Understanding ADHD

Understanding ADHD

Many parents at one point or another wonder if their energetic and hyperactive child meets criteria for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Therefore, I thought I would use this blog entry to discuss the diagnosis of ADHD to assist parents with recognizing some of the common signs observed in children. Typically, ADHD is observed before your child turns 7-years-old. The symptoms of ADHD will also be present in a variety of settings, including: school, home, or on a sports team. If you suspect that your child may be struggling with ADHD, start by asking your child’s teacher or daycare provider if they are observing some of the common signs of ADHD.

What are common symptoms of ADHD?

According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, people diagnosed with ADHD generally present with some of the following symptoms:

  • Inattention: failing to pay close attention to details, difficulty with sustained attention, not paying attention when spoken to, failing to complete schoolwork (or other tasks like chores), difficulty with organization, or presenting as easily distracted.
  • Hyperactivity: fidgeting, leaving seat in the classroom, restlessness, difficulty playing quietly in leisure activities, and/or constantly “on the go.”

There are three different types of ADHD. The first type is the “inattentive type,” which was originally termed Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and characterized by more of the inattention symptoms mentioned above. Children with inattentive type may be more challenging to diagnosis with ADHD because they are not “bouncing out of their seat.” The second type of ADHD is termed, “hyperactive type,” and this is the child who presents with more of the hyperactive symptoms mentioned above.  This is often “caught” more than the first type because the child’s behavior may be disruptive to other students. The third type is “combined” or a mix of both hyperactive and inattentive types. If you recognize some of these common symptoms in your child, then you should consult with a professional about whether or not your child meets criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD.

Should I have my child evaluated for ADHD?

If you suspect that your child meets criteria for one of the three ADHD types, then you should consult a psychologist or psychiatrist for an ADHD evaluation. Typically when you meet with a psychologist, your child will complete a series of tests to evaluate whether or not they meet criteria for ADHD. Based on the severity of your child’s symptoms the psychologist may or may not recommend school accommodations (504 plan or an IEP) or psychotropic medications. Sometimes therapy may also be recommended.

Do adults have ADHD?

Often children with ADHD will continue to struggle with ADHD as an adult. However, those symptoms generally change or affect the person differently than when they were in school. For more information about how ADHD affects adulthood, stay tuned for my next blog entry.

If you are interested in asking more questions about ADHD, or perhaps you are interested in an ADHD evaluation, feel free to contact my office for more information (619-940-7774 or kfilizetti@gmail.com).