Attention- Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Signs and Symptoms
It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.
A child with ADHD might:
- daydream a lot
- forget or lose things a lot
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- have a hard time resisting temptation
- have trouble taking turns
- have difficulty getting along with others
Types of ADHD:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and medication. For preschool-aged children (4-5 years of age) with ADHD, behavior therapy, particularly training for parents, is recommended as the first line of treatment. No single treatment is the answer for every child and good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups and any changes needed along the way.
If you are concerned about a child’s behavior, it is important to discuss these concerns with the child’s healthcare provider.
Checklist: Signs and Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This checklist describes the types of symptoms that a healthcare provider will ask about in the process of deciding whether a child has ADHD. You can use this checklist to help you start the conversation.
Deciding if a child has ADHD is a process with several steps. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5) is used by mental health professionals to help diagnose ADHD. The criteria are presented here in modified form in order to make them more accessible to the general public. They are listed here for information purposes and should be used only by trained healthcare providers to diagnose or treat ADHD.
Simply fill out the child’s name, age and today’s date and then check off the signs or symptoms the child has shown. Print and take the completed checklist to your child’s healthcare provider.
(Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention/ www.cdc.gov)