When did you know?


New Member
I just was curious, when did you know that something was going on with your child/ren? And once you started looking into things how long did it take before someone had an answer and how many times did the diagnosis change over time? What kind of things were going on with your child to seek professional help?

I only ask because I have known something was not right with my son (now 3) since the 2nd day he was born. After having 4 kids prior to him I just knew that something was not right. He came out screaming and has never stopped. I have been going from dr. to dr. from appointment to appointment. Next week we have a multi-evaluation for the first time. Just hopeing someone can tell us abit more than....it could be, or possibly or children like this....After reading through some older posts guess it could be a long time before I know for sure. So it just made me curious, as to those of you who have been there and done that went through to get where you are at.


Well-Known Member
Well, one thing is for sure, I wish I found this site earlier! difficult child was colicky and had a ton of ear infections. By age 5 a psychiatrist told me she was 'A difficult child'. That helped alot!!

I just this week received a diagnosis I am comfortable in believing. It was a Neurologist and Neuropscyh that finally came up with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I was thinking anxiety all along and could not get anyone to help her with that. Always the ADD, always the school issues. Never the behavior and ODD. It was very frustrating, but I feel you will not take so long since you know the ropes so early. You are fortunate!
My oldest son didn't speak until he was 3 1/2. Both boys had delays in learning in basics such as learning how to eat. The more severe behaviors started around 3 or 4.
The diagnoses have changed many times. Things have been discarded and added. At first it was strictly emotional, then attentional, then autistic, then learning disabilities, etc.


New Member
We knew something was wrong when our son was an infant but as he was my first and only child, we had no other to compare with. I just thought he was difficult. By two and 1/2 the extreme anger and aggression brought us to the first of many evaluations. Several sets of doctors due to transfers and a few second opinions. The first diagnosis was ADHD, then ODD, then Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), then mood disorder. Bipolar in March 03. In a few months it will have been 7 years since we started this journey. During that time, there were alot of dissenting opinions by the professionals about what was really going on. Not the case anymore, lol. Every professional that he sees -- psychologist, family therapist and the psychologist are in complete agreement. It's a little hard to miss now.

Something to keep in mind is that your son is very young and developing. He's going to go through a lot of changes and it might be difficult to get a complete and final diagnosis for a while. I knew in my heart for a while that my son was bipolar even without the diagnosis.

While the dxes might change as he grows, the important thing is to treat the behavior. The best thing that you can do for him is to have a multi-disciplinary evaluation. It gives you something to build upon. Good luck in your appointment next week. I hope you find some more answers.



New Member
we knew when jr was about 3 he had already started with the bouncing off the walls up at 4:00 am using wepons to beat on his sisters exc.
we got help when he was 7 it was not our parting skills at that point :rolleyes: it was something with jr. and it is still in the works and he is 13 but at least we know what were dealing with. :wink:
Since difficult child was my first and only, I too, had little to compare to. But I knew something was different--it started as physical problems, low muscle tone, all milestones were delayed, he also startled easily and hardly slept.

At age 1 he started early intervention services, still no definite answers, by school age the behaviors started to get worse and ADHD, ODD were added. Thing was, difficult child only acted out at home, so no one would believe what I was telling them.

Finally got a definite diagnosis from a Pediatric Neurologist this past spring. Even now, his symptoms morph from day to day-especially his anxiety disorder but I have a support team working with me that has seen difficult child in action. Things will change and new letters will be added to the "Alphabet soup", but he's the same little boy no matter what label is given. Labels just make services easier to obtain.


Former desparate mom
I remember when difficult child was 3 that his behavior was not a phase but a chronic life long issue. I didn't have a name but I knew. There was a realization and the weight of the world landed on my shoulders. I didn't get anyone to listen to me until he started K. difficult child got everyone's attention then and continues to do so.


