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Thread: Typical 5-year old behavior?

  1. #1

    Default Typical 5-year old behavior?

    Luke was born 3 months premature. His Developmental Specialist warned me to look for signs of ADD when he approached Kindergarten-age due to his prematurity. He will be 5 in March.

    I am struggling with the difference between ADD behavior and typical 5-year-old behavior. What is the difference?

    Luke has the attention span of a fly. I have to ask him several times in the morning to get his shoes on, for example. Heíll start towards his shoes, and then stop to see his baby sister. Heíll start up again after a gentle reminder, and then stop to pick up a toy. This process continues on and on. It is not uncommon to ask him 10+ times before I put his shoes on myself because weíre in a time crunch. At school, the other children will be doing table work, and he will be looking around. I actually experienced this firsthand today. He had Muffins with Mommy day, and we had a monkey craft to complete. He colored half a leg before he was jumping off of his seat, looking around, distracting the little boy next to him. I asked him to cut out some of the arms and legs for me while I colored. He did cut out one of the legs, before he was right back to the same thing...looking around, wanting to run around, etc. The rest of the children had zero problems staying on task. I hate to compare, but it was something that struck me. Iíve never really seen him doing crafts in a school setting...itís always at home where he is the oldest child. I didnít realize that a child his age could actually complete a craft without getting up a bajillion times.

    Anyway, just looking for some helpful tips on what to look for. I've never had/been around a child with ADD/ADHD. I was under the impression that it is diagnosed at an older age. After today, though, I wanted to get some insight from other Mommas.

    Thank you!




  2. #2

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    we go for our eval on feb 1. so, we don't know for a fact but my ds1 might have it and he is not 5 yet. he also has the attention span of a fly LOL and is all over the place. i hope it is just the age. we started a diet free of processed sugar and dyes and rich in omega, B vits and iron. ever since we started it, we see a tremendous difference so i no longer know what to think. i mean he is almost a different person. but i have a stack of papers to fill out and we will see how the eval goes.

    my understanding is that more severe ADD/ADHD can be diagnosed around 4.5/5 and moderate and mild one later. Most people dont need or seek diagnosis before seeing how school goes. But for us, it might affect our IEP.

    To answer your question, our kids are the same age (mine will be 4 in April) and sound similar. I don't know yet but will be happy to share whatever we hear from the eval as well as the official results.
    KEVIN (6) & MATTHEW (4)

  3. #3

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    Sounds suspicious to me for ADD. It is pretty common in kids who were born early. Typically it is diagnosed when attention span or impulsivity is interfering with academics, so it is most commonly diagnosed in the K-2nd grade range. He is definitely not too young to get a baseline eval and/or a diagnosis if appropriate.
    In the meantime, making sure sleep is optimized, highly limiting screen time, and a high-dose omega 3 supplement (500 mg a day) can help sometimes.
    I would be talking to the teacher (they can pretty well diagnose, having been around so many same-age kids) and then the pediatrician. If he needs help with focus, sooner is better so he doesn't lose ground on learning.
    (Here, the developmental folks do a follow-up at age 5. If that is an option there that is another avenue you could pursue.)

  4. #4

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    Also, the iron recommendation is a good one!
    And, wanted to add that my personal kid had total ADHD (diagnosed by me!) starting as a toddler, but at 5 1/2 something magical happened and she is totally chilling out and growing an attention span. So anything is possible!

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    Cody is about 4 1/2 won't be 5 in July, I was sort of worried about ADD because he won't listen to me. He does well at listening to James, teachers, and grandparents. For my son its not ADD it just he is tired of mom. If your son is struggling and he was premature I'd suggest an Evaluation just in case for a piece of mind. GL! OT- Your siggy is so, so, adorable!!!!!!



  6. #6

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    oh yes, as tapid said, sleep and limited TV time are very important too. we are very strict about both.
    KEVIN (6) & MATTHEW (4)

  7. #7

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    I always thought most were diagnosed around 1st grade. When Erin was young, I always swore she was borderline hyperactive because she was almost always moving, but she COULD be still when she WANTED to be, so the doctors always said she was fine. Apparently she never triggered anything with the school system and although she was diagnosed with learning disabilities early on, she was never diagnosed as ADHD until she was OUT of high school.
    Lynne, Grandma to three beautiful girls and one handsome little man!


