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Spirited much?
After more resources/books

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#1 hoohoobump

Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

DS is what I like to call spirited. Others have called him:
- busy
- handful
- high-maintenance

He's just turned 3 and is definitely not a toddler anymore.

He runs when he could walk
He yells when he could talk
Asks several thousand questions a day, but doesn't always wait to listen to the answer
Has an imaginary friend and a VERY big imagination
Talks and talks and talks
Remembers everything and listens to adult conversations, piping in when appropriate with
questions and comments.

I try to follow his interests and keep him out and about as too long a home tends to lead to destructive behaviour.

I am after some more reading material or online resources about kids like him. I'd love suggestions...

#2 Tesseract

Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:25 PM

Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

#3 hoohoobump

Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:33 PM

He's my only child, so I don't have others to compare to. His daycare teachers and other parents often comment and strangers think that he is four or even five. He just loves to talk and question and examine and learn new things.

I just feel I need to learn a bit more about kids like him to let me help him. He was incredibly frustrated before he could talk, but now is a lot better.

His behaviour when engaged/busy is pretty good.

#4 Domestic Goddess

Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

Sounds exactly like my 3yo! He has Sensory Processing Disorder, but this has nothing to do with his hyperactive behaviour.

I would suggest you have a talk to a peadiatricianif you have concerns. He might have ADHD or he could just be an extremely busy and knowledge/exploration thirsty little boy.

DS was/is a late talker and when in an altercation with another child, he bites out of frustration due to a lack of communication skills. Though nowadays it's much better as his speech is catching up.
He's also a very very tall boy and gets mistaken for a 5yo until they hear him talk :\

Sounds exactly like my 3yo! He has Sensory Processing Disorder, but this has nothing to do with his hyperactive behaviour.

I would suggest you have a talk to a peadiatricianif you have concerns. He might have ADHD or he could just be an extremely busy and knowledge/exploration thirsty little boy.

DS was/is a late talker and when in an altercation with another child, he bites out of frustration due to a lack of communication skills. Though nowadays it's much better as his speech is catching up.
He's also a very very tall boy and gets mistaken for a 5yo until they hear him talk :\

EDIT: I too take DS out every morning to the park, botanical gardens, indoor playground, the pool, etc. Or else his abundance of energy will turn into a big destructive force, breaking down my house 1 bit at a time sad.gif

Edited by Domestic Goddess, 04 January 2013 - 01:40 PM.

#5 hoohoobump

Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

Yes to all of that checklist. Hmmm. He's literally just turned three and isn't due to start school until 2015. I am concerned about his destructive nature when bored in a formal school environment.

Thanks for the link. I may have a chat to the GP.

I might have a look at some of BMJ's links about assessments to keep in mind.

#6 baddmammajamma

Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:41 PM

QUOTE (Tesseract @ 04/01/2013, 02:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

Definitely worth a read.

You probably aren't going to find many paeds or developmental paeds who will want to investigate something like potential ADHD in a 3-year- old -- because it's so hard to tell how much of that is "boyish exuberance" and how much might be something else. But there's rarely any harm in getting professional advice from someone good if you have concerns.

Likewise, although it's not unheard of for a 3-year-old to have their IQ tested for giftedness, it is typically done a little further down the line (or in instances when the three year old is clearly "off the charts" in what they can do). Still, you can check out some popular gifted child resources & see if any of this stuff resonates with you:

My non-expert advice (as a fellow mother of a spirited child who also has a lot of "stuff" -- giftedness, ASD, ADHD -- going on) is this:

* Read well regarded resources like the book above & see if any of the insights and strategies work for you. Network with other parents of high octane/spirited kids to trade stories and sympathy!  See if there are positive changes when he is really intellectually challenged with things that interest him. Keep an eye on his diet and his sleep levels.

But also...

Keep your antenna up! Over time, if your son's behavior gets to the point where it is really impacting his ability to function (that is, ability to cope in a school setting and/or at home) or is impacting YOUR ability to parent him well, don't hesitate to seek some professional and tailored guidance.

He might just be a spirited kid  -- or you might have a gifted kid on your hands, a kid with ADHD, a kid with ADHD *and* giftedness, or something else all together.

FWIW, he sounds exhausting but very interesting! original.gif

Edited by baddmammajamma, 04 January 2013 - 02:53 PM.

#7 Banana Pancakes

Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

I also recommend this book 'Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.'

Edited by Banana Pancakes, 15 June 2014 - 02:26 PM.

#8 baddmammajamma

Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

QUOTE (Banana Pancakes @ 04/01/2013, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I highly, highly, highly recommend Sydney Developmental Clinic if you have any concerns. (But I dont think many Drs dx ADHD at that age, and with good reason because they are still growing and developing so rapidly!)

