Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common neurodevelopmental disorders affecting children in the United States. According to statistics, approximately 388,000 children aged 2–5 years; and some 2.4 million children aged 6–11 years are diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD is also deemed the most extensively researched pediatric mental health condition, and yet, there has existed an enduring controversy surrounding its diagnosis and treatment. Mental health experts push harder to shine a spotlight on ADHD—disproving the general perception that it is simply a socially constructed disorder.
The information provided below will give you a better understanding of ADHD, particularly its signs and symptoms as well as its diagnosis and treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
Children with ADHD tend to show extreme behaviors that can be disruptive to their activities and relationships. It is also worth keeping in mind that children with ADHD do not just outgrow these behaviors, and they typically have any or a combination of the following traits.
Inattention is characterized by the inability to hold attention and carefully complete a task. It can encompass behaviors, such as the following:
- Avoiding activities that require ongoing mental effort
- Difficulty concentrating and retaining information
- Frequently losing things required for school tasks, such as books, tools, keys etc.
- Getting easily distracted
- Making careless mistakes
- Not listening when spoken to directly
Hyperactivity is characterized by unusually high levels of energy, activity, or excitement, and the following patterns of behavior:
- Difficulty engaging in quiet activities
- Excessive talking and moving
- Restlessness, and being in constant motion, such as fidgeting, squirming in a seat and tapping hands or feet
- Running or climbing excessively and during inappropriate situations
In the clinical sense, impulsivity refers to action without foresight. Children with ADHD manifest impulsivity through the following behavior patterns:
- Acting or speaking without thinking or regard for consequences
- Blurting out answers to questions or before a question is completed
- Impatience and trouble waiting their turn
- Interrupting/intruding on others, such as other people’s conversations or activities
It is also not uncommon for children with ADHD to be affected by another mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder, disruptive behavior disorders, or Tourette syndrome.
Moreover, children with ADHD often find it difficult to get along with their siblings or make friends with children at school. They may also often be perceived as immature or poorly behaved by many people. Experts ascribe this to the developmental delays (by up to three years) that occur in certain areas of the brain in children with ADHD.
How Is ADHD Diagnosed?
When it comes to ADHD and other psychiatric and behavioral issues affecting children, your pediatrician is the most reliable person you can work with, who can equip you with all the necessary resources to help your child successfully navigate the condition and the treatment process.
There is no single test for diagnosing ADHD, and thus, your pediatrician will perform a combination of the following assessments to confirm a diagnosis.
- Medical examination– including hearing and vision tests, to rule out other problems that can lead to similar symptoms in children
- Behavioral assessment– including observations from parents, teachers, and other people involved in the child’s care
- Evaluation using the ADHD criteria– guidelines indicated in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth Edition (DSM 5).
Treatment for ADHD
ADHD is a lifelong disorder, but with appropriate interventions and strategies, most children can go on to live happy, healthy, and productive lives right through adulthood.
Treatment for ADHD may include a combination of the following treatment approaches:
- Behavior/talk therapy
- Behavioral classroom intervention and school support
- Daily exercise
- Educative training programs
- Executive functioning skills training (to help with planning and organizing)
- Family counseling
- Healthy nutrition
- Parent/carer training programs (behavior management)
- Sleep training
- Social skills training
- Stress management
Pediatric ADHD Treatment in Purchase, NY
At Westchester Park Pediatrics, our highly qualified pediatricians are all committed to advancing the health and overall well-being of the children in Purchase and all of its neighboring communities. Through talk therapy, medications, and the other types of interventions we offer, we can help your child recognize and address their specific problem behaviors by establishing routines and predictability and allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings in words instead of actions. Through family counseling, we will teach you how to establish a behavioral system that will help reinforce the target behaviors to replace the problematic ones.
To find out more about our pediatric mental healthcare services, please call our friendly staff at 914-761-1717. You may also fill out this form to request an appointment with one of our pediatricians.