How to Recognize ADHD in Children
Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder vary from child to child, but there are clues to watch for at every age group. The three types of ADHD in children include hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive and a combination of both. Each type has different symptoms and they often change as the child ages.
- Toddler and preschool aged children- While warning signs of hyperactivity may start to develop, the ADHD diagnosis typically comes at the elementary school age.
- Elementary aged children- Hyperactivity will begin to show during these years in many cases. Impulsivity and the inability to focus may also occur. The child may become more emotional and not think things through before acting on them.
- Adolescent children- During the teenage years, hyperactivity begins to improve but difficulties managing time, organizational issues and the inability to focus typically become more noticeable. Teens are all emotional, but one with ADHD may have a difficult time keeping emotions in line.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the Classroom and at Home
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be a challenge for both parents and teachers. It is important to develop rules for the classroom and home and to remain consistent on awards and praise when the rules are followed.
ADHD in children is better managed if there are predictable patterns and places. A parent or caregiver’s priority is to create and sustain structure within the home. Common tips include following a daily routine of meals, homework, play and bed, using clocks and timers, simplifying the child’s after-school schedule if there are too many activities, creating a quiet place and keeping the home organized so the child understands everything has its place.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the classroom can create an environment that is more difficult for learning, but by providing simple instructions to the child and teacher, the child can still excel in school. Simple tips include giving simple, concrete instructions just one time, teaching the child self-monitoring strategies, using a soft voice when providing instructions, having the child repeat the question before answering, keeping assignments short and encouraging planning by using lists, calendars and other organizing systems.
Medication management with or without therapy has been proven to be the best intervention for numerous children and adolescents. It is important to note that medication is often superior to therapy alone in many young patients. Click here to read an informative Q&A, ‘The Multimodal Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA).’