Yes! The SDC is very, very, very well known for having expertise with ADHD (and ADHD + giftedness, amongst other things). They see children starting at age 5 (school age).

Our developmental paed in Sydney is also quite strong in this area, and I am always happy to pass along his name to other EBers. original.gif

Edited by baddmammajamma, 04 January 2013 - 04:08 PM.

#9 Xiola

Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:09 PM

Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

Also highly recommend this book, it's fantastic!

My DS1 is nearly 8 and was exactly how you've described at 3 (and still is!).  He's very different at school and gets a bit anxious and is very easily distracted by other kids.  He's also introverted so becomes really drained from being surrounded in the classroom all day.  Last year we had ASD and ADHD brought up a number of times by his teachers and a few others (I was also starting to worry about some of his 'quirks') so I took him to a psychologist which was the best thing we've ever done and she really set our minds at ease.   I really wish I'd seen someone a lot earlier as she really helped me understand how he works.

He's simply a spirited and very bright little boy who thinks a little differently to the 'average' kid.  He's a lot of work and is constantly on the go, so very different from my other kids! original.gif

#10 EBeditor

Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:14 PM

My son is quite spirited as well but I found he responded really well to the structure and 'busyness' of school. Much better for him than play-based learning. School holidays are a challenge as we need to be out and about or have a roster full of activities, he just doesn't know how to switch off.

He also ticks all the lists on that young gifted list - he was the most alert and 'with it' baby I've ever seen.

I also liked the Spirited Child book. Reading Eggs has been good for following an interest in literacy prior to school (and for some quiet time!)

If you get to a point where you feel you need some more support for him or there are concerns then the PP have some good avenues for assessment and advice.

#11 Domestic Goddess

Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

ADHD can get assessed from the age of 3,5 onwards. Hence why DS is currently on yhe waiting list with Royal Far West hospital. We'll be there in June when he'll be 3,5.

I believe there's a lot of misinformation out there though. I was told by a DADHC psychologist, that they can test for ADHD at the age of 2,5 and up by looking at concentration span and other area's.
Then my son's OT from ECIS, says they don't assess until the child is 8yo. Then Royal Far West psych says they can assess from 3,5yo.
Our pead is reluctant to assess anything these days. He just refers kids onto the right people who are more specialized in mental disabilities/delays/advanced in children.
I can't say for sure who is right, but my gut says that 2,5 is too young. I believe anywhere between 3,5-4yo and onwards would give more accurate results.

Funny thing is, DS has known the alphabet and could count to 20 since he was 26 months. This is classified as advanced. Yet communication-wise he's lacking behind.
So the people at ECIS reckon he is gifted in 1-2 area's yet average or behind in other area's.

Anyhoo, read up on all the literature available and keep an eye on him. As pp mentioned, if it really gets out of hand, don't hesitate to ask for professional guidance.

Also perhaps start introducing some educative toys and puzzles for older children and see how he goes with tham

#12 baddmammajamma

Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:13 PM


If I can offer a few more words of advice (caution, really) for you & other parents reading this thread. My apologies in advance for my verbosity, but this is an area that is of great importance to me. I appreciate that your little guy is only just three, but hopefully, this advice will be of value as you continue on your parenting journey with him.

* First, sometimes when we parents come across a checklist or a term -- like Kurcinka's "spirited child" or a checklist for gifted kids -- we see our kids in those descriptions and lock in on them as THE answer to why our child is struggling with behavior...or struggling to make friends...or struggling to pay attention in class.

In the process, real issues -- like ADHD or SDP (sensory processing disorder) or ASD -- can be overlooked because we've already decided that we've found our child's "label."

Although I think "The Spirited Child" is a worthwhile book to read, I do think that some parents run the risk of missing out on other issues because they mistakenly believe that spiritedness accounts for ALL of their child's unusual behaviors. Same goes for giftedness.

That's not to say that every child who is loud or talkative or spacey or disorganized has ADHD or a related issue, but we parents just need to be careful as we try to uncover what's going on with our child(ren). We need to read, ask questions, and keep an open mind as we search for answers --  especially if the tactics we are currently trying aren't working, and our child is continuing to struggle.

I've even had to keep this in mind with my own daughter! We thought we had her all figured out with the ASD + giftedness, and had grown quite comfortable with the whole "brilliant Aspie girl" label -- we could have easily missed for ADHD for a few more years if I hadn't learned the less common signs from other parents on EB and then consulted an ASD-ADHD specialist!

For some kids, finding real answers might require involving a specialist and/or getting a comprehensive developmental assessment, rather than just reading a popular book or looking at one aspect of a child's development (e.g. IQ/cognitive). For others, it might not be that complicated.

