Identifying and treating attention deficit problems

It seems these days that any child who misbehaves or has trouble sitting still has ADHD. But is this really the case? Or are fidgeting and distractibility simply normal childhood behaviors? It is a constant issue in the news and in the schools. Most people aren't sure what exactly the symptoms of ADHD are and whether or not they should be treated. It is important for parents to inform themselves and become involved in the decisions schools and doctors make about their children.

ADHD Symptoms

So what is ADHD? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a behavioral disorder that affects an estimated 8 to 10 percent of school-aged children. It tends to first appear in the preschool or early school years, and it is three times more common in boys than in girls.


Your child may be evaluated for ADHD if he or she:

Of course, all normal children display these traits occasionally, but in the child with ADHD, these behaviors occur more often and interfere with the child's academic, social and family life.

There are two sub-types of this disorder, each with different symptoms:

ADHD Diagnosis

ADHD is usually diagnosed by your family physician, a pediatrician or the school psychologist. Although there are many screening tests that can indicate a possible problem, there is no single ADHD test or ADD test that can determine whether a child has the disorder. Instead, your doctor will do a comprehensive evaluation of your child's physical health, family medical history and behavioral issues.

First, your doctor will rule out other possible causes of your child's attention problems, such as:

To be diagnosed as ADHD, the symptoms must:

ADHD Treatment

There is no cure for ADHD, but it can be successfully managed. Your doctor can work with you to decide what treatment or what combination of treatments will best suit you and your child. There are several approaches to consider:

Above all, remember that your child is not acting out or misbehaving on purpose. He or she has difficulty controlling behavior and needs your guidance and patience. This can be challenging; ADHD help is available to you online, through the school and in community support groups.