around the house with her chanting "8 + 6 = 14" a dozen times or so, and eventually it starts to stick.


New Member
Thanks for all the advice. Marguerite, my husband misunderstands me so much. I don't think he knows the first thing about ADHD. He keeps thinking I'm saying that difficult child is dumb or can't do the work, or is slow or something. I have to constantly correct him about what I'm saying. difficult child is smart, and the only reason he can't do the work is because he's frustrated. husband says he won't do the work because he hates math. I say he hates math because he can't focus and concentrate long enough to finish it. Every kid dislikes doing math to some degree, but when they know they have to do it, they can do it. When you offer them a reward they can do it. but not difficult child. If his teacher tells him to finish his work or he'll have to stay in at recess, he says "I don't want recess anyway."


Active Member
difficult child 1's first pediatrician described it like this: "I could tell difficult child 1 that I will give him this $50 note if he sits still for five minutes. He will be highly motivated. But he will not be able to do it."
It's nothing to do with motivation, wanting to do it or being dumb, it's a lot more to it.

I'd suggest stop banging your head against the brick wall of your husband's disbelief - just get him to either come up with a valid explanation (and not liking maths doesn't explain why he forgets like this - a kid who hates the subject would grab at the answer & write it down, to get the work over and done with) or tell him to back off and leave it to you, as he's done so far. Basically, put up or shut up. You may need to keep repeating, "difficult child is not dumb. He has a problem with his memory. It can be helped. let me help him." Over and over. (OK, it could well be ADHD as well, but that's red rag to a bull).

If I'm right and this memory problem is the main way this is manifesting, you will soon find difficult child has BIG issues when it comes to summarising text. How is he with writing stories? How is he at deciding, when writing a report, which bit of information is more of use than another bit? We went through purgatory with this. difficult child 1 clearly knew his subject matter and enjoyed it, but he couldn't write about it to save his life. We found the technique of mind-mapping helped him a great deal. To find out more, look it up linked with "Edward de Bono".