What are the signs of attention deficit disorder and ADHD
If it is hard for your child to pay attention and it affects their everyday school life and interactions, your child may have Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. Dr. Elize Opel, a pediatric specialist at Aurora Children’s Health explains the vital signs that your child may be struggling with ADHD.
“Children with ADHD have behavioral problems that are so frequent and severe that they impact learning, interfere with relationships, and disrupt normal life,” says Dr. Opel. “Some children have inattentive type ADHD, some have hyperactive/ impulsive type ADHD, and some have a combination.”
Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Inattention can mean that your child:
- has a hard time paying attention
- does not seem to listen
- is easily distracted
- makes careless mistakes
- does not follow through on instructions
- forgets information
- loses a lot of important things
- avoids doing things that require ongoing mental effort
Hyperactivity can mean that your child:
- is moving in constant motion
- cannot stay seated
- squirms and fidgets
- talks too much
- runs and jumps and climbs when not permitted
- cannot play quietly
Impulsivity can be seen as someone:
- who acts and speaks without thinking
- has trouble taking turns
- cannot wait for things
- calls out answers
- interrupts others
“If children age 4-18 years display symptoms of ADHD on a regular basis for more than 6 months, evaluation is recommended,” Dr. Opel suggests. “Symptoms usually appear before 7 years of age.”
A full medical history and neurological examination can help put a child’s behavior in context. It is also important to screen for other problems which can affect behavior. A pediatrician can monitor for learning disability, vision or hearing impairment, chronic illness, anxiety, severe aggression, or sleep problems which can impact behavior.
Successful treatment can include behavior therapy, medication, or a combination approach. Your child is not struggling alone; ADHD can be very common in children. Treatment can begin as soon as a diagnosis is established.