I have two kids, a boy and a girl. My daughter is laid back most of the time. You can take her anywhere and unless she sees a pair of sparkly shoes she wants, you won’t have a problem. My son who is 6 is pretty much her opposite. He has energy to spare and it seems like his clock never winds down.
So yeah… on challenging days I’ll admit I’ve found myself wondering, “Does my child have ADHD?”
If you’re a longtime reader of Love & Marriage blog you know that when I have questions in my own life, I figure some of you may as well and so I go in search of answers. That’s what I decided to do on this subject.
Note: Just because your child has one or more of these “symptoms” does NOT mean they have ADHD. This post is only meant as a resource so that you can start a conversation with your child’s pediatrician. Don’t try and diagnose your kiddo based on what I’ve written.
Does My Child Have ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder means that a child may be hyperactive, unable control their impulses and may have trouble paying attention.
You’ll be glad to know that the first thing worried Moms should understand is that all little kids can sometimes exhibit ADHD symptoms. They have lots of energy, and there is absolutely nothing going on other than what you’d expect from a happy, well-adjusted child.
To be diagnosed your child must have their lives and relationships negatively impacted for more than six months in more than one setting. They can bounce off the walls at home, but if they are little angels at school it’s probably not ADHD.
ADHD Risk Factors
If your child was a preemie, has a blood relative with ADHD, has been exposed to lead in paints and the pipes of an older building, or Mom smoked or drank during pregnancy, they may be at higher risk.
ADHD Signs to Watch For
1. Can’t sit still. Are they always fidgeting around in their seat, or tapping their foot? They can’t stay seated when it’s called for, like at the doctor’s office or in a class room.
2. Running around when they’re not supposed to. Are they running up and down the aisles at the grocery store even though you’ve told them not to?
3. Can’t handle sitting down and doing a quiet activity. Coloring a page may look like giving it a couple strokes and they are up and going again.
4. Talking too much. What is too much? Well, they are little chatter bugs and when someone asks them a question, they can’t even wait until the question is finished before they blurt out an answer.
5. Not taking turns well. They really struggle to wait their turn.
6. Interrupting conversations or activities. You may never get a word in when you’re talking to your spouse because they are always interrupting. When other children are playing happily, your child may be disruptive and ruin the game or play time.
7. Can’t stay focused or follow instructions. You can’t tell your child, “Get your shoes, put them on, and wait for me at the door.” They seem incapable of following your direction, or they start to and then get distracted by something else.
8. It seems like they don’t hear you. You can be sitting right next to them, speaking directly to them and they have no reaction at all. You may as well be talking to a wall.
9. Things are always lost. Shoes are lost, pencils are lost, favorite toys are lost.
10. Teachers are seeing the same behavior you’re seeing. If your kiddo exhibits the above behaviors at home, and his or her teachers report seeing the same kinds of things, it may be time to have a chat with your pediatrician.
ADHD is treatable and not the end of the world, but if left unchecked it will begin to negatively impact your child’s grades and relationships with other kids. Studies have shown that kids with untreated ADHD may struggle more with depression and anxiety, so if you’re on the fence about whether you have a problem, better safe than sorry.