Understanding ADHD Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Preschool-age children are often hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive, however when this behavior does not change as they continue to grow up and attend school – it may be a sign of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This type of behavior makes it difficult for children to practice patience and attentiveness in a structured environment like school.

ADHD is a fairly common behavior disorder usually diagnosed in childhood that is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

Some signs of ADHD are the child:
  • Avoids or dislikes activities that require more than one to two minutes of concentration
  • Loses interest in activities after a few minutes
  • Talks a lot more and makes more noise than other children the same age
  • Climbs on things despite being told not to
  • Unable to hop on one foot by the age of 4
  • Almost always restless and insists on getting up after being seated for only a few minutes
  • Acts fearless, which results in dangerous situations
  • Warms up to strangers too quickly
  • Behaves aggressively with friends
  • Has been injured after moving too fast or running after being told to slow down
While no cause has been identified for ADHD, the American Academy of Pediatrics has highlighted risk factors that may influence behavior and lead to ADHD symptoms:
  • Genetic factors
  • Variations in temperament (a child's individual differences in emotional reactivity, activity level, attention, and self-regulation)
  • Medical causes (especially those that affect brain development)
  • Environmental influences on the developing brain (including toxins such as lead, alcohol, and nutritional deficiencies)
If you think your child may have ADHD, discuss it with your pediatrician first. Currently, there are no specific medical or blood tests that doctors can use to diagnose ADHD, instead your child would go through a complete medical and psychiatric evaluation. When your child needs additional screenings to rule out another cause of behavioral issues, our specialists in the Children's Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders Clinic will coordinate referrals to the necessary specialists for further evaluation, including speech, hearing, and psychological testing.

Treatment for ADHD will depend on what you and your pediatrician decide is best for the child and upon:
  • The child’s age
  • Extent of symptoms
  • The child’s tolerance for the medication or therapy prescribed
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference
Diagnosing a child with ADHD early could help them perform better in school and pay attention in structured environments. Oftentimes, ADHD continues into adulthood, however, this is not a bad thing as some careers require a high-energy behavior pattern to succeed.
For more information on ADHD, visit our site.

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