Testimonial: My child is hyperactive

Leslie is mum to Gabin, 4, and Anton, 7, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It took him 3 years to finally get the diagnosis. Medical appointments, social relations, the gaze of others... She tells us about her daily life and her 'obstacle course'.

  Testimonial: My child is hyperactive

How to spot the signs of hyperactivity ? What are the aids and how to manage the situation on a daily basis? Leslie, mother of Anton, 7, and Gabin, 4, testifies to her obstacle course at the Journal des Femmes and gives us her advice.

When did you realize your child was hyperactive?

Before Anton started school for the first time, we just thought he was a restless little boy. As it was my first child, I had no bearings. It is therefore difficult to know whether his impulsiveness was normal or not compared to the other children. But when he arrived in the small section of kindergarten, I was summoned by the teacher, who informed me of abnormal behavior. According to her, Anton could not sit still, he was unable to sit still in a chair, and find his place in the group. In short, he had difficulty following a specific framework and ritual at school. He also did silly things that the other children wouldn't even think of doing at his age, like taking the keys from the cupboard or climbing on the shelves to cut the curtains!

'It took 3 years before laying
a diagnosis.'

The first signs appeared around the age of three, but the real diagnosis (Attention Disorder with Hyperactivity) was not declared until the age of 6 years. In the meantime, it was a real obstacle course, we ran from specialist to specialist to try to solve the problem. Initially, the healthcare professionals assumed that Anton must not be hearing properly, so they referred us to an ENT. He had surgery for the adenoids and holder of the yoyos , but that obviously didn't help matters. After seeing several specialists, it was finally a neuropediatrician who confirmed the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is often late, it is because the hyperactivity disorder, unlike a simple behavior problem, is a neurological failure, which requires to evaluate it, to wait for the child has grown enough.

What has changed?

Overnight it was a relief and a release. There was finally a word put on an issue and the weight of guilt was gone. My child was then no longer a badly brought up boy, but a child having a difficulty. As a parent, the gaze of others is very accusatory, since when a child is agitated, it is necessarily the sign of a failing education. In addition, certain suspicions (child abuse, mental retardation) have finally been ruled out. Concretely, we were able to put in place a treatment protocol adapted to Anton's situation. If the child tolerates it and if the neuropediatrician is in favor of it, we can also consider drug treatment. This allows Anton to channel his energy during the next 8 hours and it helps him in particular to integrate more easily into school. He thus manages to better control his impulsiveness which he has trouble controlling.

How is it going at school? How does he live it on a daily basis?

A hyperactive child is much more punished and singled out than others and he does not always understand why he is being reprimanded since it never starts with a bad intention. Also, he has a real lack of self-confidence and his reactions are increased tenfold. For example, when a classmate goes to push him around, he may start hitting him. It is therefore the social relationships that are the most difficult and he doesn't really have any friends . Besides, Anton is also hypersensitive, like all hyperactive children.

And his relationship with his brother?

With his little brother Gabin, relations are sometimes difficult. Even though they are very close and have fun together, they bicker (as in most siblings). But Gabin tends to reproduce the impulsive side of his elder. As a parent, you have to be all the more vigilant about everyone's reactions, and make sure that they don't put each other in danger. It has already happened to see Anton put a cushion on his brother or a hand on his throat to silence him and these situations are complicated to manage.

What follow-up is in place to support it?

Anton sees a psychomotrician, who helps him regulate the emotions of his body on a daily basis, to give him landmarks in time and space so that he is a little less clumsy . He also sees a psychologist who helps him overcome his anxiety disorders, and a speech therapist, because he is falling behind in school due to his difficulties paying attention in class. At school, a school life assistant (AVS) accompanies him 15 hours a week to help him on a daily basis. It was able to be implemented thanks to the MDPH (Departmental House of Handicap), following a request for school support and is considered a 'disabled child' at 80%. Furthermore, there are Ulis classes , specialized in the education of children with disabilities, with teachers and AVS trained according to the disorders. Finally, Anton follows two-hour group sessions with a psychomotor therapist and a psychologist, as well as a specialist teacher. Finally, the difficulty for the families is to make a diagnosis, then the parents are relatively well supported to improve the child's life.

How do you broach the subject with your son?

The main thing is to make the child understand the difficulties he is having, so that he can explain them when needed, when he is alone at school, or he is confronted with other parents during school outings for example. It is especially necessary to explain to him that he is not alone, that it is in no way his fault in order to make him feel guilty, and to ensure that he expresses himself verbally rather than by violent gestures.

Children's books. We can also read him stories through which he can identify. Anton read comics on this theme. This allows the child to discover similar stories with characters who encounter the same difficulties as him. Specialized sites offer a selection of works adapted to the hyperactivity of a child, dealing with behavioral disorders. ' The lion in Ludovic's head ' tells the story of a very agitated little boy, who destroys everything in his path. His parents will try to appease the 'inner lion' that slumbers in the head of this hyperactive child.

Source journaldesfemmes.fr