Hi, I find the entire concept of ADHD quite interesting. My son was diagnosed just recently here in Germany despite it being ruled out twice in Australia by two different practitioners and also teachers. My son is intellectually gifted also and although I know the two can co-exist, they also overlap tremendously and ADHD is a very difficult disorder to diagnose especially in gifted children. The diagnosis we received seemed to come very abruptly and based on only an EEG and an attention test. It did not take into consideration any other possible causes. The Dr did not evaluate for any other disorder – ASD was ruled out by another psychiatrist via the ADOS. We started my son on a very low dose of a methylphenidate (5mg) and there was not a great deal of difference so we increased to 10mg. We have seen quite a difference in school but no real changes at home. We also only experienced difficulties IN SCHOOL. I would have your child assessed for giftedness. SENG offer a great checklist for ADHD v Giftedness. The Dr today suggested that there is no need to increase the dosage at this stage since he has improved. When I questioned the diagnosis and told her that she did not evaluate for anxiety, sleep disorders (which we are now organising a sleep study for), SPDs, PTSD (my son may be reacting to the separation from his father when the behaviours started and now moving to Germany – there are language and cultural frustrations, not to mention the curriculum is what he did three years ago!). There are a myriad of reasons why his attention and focus is affected. Anxiety for one. Methylphenidate has the ability to calm anxiety as the Dr confirmed. Also, methylphenidate will help ANY child focus, so the fact that he has improved in school is NOT confirmation that my son has “ADHD”. We are not increasing the dosage because of the side effects starting to impact him, like appetite suppression and affecting sleep. She is testing a few things via blood tests, like thyroid and iron deficiency and even Vitamin D deficiency, all of which can affect attention/focus and hyperactivity. I have started him on Omega-3 and improving diet. All of these could make a huge difference. He was already improving before the medication including sleep, so it could have only been a matter of time before he had a major turnaround.
The Dr today told me that whether he has ADHD or not (hang on, which is it? And when she first diagnosed him she said he may not need the medication in Australia? So he only needs it here because they don’t want to provide him with a personalised enriched curriculum or differentiation, to make him conform and more compliant?), the medication is helping him, so we should continue. She said it may be that he will only need it for 6-12 months depending on how his German improves and this could make all the difference too! She said in two years (when we are due to return to Australia) that she may evaluate him again and he may NOT HAVE ADHD! All very dubious. The diagnosis seemed to come after a very negative call from the School Support Services who are concerned they may not be able to continue providing aide support and the school won’t take him without an aide! All very suspect.
I did not see the symptoms at home, only at school and I don’t think my son is any more active than any other 7 year old boy. He does not meet more than two of the symptoms in both attention and hyperactivity in two or more settings as is the required criteria in the DSM-V.
I just finished reading ADHD Does Not Exist and it is an eyeopener. A deficiency in a NT (neurotransmitter) does mean a child has what we call “ADHD”. The symptoms that give rise to “ADHD” can be caused my many other things. Let’s call a deficiency in a NT what it is. Treat the deficiency and the symptoms go away but the inattention and hyperactivity can be caused by some 20 other diagnosable disorders. Blood tests can determine which NTs are deficient! If nothing else, it gives parents a lot to ask Drs before accepting a diagnosis. ADHD should only be diagnosed as a last resort after everything else has been ruled out: hearing, vision (including behavioural), SPD, anxiety, sleep disorders, mood disorders (including depression), iron deficiency, thyroid issues… lots… ask questions parents, lots of questions, don’t accept a diagnosis if your gut is telling you something is amiss…