Is your child very hyper? Does your child run around as if he/she is "driven by a motor"?
Does your child have difficulty concentrating or paying attention?
What is ADHD?
- ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in children and adolescents, and often runs in families.1
- Children with ADHD may act differently than other children their age in several ways. They may demonstrate more behaviors of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity. Some examples include:1
- Inattention =
- Making careless mistakes
- Difficulty paying attention to tasks or trying to avoid activities that require sustained attention
- Failing to complete tasks, even after they are begun
- Poorly organized and often loses things
- Easily distracted
- Forgetful in daily activities
- Hyperactivity/Impulsivity =
- Frequent fidgeting or leaving seat inappropriately
- Running or climbing, often "on the go" or "driven by a motor"
- Play is very loud
- Talks a lot
- Does not wait in turn
- Interrupts others or blurts out answers before questions are heard
- There are three types of ADHD:1
- Predominately Inattentive Type-A child who mainly demonstrates the inattentive symptoms, with few or no hyperactive or impulsive symptoms (as listed above).
- Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Type-A child who mainly demonstrates the hyperactive and/or impulsive symptoms, with few or no inattentive symptoms (as listed above).
- Combined Type-A child who demonstrates several of all types of symptoms (inattentive, hyperactive, and/or impulsive).
- It is important to note that ADHD symptoms may look different in children of different ages. For example, it may be very easy to note hyperactivity in a young child (age 5-6) because he/she is constantly running around the room and cannot stay seated. However, in an older child or an adolescent, hyperactivity may actually look more like fidgeting or restlessness. Your mental health provider can help you determine whether your child's symptoms are a result of ADHD or something else (including being completely normal!).1
How common is ADHD in children and adolescents?
- ADHD has been found to occur in 3%-7% of all school-age children.1
- More boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD. The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with ADHD ranges from 2:1 to 9:1, depending on the type and setting.1
- A May 2002 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were over 1.6 million children between the ages of 6-11 years diagnosed with ADHD in the United States.2
What can I do if my child has been diagnosed with ADHD?
- Visit a mental health professional who can assess your child for ADHD. Click here to learn about mental health providers in your area who can assess for and/or treat ADHD in children. If you are outside the central MS area, please click on the following link(s) to learn about community mental health resources in your area: http://www.dmh.state.ms.us/pdf/CYSDirectory-Arial-9-15-08.pdf, http://www.nami.org/MSTemplate.cfm?Site=NAMI_Mississippi
- ADHD is often diagnosed with another form of learning disability.2 Therefore, it is important that in any mental health assessment for ADHD, other learning disabilities are considered and evaluated and/or ruled out.
- CHADD is an organization for parents and families of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. It provides education and guidance on how to help children with ADHD in all aspects of their lives. Please visit the CHADD website at http://www.chadd.org.
- Another helpful organization for children and families who have been diagnosed with ADHD is the National Resource Center for ADHD. This organization provides educational materials and guidance for families of children diagnosed with ADHD. Their website is located at http://www.help4adhd.org/.
- Children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with ADHD have certain rights in school as a result of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act), passed in 1973. If your child is struggling in school as a result of his or her ADHD, it is wise to contact your child's school to arrange special accommodations to help your child succeed academically now and in the future.
1American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed. rev.). Washington, D. C.: Author.
2Retrieved from http://www.help4adhd.org/en/about/statistics, January 6, 2009.