ADHD usually develops during childhood, and there have been no cases of the condition occurring in adults who didn’t have it in their childhood. As a result, ADHD is best diagnosed and managed during childhood and for the rest of the life.
When it comes to spotting ADHD symptoms in children, the line between normal child-like behaviour and ADHD becomes a bit complicated. It is normal, and any parent can expect their child to be active and forget to do their homework or tasks they are assigned, yet these are also the common symptoms of ADHD. So how do you recognize the difference? Should you rush your child to a psychologist immediately you suspect ADHD?
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM -V), which psychologists use, you need to cover the following bases:
- The child should exhibit at least six symptoms of ADHD
- The symptoms must be prevalent for at least six months
- These symptoms must negatively affect the child’s social, physical, or academic performance
If all these conditions are met, then you definitely need to see a child psychologist for further testing. They are able to more definitively diagnose the condition as well as test other similar conditions.
What to look out for
ADHD manifests in many different ways, which makes it very difficult to spot with an untrained eye. The following are tips anyone can use to perform a quick assessment at home:
- Hyperactivity - as we saw earlier, children will always be more active than adults, their minds are much more curious and they will want to explore and try out new things. This same curiosity makes them unable to sit still for extended periods doing something boring or repetitive. However, you know the hyperactivity has crossed over to ADHD territory when the child constantly gets themselves into dangerous situations or seems to be disobedient to direct instructions to stay still. At first, it may seem like they are acting out, but this should be a warning sign.
- Inattention - a child’s mind is often consumed with very trivial activities and a child may even play with the same toy for hours on end. On the other hand, one with ADHD may not be able to concentrate on any given task; instead, they will easily be distracted by trivial noises and others will seem to daydream. Again, these kinds of behavior need to be noted for a few months and in different locations, for example, at home, and in school.
Why is this important?
When it goes unrecognized and managed, ADHD can have detrimental consequences on the child’s social life, mental, and even physical health. Like all other disorders, early detection is the best way to manage ADHD, both to the child and the parents alike.
What it means for the child
Just because your child may have ADHD does not mean that they’re hopeless, in fact, there are some unique abilities those with ADHD possess. For example, as a result of their condition, those with ADHD tend to be more creative, enthusiastic and energetic. These are important qualities for any person and with proper management of the condition, they will end up living a very productive life.