Does it feel like your child is ignoring you? Or perhaps that there is something wrong with your child, or your skills as a parent? Maybe you have two children and your oldest is calm, follows the rules, and responsible while your other son is totally different? He’s not a bad kid and he’s actually very bright, creative, and downright funny. He may be the first one to help his sibling if he is in need. He’s a decent athlete and shines in many ways but he just can’t stop moving! He gets frustrated easily and is very easily distracted. He doesn’t appear to know when it’s inappropriate to grab things from other people and has a very hard time waiting for his turn.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Are Treatable Conditions
The good news is that ADD and ADHD are treatable conditions with many resources now available for parents and their children. ADD and ADHD may affect as many as 10% of the population. That means that in the average classroom of 24 kids, at least two children may suffer from the disorder. But how do you know if your child has a disorder or if he is just being a kid… and since it’s more common in boys (five times more common in boys than girls) – how do you know if he isn’t just “being a boy”? ADHD is one of the most common chronic conditions in school aged children. Unfortunately, the number of children being diagnosed and treated for ADHD has risen in recent years. While I will list signs to look out for, what I hope you keep in mind and take away from my post is this: all children will, at one time or another, have some behavioral difficulties. What is different in children with ADHD is that their symptoms are frequent, severe, and interfere with their ability to function normally in school and at home.
ADD and ADHD Tend To Run In Families
ADD and ADHD tend to run in families and at least two genes have been associated with the disease. It is felt that ADD and ADHD may be partly due to developmental delay of the part of the brain that is responsible for executive functioning (which is the part that manages control and judgment). ADHD is a condition characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. To be diagnosed, the condition must cause significant impairment in daily functioning in at least two settings, usually meaning a child’s symptoms are present both at home and at school for at least six months. As children get older, many of them learn to manage their symptoms as they gain the maturity and develop the higher brain function needed to govern attention, planning, and judgment. Many adults who have ADD or ADHD do quite well and are able to multitask successfully. Some may still require medications as adults but that is not very common.
How ADHD Is Diagnosed
There are several standardized tests and tools that medical doctors and psychologists use to help to determine if a child has ADD or ADHD. For the most part, it is recommended that you wait until your child is in school before testing is done. Often, the very active preschooler does fine when he reaches the age of 5-6 years and starts attending elementary school. A doctor will need to know if your child does at least six of these things in order to diagnose the condition:
- Daydreams and becomes easily distracted
- Misses important details or makes careless mistakes on homework and tests
- Gets bored quickly and has difficulty staying focused
- Has trouble getting organized (for example, losing homework assignments or keeping the bedroom messy and cluttered)
- Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
- Avoids tasks which require a lot of focus
- Often loses track of things
- Is forgetful in day to day activities
- Has trouble following instructions and often shifts from task to task without finishing anything
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
- Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
- Often runs about or climbs excessively in inappropriate situations (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings or restlessness)
- Often has difficulty playing or engaging in quiet leisure activities
- Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor.”
- Often talks excessively
- Impulsivity – has difficulty awaiting turns, interrupts or intrudes on others
If you suspect your child may have attention or hyperactivity issues, take your child to your pediatrician for further evaluation and advice as treatment is important to ensure maximum success at school. Treatment may involve behavior modification therapy, working closely with teachers, getting special accommodations for extra classwork and homework time, keeping an extra copy of textbooks at home, or sometimes taking medications.
Contact Us (859-525-8181) if you have any questions!
About Pediatrics of Florence
We believe that children are more than just “little adults.” They have unique personalities, challenges, and life circumstances and we have made every effort to make our offices and care as “kid friendly” as possible. We have an aquatic theme in the waiting rooms (separated for sick and well children) as well as themed examination rooms. All of our physicians are Board Certified Pediatricians and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and our nurse practitioners are all licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and are available to see both well and sick children.