Welcome to One Small Step for Parents! Our goal is to help you find the right resources, support and information that is needed to make informed choices. Without the proper tools we, as parents and adults, don't know what will help our situation or what works and doesn't work. Here at One Small Step, we have done our best to take the guesswork and confusion out of the equation by supplying tools, resources and online support.

Friday, January 23, 2009

How Can You Tell If Your Child Has ADHD?

There isn't one symptom that embodies ADHD. Rather, there are a myriad of behaviours that when manifested for a prolonged period of time, could suggest your child has this disability. I would like to state here that if you notice any of the behaviours associated with this disorder, you should not jump to the conclusion that your child has ADHD.

Diagnosing ADHD isn't simple, nor should it be. It is a complicated disorder, and there are many levels of this disability, from mild to extreme.

If you suspect your child has a problem, don't ignore it with the hopes that it will go away. You should consider having your child evaluated by a professional when any of the following conditions exist:

...for the period of at least 6 months, the child exibits inattentiveness, excessive activity and impulsiveness exceeding that in other children of the same age.

...you consistantly need to assist your child with daily personal chores, like getting dressed, personal hygiene, getting ready for bed or cleaning their room due to an inability to perform these tasks independently.

...other children do not like playing with your child or avoid the child because of excessive activity, emotional or aggressive behaviour.

...day-care staff, teachers, or other parents have told you that your child has been having significant problems with behaviour for several months.

...you repeatedly lose your temper with the child, feel you need to use excessive physical discipline to manage the child, are afraid you might be on the verge of harming the child, you are sleep deprived, exhausted, fatigued, or even depressed because of the amount of time and energy needed to manage and raise the child.

As you can see from this partial checklist, Adhd isn’t simply 'not paying attention'. Adhd is often associated with other behavioural and emotional disorders. Research shows that up to 45% of children diagnosed with Adhd have at least one other psychiatric disorder, sometimes two or more. They also display more symptoms of depression and anxiety (that aren’t high enough for a psychiatric diagnosis) than other children.

As a starting point, with a school aged child, you might want to consider having him or her evaluated. There are several tests that can be administered by the counsellors and teachers, with yourself, that help to pinpoint any problems with behaviour, inattention and hyperactivity.

One of the most important and informative books available is 'Taking Charge of ADHD - the complete authoritative guide for parents' by Russell A. Barkley, PhD. This book encompasses a wide range of relevant topics regarding this disability, from what to expect, possible solutions for getting a handle on ADHD, medications, and information resourses.

If you suspect your child does have this disability, the best way you can help is to educate yourself. The more you know, the better able you are to provide the support necessary to maintaining a healthier, happier relationship with your child. And it goes a long way to reducing the daily stress that is so prevalent with this disability.

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