ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in friendships.
What Are the Signs of ADHD?
All kids struggle at times to pay attention, listen and follow directions, sit still, or wait their turn. But for kids with ADHD, the struggles are harder and happen more often.
Kids with ADHD may have signs from one, two, or all three of these categories:
- Kids who are inattentive (easily distracted) have trouble focusing their attention, concentrating, and staying on task. They may not listen well to directions, may miss important details, and may not finish what they start. They may daydream or dawdle too much. They may seem absent-minded or forgetful, and lose track of their things.
- Kids who are hyperactive are fidgety, restless, and easily bored. They may have trouble sitting still, or staying quiet when needed. They may rush through things and make careless mistakes. They may climb, jump, or roughhouse when they shouldn’t. Without meaning to, they may act in ways that disrupt others.
- Kids who are impulsive act too quickly before thinking. They often interrupt, might push or grab, and find it hard to wait. They may do things without asking for permission, take things that aren’t theirs, or act in ways that are risky. They may have emotional reactions that seem too intense for the situation.
Sometimes parents and teachers notice signs of ADHD when a child is very young. But it’s normal for little kids to be distractible, restless, impatient, or impulsive — these things don’t always mean that a child has ADHD.
Attention, activity, and self-control develop little by little, as children grow. Kids learn these skills with help from parents and teachers. But some kids don’t get much better at paying attention, settling down, listening, or waiting. When these things continue and begin to cause problems at school, home, and with friends, it may be ADHD.
How Is ADHD Diagnosed?
If you think your child has ADHD, make an appointment with your child’s doctor. He or she will give your child a check-up, including vision and hearing, to be sure something else isn’t causing the symptoms. The doctor can refer you to a child psychologist or psychiatrist if needed.
To diagnose ADHD, doctors start by asking about a child’s health, behaviour, and activity. They talk with parents and kids about the things they have noticed. Your doctor might ask you to complete checklists about your child’s behaviour, and might ask you to give your child’s teacher a checklist too.
After gathering this information, doctors diagnose ADHD if it’s clear that:
- A child’s distractibility, hyperactivity, or impulsivity go beyond what’s usual for their age.
- The behaviours have been going on since the child was young.
- Distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity affect the child at school and at home.
- A health check shows that another health or learning issue isn’t causing the problems.
Many kids with ADHD also have learning problems, oppositional and defiant behaviours, or mood and anxiety problems. Doctors usually treat these along with the ADHD.
How Is ADHD Treated?
Treatment for ADHD usually includes:
- Medicine.This activates the brain’s ability to pay attention, slow down, and use more self-control.
- Behavior therapy.Therapists can help kids develop the social, emotional, and planning skills that are lagging with ADHD.
- Parent coaching.Through coaching, parents learn the best ways to respond to behavior difficulties that are part of ADHD.
- School support.Teachers can help kids with ADHD do well and enjoy school more.
The right treatment helps ADHD improve. Parents and teachers can teach younger kids to get better at managing their attention, behavior, and emotions. As they grow older, kids should learn to improve their own attention and self-control.Leave a reply →