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Recognizing Attention-Deficit Disorder

March 2005 Issue
Get Moving
Exercise and Kids
Play in the Mud
Basic Pottery for Kids

Sitting Pretty
Child Safety Seats
Help Your Home Sell Itself
Recognizing Attention-Deficit Disorder
Did You Know?
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Children certainly have energy to burn. How many times have you looked at your children and wished that you had one-tenth of their energy? For most children, that excess energy is all part of growing up and is offset with plenty of nap time and an early bedtime. There are, however, children that continually have problems paying attention, sitting still and controlling their behavior. When such situations become disruptive in the home or school environment, it may be time to ask your pediatrician about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).

According to the organization Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), AD/HD affects approximately three to seven percent of school-age children. Although it was once thought that children could outgrow AD/HD, it now appears that the condition often persists through childhood, into the adolescent years, and even into adulthood.

CHADD’s research sources show that AD/HD symptoms typically become apparent in early childhood. Symptoms are divided into three primary subtypes as follows:

AD/HD predominantly inattentive type: (AD/HD-I)

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Does not appear to listen
  • Struggles to follow through on instructions
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Loses things
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful in daily activities

AD/HD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type: (AD/HD-HI)

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair
  • Has difficulty remaining seated
  • Runs about or climbs excessively
  • Has difficulty engaging in activities quietly
  • Acts as if driven by a motor
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Has difficulty waiting or taking turns
  • Interrupts or intrudes upon others

AD/HD combined type: (AD/HD-C)

  • Individual meets both sets of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive criteria

According to CHADD, diagnosis of AD/HD is a multifaceted process and there is no single comprehensive test for the condition. An individual’s academic, social, and emotional skills are examined along with developmental levels and family history. Additional history is also obtained from parents and teachers. CHADD lists a number of professionals that can diagnose AD/HD including pediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and school psychologists. A medical exam by a physician is an important step to rule out other medical problems and to assess hearing and vision.

Untreated, AD/HD can lead to problems like school failure, academic underachievement, relationship issues, and antisocial behavior problems, to name a few.

Proper diagnosis and treatment through behavior management techniques, medication, and/or educational support and monitoring can make positive changes to correct the condition and give your child the foundation to excel throughout his or her life.

As always, if you have particular concerns about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, consult your family physician.

Source: Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder website: www.chadd.org; February 1, 2005.

Did You Know?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately seventy-three percent of all child passenger restraints—more than eighty percent of car seats and about forty percent of booster seats—are used incorrectly.

Source: National Safe Kids Campaign website; www.safekids.org; February 17, 2005.

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