In today's society, ADHD is a diagnosis most parents have heard about, but may or may not know much about. Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, affects approximately 3-5% of children in the U.S. A child with ADHD struggles with organizational skills, socialization, and poor impulse control. Knowing the signs, symptoms, and treatment options will help you the parent to make informed choices for your child's care.
What is ADHD?
ADHD, or Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is a disorder that's primary symptoms are inattentiveness, poor impulse control, and/or hyperactivity. There are three subtypes of ADHD.
- Predominately Inattentive subtype - These children have a hard time staying focused and on task, but rarely are impulsive or hyperactive. They may be forgetful and easily distracted.
- Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive subtype - These are the squirmers and wigglers. They have difficulty staying seated and may talk incessantly. These children often act before thinking and have a difficult time waiting their turn.
- Combined subtype - These children display symptoms form both predominately inattentive subtype & predominately hyperactive-impulsive subtype.
Symptoms of ADHD
The chart below provides symptoms based on the DSM-IV criteria for diagnosing ADHD.
Either A or B
|A. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level: |
B. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:
What should I do if I suspect my child has ADHD?
Your first step should be calling your child's pediatrician. Some pediatricians may do an ADHD evaluation themselves while others may choose to refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or trained clinical social worker for the ADHD evaluation. The assessment will involve information gathering. Your doctor may request school records and/or previous medical records. Both parents and teachers are given standardized evaluation forums, used to observe and rate child's behavior. Your doctor will then use this information to determine whether an ADHD diagnosis is warranted and to help determine appropriate medications and/or other treatment options.