Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
It is normal for young children to have difficulty focusing their attention for long periods of time, fidget on their seat, or act without thinking. This is because their attentional capacity and impulse control area in their brains are not fully developed yet. However, inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), which can impact your child’s ability to learn and get along with others. These signs of ADHD can occur before a child turns seven years old, and it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms to address this at an early age.
Children with ADHD have three main difficulties:
- Inattention: difficulty focusing and concentrating
- Impulsivity: acting on impulse without thinking through his/her actions
- Hyperactivity: Often moving around and fidgeting
Additional signs of ADHD for parents to look out for:
- Feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated
- Running, climbing, or leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected
- Blurting out answers before hearing the whole question
- Having difficulty waiting in line or taking turns.
- Acting without thinking
- Often becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights, sounds and thoughts
- Often failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes
- Rarely following instructions carefully and completely losing or forgetting things like toys, or pencils, books, and tools needed for a task
- Often skipping from one uncompleted activity to another
It is important to note that children who have ADHD are able to pay attention when they are doing things they enjoy, but they struggle with various aspects of attention for tasks that they are not interested in. For example, when the task is repetitive and boring, they are unable to sustain their attention and quickly tune out.
Just because a child has symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, it does not mean that the child has ADHD. There are many other psychological disorders or stressful situations which can cause symptoms which look like ADHD. It is important for your child to receive a thorough assessment from a qualified professional for an accurate diagnosis. At Thomson Pediatric Centre, our clinical and educational psychologist are able to conduct a diagnostic assessment to better understand the underlying processes impacting your child’s behavior.
Research has found several evidence based treatments which are often used to support children with ADHD, such as: medication, behavioral therapy, parent education and training, social skills support, and support at school. Experts have found that early intervention that focuses on both the child and the family unit generally lead to best outcome. With early intervention and support, children who have ADHD are able to go on to live successful and fulfilled lives.