Identifying the Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

March 16, 2012 — 1,057 views  

While attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a significant mental health issue for children, it has also become something of a societal buzzword. Some special education professionals may be quick to assume the presence of ADHD in a child after the first few times he or she exhibits symptoms of hyperactivity, and this can be counterproductive in the long run.

As a result, if you're genuinely concerned that a child you are seeing has this condition, it's necessary to definitively know its symptoms. These signs are divided into three categories by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Having difficulties completing homework and focusing on tasks that aren't specifically "interesting" are strong signs, as are fidgeting, fast or constant talking, nearly nonstop motion, impatience and inappropriate speech.

A quick glance at that list may lead you to think, with good reason, that nearly all of the children you've interacted with have shown those symptoms at one point or another. The NIMH's criteria stipulates that these behaviors must occur constantly on a severe level, continuing unabated for at least 6 months.

The child should be seen by a mental health specialist experienced in dealing with children. If the specialist rules out other conditions - both physical and psychiatric - as causes of the symptoms and delivers a positive ADHD diagnosis, it is typically treated by a stimulant-based medication. Dosages will be determined based on the child's age and the symptoms' severity. Behavioral therapy may also be involved.