Adhd 3 years old advice and support + starting at EB

Hi all,

My son is very intelligent, can do addition, has known all his letters, shapes, sounds letters make, etc for a long time. He also seems to be exhibiting symptoms of adhd. He is too young to diagnose, 4 is the earliest. 

I am told he has issues with self regulating and transitioning in his classroom from his teachers, this has been at 2 separate preschools so I don’t think it’s the teaching style. Right now, he’s in a class with a ratio 1:7. 

Teachers have told me that he works great 1:1 I agree and honestly, did not believe the preschool at first because my son listens and behaves fairly well and acts like a typical 3 years old with me.

I spoke to Kaiser and was told he’s too young for testing and they don’t provide 1:1 aides. 

any advice or support? Specialists, play groups, 1:1 aid, therapists, etc. 

second questions: He will be starting ecole bilingue in Berkeley this fall, what has been other parents experiences in regards to support for their child there ? Good match? Bad match?  

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We had a good experience transitioning to EB for a kid that was a bit frustrated and also a bit frustrating in a truly excellent daycare. Also, the school has some flexibility built in - e.g. some kids come in with no French; some kids come in with no English. It also seems somewhat flexible, relative to other area schools, on whether kids with fall birthdays be in grades following the American system (Sept 1 cutoff) or the French system (Jan 1 cutoff). EB seems to have a nice social-emotional learning curriculum, and a large learning differences team. 

We had a similar issue. I'd suggest exploring pediatric Occupational Therapy to see if that could help with transitions + self-regulation. Full Circle in Oakland is amazing. 

He may be asynchronous aka gifted. He may have ADHD also but sometimes it’s hard to tell between the two. There are some clinics or schools that can perform an assessment but they could get expensive. 

EB has been great accommodating kids at their own pace. For kids that are “bright” and have no French, if that is the case for you, I think the “learning a second language” can help with the disruptive tendencies. Kids who are bored can be disruptive. They are also open to skipping grades for kids, though the parents have mixed feelings given the social implications, but there are no right answers.

also, the French culture seems to have “firm but kind” down pat. We’ve experienced disruptive children in classes and I have been impressed with the teacher’s management.

Fingers crossed he enjoys it!

We have a same aged child who is similar, very high energy. We find it’s helpful if he has time to be active outside before school for 30-60 minutes and specifically looked for a school that can accommodate additional active time outdoors (child’s leap lakeview)   

Agreed that 3 is too young, 4-5 is borderline, 6 (and must be in school) is preferable for making a diagnosis; the NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale is validated in kids 6+. An ADHD diagnosis has to be made in two out of two different settings (home and school). If it is only in one setting, then there's something else going on.

Toddlers change so much and often don't know how to behave in different situations. This is developmentally normal at this age. Socialization and teaching him how to identify his feelings (after that you can teach some regulation like deep breaths or asking to be excused) can be a good first start. Kids don't inherently know how to self-regulate or transition, just like they don't know the alphabet or colors. These skills needs to be taught, and some kids need a little more help than others.

I can't speak on advice or support regarding ADHD but for your second question my daughter attended EB from preschool thru Elementary. While my family definitely enjoyed our time at EB and we didn't need any additional support I did know several families who ended up leaving at some point or another as their children had behavioral issues, such as ADHD, and they didn't receive the support they needed/wanted from the school. EB, like most private schools I would imagine, do not have state-funded resources like public schools would to support children who need additional help. Your son might grow out his current issues but if not you might need to consider public schools who have the necessary resources. What I can say is that EB is great in providing language support for children who come from non-French families. While we are a French-American family and my daughter didn't need support, one of her classmates had weekly private lessons after school to help with their language struggles.

Try to not call them “issues” even if the daycare or school does (this will lead to insecurity / anxiety which will bring with its own set of behavioral challenges), let him run around / exert himself as much as he can / needs / wants as this is the best non pharmacological treatment of ADHD, 1:1 tutoring is the best because it’s individualized and presents instructions / breaks down transitions into manageable bits, don’t see any issue whatsoever with going to a bilingual school other than what a unilingual school will also present, his intelligence will allow him over time to overcome many of the struggles that ADHD will bring him though he won’t be able to do this until he’s much older and mature - so do your best to minimize any trauma that comes with the territory (I’m not good enough / I can’t do this / I have an issue) 

kaiser is probs not the best place to get an early and aggressive ADHD diagnosis, if you’re that concerned pay out of pocket at a specialized center but I would say just let him be for a few years and see if it wasn’t just being a normal toddler, good luck! 

Hey there! My oldest is neurodivergent and she benefited from Occuptional therapy to help regulate her body and also speech therapy to regulate her mind to match her language. My daughter went to Full Circle Collective to get OT and Speech Therapy, The speech therapist there had a TALK YOGA group too where she grouped kids together of smiliar ages and worked through language and self-regulation

Challenges with self-regulation and transitions combined with early acquisition of knowledge sounds a lot like 2e — the “twice-exceptional” constellation associated with Autism Spectrum — ASD can and should be diagnosed as early as 3. I realize there may be behaviors you are seeing that are more congruent with ADHD but there’s lots of overlap. If you haven’t yet explored the possibility of ASD I recommend you talk with your PCP ASAP. 

My child didn’t “seem autistic” to all of the specialists (OT/PT, play therapy, CBT) I dragged him to over the years, but finally at age 12 he was evaluated properly and diagnosed. I wish I had started with my PCP instead of specialists….