Does My Son Have ADHD?

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does my son have adhdThis question is taken from a comment on our blog.

Question: I am concerned about my 7 year old, who can be very hyper but in classroom he is calm but inattentive.

In first grade we had a lot of unfinished work come home and homework is a struggle. A task that should take 5 mins could take him a hour on a bad day. He is above average at spelling and reading but struggles with writing. Math he has good days and bad.

Apart from the spelling and reading, he needs a lot of hand holding i.e adult/teacher helper being there almost always to get him to finish his task. Reward points system worked great in the later semester of 1st grade to get him to finish his class work.

He gets frustrated easily and responds to frustration with anger and sometimes violence. He has excellent memory both for what is read to him and told to him or what he has seen, mostly of things he has interests in.

The reason I am listing all this is to give you a whole picture. My question is is there an ADHD spectrum? I ask this because some days I am convinced he has ADHD (due to not being able to concentrate, daydream and not being able to focus and past hyper behavior) and other days I am not so sure since he pays attention to what is said and almost remembers verbatim. His teachers have never mentioned ADHD however each year I am expecting it. Any insight/your experience is greatly appreciated.

Answer: I must start with my standard disclaimer. I’m not a doctor, psychologist, or even a teacher. I’m just a mom with more than my share of ADHD boys. So here’s what I think.

With any disorder, there is a spectrum, whether or not it’s clinically described that way.

I’ve taken the liberty to highlight some of the phrases you used above. Most of these are symptoms of ADHD. Most of them are also symptoms of being a seven year old little boy. So does he have ADHD? That’s not for me to say.

What I can tell you is that there are things you can do to help your son that will benefit him no matter what. There are ways you can help him pay attention, things you can do to minimize homework struggles, and strategies you and his teachers can use to help him focus in school.

A child doesn’t have to have ADHD – and certainly doesn’t have to be diagnosed with it – to benefit from any of the strategies we have listed. And ours is not a comprehensive list. My recommendation is to get with your teacher and address your greatest concerns. Work together to come up with a toolbelt of ways to help your son succeed.

And please keep us posted!

We do list 100 ways to help your child pay attention in Focus, Pocus. If you buy it along with Waking Up from the Homework Nightmare,/a>, there is a discount. Get your copies here!

About Kayla

Kayla Fay is a freelance writer and the mother of four boys, three of whom have been formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD. When she started “Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet?” in 2002, her sons were ages 8 through 14, when her life was a “progression of dirty laundry, lost homework, misunderstood Algebra, and a whole lot of love and fun”.

Connect with Kayla online Google+


  1. Thank you for your response. I was surprised to see it all out and highlighted like you did. It was helpful. I am going to work with the school and find out as much as I can and ways to help him. Since starting second grade, there is some improvement but not a lot. He has mentioned that he missed recess as he had to finish his unfinished work. This motivated him couple of times to finish his work early, but it concenrs me that he had to do that (miss recess). Thanks for the reply and all the resources, articles I have read in here. I do also plan to buy your publications and explore other resources. I really really don’t want to go the medication route. My objection to it may not be justfied but my goal is to avoid it for as long as I can. I think if my son has ADHD, it may be on the mild side. (i hope!) :). Thanks again!!!

  2. Glad to hear there’s some improvement. Please keep us posted!