Is your child easily distracted? Impulsive? Unorganized? Forgetful? If so, your child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a common brain disorder defined as ongoing patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity impairing the child’s functioning in daily life. Untreated children with ADHD are often mislabeled as troublemakers or having a learning disability. Read more about the types and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for children with ADHD.
There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, or combined. In preschool, the most common symptom of ADHD is hyperactivity.
Common symptoms of Inattentive ADHD include:
• Poor attention
• Difficulty Listening or following directions
• Forgetful in daily activities
• Difficulty sustaining attention in play, conversations, homework
• Trouble finishing classwork/homework
• Organization problems
• Avoiding tasks with sustained mental effort such as homework
Hyperactive- Impulsive signs include:
• Excessive motor activities- running
• Blurting out in class
• Interrupting others
• Excessive talking
• Difficulty remaining seated
• Unable to play quietly
• Trouble waiting his or her turn
The last type is a combination of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive. It is often the most common type of ADHD.
Pediatricians or primary care doctors will diagnosis ADHD through a complete evaluation. In order to be considered for a diagnosis of ADHD, a child must display symptoms before age 12. The behaviors must be ongoing (at least 6 months) and considered more severe than other children that age. The symptoms must affect two areas of your child’s life, for example, home, school, after-school activities, or friendships. In order to avoid misdiagnosis, be aware of other issues that may affect your child’s behavior. Some issues may include a divorce, death in the family, move, an illness, or a change in school.
There is no cure for ADHD but there are many great options to successfully manage. In most cases, ADHD is best managed through medication and behavior therapy. There are two types of medication for treating ADHD: stimulant and non-stimulant. Stimulants are the most common because it works to increase the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which play crucial roles in thinking and attention. Non-stimulants can also improve focus, attention, and impulsivity but it may have a delayed onset. At first, your doctor may try a few medicines in various doses to find the best treatment plan for your child.
Behavior therapy is a type of psychotherapy aimed at changing behavior patterns. Behavior therapists educate families on ADHD, and come up with strategies for each family. Some behavior strategies include:
• Reorganizing home and school: Creating an organization system for schoolwork, toys, and clothing so your child knows where everything needs to be.
• Limiting distractions. Create a quiet space for your child while studying without the distractions of TV, cellphones, or computers.
• Direct instruction. Keep directions brief and specific. Write chores on a sticky-note so your child can refer to it during the day.
• Create a reward system. Track positive behaviors and reward your child through verbal praise or predetermined treats.
If treated appropriately and early, children with ADHD have great success in school, home, and relationships. If your child presents with any of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician for an evaluation. Lumiere Children’s Therapy offers behavior therapy to help your child with ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder . (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml#part_145449
Hasan, S., MD (Ed.). (2014, July). What Is ADHD? Retrieved February 16, 2017, from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adhd.html#