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Caribou

Year 2 struggling with Focus.

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Caribou

And I’m at my wits end.

 

I’ll preface by saying we’ve seen a paed, but they don’t think she’s bad enough to warrant action. Or least, they said that unless her grades are suffering.

 

DD is bright. She’s not behind. She’s ahead from most kids in her class. However even teacher says her focus is an issue, they use timers, and reminders and rewards to get her to stay on task. Her reports have her academic skills at start of year 3 level. She’s extended but oh my god the focus.

 

Take for example, she can’t look at you consistently when she’s talking to you. She stutters and gets distracted (we’ve seen a ST) and loses track of thought. I know people flick eyes off elsewhere when talking and that’s normal but hers is beyond that. She just can’t look at you for longer than than 2-3 seconds.

 

Homework is a battle. Like she’s not fighting doing homework. She just can’t concentrate. Like think of putting her in an empty room with no distractions she will literally find something in the pencil or her hands or paper and lose focus on task at hand. Where teacher says timers work, they don’t seem to here. except showering. I have a timer in shower so she doesn’t spend all day in there.

 

Tonight’s homework was write 5 sentences using these 5 words. Sounds easy right? No. It took 1.5 hours (no need to say I should stop after thirty mins, we tried that and it didn’t work. It just meant she whinged more) im not here for a stop doing homework post please. Don’t take offence to this request please, I really need her focus to be better for year 3. She will have a new teacher and the new teacher won’t have the same methods as her current teacher she’s had for 2 years. I’ve brought it up with DH, but I swear he’s in denial. He reckons she’ll grow out of it. He did, apparently. Granted she’s improved but there are times it goes backwards.

I feel like since I do all school related stuff he just doesn’t get it.

 

If she REALLY loves what she’s doing her focus is brillant. Like she can really do it without being distracted. But obviously, she still has to do the work, and those questions still need to be answered, even if it’s ‘so boring, I know the answer’ (her words), I just say if you know the answer write it down and you can go play sooner! But it’s not enough of a reward.

 

My DS who’s two has better focus than his sister does.

 

Does -anyone- have tips where I can improve her focus? She had an hour of wind down time when she gets Home

From school plus afternoon tea. So she has a good break. Her one task a day should take 15 minutes. They’re not. It’s way longer.

 

Help. And please, be kind.

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Riotproof

When did you see a paed? Have things worsened since then?

 

I think it might be worth seeing someone who specializes in adhd and similar.

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PrincessPeach

She sounds very similar to my brother, exceptionally gifted, but what was then called ADD (now ADHD inattentive).

 

Build a creation out of Lego - could spend 12 hours happily, do something he didn't like, it took 12 hours to do a 10 minute task.

 

might be worth a google & a question for your gp. They might be able to refer you to a different peadiatrician who specialise in that area.

 

ETA - his grades never suffered, because he could pick things up by either listening to the teacher or by reading it in the textbook. He actually got honours at TAFE, with his teacher commenting that he thought he would fail because he never looked like he was paying attention.

Edited by PrincessPeach
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froglett

OP - I feel for you.

 

I'm glad you're seeing a paed as to be honest she sounds like my DS and he's just been diagnosed with ADHD - but he's both inattentive and hyperactive.

 

Apparently it presents differently in girls. And some of the behaviours you've described could have described me at school (my brother was diagnosed with ADHD, I never was).

 

I may be totally off track, but it might be worthwhile discussing with the paed?

 

If it is ADHD there's only so much scaffolding you can do (e.g. food / movement for concentration etc). DS started medication about 2 months ago and the difference is remarkable.

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froglett

Oh and to add DS is very very bright, so gets very frustrated in himself when he can't (literally) sit still and concentrate to get the work done.

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CrankyM

Um I’d be heading to another developmental pead. One who specialises in girls would be best. Because everything you have just decribed screams adhd to me. Likely something like adhd with giftedness. Unfortunately being gifted can mask ADHD. It’s still there and it still requires support even if your marks are fine. (I’ve got two adhd kids BTW and I can tell you now while OT helped a bit medication and OT is what works best.) my youngest told me it’s that his brain screams at him that he HAS to see/look/investigation whatever had distracted him. He’s also bright and funny and a quirky oddball. And could sit and hyperfocus and lose hours on something he was fascinated at. But yeah adhd.

 

On the eye contact thing. Please don’t force this. This to me is a red flag for asd but it can also be associated with sensory issues that can present as adhd. My oldest is asd and he is exactly as you describe with eye contact. It “hurts his brain” to maintain eye contact or even look at someone’s face. And he says it is extremely distracting and anxiety inducing because then he’s trying to figure out what expression mean and he won’t be able to actually focus on what the person is doing or saying. People can be like this and not autistic.

 

But yes I would look at maybe an OT and get a recommendation for another pead. Because adhd even for bright kids, gets much much harder to cope with as your progress through school. Getting strategies in place earlier on (and medication if that path is taken), is what leads to better outcomes. We also use lots and lots and lots of physical activity. It isn’t uncommon for me to make the kids run around our firebreak (about 600m each lap) a few times if they are particularly struggling.

