When it comes to our kids, we want to do everything we can to help them succeed – not just in school but in their day-to-day life as well. So if we have concerns surrounding possible ADHD in our child, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neuro-developmental disorder that can impact a child’s ability to focus and stay on task. While it may seem like an overwhelming challenge, with early diagnosis and treatment, many kids with ADHD learn the skills and strategies that help them reach their own personal and academic success!
If you have concerns about possible ADHD, here are some signs to look out for:
1. Trouble focusing, paying attention or staying on task
One of the most common signs of ADHD in kids is having trouble focusing or paying attention to whatever task they are attending to.
It’s common for kids to become distracted now and then, but if they are unable to successfully finish a task, focus on a single topic or follow through on a step-by-step process, there may be more going on.
Keep an eye on these types of behavior patterns. If they are occurring consistently and start to negatively impact their school or home life, it may be something to start monitoring closely.
Kids have lots of energy, that’s a fact, but when that energy becomes excessive, it may be indicative of possible ADHD.
If your child is always on the move – with no need for a physical or mental break, has trouble sitting still when it is needed or required, or talks excessively regardless of the setting or situation, they could be displaying signs of hyperactivity.
Hyperactivity is often considered one of the most noticeable signs of ADHD.
Just like having loads of energy, kids all go through stages of impulsivity. As they grow and develop, however, they become better able to manage those impulses and redirect their own behavior.
Children with ADHD may act impulsively, without thinking about the consequences of their actions, well past the age that it is developmentally appropriate.
This may look like:
- Consistently interrupting others during conversation or group discussion
- Engaging in risky behaviors with no regard for their own safety or the safety of others
- Having trouble waiting their turn
- Difficulty seeing the consequences of actions
- Being overly physical with others, especially at inappropriate times
For kiddos who struggle with impulsivity, there can be social implications that will affect their day to day lives and their ability to form friendships and peer relationships.
4. Social-emotional struggles
While many of the signs and symptoms of ADHD are physical, there can also be very real emotional effects on our kids. Many children with ADHD feel frustrated, sad and disconnected from their peers because they struggle to meet expectations at home or school.
They may also have a harder time regulating and understanding their emotions. While kids with ADHD experience all the same emotions as anyone else, they may feel them with greater intensity, have big emotions more often and struggle to recover from a highly emotional situation.
For these kids, taking into account their social-emotional wellness is just as important as managing the ADHD diagnosis from an academic or developmental standpoint.
5. Behavioral problems
Children with ADHD have a difficult time managing their bodies and emotions. Many times this can lead to behavioral problems at school and at home.
The typical symptoms of ADHD make it hard for kids to pay attention, follow directions and interact well with their peers. When a child is feeling the frustration of this, behavioral problems can follow.
Behavior issues you see in a child with ADHD may be:
- Acting out in school or at home
- Difficulty following rules
- Defiance of authority figures including parents and teachers
- Aggressive behavior toward peers and family members
It’s important to remember that for kids with ADHD, their inability to behave in a “normal” way is not something they are doing on purpose. They are also likely feeling confused and frustrated as to why they can’t behave in the way that’s expected.
This is a big part of the reason why early detection and intervention are so important. Once you, as the parent or caregiver, have a good understanding of their diagnosis and how best to support them, you and your child will gain the tools and resources to meet ADHD challenges head on!
Next Steps to Take…
1. If you notice any of these signs in your child or have concerns about ADHD in your child, your first step will be to speak to your pediatrician.
2. Your doctor can help you create a plan for evaluation and next steps. Evaluations can be done by a number of licensed professionals and are available through both public and private organizations.
3. Once your child has received a diagnosis, they are eligible to receive services through your school district or with a private therapy practice, such as Beyond Speech Therapy Specialists.
If you’d like to learn more about what we do, how we can support you and your child or would like to schedule a visit with one of our therapists, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
We are here to help and support your child on each step of their journey!