Most children are active, busy and full of youthful energy. So how do you know when your child’s natural exuberance is something more? ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a complicated condition and can be difficult to recognize. Find out what ADHD is, and take charge of the health of your child.
What is ADHD? ADHD is a treatable condition that involves the brain’s biology. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ADHD is a common condition. A few areas of the brain — such as the areas that deal with problem solving, planning, impulse control and understanding the action of others — are affected by ADHD.
How is ADHD diagnosed? The combination of your doctor’s expertise, school reports and personal experience with your child are used in combination to diagnose ADHD. There is no definitive blood test for ADHD. In determining normal behavior vs. typical ADHD conduct, it is helpful to look at other children in relationship to your child. Several factors make up an ADHD diagnosis:
- Observation — You, the teacher and health care professional monitor your child for atypical behavior and the markers of ADHD.
- Examination — The pediatrician examines the child to rule out other diseases or conditions that could mimic symptoms of ADHD.
- Psychological testing — You may seek private testing, and public schools offer testing for ADHD.
- Family and school feedback — You and your child’s teacher will provide anecdotal evidence of your child’s behavior.
Does your child have ADHD? Only your doctor can properly diagnose ADHD, but a few key components make up ADHD typical behavior. It is not necessary for your child to have all the key features to be considered as having the condition. If two areas of the child’s life, such as school and home, are affected for more than six months, your child may have ADHD. The main symptoms of ADHD are:
- Hyperactivity — Children with ADHD are so busy they seem driven by a motor. They are more fidgety and physically active, and it’s difficult for them to stay in their seats at school.
- Impulsivity — Acting out before thinking is a common feature of ADHD. Children with ADHD often interrupt, blurt out comments and do not filter their emotions.
- Inattentiveness — Inattentiveness is less obvious and often missed. Children who are inattentive are unable to focus or concentrate for very long. This can lead to poor performance in school or activities.