  8. #8

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    This sounds pretty similar to my five year old and I also posted a similar question not too long ago. The only difference I am seeing is that he is pretty good about sticking with a project that interests him. We do homeschool though, so most projects are specifically geared towads his interests. As for the repeating yourself a million times when trying to get ready, I am in the process of creating some visual props for him either in the form of a getting ready board or flash cards.

    A question about screen time, if you don't mind me horning in on your thread. What is considered a reasonable amount for a five year old? I'm just now allowing it more regularly since he practically begs for it every day ever since dbf allowed him to play a game on him ipad. I have downloaded a few games on my kindle and put a 45 minute limit on it. He plays every day now for the past week. I'm a little uneasy with it since we went from nothing to this but if I just let him play, he moves on. If I say no he will obsess about it all day. No tv, btw, so that doesn't factor in. Is this reasonable, do y'all think, or should I ease back?

  9. #9

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    My understanding is that up to 2 hours is ok for typical children. Since screen time overstimulating for ADD/ADHD kids, 1 hour limit is better. Thats what I do weekdays but DH is more generous on the weekends when he lets me sleep in Tapir would know the answer to this but I would imagine in this day and age 45 min is fine.
    KEVIN (6) & MATTHEW (4)

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    Yes, one hour per per day of screen time. 2 hours is suggested for school-aged kids but limiting to 1 hour for ADHD kids is recommended.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    This sounds pretty similar to my five year old and I also posted a similar question not too long ago. The only difference I am seeing is that he is pretty good about sticking with a project that interests him. We do homeschool though, so most projects are specifically geared towads his interests. As for the repeating yourself a million times when trying to get ready, I am in the process of creating some visual props for him either in the form of a getting ready board or flash cards.
    I'm no help as far as diagnosis for children, but I've been reading up on ADHD for adults since my DH has a fairly severe case of it. I wanted to mention that while distractibility is one part of ADHD, hyper-focus is also a symptom. If it is something they enjoy, they may focus on it intently, almost to the point that they become oblivious to everything around them and they lose all sense of time. What is difficult is focusing on something that does not interest them, that is when they become extremely distracted.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    This sounds pretty similar to my five year old and I also posted a similar question not too long ago. The only difference I am seeing is that he is pretty good about sticking with a project that interests him. We do homeschool though, so most projects are specifically geared towads his interests. As for the repeating yourself a million times when trying to get ready, I am in the process of creating some visual props for him either in the form of a getting ready board or flash cards.

    A question about screen time, if you don't mind me horning in on your thread. What is considered a reasonable amount for a five year old? I'm just now allowing it more regularly since he practically begs for it every day ever since dbf allowed him to play a game on him ipad. I have downloaded a few games on my kindle and put a 45 minute limit on it. He plays every day now for the past week. I'm a little uneasy with it since we went from nothing to this but if I just let him play, he moves on. If I say no he will obsess about it all day. No tv, btw, so that doesn't factor in. Is this reasonable, do y'all think, or should I ease back?
    The getting ready board sounds like a great idea! Thanks for asking about screen time...that was going to be my next question.

    Quote Originally Posted by KC's wifey View Post
    I'm no help as far as diagnosis for children, but I've been reading up on ADHD for adults since my DH has a fairly severe case of it. I wanted to mention that while distractibility is one part of ADHD, hyper-focus is also a symptom. If it is something they enjoy, they may focus on it intently, almost to the point that they become oblivious to everything around them and they lose all sense of time. What is difficult is focusing on something that does not interest them, that is when they become extremely distracted.
    This is great information! My SIL is married to a man with ADHD (which I didn't know until this past Wed, actually), and she said that it is SO difficult. She said that when he is doing something that he is enjoying, it's like pulling teeth to get any sort of simple answer to a question out of him.

    Quote Originally Posted by tapir View Post
    Sounds suspicious to me for ADD. It is pretty common in kids who were born early. Typically it is diagnosed when attention span or impulsivity is interfering with academics, so it is most commonly diagnosed in the K-2nd grade range. He is definitely not too young to get a baseline eval and/or a diagnosis if appropriate.
    In the meantime, making sure sleep is optimized, highly limiting screen time, and a high-dose omega 3 supplement (500 mg a day) can help sometimes.
    I would be talking to the teacher (they can pretty well diagnose, having been around so many same-age kids) and then the pediatrician. If he needs help with focus, sooner is better so he doesn't lose ground on learning.
    (Here, the developmental folks do a follow-up at age 5. If that is an option there that is another avenue you could pursue.)
    Thank you for the suggestions! We will have a follow-up at 5 with the Developmental Clinic here, too. In the meantime, I will try the things that you and tanya suggested!


