How to Recognize ADHD in Children

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 2nd Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>ADHD & ADD

Sometimes it's hard to tell if children are energetic or have ADHD. Here's how to tell the difference.

What is ADHD?

Some children never seem to run out of energy when they play. They keep going and going just like the Energizer Bunny. These kids definitely have excessive energy but may or may not have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is a disorder in which children and adults have difficulty paying attention and staying focused on whatever it is that they're doing. An estimated 5 to 10 percent of children have this disorder. Many children with ADHD grow into adults without ever being properly diagnosed and may struggle with the disorder their entire lives.
ADHD can also be misdiagnosed or over diagnosed. Many rambunctious boys get misdiagnosed with ADHD and put on medication such as stimulants to calm them. This is a controversial issue. Parents have to decide if they have a child with ADHD or just a lively child.
There are three types of ADHD. Children with inattentive ADHD have difficulty paying attention, completing homework or chores or work; and staying organized. This type is primarily seen in girls who tend to be forgetful, easily distracted and often don't seem to listen, according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
Children with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD have difficulty sitting still, waiting their turns, and playing quietly. They often jump up from their seat in class, run around the room or climb on furniture, and act as if they were "driven by a motor," according to the DSM-V. Boys are most likely to be diagnosed with this type of ADHD.
The most common type of ADHD is the so-called combined type in which children are both hyperactive and inattentive. This type of ADHD seems to affect an equal number of boys and girls.

Think Medical First

Sometimes, people think their child has ADHD when the child really has a medical problem. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid are similar to those of ADHD. Be sure your child gets a thorough check-up from a doctor to rule out any medical problems.
If you child gets a clean bill of health, have them tested by the school psychologist to rule out any learning disabilities. Sometimes, children act up to cover up a learning disability. They may try to get out of doing homework or classroom assignments because they've fallen so far behind their peers. Often, children may have ADHD and a learning disability.

Know What's Age Appropriate Behavior

Most three or four-year-old children would meet all the symptoms for ADHD. Yet, by the time they reach six or seven years old, many of those symptoms have disappeared. Be careful not to diagnose children too early.
Most children are able to sit still in a classroom by the age of six. If your child is still squirming at the age of 7 or 8, he or she may have ADHD.
If you're still not sure, take a look at how your child acts in comparison to other children of the same age. Are other children behaving the same way? Or is your child more active than other children?
Here's some more information on what to look for:

Other Factors to Consider

If you suspect your child has a problem with ADHD, first take them to your pediatrician to rule out any medical problems. Then, have them evaluated by a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or school counselor.
The child's problems have to be disruptive enough to cause problems at school and home. These problems have to occur for at least six months and should take place in at least two places such as home and school. If the problem only occurs in one place, it's likely not ADHD but could be a family or school problem, according to the DSM-V.
Remember to take your child for a check-up, have them tested by a psychologist, and be aware of what's appropriate for your child's age. Be sure to get a second opinion and don't worry. Most children with ADHD can get the support they need and can grow into well-adjusted adults.

For more information, go to this Web Md slideshow


This article used some information from the DSM-V.
The illustration came from Wikimedia Commons.
The video came from You Tube.


Adhd, Adhd Advice, Adhd Children, Adhd In Children

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Oct 2013 (#)

Good article. But why can't parenting be simple? :)

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author avatar Connie McKinney
3rd Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Phyl. Parenthood isn't easy; that's for sure.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you. I have worked with and taught parenting programs for parents with children with an ADHD diagnosis and it can be so hard for all in the family.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
3rd Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Jackalyn Ann. I've also worked with ADH children and families. It affects the whole family.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Indeed Connie especially when you dont know anything and many questions arise. As previoulsy said both of my boys are ADHD and as they grow they tend to become more calmer everyday.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you for bringing this subject to the forum, we can be for a long period of time seeking solutions to tis problem. As you may know Connie I am an advocate against ritalin and all of tose drugs, theres a lot of hope whne both parents get involved and give their sibling s the attention needed! dont ignore it confront it and give a solution!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
14th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Fern. You are so right. I believe we can work with children with ADHD and their families to help them develop attention skills and social skills. It takes a lot of work but as you know, it can be done. It sounds like it worked for your boys, and I am so pleased to hear that.

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