ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, can affect children of all ages. Thankfully, research has led to significant advancements within just the last 20 years that have made it possible for specialists to better treat ADHD and provide long-term benefits rather than just a quick fix. If you or your child’s doctor suspect that your child has ADHD, you may choose to have your child professionally assessed. No matter the outcome of the diagnostic session with your specialist, there are evidence-based treatment methods that can help your child.
There are three main types of ADHD in children:
- Inattentive (lack of concentration)
- Impulsive (lack of impulse control)
- Combined (lack of concentration and impulse control)
How to identify ADHD in children?
While there is a lot of helpful information about ADHD online, there’s also a fair amount of misguided or inaccurate information that can cause confusion. There are some common symptoms of ADHD, but because the disorder can present in many different ways, a professional diagnosis is a best and safest approach. When it comes to ADHD, an early diagnosis can make all the difference! If you notice at least five of these symptoms in your child for several months, then you should seek a professional opinion. Also note that these symptoms should manifest in at least two locations (like at home and at school):
- Careless mistakes
- Difficulty focusing on tasks
- Incomplete tasks
- Easily distracted
- Loses things easily
- Avoiding of activities that require fair to high concentration
- Lack of attention even when spoken to directly
- Lack of impulse control (can lead to dangerous situations such as running into the street)
- Excessive or permanent fidgeting
- Unable to sit still even for a short time
- Excessive talking
- Disrupts conversations at home or lessons at school by interrupting
- Intrusive behavior
Remember, these are just some symptoms to look for, and it is important to note that for certain age groups, some of the above behaviours can be normal. Trained professionals know how to distinguish between developmentally-appropriate behaviours, symptoms of ADHD, and other potential problems. What might seem like ADHD could be something completely different.
Treatment for children with ADHD
In the past, the most common treatment for ADHD was a prescription for medication. Though there are some effective pharmaceutical treatments on the market, most experts and parents agree that these should be used with discretion and only when absolutely necessary. Dosages of these medications need to be closely monitored and adjusted by a professional according to the needs, age, and weight of the child. Some treatment options and interventions for children with ADHD include
- Stimulant or non-stimulant medications
- Social skills training and executive skills coaching
- Support groups and parent skills training
- Changes in diet like limiting sugar and avoiding certain products and food dyes
- Changes in routine like practicing quiet time and getting extra sleep
- Natural remedies
In many cases, more than one treatment option is recommended to encourage concentration and curb impulsive behavior. Your child’s progress needs to be monitored regularly by a professional. In some cases, the dosage or treatment plan may need to be adjusted as your child gets older- what was working a couple of years ago may not be as effective today and a new approach might be required. By having your child’s ADHD diagnosed as early as possible and accessing the right interventions, you will give your child his or her best possible chance to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically. It’s not just about managing the symptoms, but about using an individually-tailored approach to teach children the skills they need to succeed.
For a professional ADHD assessment in a warm and welcoming environment, call The Clinic on Dupont at 416-515-2649 for more information or to schedule an appointment.