Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD in Children)

How do you know if your child’s level of activity and inattention is normal or a sign of ADHD, a brain disorder that affects children and teenagers and may continue into adulthood? Here’s what you need to know about the condition.

ADHD in Children

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that may interfere with a person’s functioning or development. The condition affects children and teenagers and can continue into adulthood. 

Symptoms and Signs of ADHD 

It is quite normal for children to be active, inattentive, and impulsive. However, children with ADHD tend to display inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in a more severe and persistent pattern, across more than one situation, with a tendency to affect their performance at school and their relationships with others.

Read on for common symptoms associated with ADHD, which according to the diagnostic criteria must have surfaced before your child is seven years old and be evident for at least six months.

With Regard to Inattention, Your Child:
Often fails to pay close attention to details
Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
Is often easily distracted by external sources of stimulation
Is often forgetful in daily activities
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities
Often does not follow instructions and fails to complete schoolwork, chores or duties
Often has difficulty organising tasks and activities
Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities such as toys, school assignments, pencils or books

With Regard to Hyperactivity and Impulsivity, Your Child:
Often fidgets or squirms in the seat
Often leaves his or her seat in the classroom or in other situations where remaining seated is expected
Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations where it is inappropriate
Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
Is often ‘on the go’ or acts as if he is ‘driven by a motor’
Often talks excessively
Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
Often has difficulty waiting turns
Often interrupts or intrudes on others

To watch videos on other common conditions, click here.

ADHD Treatment Options

There is no simple treatment for ADHD. A multi-disciplinary approach is most effective and may include:

Medication for ADHD

Medicine changes the brain chemistry so that the brain may function in a more orderly manner. As your child’s concentration improves and hyperactivity lessens, he or she will find life more manageable and satisfying.

Help With Behavioural Management and Organisation Skills

You can help your child structure and organise his or her life by establishing a routine. Make use of concrete reminders, such as lists, schedules, and alarm clocks to help break down homework activities into small steps. Use of small, frequent and constantly repeated incentives and feedback increase your child’s awareness of what he or she is doing. Positive results are encouraged in this way.

Training Parents to Elicit Desired Behaviour

Training parents helps to elicit the desired behaviour they want in their children. As children with ADHD often feel they can do nothing right or well, helping children experience success by discovering what they are good at will foster their confidence and competence. 

To consult a doctor, please call 6389 2200.

Click here to find out more about the Institute of Mental Health's services for ADHD. To have a better understanding of ADHD, click here.  

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.

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