Active Member
I knew my son was different when he could not only say the alphabet by age two but he could identify the written letters and then began spelling shortly after. I chalked this up to his merely being brilliant (after all he is my offspring :wink: :rolleyes: ). It wasn't until he was about 4 1/2 that I became suspicious due to some speech issues: he wasn't answering certain questions properly and wasn't taking conversations into depth even when he had a great deal of knowledge about the subject. Even then I wasn't certain because he seemed perfectly normal much of the time. He was more difficult than other children but he got along.

There were some extremely difficult times with this kid from day one. He hated being held by anyone but me and he was a month old before his dad held him for even ten minutes...and that was just the easy stuff. I'm naturally wired up to be highly tolerant of difficult behavior in little ones and I've sometimes wondered if someone less tolerant would have hit the end of their ropes earlier and gone looking for answers long before.


New Member
We were in the same boat with an only child. No one to compare him too. We thought (or should I say were told by a child psychiatrist and our parents) we were lacking parenting skills. Sad thing was, we bought into this and took the parenting classes. I'm not sorry we did, as we did learn some good skills and got more on par with each other.

But to answer your question: difficult child was born as a high needs child. But by age 2 my husband and I were looking at each other in disbelief. He just never stopped going. He'd throw tantrums, was easily upset one minute and then happy the next. All over the map. He'd do the same thing as Ruth's child and only really act out at home. He was diagnosed at age 9. Still not 100%sure the diagnosis is right.



Active Member
momof6, I can't recall my difficult child as having any problems besides eye sight before age 2 but with my pregnancy, I had terrible morning sickness, then gestational diabetes and one weird blood test that they said this weird chemical like thing was in that usually only males had...ugh!
But, afterwards, I also had PPD and my mom, God bless her heart, came to Calgary to stay for a month when my husband was in the military and gone on exercise for 8 weeks. (He had been gone when I went in the hospital to have my difficult child as well and only came back the next day, not having a clue if everything was ok)

Anyways, this difficult child was the perfect child, although extremely quiet, all developmental abilities were normal. Nothing to indicate that he would develope problems, except the eye sight.

Well, it was in Kindergarten he had corrective eye surgery to straighten the eye that was turned in and the surgery was successful. But it was also during this time, that I began noticing this "weird" thing he had with his fingers. He did this extension thing with them. At the time, I had suspected Tourette's Syndrome but with no known family members, how could I possibly know for certain, right?

Well, he was about five then. I had taken him to a pediatrician and other doctors. It would be a very long haul of suspensions, expulsions and many, many temper tantrums and other things,even being handcufffed and thrown in the back of the police car to get him properly diagnosed. He was in grade four, age 9 when diagnosed before we got any medical treatment and age 11, at the present time other services were put in place at his new school.

I now know that he has mild Tourette's Syndrome, like most have, along with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Yes, it sure has been a helluva road. But, we are managing now that we know more. The only thing I can tell you is to go with your intuition. Mommy knows best, is what my mom always told me. She said God put that extra sense there for a reason. Perhaps it was so that when we became mothers we could use it, who knows?

For us, it was just the normal noticeable Tourette's Syndrome tics that got us on the right track. Still not even close to the end, but we got all four tires on the track. Hope you do too...

Take care,


New Member
I also only have the one, but have of course lots of friends and relatives with kids. Since mine was a little late in life, I had been around a lot of others by the time he came along.

He always seemed more active than other babies I was around, even when very tiny. Always wanted to look around and see what was happening. He didn't sleep through the night on a regular basis for close to a year, and even then has always been hard to get to settle down to sleep.

I also was told I lacked parenting skills. Everyone had lots of advice until they tried to deal with him. :rolleyes:

Once he started school, it was obvious he (and I) needed help to function. We went to a pediatric neurologist who did a number of tests to elimate other causes, then put him on Ritalin. He was better from day one.

My biggest frustration has been docs wanting to try everything new that comes down the line, when in my opionion what we had was working, but not quite enough. difficult child will get to a point where the dose isn't working as well and instead of just increasing the medication that works, they want to try something new. After a couple of expensive specialists, I finally went to our family doctor to see if they would prescribe the medications and that's working well.

