What is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that usually onsets, or is diagnosed, in childhood. As more research emerges, we now know that adults can also have ADHD, which usually means they were not diagnosed or misdiagnosed as children. While it is normal for children to be restless or sometimes have trouble paying attention, children with ADHD will struggle with these things much more than usual, and it can be distressing and disruptive to their wellbeing. Some signs and symptoms of ADHD include:
- Frequent daydreaming, or appearing to be “zoned out”
- Forgetting or losing things frequently
- Squirming or fidgeting
- Excessive talking, particularly at inappropriate times
- Making seemingly careless mistakes, or taking frequent risks
- Having a hard time resisting temptation or distraction
- Having trouble taking turns
- General difficulty getting along with others
There are technically two types of ADHD. The first is known as the Predominantly Inattentive Designation, in which it is especially difficult for the child to organize or finish a task, pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. This presentation comes with frequent and easy distraction, as well as forgetting the details of daily routines. The second type is Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Designation, in which the child fidgets and talks frequently (especially talking “out of turn”), and may want to frequently run, jump, or climb. A child with this designation will have a harder time waiting their turn or listening to directions from parents, teachers, caretakers, and other adults. A child with Combined Presentation will have characteristics of both types of ADHD.
Where can I have my child tested for ADHD?
Your child will have to be tested for ADHD by a health professional that specializes in childhood development, such as a pediatrician. At KidsHealth Pediatrics, our in-house pediatrician Dr. Maria Nabong has extensive experience testing, diagnosing, and working with children with ADHD. Dr. Nabong can provide a consultation appointment for you and your child, and administer the appropriate diagnostic materials for an ADHD test. If you suspect your child may have ADHD, don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help.
Is there a difference between ADD and ADHD?
While you may have heard of Attention-Deficit Disorder, or ADD, as well as ADHD, based on today’s knowledge, ADD has become an outdated term. This is because ADD was previously used to describe the Predominantly Inattentive presentation in children, although we now know that that is simply another way to present and describe the same condition, which is ADHD.
In other words, to say that a child has ADD would simply be saying that they present more as the Predominantly Inattentive type, which is why the term is no longer useful. Whether a child presents as Predominantly Inattentive or Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, they would still be considered to have ADHD.
Is there any therapy or treatment for children with ADHD?
Yes. As a parent, it can be distressing to find out that your child has ADHD, but with the right support, they can live a happy, full life. Our pediatrician Dr. Maria Nabong will work with you to put together a treatment and management plan that works best for your child.
Generally, in younger children, behavioral therapy is the first approach, with medication being more common in older children (and adults) diagnosed with ADHD. It may take some time to figure out what works best for your child, and it may be a combination of supports, including medication and behavioral therapy. As a parent, having a pediatrician that knows your child and their history is an important piece of overall support. We’re proud to provide this at KidsHealth Pediatrics.