“MY SON CAN’T SIT STILL AND WON’T PAY ATTENTION. HOW DO I KNOW IF HE HAS ADHD?”

“MY SON CAN’T SIT STILL AND WON’T PAY ATTENTION. HOW DO I KNOW IF HE HAS ADHD?”

By Dr. Brent Lovett

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) affects between 3 to 5 percent of all children. The disorder is more common in boys than girls and is most common in school age children. It is generally understood that ADHD begins in early childhood with at least some symptoms beginning before the age of seven years.

A child with ADHD often shows some of the following warning signs:

Trouble paying attention

Inattention to details and makes careless mistakes

Easily distracted

Forgets to turn in homework

Difficulty completing assignments in class and homework

Trouble listening

Blurting out answers

Impatience

Hyperactivity or difficulty sitting still

Interrupts or can be intrusive

 

Some of the presenting symptoms may change in the child with maturity. In some cases, the degree of hyperactivity and impulsivity may decrease in the teenage years although they may continue to experience difficulty with academic performance and social relationships.

Research clearly demonstrates that medication can help improve attention, focus, goal directed behavior and organization skills. The medications most likely to be helpful include stimulants that include various preparations of methylphenidate or amphetamine.  Examples include Concerta, Focalin, Adderall and Ritalin. A non-stimulant medication called Strattera may also be useful. These medications are usually well tolerated, but certainly do warrant careful monitoring and regular follow up visits with the physician.

Other treatment approaches may include cognitive behavioral therapy, social skills training, parent education and modifications to the child’s education program. Therapy may help a child with frustration, anger, self control, social interactions, self esteem and study skills. Parents may benefit from learning to give one-step instructions rather than multiple requests at once. Education modifications including classroom placement, reminders, help with organization and even more time for certain tasks may benefit the child as well.

If you are concerned about your child, call the David Lawrence Centers for an assessment at (239)455-8500.

Jan 14, 2021 | Mental Health

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