Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often characterized by inappropriate levels of hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention, impacts roughly one in ten children. When left untreated, ADHD can interfere with daily functioning. If you suspect that your child has ADHD, here are several empowering steps you can take.
Learn the Common Signs
ADHD is a condition that can take many forms, each with its own causes and behaviors. The three general categories are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Still, many children don’t fit neatly into one category, and thus, ADHD can look very different from one person to the next. If you are worried about your child, here are some common symptoms:
• Difficulty focusing
• Easily distracted
• Difficulty completing tasks
• Fidgeting/squirming when seated
• Compulsion to talk and interrupt
• Difficulty taking turns
• A tendency to misplace or lose items
Determine the Differences Between Typical and Atypical Behaviors
At times, almost all children can be full of energy and can struggle with staying still or quiet. It’s also not uncommon for kids to lose focus or daydream from time to time.
How do you know whether your child is just energetic and imaginative, or instead, is suffering from ADHD? Start by asking yourself whether the characteristics are extreme and interfere with the child’s ability to complete homework and activities. If the behaviors are frequent and prevent the young person from accomplishing normal tasks, it may be ADHD. Additionally, determine whether the behaviors happen in different settings. For example, if you observe concerning behaviors at home, you can ask your child’s teacher if similar actions are happening at school. With ADHD, the concerning conduct will happen across all settings.
Have Your Child Assessed
If you suspect your child has ADHD, consider getting an assessment. Because ADHD is a treatable condition, having your child assessed can provide you with the information you need to take control of the situation and improve your kid’s life.
Know That Everything Will Be Fine
If the assessment indicates that your child has ADHD, don’t worry. ADHD is common, and there are effective treatment options to help. Also, a diagnosis doesn’t change a person’s identity or behavior. Rather, it gives the existing behavior a name that guides you to finding help. It’s also important to remember that ADHD is a biological problem that could not have been prevented by different parenting choices.
Your child may also be feeling nervous about the new diagnosis or guilty about past behavior. It’s best to acknowledge their feelings and assure them that ADHD is common and treatable. Also, by explaining that there’s a medical cause behind the behavior, your child can feel empowered to change rather than guilty for prior behavior.
Find Ways To Help
After your child has been diagnosed, there are several available treatment options. Medication and behavioral therapy can help, but consult with your pediatrician to determine the best approach for your child’s particular type of ADHD. Additionally, you can help by creating daily routines, encouraging good sleep and exercise habits, and providing healthy meals and snacks.
Studying the symptoms and observing your child’s behavior are good first steps to determine whether your child has ADHD. If you still have concerns, an assessment is the next logical step. Since ADHD is treatable, a diagnosis is the key to improving your child’s life.
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