    Quote Originally Posted by tanyachap View Post
    we go for our eval on feb 1. so, we don't know for a fact but my ds1 might have it and he is not 5 yet. he also has the attention span of a fly LOL and is all over the place. i hope it is just the age. we started a diet free of processed sugar and dyes and rich in omega, B vits and iron. ever since we started it, we see a tremendous difference so i no longer know what to think. i mean he is almost a different person. but i have a stack of papers to fill out and we will see how the eval goes.

    my understanding is that more severe ADD/ADHD can be diagnosed around 4.5/5 and moderate and mild one later. Most people dont need or seek diagnosis before seeing how school goes. But for us, it might affect our IEP.

    To answer your question, our kids are the same age (mine will be 4 in April) and sound similar. I don't know yet but will be happy to share whatever we hear from the eval as well as the official results.
    I will def try these things! I appreciate you sharing your experience with me. Please keep me posted on the eval...I'm very curious to see what they say!




  13. #13

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    I found some good stuff here: visualaidsforlearning.com

  14. #14
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    Sounds like you got some good suggestions here. My DD1 is 6 now and I suspected ADD with her but she doesn't sound quite like that. I think mine is like my DH with a touch of it but not something that will cause major problems. MIL is so bad you can barely have a conversation with her.
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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    Sounds similar to how my ODS is who does have ADD. I had him tested in second grade, only after his grades were affected and I saw how behind he was getting with the basics. Talk to his teacher and see what she thinks. I was hesitant to get my son tested at 5 years old becuase all his teacher would talk about was putting him on meds, which I was not going to do at that point. He is on medication now and it was found that he has a learning disability that he now gets extra help for in school. The decision to get him tested was hard for me, and it was frustrating that I couldn't get teachers/the school to help a lot until he had an actual diagnosis. Now he gets the help he needs and having the extra help it has been easier to communicate with his teachers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    I found some good stuff here: visualaidsforlearning.com
    This is a great site, Bridget. Thanks for sharing.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

  17. #17

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    I know I wore out my printer last night with that site!

  18. #18

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    Thanks, ladies, and thanks, Bridget for the site! I'm going to check it out this afternoon.

    I forgot to mention, I posted a while back about a similar topic...Luke's teacher had actually stopped me and talked to me about how Luke was having a hard time concentrating in class. We exchanged a couple of emails after that. She never mentioned ADD, but at that time I did explain to her that Luke was born very early so the Doctors did bring it to my attention to watch for attention span delays. She is very helpful, and has suggested some different things to try with him. Again, she never mentioned ADD, though, she just describes his challenges. At that point, I took into consideration her concern, but not to a huge degree because of his age and I thought that maybe he was bored or uninterested in some of the work. After seeing it firsthand on Friday, though, I can see what she means and I'm a bit more concerned.

    macksmom, that has to be SO frustrating. My hope is to get Luke help if he needs it at this point, so that it doesn't majorly affect his schooling. He enters Kindergarten this Fall.

    Thanks again for the input, everyone! You guys have been great help!




  19. #19

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    I just wanted to pop in and share that this weekend I worked on some visual cue cards for Kai and he is really excited about them. I still need to set up a place to keep them but he wanted to get started last night so at bedtime he asked for his bedtime card which has 3 simple tasks on it. I told him to complete the tasks and then bring me the card and when he hands it to me, I will know he has done it all. So about 10 minutes goes by and he comes galloping back in the room, "Mom! I did ALL my tasks!"

    "But I can't find the card." Oh, my sweet boy. Story of your life, Bud.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    I just wanted to pop in and share that this weekend I worked on some visual cue cards for Kai and he is really excited about them. I still need to set up a place to keep them but he wanted to get started last night so at bedtime he asked for his bedtime card which has 3 simple tasks on it. I told him to complete the tasks and then bring me the card and when he hands it to me, I will know he has done it all. So about 10 minutes goes by and he comes galloping back in the room, "Mom! I did ALL my tasks!"

