Has any parents considered not diagnosing their ADHD child?

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    • #135289

      I have a 4 year old son who is showing all signs of impulsivity, hyperactivity ADHD and has been for quite a while. Recently my husband(ALSO diagnosed as a child BUT with ADD) and I had our first parent-teacher conference in PRE-K. I know. Its a very strict Christian Academy. Apparently, the teacher mentioned, in her 13 years of teaching, she had never experienced a child like our son. He was incapable of sitting still, had no self control, and acted on impulse and was becoming disruptive to her teaching. He was very sweet with the other children, helping them do all of their activities but never his own. He would want to hold hands and hug at inappropriate times, invade their personal space and was sometimes too rough with them. She started giving him “thinking putty” during circle time but even that only lasted 5 minutes until it became a toy to engage another child with. He had trouble focusing on a task and instructions but if he was at the sensory table he could stay there for the entire free play period. Needless to say, he is showing many signs of ADHD. His teacher wanted to bring it to our attention so that we could work with him at home and she said it was to early to diagnose until a later age. BUT WHAT IF WE DO NOT WANT TO DIAGNOSE? As a parent I am stuck in a place of indecision. I want to protect my child first and foremost from the discrimination that society may hold against him in the event they take mental health out of proportion and act on ignorance? They do call this a “mental health disorder” do they not? what if this diagnosis takes away his personal rights? what if this diagnosis takes away certain career opportunities? I am worried about the stigma this will put on him and his future. This mental health crisis, new gun policies and who know what else. This “disorder” actually states that our children are more likely to drop out of school, take illegal drugs, make poor life decisions and not make lasting relationships. If doctors are making statements about this now, the state, local governments will be sure to run with statements like those and use that against them! I am afraid of what COULD happen. BUT, the other side of me is a MOM, who wants the BEST for her son. Which means the best doctors, the best treatment plan, the best school/teacher/parent relationship and open communication so that he has the very best chance at succeeding. OR is there a middle ground? IS it possible that he have ADHD, and his father and I do everything we can behind the scenes to guarantee his success ourselves without a diagnosis? We could go to parenting seminars, have an ADHD tutor after school to help with homework? Involve ourselves in before school workouts to prepare for each day? Team sports, precise schedules, etc. Do every thing we possibly can to help him cope without the use of medication? Maybe at least try until it becomes bad enough we resort to a diagnosis? Has any other parents had these feelings too? Are we crazy to feel stuck in this indecision to diagnose or not? How do you get past it? I know he is only 4 but we know its coming and it still hurts. He doesn’t deserve this discrimination. Thanks.

    • #135312

      You are not crazy. You’re a parent and you want to do everything in your power to protect your child as any good parent should.

      I can only speak from my own experience with ADHD, but I was relieved when I got my diagnosis. I knew something was wrong but I thought I could be just like the “normal kids” if I just tried hard enough. It put an enormous pressure on me and I really struggled. Being diagnosed helped me to cope and figure out what avenues to pursue in order to do better in school. Yes there are always going to people that stigmatize ADHD, but, not to worry you, it’s possible he will be treated different because he is already acting differently than the other kids. The most important thing you can teach him is to not think having ADHD is something to be ashamed of or something he has to hide and to get the help he needs to succeed. I can also tell you that my diagnosis comes up often in conversation. The people that are closest to me know and I am comfortable talking to them about it. I am not sure they always understand it, but they are learning and I appreciate them.
      Just in case the behaviors your son is exhibiting are something else entirely, it also might be a good thing to know so you are using methods that would help him in the right way. Food for thought.

      It is a big decision to make. I wish you all the best. It will be tough no matter what you decide, but your son is lucky to have a mom that cares so much about him.

      • #171091
        Tyson Holtzman

        For me, I was not diagnosed with ADHD until I was 27. I grew up not able to focus and get things completed. I felt like I was unworthy in school and was very hard on myself, and so were my parents. I ended up using drugs and alcohol until I went to treatment on March 22nd, 2017. I have been sober ever since, but I know that if I had the intervention, I had at 27 when I was still in school, my life would have taken a different trajectory.

        All the Best,
        Tyson Holtzman

    • #135448
      Penny Williams

      You said, “I want to protect my child first and foremost from the discrimination that society may hold against him…”

      In my view, getting the diagnosis and treating his ADHD and HELPING HIM succeed is protecting him. That’s providing him with the support and awareness needed to succeed with an atypical brain in a neurotypical world. There are many studies that show that undiagnosed/untreated ADHD can lead to all sorts of bad outcomes, like drug abuse, teen pregnancy, incarceration, etc.

      The Truth About ADHD and Addiction

      In addition, avoiding diagnosis and treating his as a Neurotypical kid means that he will feel bad, broken, ashamed of who he is — no parent want’s that agony for their child.

      You can do everything in the world you can think of to try to make up for his differences, but you cannot change the brain he was born with.

      Yes, it’s hard to see your child get diagnosed. It’s hard to make the decision to give them medication for an “attention issue,” but ADHD Is far, FAR more than in attention and hyperactivity.

      Your Child’s ADHD Is an Iceberg

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #135568
      Aaron Lewis

      It could be your child is not getting enough sleep. I was diagnosed at the age of four. I started taking Ritalin shortly after being diagnosed. I would highly recommend you go and have your child evaluated for ADHD. By the way, ADHD is a neurological disorder, not a mental health disorder.

      • #135625

        Agree with @Aaron Lewis’s Comments and recommendations.

        Plus, you are right…Kids do not deserve the discrimination, and we have had to learn how to advocate for our child and either leave or “flip the script” on adults who profile our kids.

        Part of this includes treating him with a clear view of the challenges he is facing. Data from testing is going to help you put a game plan together. Particularly, testing from someone who has nothing to gain from the result. Top that with your concern: They just give you the test data it is up to the parent what to do with the findings.

        But.. back up a bit… and start with a neurological evaluation with a pediatric neurologist that deals with attention disorders. The neurologist can also recommend specific testing that will apply. There are lots of tests, and you want to be sure they are using one that is the right age/stage.

        This early relationship will help put your child’s conduct into perspective and help connect you with any services that might apply to your situation. Also, it will be your decision how/when to disclose any diagnosis – but better to have the information. For us, having that independent evaluation helped steer the school away from labeling our

        and reinforcing…

        ADHD is not a mental disorder.

        • This reply was modified 2 years ago by lynnl. Reason: edited to clarify that parents can test and then choose what to do with the results. and that you wan t to avoid being forced into testing
    • #142314

      I can only speak for me and my situation. Being diagnosed at 42 been a blessing. So as a child with apparently ADHD I was a good kid and didn’t act out much (fear of disappointing people overrode behavior) I could have done better and gotten better grades and maybe gone to a better school and maybe finished faster under less debt and maybe made less financial mistakes , and maybe made less relationship mistakes and maybe and maybe……..

      Point is it could have helped me.
      Now I look at my 5 year old son and ADHD with impulse control screams out to me. But I am waiting to seek a true diagnosis. I am waiting to see how he is affected at school. So far he is a good student and well behaved at school. Just a challenge at home.

      Now if he starts to experience school related symptoms I will definitely get him evaluated.

      Fact is this is a neuro-divergent thing and there are good tools to help people.

    • #143068
      Dr. Eric

      I never hesitated for a second for my son.

      I may have overemphasized my personal experience, but it was a long hard road to my diagnosis.
      My wife initially thought I was projecting too much, but when she saw the difference that diagnosis and support made… she was a convert.

      My son is doing well, and I attribute this to the fact that his challenge has a name and a game plan to attack the negative aspects of it.

      I went through 21 years of frustration before I was given the game plan.

    • #170595

      Wow. I feel like I’m reading my own difficulties when my son was that age in preschool. I refused to do any testing. Thinking it would take away from his future and that diagnosing him with anything would put a chip on his shoulder. It’s interesting about you and your husband because I also have adhd. His is hyperactive, mine inattentive. It has escalated and he’s become violent. It’s likely not the same as in your home, but mine is 7 now and what was once an inability to listen and ours to understand how to communicate, it has caused so much stress. Now dad has left(not because of this. He’s screwed up and we didn’t know) and it’s made things worse, plus quarantine and it’s a recipe for disaster. My advice would be to jump on the gun now. We have even been in the hospital due to violent outbursts and the drs saw it, then were unwilling to send him home for a week and a half. I think there’s more to it chemically, but adhd is tough. The drs kept treating me for my depression, but one finally pinpointed adhd and started me on meds. The depression and anxiety went away and I can actually cook in 45 minutes vs 4 hours like before. Your little is dealing with big stuff in such an itty bitty self. Good luck. This is tough and you’re not alone in the way you feel.

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