Does your child seem to have difficulty with focus and concentration? Do you feel frustrated that you have to repeat yourself over and over when giving even simple instructions? Have school and after-school activities become difficult for your child? Has your child’s teacher reported he or she is disruptive in class or failing to perform at his or her academic ability level? Is he or she always “on the go” and seems to be driven by a motor? Does your child blurt out answers in school or have difficulty waiting their turn? Does your child appear to be lost, distant, or living in a daydream? Is your child easily distracted by ‘whatever else’ is happening around him or her? These are some common behaviors seen in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
ADHD affect 3-5% of all school-aged children, and is more common in boys than girls. Research has indicated that ADHD may run in families, but the exact causes of the disorder are unknown.
The three broad symptom clusters seen in ADHD include:
• Inattentiveness: children with ADHD struggle with maintaining focus and concentrating on the task before them, and as a result frequently make careless mistakes – especially in school, become easily distracted, do not seem to listen when spoken to, and have a hard time staying organized.
• Impulsivity: children with ADHD have difficulty waiting, taking turns, and following the rules of social interaction and conversation. Instead, they tend to blurt out answers inappropriately, interrupt others mid-sentence, grab items away from others, and so on.
• Hyperactivity: children with ADHD often appear to be “driven by a motor” and are always on the go. These children have difficulty sitting still in class or remaining seated through a meal. Other forms of hyperactivity include persistent fidgeting, wiggling, or talking excessively.
ADHD can take several forms: a primarily inattentive type or a combined type that involves various combinations of inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Because ADHD symptoms are common to other diagnoses in children, such as depression, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities, it is important that a thorough assessment be conducted to arrive at a complete and accurate understanding of the child’s difficulties. At SJC Behavioral Health, we combine a thorough history and scientifically validated assessment techniques that assess the presence of the most common symptoms of ADHD.
Once the diagnosis is established, a combination of medication and therapy has been shown to be most effective in managing the primary symptoms of ADHD.