I guess my advice to you is to trust your instincts and stick to your guns. You're the one who deals with you child everyday. The experts don't know it all.

Unfortunately the only way to tell if the medications will work is to try them. There aren't any tests like for low blood sugar and such that will tell you exactly what's needed.


Active Member
I have a somewhat different story. My son was an incredibly easy baby--even with constant ear infections, he never complained. Slept through the night early on, took 3-hour naps. I thought I was the best parent in the world!

Problems started when his first grade teacher said she didn't know how to teach him. He seemed to have incredible problems keeping friends--or even making them. It took until 4th grade to get an ADHD/Depression diagnosis. Then Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) got added, then Mood Disorder not otherwise specified, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. He also has some Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) elements. Now, he just has a bipolar diagnosis (given last summer) but with an understanding that he has focus/executive function disorders and some attachment issues. He also has a math learning disability.

So to answer your question, it took from age 6 to age 10 to get a first diagnosis (ADHD), and 3 more years to get to the bipolar diagnosis. Note that puberty entered in at this time as well.

If I had found this board earlier, I believe I would have at LEAST halved the time that it took to get a diagnosis. I had never heard of a multi-modal evaluation, an IEP, etc. All I knew was that I did NOT want to medicate my child! LOL, we've been through so many medications ...and he is stable now, thank God.



New Member
We have suspected something was a bit different with my son since infancy. The constant ear infections, delayed motor skills, and he speech problem. He also started talking much later then normal children did. My son at 2 years of age would have temper tantrums that were far worse then other children I compare them to his rages now and see that not much has changed just that he was much smaller. We started taking him to doctors in the second grade and started with the diagnosis of ADHD and he then repeated the second grade he is now in the fourth now and since have a diagnosis of Anxiety with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and they have confirmed Bipolar as of Friday. Now it is all about getting the medications on the right track and therapy to work for him.


New Member
My First baby was a complete nightmare from day one. She cried all day and all night for the first 3 weeks. She had a rash and was sick every single time she was fed. She was impossible to comfort and hated to be hugged close. We had no idea she was different though and beleived it was our lack of parenting skills at fault. At 10 months she learned to walk and that was a disaster. She was like a tornado didnt stop or napin the day at all. She broke vertaullay every toy she had and when she learned to talk she didnt stop.
My husband had just left the armed forces and taken a civy job 40 miles away from the village we bought our house in.
I knew nobody and had no family nearby either. I was also the first of my school friends to have children so i had no experience to go on.

Very soon i got to the point where i hardly left the house. Any time i did go out i felt ashamed of my constantly crying baby and later the tantruming toddler as well, so i learned to stay home.

Less than two years later my little boy came along and it was pretty much the same thing all over again. I had my little boy at home so i wouldnt have to endure the shame of being in hospital with all the "good" parents.

We took two parenting courses to try and get a handle on our children, to no avail. All the techniques we learned worked for about 2 seconds flat.
We only really knew there was anything different about our children when they started pre-school. difficult child girl didnt settle to any task and was always covered in bumps and bruises. She wasnt exactly disruptive though and so her problems were allowed to pass without coment.

When difficult child boy started pre-school at age 3 it became abundantly clear how different he was to the other children. He, like his sister, never settled to a task. He went one step further and began to systematically disrupt any game or activity he could.

By 3 and a half he was on the verge of being expelled from pre-school for violence. By age 4 he was seeing a psychiatric and starting Dexidrine.

With hindsite we should have known vertually from day one that they were different and if we had been part of a comunity as we are now someone would have told us. Having little easy child has really brought home to us how different the first two were as well.

They are all still young though and thankfully are both getting the help they need as well, so things could be worse.


