Therapists working with children and their families have probably encountered the question “Do you think my son/daughter has ADHD?” “What is wrong with my child I think he/she is hyperactive?” There seems to be a theme amongst parents as they appear to be worried if their child will be labeled as “ADHD.” Being that the concern is so common, one should question, do these concerned parents really understand what ADHD is? Or are they assuming that it means that their child is now tainted without really understanding what having ADHD really means? The truth is that ADHD is a common disorder that is usually first addressed during childhood.
ADHD which is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and it is a mental health condition that impacts children and could continue into their adulthood. Research finds that ADHD is The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines ADHD as “a lifelong, persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development across time and settings.” ADHD, is considered a neurological disorder. It is characterized by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that can interfere with functioning and/or development. Someone who lives with ADHD can experience hyperactivity, inattention, or both. The most common symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
– Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized.
– These challenges are not a result of defiance or a difficulty with comprehension.
– Hyperactivity is also a common symptom of ADHD which means a person seems to move constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate. In addition, hyperactivity is marked by excessive fidgets, taps, or talks.
– impulsivity is characterized by hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may result in risk circumstances.
– Impulsivity also commonly results in a desire for immediate rewards or an inability to delay gratification.
– An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
The most common type of ADHD is hyperactive type. Generally, males are diagnosed with ADHD at a higher rate than females. However, females also struggle with ADHD, unfortunately they are underdiagnosed as they do not display hyperactivity but more commonly they show behaviors congruent with distractibility. It is important to note that ADHD usually persists throughout one’s lifespan, it is not something individuals just “grow out of”. Many times, teachers and/or parents address the possibility of ADHD in their child when they note difficulty concentrating in class or an inability for their child to sit still. Although maintaining attention can be difficult for all children, those who are living with ADHD experience it at a much higher rate than is normative for the child.
Sometimes it is easy to identify ADHD when you learn what are common behaviors associated with it. Some examples of common behaviors that is exhibited by someone with ADHD will be listed below. They will be differentiated by Inattentive type and hyperactive type.
Inattentive Type :
– Doesn’t pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school or job tasks.
– Has problems staying focused on tasks or activities, such as during lectures, conversations or long reading.
– Does not seem to listen when spoken to, often times it seems that the person is in another world
– Has challenges with following through on instructions and doesn’t complete schoolwork, chores or job duties
– Has problems organizing tasks and work, this can result in difficulty with time management and completing tasks as expected
– Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as preparing reports and completing forms.
– Often loses things needed for tasks or daily life, such as school papers, books, keys, wallet, cell phone and eyeglasses.
– Is easily distracted.
– Forgets daily tasks, such as doing chores and running errands. Older teens and adults may forget to return phone calls, pay bills and keep appointments.
– Fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
– Not able to stay seated, in children this is seen in school, in adults it is seen at work.
– Runs about or climbs where it is inappropriate.
– Unable to play or do leisure activities quietly.
– Always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor.
– Talks too much.
– Blurts out an answer before a question has been finished
– Has difficulty waiting his or her turn, such as while waiting in line.
– Interrupts or intrudes on others, has difficulties with boundaries due to impulsivity.
Commonly, ADHD is treated with medication which many report to be helpful, but it is important to note it does not teach an individual how to cope with difficulties related to ADHD. Many professionals report medication will facilitate the ability to implement coping mechanisms. Some of these include:
– Making to-do lists to stay organized
– Outlining your daily schedule and allotting time to each activity
– Exercise or sports to burn energy
– Using a timer when doing school work or other work to ensure you are managing your time
– Taking frequent breaking while studying or working to ensure facilitate focus
As briefly stated earlier, ADHD is not a condition that is commonly grown out of. Therefore, parents and teachers should be aware that early intervention will result in the best outcome for children. What is meant by this is that, if a child exhibits ADHD, it would be very beneficial for the parents and teachers to address it early and intervene with mental health treatment i.e. psychiatric services, a psychological evaluation, therapeutic services, and/or behavior modification. If a child does not learn to cope with ADHD during childhood they are more likely to experience high levels of stress during adulthood, which can exacerbate the symptoms associated with ADHD. So, if your child’s teacher or guidance counselor is recommending psychological testing make sure to ask them “where can I access ADHD testing near me?” Many psychologists are able to assist you with a thorough evaluation and coping skills. RK Care Group offers various psychological services that can help you gain access to services that will help you and your child overcome the difficulties that come with ADHD. For more information visit www.rkcaregroup.com, we want to help!