ADHD in Children
Where it all begins
ADHD is a brain-based disorder that children develop before the age of seven. It affects 5 to 7 percent of children. ADHD can interfere with academic and social development. In fact, ADHD can slow a child’s progress by as much as 2 to 4 years.
Kids often go through difficult times as they grow up. So how can you tell if your child has ADHD?
ADHD must affect performance and behaviors in two major areas like at home and school. Kids with ADHD also show symptoms for six months or more. They don’t pay attention to directions. They often have problems with talking out of turn and sitting still. Often they don’t deal well with authority and tend to act out. Daydreaming, forgetting simple tasks, and losing personal items are quite common. ADHD can cause kids to underachieve in school.
Other conditions and disorders can mimic ADHD. These can include:
- Learning disabilities
It is important to have your child properly evaluated to rule out any of those conditions.
How is ADHD treated?
Certain methods, like play therapy, are typically used with children for other conditions. These methods don’t work for kids with ADHD. As a result, many doctors advise a combination of methods usually medication and behavior management. Many providers will also encourage you to have your child tested for any learning disability at school.
Medication is currently the most effective single treatment for ADHD. More than 75% of children receive successful treatment with medication. While many parents may hesitate to put their children on medication, it is currently the “gold standard” of ADHD care. In combination with behavior management, children with ADHD do very well with managing symptoms caused by ADHD.
Behavior therapy is often used with younger children. This focuses on positive reinforcement. Children learn how to set small goals for each day. They receive a reward when they meet their goal. Instructors give children clear instructions. They teach kids how to set rules and stick to them. Kids receive “time outs” for their poor behavior when they misbehave.
Special education programs often help at school. Children with ADHD may qualify for special education or special accommodations within the classroom. Children with ADHD often have a co-existing condition like a learning disorder. Addressing other conditions while treating a child for ADHD can help ensure academic success.
Counseling is also sometimes recommended for both the child and the family. Living with ADHD is often difficult for the child and family. Kids with ADHD can also often have other conditions like anxiety or depression.
Even when it is diagnosed early, ADHD doesn’t always go away when kids grow up. As many as 50 percent of kids have symptoms of ADHD when they get older. This is just one more reason why it’s so important to recognize the disorder and treat it early on.