Does my child have ADHD? 5 things to know about ADHD

How well do you know the symptoms of ADHD? Are you concerned that your child may have ADHD and want to know what to look out for?

5 things to know about ADHD

1. ADHD was first describe over a hundred years ago

In the early 1900s, ADHD was first mentioned by a British pediatrician named Sir George Still. He described it as “an abnormal defect of moral control in children.” He had found that some children could not control their behavior the way a typical child could, although they were still intelligent.

Today, ADHD or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common neurobehavioral disorder most commonly diagnosed in children. The average age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is seven. Boys are diagnosed twice as much as girls. Some adults demonstrate symptoms as well.

Originally called hyperkinetic impulse disorder, it was not until the late 19602 that the APA or American Psychiatric Association formally recognized ADHD as a mental disorder.

2. Medicine has been use to treat ADHD since 1936

The FDA approved a medicine for ADHD in 1936 called Benzedrine, but Dr. Charles Bradley became aware of some unexpected side effects of this drug the following year. Young patients had improved behavior and performance in school when they were given this medicine. Unfortunately, Bradley’s contemporaries ignored his findings and the benefits of what Bradley discovered was not recognized until many years later.

3. Named changed to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

In 1952, the APA issued the first “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The APA did not recognize ADHD in the first edition of the manual, but the second edition published in 1968 included the disorder for the first time. The definition changed and the disorder was separated into two subtypes, ADD with hyperactivity and ADD without hyperactivity. In 1987, the APA revised the disorder and changed the name to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

4. Ritalin was approved in the 1950’s

4. In 1955, the psychostimulant known widely as Ritalin was approved by the FDA and became popular as a treatment as the disorder became more widely understood. It is still used to treat ADHD today.

5. 3 subtypes of ADHD established

By the fourth edition of the DSM in 2000, it established three subtypes of ADHD which is still used today:

  • combined type ADHD
  • predominantly inattentive type ADHD
  • predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD

Once this was established, doctors were able to diagnose the disorder more efficiently. Also, more parents were aware of it and reported their child’s symptoms. It seemed that more children were actually developing ADHD and more medications were developed to treat it.

Does my child have ADHD?

ADHD is a complex mental health disorder. It can affect your child’s success at school and also their relationships. The symptoms vary widely and are difficult to recognize. It may seem that your child is just a tad different than the rest of the children, but to make a solid diagnosis the doctor will need to evaluate the child using several criteria. ADHD behavior is usually recognized around age seven.

14 common signs of ADHD

  1. Self-focused behavior. This manifests as an inability to recognize other people’s needs and desires.
  2. Interrupting. They butt into conversations or games they are not part of.
  3. Trouble waiting their turn. This can occur in the classroom or when playing games with other children.
  4. Emotional turmoil. They have trouble controlling their emotions and may have outbursts of anger at inappropriate times.
  5. Fidgeting. Hyperactivity in kids is excessive. They can’t sit still, squirm in their chair and may get up and run around.
  6. Problems playing quietly. It is difficult for them to engage calmly in quiet activities.
  7. Unfinished tasks. They show interest in a variety of tasks but have difficulty finishing any of them. This includes homework, chores or projects.
  8. Lack of focus. They struggle to pay attention, even when spoken directly to. They often cannot repeat back what the person has said to them.
  9. Avoid tasks that require extra mental effort. They have difficulty paying attention for long in class or doing their homework.
  10. Mistakes. They have trouble planning and executing a plan and make careless mistakes.
  11. Daydreaming. Often ADHD is associated with loud and rambunctious, but they can just as well be quieter and less involved than other children. They may stare into space, ignore what is happening or daydream.
  12. Trouble getting organized. They may have trouble keeping track of activities and tasks. They find it hard to prioritize.
  13. Forgetfulness. They may lose things and forget homework and chores.
  14. Symptoms in multiple settings. They may show a lack of focus at school, home, and other settings.

Many children have some of these symptoms from time to time. Symptoms of ADHD are exhibited regularly. It affects their success in school as well as their interactions with peers.Parenting ADHD children take patience and special training. Parents need specific tools that are designed to solve their family’s biggest challenges.

6 ADHD-friendly ways to organize your life

Diet and Nutrition

There is a strong link between the quality of your diet and the health of your family. This is especially true for parents of kids with ADHD. Nutrition information is important, including what to eat, what to avoid and how vitamins and supplements work together. Always consult a physician when making changes to your child’s diet.

Create a stable home environment

Ensure your ADHD child is happy, well adjusted now and in the future and create a tranquil home environment. A few adjustments in your parenting skills and the way you interact with your child will make life much easier.

Avoid the trap of over-parenting your child and, instead, become his (or her) biggest ally as he develops greater independence and discovers the keys to self-motivation. Parents need to learn how to turn discipline moments into learning opportunities. Other challenges include dealing with dishonesty and getting your child to take you seriously.

Schedule downtime

Avoid over-scheduling your child with afternoon activities. Children with attention deficit work at least twice as hard as their peers without ADHD and need about twice as much downtime. Try setting up a special space for your child to calm down when he gets overly stressed. Give them quiet play time on their own with puzzles they like, games and activities that they enjoy. Save their errands for later. Rather than dragging your child along with you on shopping trips, hire an ADHD-friendly babysitter.

Schedule time for activity

Set aside time for physical activity either inside or outside so they can release tension and hyperactivity. Talk to the doctor about a second dose or their medicine to help them focus and stay calm during the second half of the day. Foods rich in protein will help balance a child’s mood better than foods high in carbohydrates. Consider an early dinner if your child with ADHD can’t wait for the family meal.

Be supportive

Don’t compare your child with siblings who don’t have ADHD. Children with ADHD need positive reinforcement, even on the best days. Acknowledge their accomplishments no matter how small.

Remain calm

Try to remain calm when bad behavior surfaces. There are some low-stress strategies that can improve your child’s behavior. If your child is ignoring your instructions, crying or whining if they don’t get what they want, or breaking other rules, parents can become frustrated. To keep the misbehavior from escalating, here are some strategies to put a stop to it. Keep it friendly. Speak in a low, calm voice. Try to find something to praise or acknowledge positive behavior.

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