'If my son was a dog, I'd have him put down': Mother whose son suffers from ADHD says she is fed up of her daily, violent battles with him

A mother has described the torment of having a son with severe ADHD, admitting that if he were an animal, she would have him put down.

Jenny Young has four children aged 25, 23, 19 and 10 and astonishingly, not only have they all been diagnosed with the behavioural disorder, but she too was told she had it in her mid-forties.

But it is her youngest child Ryan, 10, who suffers with the most extreme symptoms of the condition as well as severe learning disabilities, subjecting Jenny to daily violent attacks.

She said that because she is his mother, and not a pet owner, she must put up with it.

Jenny explained that she is the main target of his frustration and that if Ryan, who has the mental age of a two-year-old, were her husband they would have divorced by now.

She added that people should not judge her for her comments until they have heard her story.

Jenny said that she used the example of putting a dog down because she has a member of the family who went through the traumatic experience of having their dog euthanised after they could not control its violence.

'It was a horrendous traumatic experience for the whole family. They worked really, really, hard and did everything they could possibly do for [the dog].

'They spent lots of money and put lots of effort in and ultimately they had the choice to have her put down.

'I don't liken Ryan and the dog exactly but there is a choice. When you have a dog that behaves [violently] and might attack you any minute, you have a choice.

'I wouldn't be without Ryan but [ I was trying to make the point] that when you're the mother of a child like Ryan there is no choice. There isn't a refuge for battered mums - you have to get on with it.

Jenny made the startlingly frank comments on ITV's This Morning.

Her oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was ten. Before then people excused his behaviour as 'just being a boy'.

Jenny said: 'It was a relief [when he was diagnosed] because he wasn't just being naughty.'

She then went on to recognise the same traits in her other children.

Jenny added that her late diagnosis of ADHD has helped her to relate to her children and ultimately to cope with her situation.

She said: 'If you've got an ADHD mind it's difficult to understand those who don't have an ADHD mind.'

But at times she says it has been very difficult to cope, especially when all four children were little.

Her first marriage broke down in the mid-Nineties but in 2002 she remarried.

Jenny, who had always wanted to be a mother, said she hadn't expected to have any more children.

She added that she knew that Ryan would have problems from very early on: 'You could tell from the scans that there would be something wrong, but we didn't know what. He was developing very slowly and was tiny.'

Ryan was delivered by Caesarean section at 38 weeks and weighed just 3lb 11oz when he was born. From then on he developed very slowly, both physically and mentally.

Due to the strain that Ryan's problems put on her marital relationship, Jenny's second marriage broke down in 2008 and the couple divorced.

Jenny said that she grieved for Ryan when he was diagnosed with ADHD and severe learning difficulties.

'You don't love your child any less but it's a bit like going on holiday and not arriving in the place you expected. It's a lovely place, but not what you expected.'

Jenny went on to explain that 99 per cent of the time Ryan is adorable but that for that one per cent of the time he is violent and unpredictable.

'And I think most parents would say same thing. There are two sides to him. The biggest problem is the unpredictability.

He can be gorgeous all day and then I can squat down to give him a cuddle and he might bite me or scratch me or knock my glasses off or scratch me or punch me.

'At least every day I get punched in the face.'

Jenny said that sounds tend to trigger Ryan's violent outbursts, with modem hand dryers being a main culprit. as well as simply changing activities causing him to become upset.

'Simply changing routine can cause him to become upset but sometimes it can be nothing,' she added.

Jenny, who once worked part-time in an office, but has since dedicated herself to working as Ryan's full-time carer, says she thinks about the future and says that Ryan's behaviour could go either way.

'Maybe he will learn to express himself better and maybe it will all get better. The worst fear is that he won't get better and he will be same size as me and do even more damage.'

Jenny went on to describe the lack of help provided for parents of children with ADHD and learning difficulties.

'Unfortunately professionals don't always believe you [about your situation] and it can be very difficult to get the level of support needed.

'When you're a mum and you tell them you've tried everything and you're at your wit's end, specialists tend to keep offering other things rather than giving level of support needed.'

'There is help but you have to fight for it and shout loud and even be seen crying.

'Schools and social workers can help but no one will come along and say to you "You look like you're having a difficult time - do you need some help?"'

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.'I want to get more help so we don't reach crisis point. More training, more respite and a residential placement later on. And I don't just want this for me. I am not alone. I know so many other mums who are at their wit's end. Luckily we have each other.'

ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability but many people with ADHD also have learning difficulties. They may also have additional problems such as sleep disorders.

Symptoms of ADHD tend to be first noticed at an early age, and may become more noticeable as a child grows up.

It is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK. It is estimated the condition affects 2-5% of school-aged children and young people.

ADHD can be a lifelong condition, and many children continue to have symptoms as a teenager and adult.

Young children are naturally active and easily distracted. However, if these features are excessive for a child's age and general developmental level, and affecting their daily life, they may indicate ADHD.

ADHD is normally diagnosed between the ages of three to seven, although in some cases it may not be until much later. It is more commonly diagnosed in boys.

The exact cause of ADHD is not known, although research shows that it tends to run in families. Studies have also shown that there may be differences in the way the brain works in people with ADHD.

There is no cure for ADHD, but it can be managed with appropriate educational support, advice and support for parents and the individual, and medication if necessary.

Living with a child with ADHD can be challenging but it is important to remember that they cannot help their behaviour.