Has your child recently been exhibiting problem behavior that seems rash, impulsive and inappropriate? Does he/she frequently show signs of inattention and/or hyperactivity? If so, it may be the early signs your child has ADHD. While only a doctor can diagnose ADHD for certain, there are a number of signs and symptoms that may indicate you need to seek professional help for your child. To help you recognize these daily behaviors, in this article we will outline 5 of the most common symptoms of this disorder—5 early signs your child has ADHD and needs professional help.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is far and away the most common behavioral disorder in children. Studies show that approximately 3-7 percent of all school-age children are affected by ADHD, and those statistics only reflect those who have actually been diagnosed. In other words, the total percentage may be much higher.
ADHD usually occurs in children prior to their 7th birthday, and in over 65% of cases the disorder will continue to plague the affected child well into adolescence, and sometimes into adulthood.
One of the primary difficulties in diagnosing ADHD in children is that, for the most part anyway, all children will at times demonstrate some of the classic symptoms of the disorder, which according to experts are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive actions. Quite honestly, that’s just how children act sometimes. But with those who are actually struggling with ADHD, the pattern of these symptoms is not only more regular, but almost always more severe.
5 Early Signs Your Child Has ADHD
So how do you determine if the symptoms you are noticing are the early signs your child has ADHD? How can you be sure those symptoms are not simply the result of “kids being kids?” According to doctors, it is a mainly a matter of frequency and severity—a matter of whether the behavior happens “at times” or happens “most of the time,” and how that behavior affects the child’s ability to function normally.
The following questions, which were developed by the National Institute of Mental Health, are designed to help parents detect the early warning signs of suspect behavior. Several positive answers to these questions could possibly point to the early signs your child has ADHD:
- Do you frequently notice your child daydreaming? And if you do, would you say he or she daydreams more than other children his/her age?
- If your child disorganized at home and at school, unable to keep schedules of any kind or has a difficult time finding homework and keeping his/her room clean?
- Does your child seem forgetful? Does he/she regularly misplace or lose items such as homework and other school papers, shoes and toys?
- Does your child seem hyper-energetic? Is he/she always running or climbing when not supposed to? Do you notice that he/she has a hard time sitting still, fidgeting and squirming in the seat or frequently getting up and down when it is inappropriate to do so?
- Does your child frequently intrude on other people and their conversations? Does he speak out of turn, perhaps blurting out answers in school when he/she has not been called upon?
- Does your child talk excessively?
- Is it often difficult to get your child’s attention when you are speaking to him/her?
Each of these questions represents one or more of the classic ADHD symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. And because they are very specific in nature, it helps parents get a clearer picture of the child’s symptoms in relation to ADHD. Several affirmative responses to these questions may point to the early signs your child has ADHD, and the earlier treatment is sought, the greater odds you and your child have at managing these symptoms before the behavior causes major problems at school and at home.