To Do When You Think Your Child Might Have AD/HD
August 15th 2005
(attention deficit disorder) is one of the most common mental health
disorders seen in childhood. Studies estimate that between 3-7% of all
children have AD/HD: approximately 2 million children in the USA alone,
or one child in every classroom.
main symptoms seen in this condition are inattention, hyperactivity, and
impulsivity, however, it's important to note that not all children with
AD/HD have hyperactivity. Many have the inattentive sub-type; these are
the children who are often over-looked because they rarely present with
behavioral problems. Rather, they are the dreamers who find it difficult
to pay attention and who may instead, seem withdrawn or even depressed.
It is far more likely that the hyperactive, impulsive children are
identified in school for their acting out behaviors. Often times,
teachers will report to the families that an evaluation for AD/HD may be
What should you do if you think your child might have AD/HD?
Have your pediatrician give your child
a complete physical to rule out any possible medical condition that
can mimic AD/HD symptoms. Some children with chronic allergies, for
example, simply cannot focus.
If your child is given a clean bill of
health, discuss your concerns with your child's teacher. Find out how
your child is behaving in school. Some questions to ask would be:
- Is he completing
- Is he paying
attention in class
- Is she able to
make friends easily?
- Does she have
materials (books, paper, pencils) handy, or do they often get lost?
- Is he getting to
class on time?
in mind that many children with AD/HD can do well in school and often
excel in structured environments. It often isn't until the later school
years- often middle school- that these children "hit the wall" and can
no longer keep up. It is imperative that interventions be carried out to
Note your child's behaviors at home.
Does he seem more immature than other children his age? Does he have a
hard time following directions? Sitting at the dinner table?
you feel that your child exhibits many of the traits of AD/HD, then it's
time to get evaluated. Schools should have psychologists on staff who
can offer testing. However, many parents prefer to go for an outside
evaluation. Some pediatricians feel capable of evaluating AD/HD, but
many child psychologists, psychiatrists and neurologists have special
training to help decipher which behaviors could indeed be AD/HD and
which might be something else, such as depression, anxiety or a learning
Child Has AD/HD: Now What?
you find that your child does, indeed have AD/HD, it's important to
educate yourself as much as possible. There are numerous books on the
subject. Consulting with a mental health professional to help you with
the many challenges AD/HD can present, is invaluable. Finding support by
attending local groups such as CHADD (Children and Adults with
Attention Deficit Disorder) also are immensely helpful in not only
learning more about AD/HD, but also to connect with other families who
the treatment of AD/HD often includes parenting strategies, it is
imperative that you work with a professional to help you learn new
techniques to not only help manage your child's behavior, but to also
help him learn organizing strategies, homework management, social skills
Treatment also often includes medication to help quiet the hyperactivity
and impulsivity and/or improve attention. Many parents are reluctant to
give their child medications, but stimulants (the most common and
beneficial medication for AD/HD) are safe when given as directed. Still,
all parents have concerns. Here are some questions to ask your doctor to
help you in making the decision as to whether medication is right for
What are the risks vs benefits?
What side effects might I observe?
Which medications will work best for
What options do I have if I don't want
to use medications for my child?
How will I know if the medications are
AD/HD usually impedes a child's performance in school, it is essential
to work closely with teachers and staff so that your child can perform
her best. Many with AD/HD qualify for special help. If the AD/HD is
getting in the way of academic or social success, you can request
accommodations or even special education services. In order to receive
such services, you will need to have a letter from the professional who
diagnosed your child. If the school psychologist administered the
evaluation and found your child eligible for special help, discuss your
concerns with her to see what sort of support your child needs and is
entitled to in school.
Some AD/HD accommodations often include:
Having your child sit closer to the
Keeping your child away from
distractions, such as the door leading to the hallway, windows, noisy
Having a note taker, especially if
your child has poor handwriting skills
Having assignments written on the
Asking the teacher to check for
homework when your child arrives at school to eliminate the
possibility of his losing it
Have teacher maintain frequent eye
Break down assignments and
instructions into smaller chunks
Give your child extra time to take
tests and complete assignments
Allow for your child to work in a
quieter area of the room, as needed
Get help with organizing books,
papers, backpack, desk, locker, etc
in all, AD/HD is a highly treatable condition and with the right
support, most children will thrive and enjoy success personally,
socially and academically.
Do you have a story related to this article and would
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Terry Matlen MSW,
Terry is a psychotherapist and consultant in Birmingham, Michigan
specializing in AD/HD in adults. She is the author of "Survival Tips for
Women with AD/HD".
Terry is the director of www.addconsults.com, an online AD/HD eClinic
and www.myADDstore.com . She serves on the board of directors of the
Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA). A popular presenter at
local and national conferences, Terry has a passion for raising
awareness of the special challenges for women with AD/HD and the unique
issues parents face when both they and their children have AD/HD.
She can be reached via her website at www.addconsults.com
Keywords and misspellings: ADD ADHD AD-HD
Copyright 2005 Best Syndication Last Updated
Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM