ADHD

Question
Posted by: Eulalia Johnson | 2011/08/18

Q.

Uncertain

My son is 6yrs old and in Gr. 1 he attended an English preschool so we enrolled him in an English Primary School, but out home language is Afrikaans. The first term at school he did very well at school, probably because I could help him a lot with his schoolwork. But since his sister was born April it has been difficult because she was colic also. He did very bad with English (spelling, reading) and in Mathematics. His teacher said he could have ADHD. I thought it was maybe dyslexia because he confuse " t"  with " f" , " b"  with " d" , " m"  with " n" , etc. He doesn''t recognise the correct sounds and I thought maybe it had something to do with the languages- home language Afrikaans and school language English.
I am really concerned because his teacher talks about repeating GR.1. He finds it difficult to concentrate and focus, he makes simple mistakes because he doesn''t concentrate. He just wants to play the whole day or watch movies. I''ve got him on Bio-Strath now, his teacher recommended ritalin, but I am totally against it. We were thinking of changing his school to Afrikaans medium school. I am so confused wants to help him but how. i try to go through his school work after work but we are both tired than and than i still have the baby also.

Regards
Concerned

Expert's Reply

A.

ADHD Expert

Dear Eulalia,

It certainly sounds as though you are in a very difficult space.

It is true that concentration difficulties can lead to 'silly mistakes', however, so can a difficulty with reading instructions. Not having a solid letter-sound association will make reading at a later stage very difficult.

It is also important to notice that dual-lingual children are more likely to battle both one or both languages until the age of about 10 years.

I would recommend a full academic assessment where your son's learning ability and current level of reading and maths can be determined. It would be interesting to see whether there would be a difference in results if assessed in English and Afrikaans, however, to determine his true potential I would strongly recommend he be assessed in Afrikaans (assuming this is his stronger language).

Best wishes,
Delia

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3
user comments

C.

Posted by: ADD/ADHD Expert | 2011/08/23

Dear Eulalia,

It certainly sounds as though you are in a very difficult space.

It is true that concentration difficulties can lead to 'silly mistakes', however, so can a difficulty with reading instructions. Not having a solid letter-sound association will make reading at a later stage very difficult.

It is also important to notice that dual-lingual children are more likely to battle both one or both languages until the age of about 10 years.

I would recommend a full academic assessment where your son's learning ability and current level of reading and maths can be determined. It would be interesting to see whether there would be a difference in results if assessed in English and Afrikaans, however, to determine his true potential I would strongly recommend he be assessed in Afrikaans (assuming this is his stronger language).

Best wishes,
Delia

Reply to ADD/ADHD Expert
Posted by: BMJ | 2011/08/19

Please take your son to be properly evaluated. I would suggest you try an occupation therapist (arbeidsterapeut) first and see what she says. Many children in gr1 and 2 even still mix up their sounds. Also make sure that it is not a simple problem like a blocked ear -so an examination by a pead will be good. If they all agree (as well as the teacher) that he has a problem, then take it from there.

I have 3 sons. My eldest had the same problems as yours - it was brought to our attention a week before school finished in gr R. After testing etc we were advised to repeat gr r. We did and used all natural methods to help hm cope first - diet, supplements, Occupational therapy. Finally we tried Ritalin and we had immediate, astonishing results. It made such a big difference - he went from 1''s and 2''s to 4''s. He is still on his medication and doing very,very well.

My other son has the same. He is now in grade 2. He battles more with hyperactivity than concentration. The occupational therapy and supplements really helped him and he is NOT on medication as he is able to cope.

It is very stressful to deal with a struggling child and a colicky baby at the same time. Dont just give your child medication because the teacher said so - but dont be completely close minded either. Alsmost all the info you read online about Ritalin is false. It is not the demon it is made out to be. Get real information from credible sources and dont make a decision until you know exactly what the problem is.

Reply to BMJ
Posted by: Albert | 2011/08/19

Dear Eulalia - there are many, many children using Ritalin and they are benefiting from it and it makes a huge positive difference to them  not only their school work but also their confidence, family life etc. Do you think that by denying your child medication that will help him you are doing the right thing? you might just be ruining his future life - think about it.

If he needed medication for depression or anxiety you would let him have it would''nt you?

Take him to a paediatrician and have him assessed for starters asap. Changing his school at this stage would be the wrong thing to do now in my opinion  it just might make him worse.

Reply to Albert

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