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My husband and I saw similar characteristics in my daughter at a very young age. I don't know if your terrible twos were anything like ours, but they were rough, and with the 3's came other challenges. Smart, funny, fun to be around, but WILD! Highly intelligent, reading by 3 1/2, same as you, knew colors, shapes, numbers, could add and subtract. No one really noticed her behaviors at Daycare because it was structured pretty loosely and she was not one of the kids who stood out behaviorally. As she got a little older, we had more issues in daycare.

In Kindergarten we spent a lot of time changing our card, and having discussions about appropriate school behavior. Keep in mind I'm a teacher and I've seen ADD/ADHD at extreme levels, and I had an idea that she was ADD, but kids who lack the H are sometimes just shuffled into the category of a child who misbehaves. We spanked, we yanked privileges, we took toys away, we utilized time out, we tried to reason with her about her behavior at school. When she got in trouble at school, she had a consequence at home of some kind. Then I began to suspect that maybe her teacher was the problem. We finished out kindergarten, ready for the summer to regroup.

Her first grade teacher is someone I respect and trust. Again, we are seeing inattentiveness, distractibility, impulsiveness, and her disrupting the class constantly. Legally, as a teacher, you can not tell a parent you think their child is ADD/ADHD, so I did what every teacher/parent should do. I asked her teacher. . . Do you think my daughter is ADD? She said that she saw a lot of behaviors that were associated with ADD students. We spoke to the counselor and each of us filled out a Hawthorne Screener and it came back that she fell in the range.

It's interesting, as a parent, how quickly your perception of your own parenting changes. I had felt like such a failure. We had gotten on to her time and time and time again for her behavior. We had punished and punished and punished for the same things over and over and over again. I felt like I had been so hard on her hoping that she would get it! The problem is. . . ADD kids have minds that move so fast, that they don't stop to consider the consequence for their behavior, they just see an idea and move right into doing it! Thus my daughter ran into the street at 6 years old and almost got hit by a hummer. She didn't think of the consequence. She knew she wasn't supposed to be in the street, she knew it was dangerous not to look before you cross. In her mind, she had an idea and she was going to act on it. One of many that put her in harms way.

Now as a parent, I can look at her behavior and say, I have to figure out a new way to approach this situation. We are considering medication. I read the sheet from the pharmacy on focalin and what it can do to your body, and I'm just not sure I want my kid on it. We are looking into holistic approaches to help her focus. The other thing we are looking into is play therapy to help her work on the skills that she needs to be successful in school and in life. And, we are looking into parenting classes to learn how to discipline her more effectively.

Does she still need to be held accountable for her behavior? . . . absolutely! But what we are doing right now is not effective.

If your child is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, and you choose not to medicate (we are saving it as a last resort as our daughter is suffering socially and behaviorally, not academically), I would encourage counseling for you and your child to learn tools to help in school and at home.

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