New Member
like sassy, jarrod didn't have problems until the end of fifth grade when the major depression started to take up residence. prior to that he had mild ADD that was managed well with-low doses of ritalin. there was non of the attendant behaviors that some kids have with-ADD/ADHD.

i think diagnosis for our kids, especially when you start young like you are, is a process rather than a single event. as our kids grow & mature their neurological/mental health picture changes...sometimes drastically. as fran is fond of saying...our kids are like onions ~~~ we need to peel them layer by layer till we get to the core. sometimes that core is inside a very large onion :wink: .

the other issue is that unless the diagnosis is very clear cut docs are hesistant to diagnosis a child of three or four or five. it seems that it's easier to get a more definitive diagnosis when they are older...nine or ten. some psychiatrists still won't diagnosis something like BiPolar (BP) until the kids are 15 or 16. a lot depends on the docs' philosphy.

kris /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif


New Member
Looking back, I think I knew almost from the minute I first held her. She seemed to hate me even as an infant. She didn't like being held and there was no way to comfort her. She would just scream for hours and stare right through you and arch away from whoever was holding her. Like someone said, I just learned to stay home because everywhere we would go, she would start screaming and there was no way to stop her. People would just stare at us like 'why don't you feed her or SOMETHING?'. She was a pretty decent toddler, but her tantrums were TERRIBLE when she had them. When I would say that I knew something was wrong with her back then, people would say it's just a phase, she's a difficult baby and it will get better. Now they see that I was right. Ther really is something to mother's intuition!


Active Member
My difficult child is my second child. My first child was colicky, but once he moved past that stage, all was fine.

My mother in law held my difficult child in the hospital the day he was born, and said to me, "This one is going to have a lot of energy". She swore his little foot was moving and moving even then.

He was actually a great baby though, much calmer than his older brother, and slept all the time. Little did I realize - he was storing up all that energy so when he turned 2, he could be a whirlwind.

I'd have to say, by age 2 - I knew he was much different than his brother, and like so many others, thought it was me. Maybe I was doing something wrong, etc. He would throw tantrums and you just couldn't take him anywhere.

If I would have found this board back then, yes - I truly believe life would have been better. I would have known things to do, appointments to make, to force issues with the school, etc. Back then, I just remember feeling so alone - as I was the only one I knew who had a child like that.



New Member

Hi. We new something was wrong when my daughter started exhibiting manipulating behaviors at a very young age. She also started declining in school in 2nd grade. Turns out she was Dyslexic and the school didn't recognize it! :eek: This caused a wide spectrum of problems for her as she was being called lazy and unmotivated by her teachers :eek: When my daughters father abandoned her at age 8 for parts unknown, she really started going berserk. This escalated and because I felt guilty that she was abandoned by her bio-idiot father in this way, I gave in to alot of her demands. Little did I know this was creating a world class manipulator :rolleyes: We went to alot of doctors and thru alot of so called remedies for my daughter (who is much older than your kids) mostly to no avail. She was finally diagnosed with ADHD-impulsive type and put on a merry go round of medications. But to answer your question, we knew almost at birth she was different, very demanding baby, didn't sleep all night,couldn't leave her in the crib alone, etc. I wish you luck in finding help for your child. It's out there. Don't give up.
God Bless,

Nonno aka Larry

New Member
It was readily apparent that something was wrong with difficult child#1 almost as soon as we brought him home from the hospital. He was 13 before any diagnosis was made, and then it was wrong.

difficult child#2 was ok until about 11 and then came the symptoms (stealing, violent outbursts, running away, promiscuity, cutting, suicidal gestures)
but no diagnosis until 15.

Bothwere taken to doctors, shrinks, social workers, etc with no result for some time prior to their diagnosis.


New Member
WOW! Thank you all for sharing your stories. I know that my son is very young for a diagnosis but just know that "something is not right" is not very comforting. I have my gut feelings that this will someday emerge to BiPolar (BP) but that remains to be seen. Again, thank you all for sharing your stories with me. I am amazed at how many responses came to fast. You are all great support!