Edited by mayahlb
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Paddlepop

You need to take her to a different dev. paed. and get a second opinion. Everything you’ve written screams ASD and ADHD. Everything you’ve written about her for years screams it. I think you’re in denial too and not just your DH.

 

Get her the help that she needs please. I suspect that medication would make a world of difference to her.

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~Jolly_F~

I agree with all of what Maya and others have said.

 

I would also be seeking the opinion of a second pead personally. One who knows how girls present differently to boys. Girls mask and mimic to fit in, your post screams of that. The grades thing alone world have me seeking another opinion, plenty of kids are doing ok at school but have other issues happening.

 

Definitely don’t force eye contact. There are other ways to engage and eye contact isn’t always the best one.

 

A lot of your posts about your DD raise red flags for me personally but when specialists tell you nah it’s all good, no issues and yet you go home and it’s not, it makes it hard to know what to do.

 

ETA- We went through several doctors and peads to get a result. We knew something wasn’t right and they kept dismissing us. I am so p*ssed off they did, because they wasted so many years we could have been accessing early intervention.

Edited by ~J_WTF~
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girltribe4

I have 3 daughters with ADHD and this very much sounds like my daughters except for #4 who is inattentive and hyperactive.

My eldest didn't get diagnosed until year 11 , she tried so hard through all of primary school it wasn't until year 9 it started going very downhill so much better to get on to it now .

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José

while psychologists cant prescribe medication they can help pinpoint whats going on.

id consider seeing a psych.

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JoanJett

My questions are:

When did you see a Paed?

Was it a Developmental Paed?

What testing/screening was done?

Has she had any neuro-cognitive testing?

Apart from eye contact and stuttering, do you have any concerns about her social functioning/interactions?

How does she go in other unstructured activities when the environment is not adapted to her needs?

 

As with other posters, I would be concerned about ADHD/ASD. She might just be bright and immature, but there are plenty of red flags.

 

 

What you see as "focus" and problems completing tasks in a timely fashion, could be due to problems with any manner of executive functioning, including but not limited to: initiating attention, sustaining attention, processing speed, visual attention span, auditory attention span, and working memory.

 

When you see a gap between ability and output, (ie IQ and work produced), you should suspect problems with executive functioning, and the top two culprits are ADHD and ASD, separately or together.

 

I would be very concerned that when school expects more in the next few years, these deficits become more apparent and have more impact.

 

You literally are describing my son (although he had more behavioural issues earlier). He has ADHD, is gifted and has significant deficits in visual attention span, processing speed and working memory. Even the eye contact - he can tell me that his attention is just drawn to every other interesting thing in the room.

 

My suggestions:

See a new Developmental Paediatrician.

Look into neuro-cognitive testing with a Neuropsychologist or Psychologist with experience in ADHD/ASD so you can assess both her intellectual potential, academic performance, but also executive functioning. It's important that the domains of attention, processing speed and working memory are assessed.

 

Plenty of things get better with age, but they don't always get to the point they could have with intervention, whether it's the right supports, the right strategies or the right medications.

 

Apart from medications, what helps us get through homework/tasks at home is to have a set time with short breaks, chunking tasks, having a built in reward when finished (whether a TV show, special game, special snack, free time) and doing some work in the mornings.

 

Good luck.

Edited by JoanJett
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Kreme

You need a developmental paed, not a regular paed. As PPs have said, girls can often mask ASD or ADHD symptoms for longer, particularly if they are bright. So the grades won’t be slipping yet, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t struggling.

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Ozquoll

Just another one of the chorus - your DD sounds so very much like my niece who has ASD and (soon to be confirmed) ADHD.

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Dianalynch

Op your post described a kid I know well - gifted and adhd inattentive. You’re not imagining it, you know your daughter and her needs, see another paed or psychologist.

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CallMeFeral

Seconding everything everyone has said here. See someone knowledgeable about ADHD, particularly inattentive type. People used to seeing it with the hyperactive type (especially a while ago where inattentive was less recognised) can fall into the trap of not recognising it without the hyperactivity, but this sounds pretty characteristic.

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QuirkyMum

Caribou, didn't read other posts but I'm sure ADHD was mentioned.

First thing, you need a different pediatrician. Specialist developmental pediatrician who won't dismiss obvious red flags.

What you are describing sounds a lot like ADHD and potentially gifted or just very smart girl. It needs to be investigated. Also if you mentioned eye contact to her current pediatrician and it didn't warrant any action, well,it is time to find another doctor. Eye contact ( or should I say lack of it) should never be dismissed, especially because ASD in girls often doesn't look like ASD at all.

Re ADHD,

They will give a questionnaire to her teacher ( as well as you) and while her marks are still good, teacher will be able to point her deficits.

p.s. I have a mildly to moderately gifted kid with very mild ASD and severe ADHD( inattentive) who couldn't concentrate but his marks didn't suffer at all until end of year 2.