The well known educational psych who IQ tested our daughter last year had these wise words, "When a child's quirks or behaviors start to impact their daily functioning or the daily functioning of the family, it's time to consider professional help."

* Second, teachers aren't qualified to rule in or rule out developmental issues like ADHD or ASD (unless they also happen to be psychologists or developmental paeds!) Still, teachers CAN provide very valuable insights about how your child is presenting at school. They typically have a large pool of other kids against which to calibrate your child's behavior. If a teacher or child care worker ever voices concerns about your child, I encourage you to take their concerns on board. You might feel in your gut that they are off base, but don't shut them out completely. They could be seeing things that you are missing.

Third, be wary of any professional who tries to rule in or rule out a significant condition with only a cursory meeting with your child or with only one piece of information: "He can't be gifted, he performs poorly in class." "She can't possibly have ASD. She makes great eye contact." "He must have ASD -- he doesn't make eye contact."

Knowledge is power. Make sure yours is good!

(Whew! That was more than I had intended to say!)

Edited by baddmammajamma, 04 January 2013 - 07:31 PM.

#13 Natttmumm

Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

DD1 was/ is like that. She has settled a lot now at age 5. Age 3 was our hardest and we went looking for answers and did get her assessed. All came back fine and the assessment showed she was above her age in certain things.
I found the book raising spirited kids good in some parts. Although I still found her exhausting etc.
I found that she seemed as if she needed a lot of stimulation and time out and about etc but actually a very calm day at home was much better for her. I occupied her with quiet things like reading, painting, play dough, using scissors, helping cooking etc and I found she relaxed. Even now a full day out for her ends in a meltdown although she is growing out of that too.
Maybe too much activity is not helping even if he seems to want that. I would try to bring him around to being calm and playing quietly as much as possible. Maybe of thats not possible its worth getting an assessment. What's my 2 cents worth!!!

#14 kadoodle

Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:41 PM

I've got me one like that!  She's 4 now, and has 2 older siblings to help wear her out, but geez she's hard work!

She's always busy, never sits still or shuts up, has more front than Myer and would stand at the Pearly Gates and debate with St Peter!

99% of my attention is not enough.  She clings and whinges while I'm trying to get anything done, demands food if I dare to be busy with the baby and can throw a wobbly like a pro tennis player.

No advice, just sympathy.

#15 hoohoobump

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

Thanks to all for your replies and thoughts. After a few things PPs said I have spent the evening cruising the Gifted and Talented and Special Needs threads and have lots more potential strategies, leads and questions.

I am definitely open to investigating as he gets older what makes him tick. I have a health background and quite a lot of psych/child development training, but he keeps me busy and thinking. I have a feeling I was a bright kid, but because I didn't make waves/noise I wasn't challenged particularly and left to cruise through. I can see looking back that I was bored a lot, but unwilling to stand out by asking/answering questions. I would love to learn more about how he learns as he will not sit quietly if bored! I want to be armed with knowledge to advocate for him if needed for school.

To the PP who suggested 'quiet time' at home - definitely true. Places like play centres etc are bad news, but the botanical gardens or museum where he can roam and examine and question at his own pace (or as fast as I can answer the questions) are more our style. He also seems to enjoy long drives in the car - chatting, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, backseat driving and discussing the snippets on the radio. An afternoon spent in the backyard with the hose and the paddling pool are also soothing. As is endless time in the swing/hammock - this has been true since a baby.

He also exhibits some anxious/perfectionistic traits at times - e.g. unwilling to try something if he doesn't think he can get it right first time, by when supported/questioned can give very insightful answers.

BMJ - I like 'high octane'

Thanks again to all. I'm off to bed - it will be another full-on day tomorrow.

#16 janey25

Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

Hoohoobump I am very sorry you have been having such a hard time with your little guy. I don't normally post on here but I read your topic and had to reply. I am sorry if I offend anyone but I find it really hard to agree with everyone here throwing ADHD diagnosis's out when no one has met your little boy - its a pretty tough thing for a mother to hear through a computer with no support online.

I also thought my little story may help you. My son is 4 years old and has been extremely full on since the age of one. At pre school last year the teacher suggested to me he may be ADHD, which I totally did not agree with so I went on our own little journey. I started taking him to a chiropractor who worked on his retained neonatal reflexes ( which if children still have show similar characteristics of ADHD ) we also found out he has A gluten intolerance so he is now gluten free. We started speech therapy and OT and I have now a completely changed little boy who is settled, engaging and learning.

I guess what I am trying to say is look down a few different paths and I would not settle straight up with a clinical diagnosis.. Good luck with your gorgeous little guy xxx

Edited by janey25, 04 January 2013 - 10:47 PM.

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