All children struggle at times to pay attention, listen, follow directions, sit still, or wait their turn. But for kids with ADHD, these challenges occur more frequently.
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors.
Kids with ADHD may have signs from one, two, or all three of these categories:
- Inattentive: 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.
- Hyperactive: 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. Without meaning to, they may act in ways that disrupt others.
- Impulsive: Kids who are impulsive act too quickly before thinking. They often interrupt 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 a given situation.
It is important to keep in mind that some of these behaviors are normal in children who are very young. Displaying these signs does not always mean that a child has ADHD. However, parents are encouraged to consult their doctor, if they have concerns.
To diagnose ADHD, doctors start by assessing a child’s health, behavior, and activity. Your doctor might ask you to complete checklists about your child’s behavior and might ask you to give your child’s teacher a checklist as well.
After gathering this information, doctors diagnose ADHD if it’s clear that:
- A child’s distractibility, hyperactivity, or impulsivity goes beyond what’s usual for their age.
- The behaviors have been going on since the child was young.
- Distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity affect the child at school and at home.
- A health check shows that there are no other underlying medical problems.
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, treatment may include:
- Behavior therapy
- Parent coaching
- School support
Parents are encouraged to work with the child’s school to create a nurturing environment, focus on the child’s strengths and positive qualities and connect with others for support and awareness.
If you have further questions about ADHD or would like to schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718- 206-6942.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.