    "But I can't find the card." Oh, my sweet boy. Story of your life, Bud.
    Great job, Kai! That is a cute story, Bridget! Sounds so much like my boys! I'm glad that the task cards are working, despite them being lost in the shuffle! Sounds like a really great system. I'm excited about giving that a try, and I think it will be useful for Levi, too, just to keep the tasks in front of him.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    I just wanted to pop in and share that this weekend I worked on some visual cue cards for Kai and he is really excited about them. I still need to set up a place to keep them but he wanted to get started last night so at bedtime he asked for his bedtime card which has 3 simple tasks on it. I told him to complete the tasks and then bring me the card and when he hands it to me, I will know he has done it all. So about 10 minutes goes by and he comes galloping back in the room, "Mom! I did ALL my tasks!"

    "But I can't find the card." Oh, my sweet boy. Story of your life, Bud.
    Velcro and pockets. Put them up like a chart and he can take each item off and put it in the pocket as he completes it.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

  22. #22

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    My DS turned 5 in September. I think it can be really hard to diagnose at their age because a lot of the behavior is typical for a 5 year old but maybe more extreme for a child with ADD. As far as I know, DS doesn't have it and mornings are exhausting. He gets distracted constantly while getting ready. The other morning I told him to get socks on. I left and came back and he hadn't put any on. I handed him a pair of socks and left again. A few minutes later he told me he couldn't find any socks to wear. Gah! I found them in different spots in his room. However, he is very compliant at preschool. His teacher has no issues, he does what he's told. I figure experienced teachers are a great starting point for feedback.

  23. #23

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    I know that I am in the minority, but I wouldn't be quick to jump to say that it is abnormal behavior just yet especially in regards to a craft. Some kids are just more inclined/interested in arts and crafts than others.


  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonsouthernbell View Post
    I know that I am in the minority, but I wouldn't be quick to jump to say that it is abnormal behavior just yet especially in regards to a craft. Some kids are just more inclined/interested in arts and crafts than others.
    I agree with this. My child is only 4, and he exhibits many of the same behaviors. I also worked with 5 and 6 year olds, and I would not say that that behavior is really that atypical. I remember days where I felt like all I did was repeat the same thing over and over and over...

  25. #25

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    Thanks for your feedback, ladies. I think at this point, I'm going to take measures to help him (reduce sugar/dye intake, monitor tv time...he doesn't really play video games, altho he did get a leappad for Christmas, and try the cue cards). In a couple of months we'll be having his last (hopefully) check-up at the Developmental Clinic, and I'll bring up my concerns there. His teacher is really great about communicating openly with me regarding his performance at school, which is helpful, too.

    On a similar note, I am SO proud of him. He brought home a wooden shoe last week to practice tying his shoe, and by the weekend he had mastered it! So, sometimes he can be very attentive if it interests him.

    LukeShoe_zpsee850d98-1_zpsb7bf8b61.jpg




  26. #26
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    My son is 5 1/2 and needs constant reminders to complete tasks, especially things like getting dressed, getting ready to go, do the next step on his homework. I'll send him into his room to get his socks, and I'll find him playing with cars and his socks will be lost. My daughter does this to a very minor extent, only when she's watching tv.

    He does crafts and coloring books well, and can finish projects he's interested in. Other things, he'll jump up and down a bajillion times. Dinner time is just a misery for all of us. I've asked his teacher if this is outside of the norm for his age. She said it's pretty typical for his age.

    Recently a technique I have found to be helpful is putting him "in charge" of something. Often my DD takes charge and can be a little overwhelming, because she likes to imitate me and because she's pretty organized. She likes to help order other kids around also. So I'm having the children take turns being in charge of things, even the littlest one. Who wants to be in charge of getting everyone's socks? And making sure everyone gets them on? (For some reason, the novelty of having a sibling do it accomplishes it faster.) Now, who wants to get everyone's coats? Who wants to make sure everyone goes potty before we leave? I'm still General Manager, but having them be middle managers, and asking them to select who goes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and reminding them that you need to be flexible and kind in order to get things done, is helping my DS feel more responsible and is making my DD take less of a superior role. Even the littlest one can get everyone by the front door and make sure that everyone has shoes and backpacks, and the older ones are happy to cooperate with him.


  27. #27
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    We are going through this with DD1 she is 6. The teacher brought it to me that she was having difficulty staying on task in certain subjects. She would rather sit and stare at the walls then do some of her work. So the teacher has become concerned. We went through the parent/teacher meetings with the psycologist, filled out the forms and they decided she more than likely has ADD. I haven't went any further and actually had her evaluated at this point. My concern is that although they think she is not listening or paying attention she can repeat everything back. I feel that she is just bored. I was just discussing with the teacher that she had her whole math homework paragraph 8+ sentences memorized and read it word for word to me. The teacher was VERY suprised because she thought A was not listening at all when they read it in class and they only went over it one time. She has went through some other tests that the school does and tested very high for critical thinking and problem solving. I just think she doesn't like to write things down over and over so she just sits and stares.

