The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are more than 6 million children who are living with ADHD in the United States. Despite this prevalence and the fact that ADHD is the most extensively researched mental health disorder, there are misconceptions about it that continue to feed the general perception that it is merely a “made-up” condition, or an inconsequential one easily managed with good parenting.
Such has prompted mental health experts to push even harder to raise awareness of ADHD—dispelling all the myths, stereotypes, and stigma surrounding the condition, thereby removing all barriers to seeking professional help.
The information we’ve provided below aims to provide you with a better understanding of ADHD, particularly its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment; and encourage you to consult your pediatrician if you suspect your child may have ADHD.
What ADHD Is Like in Children
The symptoms of ADHD can vary from child to child, and thus, it’s important to know the characteristics of each type for you to recognize which one your child might be dealing with. It is also worth noting that your child will not just outgrow these symptoms, and it is possible for them to have more than one type of ADHD: hyperactive/impulsive, or inattentive/impulsive/hyperactive.
Outlined below are the three types of ADHD along with their symptoms:
Inattention is a type of ADHD characterized by the lack of focus or short attention span. If your child has inattentive-type ADHD, they may demonstrate the following behavioral patterns:
- Being disorganized
- Having difficulty concentrating and a weak working memory
- Failing to complete tasks or evading those that require ongoing mental effort
- Getting easily distracted by external stimuli
- Inability to follow or understand instructions
- Making careless mistakes
- Often losing things required to complete tasks
Hyperactivity is marked by unusually high levels of activity or energy. Children with this type of ADHD exhibit the following patterns of behavior:
- Having the need to constantly move, as though “driven by a motor”- (e.g., squirming and fidgeting frequently; difficulty staying seated or playing quietly, etc.)
- Running, jumping, and climbing excessively, even during inappropriate situations
- Shifting from one task to another
- Talking too much
Impulsivity essentially refers to action without foresight or regard for consequences. Children with this type tend to show the following symptoms:
- Being impatient- inability to wait for their turn
- Blurting out answers before the other person finishes their question
- Frequently interrupting other people’s activities or conversations
- Taking risks
Children with ADHD often have issues getting along with their siblings or making friends at school. They are also typically perceived as poorly behaved or immature. Experts attribute this to the developmental delays that occur in the frontal lobe of the brain, which is associated with expressive language and ability to manage higher-level executive functions (e.g., making decisions, organizing, planning, etc.).
Diagnosing and Treating ADHD
When it comes to ADHD and other mental and behavioral disorders affecting children, you can rely on your pediatrician to equip you with all the support and resources you need to help your child navigate their condition as well as the treatment process.
Because there is no single test to diagnose ADHD, your pediatrician will confirm a diagnosis using a combination of assessments, which will likely consist of the following:
- ADHD rating scale – to help screen, evaluate, and monitor your child’s symptoms
- Behavioral assessment – may include your input, and that of other family members, your child’s teachers, and caregiver
- Evaluation using the ADHD criteria – guidelines stated in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth Edition (DSM 5).
- Medical examination – may include vision and hearing tests to rule out other health problems that may lead to similar symptoms
Using the results of the evaluation, your pediatrician will then create a tailored ADHD treatment plan, which may include some of the following approaches:
- Behavior/talk therapy recommendations
- Behavioral classroom intervention and school support
- Discipline strategies
- Family counseling
- Social skills training
- Stress management
Albeit ADHD is a lifelong condition, most children—with the appropriate interventions and the love and support of their families—can grow up to be well-adjusted, successful adults.
Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in Palm Beach, Westchase, Trinity, and Lutz, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, we pride ourselves on being one of the most trusted pediatric clinics in Palm Beach, Westchase, Trinity, and Lutz, Florida. We have compassionate, highly qualified developmental pediatricians on our team who take great pleasure in providing families with all the care and support they need to tackle ADHD and other behavioral problems in children.
We use objective, evidence-based tests, as ADHD is sometimes diagnosed using merely subjective methods. We work closely with our patients to gain crucial insight into their behavioral patterns, so we can help them effectively control their symptoms and empower them to lead productive and meaningful lives.
To arrange a consultation with one of our pediatricians, call our staff today at (727) 787-6355 to schedule your appointment.