A Parents Guide to an ADHD Diagnoses.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD stands for “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder”. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in friendships.
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.
Signs of ADHD.
All kids struggle at times to pay attention, listen, and follow directions, sit still, or wait their turn. Kids with ADHD, the struggles are harder and happen more often.
Kids with ADHD can show signs in any or all these areas:
Kids who are inattentive (easily distracted) have trouble focusing their attention, concentrating, and staying on task. They may not listen well to directions, may miss important details, and may not finish what they start. They may seem absent-minded or forgetful, and lose track of their things.
Kids who are hyperactive are fidgety, restless, and easily bored. They may have trouble sitting still or staying quiet when needed. They may rush through things and make careless mistakes. They may climb, jump, or roughhouse when they shouldn't.
Kids who are impulsive act too quickly before thinking. They often interrupt, might push or grab, and find it hard to wait. They may do things without asking for permission, take things that aren't theirs, or act in ways that are risky. They may have emotional reactions that seem too intense for the situation.
It is normal for little kids to be distracted, restless, impatient, or impulsive — these things don't always mean that a child has ADHD.
Attention, activity, and self-control develop little by little.
When these life skills do not develop and begin to cause problems at school, home, and with friends, it may be time to make an appointment with your child's pediatrician.
Getting Ready for the Pediatrician.
Gather some key information to help your pediatrician make a diagnosis.
Make lists of any:
- Symptoms or troubles that your child has at home, school or in a social setting
- Recent life changes or big, stressful events your child has gone through
- Inform them of any health conditions
- Medications, vitamins, herbs, or other supplements they take. Note the dose and how often they take it.
Round up your child’s recent school report cards and the results of any formal tests or evaluations.
Make a list of any questions and/or concerns.
Positive ADHD diagnosis.
Work with your child's pediatrician in deciding on a treatment plan.
Depending on your child’s age and the severity of their symptoms, treatment recommendations may include behavioral interventions like individual or family counseling, parental training and education, or medication.
The pediatrician may recommend behavioral therapy for in most cases, it often works wonders. Sometimes, medication along with home and school modifications are also recommended.
Most schools offer special services and accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) . Work with your child’s school to find out if they meet the eligibility requirements to receive support through an individualized education program. Your pediatrician is an important resource who can also help guide you through this process.
Support Your Child’s Treatment.
There is no cure for ADHD, but the outlook is encouraging for children who receive treatment.
Any effective treatment involves long-term planning, including:
- Setting realistic goals for your child’s behavior.
- Monitoring and follow-up activities, such as behavior checklists, teachers’ reports, and provider visits
- Revisiting the treatment plan to track progress against goals and make modifications as needed. Be sure to adhere to the pediatrician's follow up plan.
* Learn all you can about ADHD and educate the people in your child’s.
- Ask your provider for reliable ADHD information sources.
- Talk to the adults in your child’s life about their diagnosis and agree on how to handle behavior issues. Encourage regular communication to address any concerns.
- Help your child with behavior management techniques, recognize their successes, build on their strengths, and creat positive experiences.
A diagnosis of ADHD doesn’t have to put your child at a disadvantage in life.
ADHD can and has contributed to the success of many people.
Personality Strengths of People with ADHD.
- Abundance of energy . Individuals with ADHD often have seemingly endless amounts of energy which they channel toward success.
- Being spontaneous. Individuals with ADHD can turn impulsivity into spontaneity. They are open and willing to try new things.
Living with ADHD may give the person a different perspective on life and encourage them to approach tasks and situations with a thoughtful eye.
- Being hyperfocused. Some people with ADHD may become hyper-focused. Assignments can be completed diligently without breaking concentration.
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Kids with ADHD are bright, creative, funny... well, a lot like our favorite children's author, Dr. Seuss! Don't dim your child's sparkle by trying to fit their outsized personality into society's little box. Let your child's imagination take the lead and drive you places your peers never thought of.
"Why fit in when you were born to stand out"
As always, the staff at Healthy Kids Care at Sunrise are here to guide and support you.