What do you do when your child's Kindergarten teacher complains that he doesn’t pay attention or complete work. When she says repeatedly that he will fail first grade unless YOU (the parent) can figure out a way to help him fix it? Well first you talk to your pediatrician, and then you and the teacher fill out a Conner's form. As my regular readers know we did that last spring, we filled out ours as honestly as we could. The Kiddo’s teacher filled hers out far more conservatively then we expected from how she had been talking. The pediatrician said that our scores showed he was probably ADHD, but the teachers scores showed that he was not. Long story short we ended up doing nothing and hoping his attention problems were due to maturity and nothing else.
Skip to this fall - First grade and a month into the school year when the Kiddos teacher pulled me aside and mentioned that he was having trouble focusing on his work in class. More importantly he could not seem to follow multi step directions and she was concerned. We were one step ahead of her, already concerned ourselves due to the mid term grade report. Our genius child had mostly 4’s, which are (from what I understand) like a super A+ (meets and EXCEEDS expectations), except for handwriting (a warning flag for ADHD) and aside from respecting adults (which he does) he was marked with ‘needs improvement’ in every single ‘social skills’ area (another ADHD flag).
So we did what any super paranoid parents would do. We found an attention disorders specialist who had the capability of testing the Kiddo in a way that was as far from the subjective questionnaire form as we could get. On the 25th of October we took the Kiddo in and had his brain mapped. The Kiddo loved it! He said it was like being Xavier hooked up to Cerebro.
The following week we had his short term memory tested as well. I didn’t take a picture of that one but basically it was a computer game. The computer told him a number, he repeated it. Then it told him two words, he repeated those. So on and so forth up to 4 or five words. There was “remember where the dots are on the screen and then point to them” games, and remember the last word in a sentence games. I think he had a good time taking that test too.
We received the memory results directly after the test and while he does seem to have a few small issues his scores fall into the ‘average’ range so the doctor thinks they are not something to be concerned about.
We also received the analysis of the Quantitative EEG, it confirmed what we suspected and the Kiddo does have ADHD.
There are several recognized ‘types’ of ADHD and surprisingly his is not inattentive (which would have been my guess). No in his usual “has to be different” way the Kiddo didn’t settle on the average run of the mill type. .. . Instead he has the “only five percent of cases are this type” form…
AD/HD: The theta-beta ratio of 2.86 is normal for age. However, there is significant increased beta relative power compared to controls of the same age and sex. This finding is seen in a subset of individuals who do have ADHD, but may also be present with anxiety or sleep disorder. It is often referred to as “ the too busy brain”.
The over active mind isn’t unusual, but the fact that it comes without the hyperactivity is. I ‘boxed’ in the beta waves section so you can see how overactive his mind is (blue is low activity, green is average, yellow is slightly high, and red is the highest). I underlined sleep disorder because I thought it was interesting; the Kiddo has always been an insomniac and extremely active sleeper I suppose now we know why. Honestly it’s pretty confusing to me but the Man says he understands it so that’s good enough for me …
He has been prescribed Strattera. It is a non stimulant (no hyperactivity means no stimulant) but scary side affects abound (as they do with any medication). He started taking it last Thursday and we hope to see some sort of improvement by the end of this week. So far he has reacted well to it and we haven’t seen any negative physical or emotional side affects. I am hopeful this will remain the case because he has always been ‘the norm’ with medications, responding appropriately with no issues. Soon we should have our amazing perfect highly intelligent child suddenly able to focus… I’m a little excited to see what he can achieve.