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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles ADHD


As your child nears school age you will start to have a lot of questions. One of the more popular questions, especially if your child is very energetic, is whether or not your child may have ADHD.

ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a disorder that affects how ell your child can pay attention and stay on task. ADHD is very difficult to diagnose before the age of five due to the environment and activities that younger engage in. Once they enter school, ADHD is easier to identify. Some of the symptoms of ADHD include…

• Being in constant motion

• The inability to sit still

• Being easily distracted

• Excessive talking

• Constant interruption on others

• Inability to complete tasks

• Trouble listening and paying attention

Only a doctor can diagnose ADHD, but the diagnosis is made by interviewing or getting feed back from the child's teachers, parents, family members and others who have extensive contact with him or her.

In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, a child must exhibit at l east six of the symptoms of ADHD on a consistent basis for at least six months or longer.
There are three main types of ADHD found in children.

• Hyperactive/Impulsive Type: This type of ADHD is characterized by hyperactive and impulsive behavior, but not by the inability to pay attention.

• Inattentive Type: This type is also called ADD and it is characterized by a tendency to not be over active or hyperactive, yet the child still has difficulties paying attention and finishing tasks.

• Combined Type: This type is a combination of inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive behaviors that is characterized by a showing of all three types of ADHD. This is also the most common type of ADHD found in children.

Treatment for ADHD includes both medication therapy and behavioral therapy. The prescribed medications can lessen the symptoms, but behavioral therapy is required to teach children ways to cope with and work with their symptoms.

There are many different types of medications used to treat ADHD in children. Most of these medications involve the use of some type of stimulate. The stimulate medications actually has the opposite effect in children in ADHD and works to calm them down. The following is a brief explanation of the different types of medications.

• Stimulants: This class of drugs is highly effective in treating children with ADHD. These medications include brands such as Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta. These medications work to help a child focus their thoughts and overcome distractions.

• Non-stimulants: These medications use non-stimulating ingredients to achieve the same effects as stimulating drugs. The main known brand of this drug is Strattera. Since this is a relatively new medication, more studies are needed to determine the extent of help this drug can give. However, studies to date show a marked improvement in symptoms of children with ADHD, without the side effects of stimulating drugs.

All of these medications come in different forms. For young children, the medications come in liquid form, for older children they come in a tablet or capsule form. These drugs also come in different formulas. Some formulas are made to be fast-acting, also called immediate release, while others are formulated to be released over time, also called long-acting. Only your doctor can decide which formula is right for your child.

The side effects to all ADHD medications are mild and are usually short-lived. Any side effects that your child may experience will usually disappear within a month after they start the medication. Side effects to look for include…
• Weight loss

• Sleeplessness

• Early waking or trouble falling asleep

• Upset stomach or nausea

• Headaches

If your child experiences any of these side effects, be sure to notify your doctor.

Behavioral treatment for ADHD comes in the form of therapy or counseling. There are many types of behavioral therapy that can benefit you and your child. Examples of a few are as follows.

• Support groups: This type of therapy is usually best for the parents. These groups offer education and parenting tools that parents can use to cope with their child's symptoms. They also offer support and reassurance for frustrated parents.

• Social Skills Training: This type pf therapy can teach your child tools that can help them develop and maintain relationships. This type of therapy is especially useful for a child who has trouble making friends.

• Study Skills: Since many children with ADHD have trouble le paying attention, a class that stresses study skills can help them develop the skills necessary to function in a class room setting. These skills include such things as proper note taking, test taking tips and study guides.

If you suspect that your child has ADHD, it is best to begin charting their behavior for a few months before contacting a doctor. Another way to help you determine if you need to call a doctor is to contact your child's teacher and ask for their thoughts.

With a little preplanning and a lot of education and modification, children with ADHD can go on to live healthy, normal lives.

Copyright 2013. All educational materials are the sole property of Kid First Internet and are available for the benefit of our parents. Duplication or use of any material requires the express consent of Kids First Internet.

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