Editing to add that year 4 hits us hard as the difference in expectations ( including amount and quality of independent work produced in class!) compared to year 3 was unexpected. Think primary school vs high school. More than twice the work, not much repetition, fast pace and no time for reminders, nudges to stay on task...

Edited by QuirkyMum
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Expelliarmus

I agree that you need a new paed. One who will assess the child for ADHD and ASD.

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Charli73

Sounds just like you need a new paed, a developmental one who can test her for ADHD.

 

 

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Caribou

We were referred to a developmental paed. Took 5 months to get in to see him. We saw him for 1.5 years every six months. We’d go in. Tell him what we saw. He’s say unless school was concerned see me again in six months. He made me read a book on ADHD, and asked me what I thought. I said I thought she presented with a lot of these symptoms but he’d just look at her and say he didn’t see it. and said 60% of population has ASD and she could grown out of the focus problem, it wasn’t unusual for kids to have issues focusing I never liked him but I know of friends who used him and liked him. Thought may I was just the problem so I accepted maybe he knew what he was doing and I was just being overly ridiculous about DDs focus. But to tonight I completely broke down to DH said I can’t keep doing this. Something isn’t right and I’ve had enough. He’s agreed we should see someone. It shouldn’t take an hour and half to complete 5 sentences.

 

Do I have to take her to GP for a referral? I really don’t want to list everything negative about it in front of her. She’s lovely bright kid who takes a lot to heart at the same time. Also, she plays up issues if she knows she’s getting attention. I.e if she’s got a cold, coughs like crazy once we’re out, she’s fine. Same with first time I took her for a referral, I listed off her inability to focus or sit still and she really hammed those up more than her usual.

 

I’m so exhausted just between a toddler who is in the terrible twos and DD

Edited by Caribou

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~Jolly_F~

You will need to go to a GP for a referral. Maybe your DH could go too. You could go in and list all the stuff and then he can bring her in for the referral part.

 

It sucks to continually have to go over your kids bad points in front of them, it really does. It destroys you to focus on the bad stuff to get something done. So we have stared using the above method when we can, to avoid her hearing the worst all the time.

 

It’s tough caribou, it really is. The fight to get help is hard and souls destroying but somehow you get back up and fight again the next day because you are the only one who can do this for your kid.

 

We are all here to support you and offer what we can. I couldn’t have made it through without so many of the gorgeous ladies on EB!

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Paddlepop

What a sh*t paed. Definitely get a different one. If the parents are struggling then it's an issue that needs addressing, not just the school having issues.

 

60% of the population have ASD??? ****wit. :rant: :rant: :rant:

 

Yes you need to go to a GP for a referral. You can have DD come into the appointment for the very initial part of it, then send her out to the waiting room while you talk frankly with the GP. Obviously you can only do this if they allow children unaccompanied in the waiting room, and if DD can manage to wait quietly on her own. Otherwise write down your concerns and hand the list to the GP, and tell them that you don't want to talk negatively in front of DD. Another option is that DH comes along too and goes out into the waiting room with DD after the start of the appointment.

 

Did the paed. watch DD during the appointments? At the initial few appointments the paed. barely took his eyes off DD. He was busy watching how she played with the toys in the room, watching how she interacted with us, watching how she reacted when he spoke to her, etc.

 

The first paed. we saw dismissed our concerns about DD, and said she was "quirky but normal". :rant: Bullsh*t. She wasn't normal, she isn't normal, and we were struggling big time with her. The second paed. (who diagnosed her) saw it and recognised it before we'd even left the waiting room. He saw it from how she packed up the toys she was playing with and how she interacted with us asking her to tidy up the toys.

 

I'm sorry that you broke down and cried. It can be hard and it can suck big time. Your DD sounds like a very smart and inquisitive little girl, and she'll still be that despite any diagnosis. A diagnosis will allow access to support and adjustments so that her life and education can be more suited to her and life can be a lot easier for her and you.

 

Always happy to listen to you if you need to rant or ask questions or cry either here or by PM.

 

You can do this. Time to find your inner mumma bear.

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Caribou

Can anyone PM me recommended developmental paediatricians in western Sydney around Penrith, Parramatta, or CBD? I’m happy to travel so long as it’s easy to get to on western or northern line as I don’t drive.

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Paddlepop

Caribou: Post also in the disabilities/SN section asking for recommendations.

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dearydo

Another adding to the chorus of get a second opinion. My GP knows mine and their issues, if it is along those issues they are already familiar with, they don't require them present for that discussion and referral to specialists.

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ainira

Hi OP, my DD1 (six) was recently diagnosed with ADHD inattentive. We went through a comprehensive learning assessment with a clinical psychologist, which included the Conners screening assessment as well as tests of executive function, attention, working memory, processing speed and visual spatial ability. The results strongly indicated ADHD, which the paed accepted at the first appointment.

 

It's expensive, but you could consider this pathway to avoid being fobbed off further.

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