Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder which makes it difficult to concentrate, focus, and stay still. In children especially, this disorder will make earning good grades in school that much more challenging. In adults, ADHD can cause disorganization, tardiness, and even anxiety.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, 6.4 million American children were diagnosed with ADHD – and that number is continuously growing. The numbers are also increasing for adults. An article published in the Neurotherapeutics Journal reported that at least 25% of American college students with disabilities are diagnosed with ADHD.
Given the high rates of ADHD in the United States, it is important to be aware of certain signs or behaviors which can suggest a child possibly having ADHD. Here are 5 ways you can tell if your child may have ADHD; these signs are not a guarantee. If you believe this sounds like your child, please consult your physician for an evaluation.
A child who is distracted may appear to be self-focused or selfish. They may interrupt others despite being told not to do so. They may daydream more frequently than other children. These children will often have trouble playing quietly. In a classroom setting, these children will have a lot of trouble focusing as well as paying attention, which may cause children with ADHD to underachieve in school.
Children who are impulsive often have issues with waiting their turn in lines; for food, activities, or toys. These kids may present as hyperactive; they can appear fidgety, worried, or on-edge. With ADHD kids, once they become upset or particularly distraught, it can be much more difficult to de-escalate or calm them down as compared to other children. Impulsive behavior in children is also seen in adolescents who are accident prone because they are not able to slow down. Lastly, these children may have a lot of trouble falling asleep at night.
Avoiding Certain Tasks
Children with ADHD will typically hate reading or other tasks which require them to sit down and use mental effort. Due to this, you may notice a child who always manages to leave tasks incomplete. Adolescents with ADHD sometimes develop a reputation for starting new activities, projects, or games only to leave them unfinished. These children may be seen as quitters, ambivalent, or the students who “just need to apply themselves”; these students are usually very intelligent, however, they find a way to avoid (or somehow fail) uncomfortable or difficult mental tasks.
Making Silly Mistakes
Most children with ADHD are intelligent, however, they often underperform. In addition to everything that has been mentioned above, children with ADHD have difficulty being organized; their backpacks are cluttered, they will not be able to find their school supplies, and they usually have issues prioritizing school work such as daily assignments over weekly projects. In addition, these children may be forgetful, meaning they will do all the difficult homework with the help of mom and dad, but then forget to turn the algebra worksheet in when the teacher is collecting it during class 🙁 this can be very frustrating for any parent. ADHD children are often known for being late to class, practice, and work.
Although ADHD does not directly cause emotional symptoms, the disorder can cause major issues in school and at home, both of which can lead to emotional problems in developing children. For example, doing poorly in school may cause children to have low self-esteem. Or, constantly getting in trouble by the teacher may lead to anxiety related to school/authority/parents/employer/police. ADHD children may view themselves as “trouble-makers” because of their experiences in school, which can translate poorly to adult life where adults with ADHD can run into actual legal issues instead of the principal’s office. Many children who have ADHD will avoid eye contact with adults and authority figures.
It is crucial to address these issues earlier on instead of letting these symptoms manifest into adulthood. The structure, support, and routine of living at home with parents can mask these 5 elements discussed above. If your child displays any of the aspects above, it is important to be aware of how your child is transitioning into college, or when they move out to be on their own. Typically, the first time an undiagnosed ADHD child will experience noticeable issues is when they are a young adult starting college/university, or the equivalent of when he/she leaves home for the first time.This is when mismanaged ADHD in a growing child can turn into anxiety or depression when they are a young adult; due to experiencing failure and stress without any insight as to why they are having a harder time than everyone else (getting fired from a job, failing an important class, not being able to budget…etc).
If you are in the Tempe, AZ area and believe your child may have ADHD, please make an appointment at Transitions Center today by calling 480-491-1898.