ADHD In Kids: The Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment (A Simple Guide)
Do you think your child has ADHD? This common medical condition affects a number of school kids, but the symptoms can be a little tricky to diagnose, find out what you need to know.
ADHD, which stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a medical condition that causes your child to have issues with maintaining their attention on one thing.
Of course, if your child forgets to do their homework or chores from time to time, fidgets at the table and daydreams occasionally, then this is completely normal. But impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention are all signs of ADHD, sometimes referred to as ADD (attention deficit disorder). This means that if your child is constantly having issues with sitting still, following conversations, following instructions and blurts out inappropriate things, then he or she might have ADHD.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder (this means it has to do with brain activity and development) and typically starts to show signs during early childhood, normally before the age of 7.
This condition makes it hard to sit still, follow instructions and listen. Kids with ADHD might also struggle with normal conversation as they tend to blurt out inappropriate things at the wrong time.
What is the cause of ADHD?
Experts are not entirely sure what the exact cause of ADHD is. However, there is strong evidence which suggests that ADHD is inherited. This means that if you have ADHD or were diagnosed with it when you were younger, then your child might have it too.
ADHD is NOT a result of watching too much TV or eating too many sweets.
Healthy food, enough sleep, exercise and supportive parenting techniques can help the treatment of the condition.
The signs and symptoms of ADHD
As mentioned, a number of kids struggle to always pay attention and follow instructions. But those with ADHD struggle significantly more and more often.
There are 3 different categories of symptoms in kids with ADHD, kids with this condition might show signs of one of these categories, two or all three. The most common form of ADHD shows signs of inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive.
When the task is repetitive or boring, then a child with ADHD struggles to pay attention. However, they might not have any problems with staying focused on tasks and topics they are genuinely interested in.
Those with ADHD also struggle to stay on topic. They tend to bounce between tasks, without completing one. They may also skip the necessary steps in order to properly complete the task.
Kids with ADHD work best in a calm and quiet environment as they struggle to concentrate if there are lots of things happening around them.
This is the most obvious symptom of ADHD.
Kids with ADHD are always moving and fidgeting. They are restless and are easily bored with the task at hand. They tend to struggle to sit still or stay quiet.
They often rush things and can make careless mistakes as a result.
If they are forced to sit still, then they might try to fidget with something, tap their foot or drum their fingers. They also tend to climb onto things inappropriately and run around non stop.
The final symptom associated with hyperactivity is a short temper.
Impulsivity in kids with ADHD causes self-control issues.
Kids with ADHD tend to say and do things on impulse, which is often inappropriate. They often interrupt other conversations, invade other kids’ personal space, ask questions in class that are irrelevant and ask very personal questions.
They struggle to keep their emotions in check which can result in temper tantrums and angry outbursts.
Postive symptoms of ADHD in kids
Children with ADHD also have some incredible gifts which include:
- Creativity and imagination
- Open to new and different ideas
- Spontaneous and enthusiastic
- Energetic and motivated
How is ADHD diagnosed?
For your child to be properly diagnosed, you will need to make an appointment for your child to see your doctor.
He or she will perform a series of behavioural tests and may refer you to a psychologist if need be. If you suspect your child might have ADHD, then book an appointment to get a professional opinion on the matter.
What is the treatment for ADHD?
- Medication to help the brain to focus and exert more self-control is sometimes required.
- Behavioural therapy
- Parental coaching and support
- School support
If ADHD is not treated, then this can make it incredibly hard for your child to succeed in school and in life. It’s important that you help your child get the treatment they need and support them during the process.
What can I do as a parent of a child with ADHD?
- Establish a routine and structure in your child’s daily life - this will help them to focus and stay organised
- Make sure your child knows what behaviour is appropriate and what is not. Set clear boundaries and expectations and let your child know that there are consequences if these are not adhered to.
- Encourage healthy eating, exercise and sleep.
- Teach your child how to respond to body language, be a good listener and be polite when someone else is talking.
- Work with your child’s school and let them know if your child has ADHD. Make sure they know how to deal with your child properly and in the correct manner.
Do you think your child has ADHD? It’s a good idea to see your doctor for medical diagnosis and for him or her to help you and your child through the course of treatment.
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