Is your child suffering from ADHD?
ADHD symptoms may vary from child to child- some may not be able to focus at all, shifting frequently from one task to another, while others may be able to concentrate as long as the task satisfies their interest or curiosity. Some kids may be quiet and withdrawn, while others may be rambunctious. You may find ADHD behavior atrocious sometimes as such kids often blurt out inappropriate things at the wrong time, when you least expected them to- they seldom have control over their spontaneous responses and find it difficult to inhibit natural responses.
Your child may be labeled a freak, menace or a disturbing element- but you need to check- is he being intentionally naughty OR is he showing signs of ADHD.
Distinguishing ADHD from normal “kid” behavior
ADHD symptoms in children normally show up before age seven. Because kids normally tend to be dreamers, overactive and lacking attention, it’s often difficult to understand if it’s normal “kid” behavior or ADHD. But if you think f your child shows ADHD-like symptoms all the time, across work, play, school, home – repeatedly in all situations, it’s probably time to take a more serious look. Try to identify his particular problem(s), so you can work with a healthcare professional to find creative solutions to them.
Accurate diagnosis entails first ruling out other possibilities. ADHD-like symptoms always may not be because of ADHD. A learning disability or a traumatic life event may be the undercurrent. Approach a mental health professional to rule out chances of psychological disorders (like anxiety or depression) and behavioral disorders (conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder) or medical conditions (thyroid, epilepsy, sleep disorders) first.
An ADHD diagnosis usually requires the combined efforts of child, healthcare professional, parents and teachers. (If you suspect ADHD- like symptoms in your child, you could take an ADHD test (a couple of them are available online) to ascertain whether he needs a diagnosis.) Your child may or may not be suffering from the condition, but if you feel he’s showing symptoms, it’s best to get him checked.
Diagnosis will involve a close look at factors like the intensity of symptoms, when and where they appear and the duration for which they’ve been around. You must help your specialist with correct and honest answers about your child’s history. Choose a specialist carefully- get recommendations, check background (qualifications, certifications, experience etc.). Also check price and insurance matters.
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, work together with his doctor, therapist and school to implement a personalized treatment plan that meets his needs and requirements. This may involve appropriate diet and exercise plans and modifications to your lifestyle or home environment, besides ADHD treatment.
ADHD Treatment Options
ADHD medications: There are various medicines that can be used singularly or in combination for best results. The most commonly used medicines are psychostimulants that have a calming effect on your child. Some medicines have side effects- contact your doctor immediately if you notice any).
Therapy– Therapy for both child and family may be required. Behavioral therapy teaches children how to manage disruptive behavior, while educating parents about healthy ways of controlling the same.
Parent education, social assistance and support at your child’s school are also a must to make a difference.