November 15. It took almost 3 months for the teacher to pull me aside to chat about Mike.
“Look! He finally finished his Halloween pumpkin! (2 weeks late because he’s falling behind and now we can hang it up for 4 days before we take it down to make way for the turkey decorations he’s also behind on making…) And, by the way, he can’t listen in class, he has great difficulty sitting still, he volunteered to sit apart from the other kids, he keeps forgetting his Monday folder, he talks nonstop, he interrupts, he can’t remember directions, he bothers his classmates when they’re trying to work…”
Do you see where this is going? I’m surprised it took her this long. I started asking about how he was doing, how he was learning, how he was participating, how active he was all within the first 2 weeks of school. She was surprised I would be so convinced there was a problem. I’m surprised it took her 3 months. So I’m 3 for 3.
Let’s review the DSM-IV, shall we? I’ll highlight where my kiddo has an issue.
DSM-IV Criteria for ADHD
I. Either A or B:
Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is inappropriate for developmental level:
- Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
- Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
- Often has trouble organizing activities.
- Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
- Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
- Is often easily distracted.
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat when sitting still is expected.
- Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
- Often excessively runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
- Often has trouble playing or doing leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
- Often talks excessively.
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
- Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
II. Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.
III. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. at school/work and at home).
IV. There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.
V. The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder. The symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).
Based on these criteria, three types of ADHD are identified:
IA. ADHD, Combined Type: if both criteria IA and IB are met for the past 6 months
IB. ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type: if criterion IA is met but criterion IB is not met for the past six months
IC. ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: if Criterion IB is met but Criterion IA is not met for the past six months.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
So. I am looking down the barrel of some sort of behavioral/learning diagnosis for my youngest son. He’s in kindergarten. I know I have to put together some sort of action plan, call for an assessment, make an appt with the holistic doctor, get some brain balancing sessions booked, but all I want to do is lay down and cry.