Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How do you know if your Child has ADHD?

Typically, parents do not seemingly realize when certain symptoms are present in their child or adolescent. How can that be? We often see what we want to see, because to see the child or adolescent’s negative or inappropriate behavior is often too difficult to accept, nonetheless manage.

There has been so much talk lately about the overdiagnosis of ADHD. The fact that a child has a diagnosis or does not have a diagnosis does not matter to me. Instead, I look for persistent symptoms that interfere with (or as the new DSM states, impacts) the life of a child or adolescent with ADHD.

The operational word here is persistent. I am not talking about behaviors that the child exhibits once in a while, but rather, those that occur consistently over time. Some of the behaviors that parents should notice, as I state in my book[1] are the following, as adapted from the Conners Rating Scale:

Restless in the “squirmy” sense

Excitable, impulsive

Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless

     mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities

Is an emotional child

Restless or overactive

Does not appear to listen to what is being said to him

Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which

     remaining seated is expected

Inattentive, easily distracted

Has difficulty waiting his turn

Does not know how to make friends


Disturbs other children

Talks excessively

Runs about in situations where it is inappropriate

Has poor social skills

Fidgets with hands or feet

  Demands must be met immediately—easily frustrated

Blurts out answers to questions before the questions have

     been completed

Interrupts or intrudes on others

Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli

Restless, always up and on the go

If you have noticed any of these behaviors, please feel free to send me your questions about how to manage those behaviors.

[1] Rapoport, E. (2009). ADHD and Social Skills: A Step-by-Step Guide for Teachers and Parents. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

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