Many children have trouble sitting still. Many children don’t finish things, and many get distracted easily. A child with ADHD shows these symptoms and behaviors more often and more strongly than other children at the same age or the same developmental level.
If you are worried about your child’s behavior, you can check for signs of ADHD. Which of the following symptoms seem to apply to your child? Keep track using this checklist.
- is moving something - fingers, hands, arms, feet, or legs
- walks, runs, or climbs when others are seated
- doesn't finish things
- gets bored after a short time
- daydreams or seems to be in another world
- talks when other people are talking
- fidgets or squirms
- is "on the go"
- gets distracted
- talks too much and has trouble playing quielty
- has trouble waiting in line or taking turns
- loses school supplies and forgets to turn in homework
- has trouble finishing class work and homework
- blurts out answers in class
- leaves his or her seat and runs about
If some of these behaviors often apply to your child, talk with your child’s doctor. When you visit the doctor, take this checklist with you.
Only a healthcare professional can tell whether your child’s behavior is normal, could have ADHD or a different disorder. If you are worried about your child’s behavior, ask your child’s doctor for help!
Your child’s doctor may refer you to child psychiatrist or other physician trained to diagnose ADHD. The health care professional who evaluates your child may review records and reports from other professionals, including:
- Health records
- Report cards and group testing results
- Teacher reports and assessment forms
- Individual psychological testing
If your child has ADHD, getting it diagnosed and treated can make a big difference for your child and yoru family. Untreated ADHD can lead to problems with learning , friendships, and family life. It can also lead to substance abuse and serious accidents. Getting treatment can reduce symptoms and help your child do better at school, with friends, and at home.
Sometimes when a child is diagnosed with ADHD, a parent may recognize that he or she has many of the same symptoms. Diagnosing ADHD in an adult is not easy. For an accurate diagnosis, a psychiatrist or other physician with expertise in adult ADHD should do each of the following:
- Look at a history of the adult's childhood behavior and school performance.
- Interview the patient's spouse, parent, or other close relative or friend.
- Do a physical examination and medical history.
- Review psychological tests.
Many children with ADHD also have one or more additional disorders. A child and adolescent psychiatrist can diagnosis and treat ADHD and also determine if any other disorders are involved, such as the following:
Learning disability. About 20 to 30 percent of children with ADHD also have a learning disability such as a reading disorder called dyslexia, or disabilities that involve writing, spelling, or arithmetic.
Tourettte’s disorder. A small percentage of people with ADHD have a neurological disorder involving various nervous tics and mannerisms.
Depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. An anxious child, for example, may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, or cling to a parent. Depressed children have trouble with moods. Some may appear sad. Others may sulk, get into trouble at school, act negative, or show a lot of anger.
Behavioral disorder. Many children with ADHD have oppositional defiant disorder, a behavioral disorder that involves defiance, arguing with adults, and refusing to obey. Some ADHD children may eventually develop a more serious condition called conduct disorder, which can involve aggressiveness, bullying, lying, stealing, vandalism, eventual substance abuse, and other serious problems. Children with conduct disorder need immediate help.
Getting treatment for accompanying conditions can make it easier to manage ADHD. The reverse is also true: Getting the right treatment for ADHD can be helpful for managing an accompanying disorder.