My son has always been super sensitive. It seems to be more of an issue as he gets older. He is always complaining so and so doesn't like him, he takes everything 8 and 9 year old boys say to him, directly to heart. Both my husband and I are sensitive too, so we're having a difficult time helping to teach him to "let things roll off his back". We actually had a pediatric neurologist tell us once that he was the opposite of add because he was so sensitive. But what I seem to be hearing in this forum is that alot of add/adhd kids are sensitive. We did eventually go to a different dr. He was diagnosed about two years later with adhd. He has been on Strattera since March and doing very well. But we are really struggling with the sensitivity thing. Any suggestions out there???
There is nothing wrong with being a sensitive individual. As far as sensory things go, that can be worked with in occupational therapy which a lot of kids with ADHD qualify for.
As for taking everything to heart, that is probably just part of his personality. He may also be lacking in confidence about himself.
A good way to work with the sensitive side is to find ways it will be appreciated. I was a very shy and sensitive kid and also took things to heart. Thanks to some experiences i had, such as a teacher who took us to visit the elderly, poverty stricken street kids, and other humanitarian missions, i learned a lot of folks out there appreciated my sensitive nature and i was able to gain confidence in that way. Also, another teacher encouraged me to write and spent an hour after school with me one day a week to read my poems and stories. As i became an adult i learned to seek out these kind of experiences on my own. Now i am a teacher and being sensitive comes in handy when trying to understand the kids.
Encourage your child to make at least one good friend that he can trust and feel secure around. Teach him what is important to take to heart (constructive critisism) and what he should let go (peoples opinions or things they say without thinking)
Good luck and encourage his artistic, musical or creative talents. All kids have them!
It has little to do with confidence levels. Being sensitive is not bad. In fact many ADD/ADHD children are much more sensitive than the average child. ADHD children are also more compassionate and empathetic. They tend to feel things on a higher level than the average person... this can at times lead to a lot of hurt feelings. Example: a child is coloring all over the table the parent tells the child "No" and talks with the child about what he/she did wrong, and sends the child into their room for 5 min. a normal child would think "i made a mistake so i am in time out" but an ADD child may take the same re-direction as harsh punishment, to them it may mean "they dont like my artwork" "im a bad kid" "my parents hate me" It is best to be VERY CLEAR when complimenting so that the child doesnt accidently mistaken it for an insult (after years of hearing rude comments from possibly teachers, friends, even family) Try not to use sarcasm around extra sensitive children. They usually dont catch on to it and end up getting angry because someone insulted them or was mean. Explain to your son that other people just dont put so much feeling into the words. So when they say something mean, its not meant to make anybody feel bad, it was just something they accidently said in the moment. Tell him..Everybody makes the mistake of saying something that accidently hurts someones feelings (including you and your son and *whoever said something that upset your son*)
"It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word!" --Andrew Jackson
I am very sensitive and my children are too. I think that it is important for sensitive children to develop a strong positive self-image. That way they will not be so devastated by what people say or by how people treat them.
I also think that ADHD plays a part in it. If someone with ADHD has trouble with hyperfocusing, as I do, they can hyperfocus on a particular thought. When I do this I have trouble seeing the whole picture. I have noticed that after I take my medication, it's like I go from tunnel vision to having peripheral vision in my mind. Situations and things start to make more sense as more comes into focus.
I have also found that we do better with positive statements and encouragement but that criticism and negative statements are not taken well and do not make us improve on anything.
The book "Driven to Distraction" by Edward Hallowell is a very good book and explains very well ways to deal with ADHD.
Thanks for the great input. I do appreciate his sensitivity and the empathy he is able to feel at such a young age. It is just so hard to see him feel so bad because some kid called him a name or didn't want to play, he takes things so hard. It is true that he always feels he's being yelled at. If his teacher says his name to get his attention (in a normal tone of voice) he says she is yelling at him. Or if I ask him to clean his room (again in a normal tone of voice) I am yelling at him. It is so helpful to know that there are other kids out there with the same challenges.
Sensory issues are very common with AD/HD individuals, many people believe AD/HD is on the autistic spectrum, which might account for the amount of similarities and shared symptoms, which include sensory issues and sensitivity.
25, female, AS with attentional dysfunction
I have read over and over individuals who are ADD have a sixth sense. An intuitiveness that others don't understand. My 10 yr old daughter and I both are ADD and my husband sees it exhibited time and time again. Sometimes I know my phone is going to ring before anyone hears the first ring and many times I have a good sense of who it is. I can pretty much figure out what makes a person tick within minutes of meeting them and my daughter constantly blows me away with her abstract thinking that is not typical for her age.
ADD individual's minds are constantly running and we are visualizing how scenarios should play out so that sometimes our head talk is confused with reality. And then when someone doesn't live up to the expectations we've created, we are dissappointed and our feelings are crushed without that someone even knowing what they've done.
My daughter is so sensitive to sounds and external stimulation that she sometimes wears ear plugs when she sketches so she doesn't have to listen to the sounds of the pencil on the paper. No jewelry, no perfume, no pants binding at the waist and socks have to be pulled out a good 3-4 inches so she doesn't feel the seam at her toes. Imagine the distractions that she deals with every day in her classroom setting. Her hair is a beautiful golden brown and hangs halfway down her back. Due to her weakness in motor skills she can't brush it very well herself so every night and every morning I brush her hair. The lightest tug on the hair results in screams of pain and tears. Common sense would say cut the stuff off but I don't have the heart. She is constantly hot and sleeps in shorts, tee-shirt and the ceiling fan running in the dead of winter, of course no covers but a sheet. Life is never dull with my child.
I read a very interesting book entitled "The Out of Sync Child" which deals with Sensory Integration Dysfunction and my daughter could be a poster child for the issues described in this book. We have an appointment for her with a Neuropsychologist in May (first appointment we could get as she's the only one in area that does evaluations) to truly pinpoint the problem areas. When you start reading about all the different learning dysfunctions and disorders that are out there, it's amazing to see how all of them pretty much have the same symptoms. I've come to realize that ADD is a blanket diagnosis that can cover a whole range of dysfunctions and I want to know what particular one is my daughter and get the therapy she really needs.
Everything you say is sooo true. But do you ever feel this "intuitiveness and sensitivity" make life a little harder? All in all I am glad that my son and I are like this, I think you get to appreciate some things in life that others don't. We are also very caring and empathetic people. Sometimes it feels as though you wish you could turn it off for a while and just let things roll. It's exhausting.... Any tips for disciplining this type of child. He takes things so much to heart and gets so down on himself. I try very hard not to "lose it" but he also has the adhd characteristics, impulsivity, inattention. It's difficult to remain calm when I've asked 5 times to brush his teeth or he's climbing under the table at a restaurant.
Everything you say is sooo true. But do you ever feel this "intuitiveness and sensitivity" make life a little harder?
Absolutely! ADD is both a blessing and a curse.
Your son is more sensitive to sound than his non-ADD counterparts. This is very common with ADD kids and adults. A normal speaking voice can and does often sound like scream to us. You might want to do some reading on CAPD (central auditory processing disorder) as this is something that your son quite likely has. There's a school of thought now that CAPD and ADD are actually one and the same. You might find that the modifications suggested for CAPD are helpful to your son.
Yes, parenting an ADHD child can be both challenging and frustrating. I don't think there's a parent of an ADHD child alive who would argue that point with you!
What's helped me more than anything is accepting that my son truly can't help alot of his behavior. Now that he's 13, I can see that he doesn't use "I forgot" and "I can't help it" as excuses. On the contrary, it kills him to admit things are out of his control. He truly does forget what I've asked between the 4th and 5th reminders to brush his teeth! Do I still occasionally "lose it"? Of course. Does ADD make it okay for our kids to be climbing under the table? No. But I try to take more responsibility for choosing restaurants where the wait isn't so long and for providing quiet activities to keep him occupied while we wait.
I also try to remember that he responds so much better to positive reinforcement than he does to negative. A counselor once told me that I need to make 4 positive comments for every negative. Dr Phil says it takes a hundred "attaboys!" to counteract every "stop that". That's alot of "attaboys", but when I can remember to do this (hey, I have ADD, too!), it REALLY does help!
Thanks for the great post! He was tested for capd about three years ago and they reported that his hearing was excellent and his processing skills were above average for his age. So I don't think we're dealing with that but I can tell alot of the times that what I'm saying just isn't getting through. I just worry sometimes about how down on himself he gets. I suffer from depression (although it is under control now) periodically and it runs in my family. I have a feeling that is something we will probably be dealing with him in the future. Thanks again for your insight, sometimes I just worry so much....you know you love these kids so much and when you see them hurting or struggling it just kills you inside.
Not brushing their teeth really bugs me. I usually have to touch up my youngest son's teeth in the pictures I take of him. He has such nice teeth.
This book I'm reading has a lot of good advice on disciplining and parenting. I didn't realize how much I didn't know till I read it. Many of the things they say to do are very simple and just involve how you say things sometimes. Like, when you give a compliment don't add anything to the end of it, for example: "You did a good job of cleaning your room." NOT: "You did a good job of cleaning your room, but you didn't make your bed right."
Another thing they suggest is to offer rewards for good behavior instead of just punishment for bad behavior. They say that some kids misbehave so often that if they are constantly being punished then after a while they become discouraged and quit trying because there is no reason to. The rewards can be things that they enjoy like a favorite t.v. show or ice cream after supper.
Also, they suggest making the punishments for most common misbehaviors short term, like on a daily basis, like no t.v. tonight, not no t.v. for a week.
The book is "Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager" by Scott Sells. I attended a parenting class that was based on the book.