    My meeting also didn't end the way I felt was good. All I got from the psycologist was that I should medicate. She goes to private school and in order for her to receive any services I would have to drive her to the public school during the day. That doesn't work for me at all. I drive 30 miles one way to take the girls to school and can't wait around to take her to the public school for extra time. So the felt the answer was medication. I just don't feel that medicating a 6 year is a good idea. She is a very intelligent out going child who just doesn't like to do things that bore her. So next year she will be attending a different school where I feel she will get more of what she needs. Possibly a gifted program.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3andMe View Post
    My son is 5 1/2 and needs constant reminders to complete tasks, especially things like getting dressed, getting ready to go, do the next step on his homework. I'll send him into his room to get his socks, and I'll find him playing with cars and his socks will be lost. My daughter does this to a very minor extent, only when she's watching tv.

    He does crafts and coloring books well, and can finish projects he's interested in. Other things, he'll jump up and down a bajillion times. Dinner time is just a misery for all of us. I've asked his teacher if this is outside of the norm for his age. She said it's pretty typical for his age.

    Recently a technique I have found to be helpful is putting him "in charge" of something. Often my DD takes charge and can be a little overwhelming, because she likes to imitate me and because she's pretty organized. She likes to help order other kids around also. So I'm having the children take turns being in charge of things, even the littlest one. Who wants to be in charge of getting everyone's socks? And making sure everyone gets them on? (For some reason, the novelty of having a sibling do it accomplishes it faster.) Now, who wants to get everyone's coats? Who wants to make sure everyone goes potty before we leave? I'm still General Manager, but having them be middle managers, and asking them to select who goes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and reminding them that you need to be flexible and kind in order to get things done, is helping my DS feel more responsible and is making my DD take less of a superior role. Even the littlest one can get everyone by the front door and make sure that everyone has shoes and backpacks, and the older ones are happy to cooperate with him.
    This is a great suggestion! I have found that when the boys feel that they're being helpful, they tend to focus on a task a bit more. And they're always so proud. Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by hollyn View Post
    We are going through this with DD1 she is 6. The teacher brought it to me that she was having difficulty staying on task in certain subjects. She would rather sit and stare at the walls then do some of her work. So the teacher has become concerned. We went through the parent/teacher meetings with the psycologist, filled out the forms and they decided she more than likely has ADD. I haven't went any further and actually had her evaluated at this point. My concern is that although they think she is not listening or paying attention she can repeat everything back. I feel that she is just bored. I was just discussing with the teacher that she had her whole math homework paragraph 8+ sentences memorized and read it word for word to me. The teacher was VERY suprised because she thought A was not listening at all when they read it in class and they only went over it one time. She has went through some other tests that the school does and tested very high for critical thinking and problem solving. I just think she doesn't like to write things down over and over so she just sits and stares.

    My meeting also didn't end the way I felt was good. All I got from the psycologist was that I should medicate. She goes to private school and in order for her to receive any services I would have to drive her to the public school during the day. That doesn't work for me at all. I drive 30 miles one way to take the girls to school and can't wait around to take her to the public school for extra time. So the felt the answer was medication. I just don't feel that medicating a 6 year is a good idea. She is a very intelligent out going child who just doesn't like to do things that bore her. So next year she will be attending a different school where I feel she will get more of what she needs. Possibly a gifted program.
    Thanks for sharing this. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with the evaluation. You know your child best, and I commend you for sticking with your Mommy instinct on this one.

    After reading all of these responses, it really does seem that things could go either way. That's kind of what I was thinking to begin with, but I appreciate everyone's input and helpful suggestions. If at this point Luke was even diagnosed with ADD, I'm not sure I would want to medicate at this point, anyway. At least now I'm armed with some really great ideas to help him, whether it's just his age or an attention span delay.




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    Quote Originally Posted by sparks3 View Post
    At least now I'm armed with some really great ideas to help him, whether it's just his age or an attention span delay.
    I really think at this age, that's what matters, diagnosis or no diagnosis.
    Me (40) DH (47) & furbabies * m/c 7/08 4/12 11/12

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