By Dr. Joyce Fusek
Young children can be rambunctious and have trouble taking turns. Teens sometimes don’t follow rules and ignore directions. These behaviors are age-appropriate and part of normal development – and also possible signs of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Below are the common symptoms of ADHD.
- Inattentiveness/Lack of Focus
Children with ADHD may daydream and have trouble paying attention during tasks, which can lead to careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities (See ADHD, learning disabilities often go hand in hand.) They seem not to listen, even when spoken to directly, and they will say they heard you but won’t be able to repeat back what was just said. They may have trouble following instructions that require executing a plan, and they frequently lose such items as books, pencils, toys, or tools.
Children with ADHD can be easily distracted by surrounding activity or noise and forget to do such activities as chores or homework. They may show interest in lots of different things but may have problems finishing them. Such children may avoid or dislike tasks that require continuous mental effort, such as schoolwork.
A child with ADHD may impulsively blurt out the answers before questions have been completely asked and may often finish sentences for others who are talking. They may have trouble keeping their emotions in check and may have outbursts of anger at inappropriate times. And self-focused behavior can cause an inability to recognize other people’s needs and desires. This may cause a child with ADHD to interrupt others while they are talking or butt into conversations or games they are not part of.
Children with ADHD often can’t sit still. They may try to get up and run around, fidget, or squirm in their chair when forced to sit, making it difficult to play quietly. They run or climb excessively when it’s not appropriate and frequently talk too much.
At times, children with ADHD seem to be “overfocused” in areas they are interested in. As a result, they do not appear disobedient or defiant, but simply don’t do their assigned chores or self-care routines when their parents ask them to since they are so absorbed in their interests.
Importance of early intervention
A child with ADHD is apt to be branded “slow” or “lazy” – or worse. Such labels undermine self-esteem and can lead to years of underachievement and family turmoil. So, it’s critical for parents to know these warning signs of ADHD. Prompt diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan can start a child with ADHD on the road to better relationships with parents, siblings, teachers, and friends, along with improved schoolwork and self-esteem.
If your child regularly displays such behavior and it also impedes their success at school and negatively affects their interaction with family and peers, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a qualified medical professional to determine if they have ADHD.
|Dr. Joyce Fusek is a licensed psychologist at The Corvallis Clinic and specializes in neurocognitive evaluations for ADHD in children. First consultations are parent-only and can be done virtually. To schedule a virtual or in-office parent consultation with Dr. Fusek, please call 541-754-1288.|