How to recognize ADHD in Children
ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that often appears in early childhood, before the age of 7. ADHD is recently being considered neurodivergent because it’s a neurodevelopmental disorder that changes how you think and process information. Scientists believe these differences are due to the unique structure and chemistry of the ADHD brain. ADHD typically involves a combination of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, but there are different types of ADHD in which all of these characteristics may not be present.
What are the signs of ADHD in children?
In diagnosing ADHD in children, the following are symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that a doctor or mental health professional will look for:
- Difficulty staying focused; gets easily distracted or bored with a task before it is finished
- Does not seem to listen to others when spoken to
- Doesn’t pay attention to details and makes careless mistakes
- Difficulty following directions
- Trouble remembering things
- Poor organizational skills
- Acts without thinking
- Often interrupts others or intrudes on conversations/activities
- Difficulty waiting for his/her turn
- Blurts out answers and guesses instead of taking the time to solve problems
- Inability to keep powerful emotions in check (may result in angry outbursts/tantrums)
- Excessive fidgeting or squirming
- Talks excessively
- Difficulty sitting still
- Constantly moving, often running or climbing
- Trouble engaging in quiet or relaxing activities
What is the difference between normal behavior and ADHD?
All children can be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive at times, so it can be hard to distinguish between typical kid behavior and ADHD. If your child is only exhibiting a few of these symptoms, or they only appear in certain situations, this probably isn’t ADHD. However, if your child appears to be showing many of these signs and they’re present across all situations (i.e. school, home, play), it might be time to consider an evaluation for ADHD.
How is ADHD in children treated?
Children with ADHD commonly experience certain challenges, such as difficulty with school, making friends, or managing their behavior. Therefore, it is important to seek the proper treatment. Effective treatments for ADHD include behavior therapy, parent education and training, social skill development, and, often, medication (prescribed by a medical doctor or psychiatrist). Several of our therapists offer support for ADHD in children, visit our clinicians page to explore a therapist that can help you address this issue.