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Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Read more and better understand the issues your child may be having! Also, contact  Child & Family Counseling of Tupelo today.

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats

  • Talk nonstop

  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight

  • Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time

  • Be constantly in motion

  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

What causes ADHD?

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

What are the symptoms of ADHD in children?

  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another

  • Have difficulty focusing on one thing

  • Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable

  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new

  • Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities

  • Not seem to listen when spoken to

  • Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly

  • Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others

  • Struggle to follow instructions.

Additional Resources

boys playing adhd girls jumping
  • Be very impatient

  • Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences

  • Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games

  • Often interrupt conversations or others' activities.

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

Children mature at different rates and have different personalities, temperaments, and energy levels. Most children get distracted, act impulsively, and struggle to concentrate at one time or another. Sometimes, these normal factors may be mistaken for ADHD. ADHD symptoms usually appear early in life, often between the ages of 3 and 6, and because symptoms vary from person to person, the disorder can be hard to diagnose. Parents may first notice that their child loses interest in things sooner than other children, or seems constantly "unfocused" or "out of control." Often, teachers notice the symptoms first, when a child has trouble following rules, or frequently "spaces out" in the classroom or on the playground.

 

Leah Headings uses a combination of techniques in considering a possible diagnosis of ADHD.  Information is gathered from the parents and the school, and the child is observed in the counseling sessions.   When gathering information, other possible causes for the symptoms will be considered and ruled out.  

 

In evaluating symptoms, the following questions will be considered:

How is ADHD diagnosed?

Parents and teachers can miss the fact that children with symptoms of inattention have ADHD because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit quietly, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. They may get along well with other children, whereas children who have more symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity tend to have social problems. But children with the inattentive kind of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorders can be missed. For example, adults may think that children with the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms just have disciplinary problems.

ADHD Can Be Mistaken for Other Problems

  • Are the behaviors excessive, and do they affect all aspects of the child's life?

  • Do they happen more often in this child compared with the child's peers?

  • Are the behaviors a continuous problem or a response to a temporary situation?

  • Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one place, such as the playground, classroom, or home?

Children with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed in school. Before a child is diagnosed, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family. Parents and children may need special help to overcome bad feelings. Child and Family Counseling can educate parents about ADHD and how it impacts a family and also help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.

 

Often the only treatment given for ADHD is medication.  While this is sometimes necessary, it is not the only intervention that can help.  Medication alone will not usually help the child and family overcome all the issues that go along with ADHD.   However, if a child is on medication, it is important for the parent to understand how the medication is affecting their child and if it is effectively managing the targeted symptoms.

 

At Child and Family Counseling parents receive education to understand the symptoms and how they affect their child, and behavior management techniques to help them manage the behavior.  Other non-medicinal interventions such as diet and recommended vitamins and nutrients are also offered for interested parents.  Support and education on how to help the child be successful in school and manage homework are also provided.  In addition, it is very beneficial for the child to receive psychotherapy.  

 

Different types of psychotherapy are used for ADHD. Behavioral therapy aims to help a child change his or her behavior. It might involve practical assistance, such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events. Behavioral therapy also teaches a child how to monitor his or her own behavior. Learning to give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way, such as controlling anger or thinking before acting, is another goal of behavioral therapy. Parents and teachers also can give positive or negative feedback for certain behaviors. In addition, clear rules, chore lists, and other structured routines can help a child control his or her behavior.

 

Therapy may teach children social skills, such as how to wait their turn, share toys, ask for help, or respond to teasing.  Learning to read facial expressions and the tone of voice in others, and how to respond appropriately can also be part of social skills training.  This is usually accomplished through Play Therapy.  

Treatment for ADHD

What conditions can coexist with ADHD?

Some children with ADHD also have other illnesses or conditions that will also need treatment. For example, they may have one or more of the following:

  • A learning disability. A child in preschool with a learning disability may have difficulty understanding certain sounds or words or have problems expressing himself or herself in words. A school-aged child may struggle with reading, spelling, writing, and math.

  • Oppositional defiant disorder. Kids with this condition, in which a child is overly stubborn or rebellious, often argue with adults and refuse to obey rules.

  • Conduct disorder. This condition includes behaviors in which the child may lie, steal, fight, or bully others. He or she may destroy property, break into homes, or carry or use weapons. These children or teens are also at a higher risk of using illegal substances. Kids with conduct disorder are at risk of getting into trouble at school or with the police.

  • Anxiety and depression. Treating ADHD may help to decrease anxiety or some forms of depression.

  • Bipolar disorder. Some children with ADHD may also have this condition in which extreme mood swings go from mania (an extremely high elevated mood) to depression in short periods of time.

ADHD also may coexist with a sleep disorder, bed-wetting, substance abuse, or other disorders or illnesses. For more information on these disorders, visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.  

 

Recognizing ADHD symptoms and seeking help early will lead to better outcomes for both affected children and their families.  Let Child and Family Counseling help you!