According to the American Psychiatric Association, 5% of American children have ADHD. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that number is almost 11% in children ages 4 to 17. Boys are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed than girls, but both genders need consideration and guidance from parents, counselors, and pediatricians. If you know or suspect your child has ADHD, the Green Hill Pediatric Associates staff is eager to help. Read on to learn some signs of ADHD and how to best help your child cope.
Signs of ADHD in Children
It can be very difficult to differentiate ADHD symptoms from the typical behavior of a child’s age group. Typically, children will present with ADHD symptoms between 3 and 6 years old but won’t be formally diagnosed until at least age 7. However, there are some key symptoms to watch for. These include:
- Distractibility more severe than other children their age
- Not paying attention to details and making careless mistakes in chores or schoolwork
- Difficulty remembering and following instructions
- Difficulty with organization; these children are often unable to finish projects
- Frequently losing or misplacing homework, toys, or other items
- Appearing not to listen when spoken to
Two Types of ADHD
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, meaning a child is hyperactive. The teacher may describe him or her as the kid in class who can’t sit still. A coach may say these kids disrupt practice with excessive talking or unsportsmanlike behavior that stems from a quick temper.
At times, however, an ADHD child may exhibit symptoms of the inattentive type of ADHD. This is where the appearance of not listening fits in, as does a tendency to daydream or not remember instructions. Sometimes, this can be combined with hyperactivity, leading to a “mixed type” of ADD/ADHD. When this happens, school and extracurricular activities quickly become unpleasant experiences for your child.
Helping Your Child Cope With ADHD
Don’t wait for a diagnosis; if you suspect your child’s behavior goes beyond toddlerhood impulsivity, see your pediatrician right away. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner your child can learn coping skills. Your pediatrician may recommend medication, but this shouldn’t be the sole treatment offered. Cognitive behavioral therapy, IEPs or 504s at school, and other modifications help as well.
When parenting ADHD children, remember to:
- Focus on their strengths, such as enthusiasm and creativity
- Set clear expectations and boundaries
- Offer reasonable rewards and consequences for behavior
- Stick to a routine as much as possible
For more help, contact the Green Hills Pediatric Associates team.