Is your school-age child beginning to demonstrate some of the classic signs and symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, including hyperactivity, inattention and acting impulsively? Are you reluctant to have him/her tested for the condition, afraid, perhaps, of what the results may indicate? While ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in school-age children, experts suggest there are many children who fail to get the help they need because they have never been tested for the disorder. This not only creates many problems for the child, but for his/her teachers and family as well. To help you avoid these problems, in this article we will discuss some of the more common signs of ADHD in children, followed by 5 reasons why you should consider sending your child for ADHD testing and possible treatment.
Does Your Child Have ADHD?
ADHD is a common brain disorder in children that produces a number of unwanted symptoms, but as mentioned above, the three major symptom categories are hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. These symptoms can trigger many identifiable behaviors in children, including:
- Fidgeting in his/her seat
- Constantly getting up and down
- Constantly on the go, running and climbing
- Interrupting others and intruding on other’s activities
- Excessive talking
- Hard time waiting in line; waiting their turn
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Blurting out answers in class
- And many more…
Nobody knows for certain what causes ADHD in children, but certain factors have been linked to the disorder, including heredity, brain abnormalities, environmental toxins, head trauma and diet. Many parents are quick to blame themselves when their child develops the disorder, but the truth is that no specific parenting choices have ever been positively linked to the development of the disorder, and ADHD in children cannot be predicted.
Once a child has been diagnosed with ADHD, doctors will usually recommend a comprehensive treatment plan to help children and parents cope with the effects of the disorder. Some of these treatment strategies include:
- Medication. There are many stimulant and non-stimulant medications available that can help reduce the severity and frequency of ADHD symptoms.
- Therapy. Cognitive and behavioral therapy is usually recommended alongside medication therapy. These sessions are designed to provide children with better coping skills at school and at home, and to develop alternative responses to difficult situations through role playing.
- Dietary Changes. Certain foods, including fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, are recommended to help manage ADHD symptoms, while other foods, including dairy products, sugar and processed foods with artificial coloring and flavor should be avoided.
- Lifestyle Changes. ADHD children seem to perform much better when a regular routine is established at home, including a disciplinary system with consequences for inappropriate behavior and a reward system in place to encourage and reinforce good behavior.
5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Sending Your Child for ADHD Testing
If your child is struggling with ADHD symptoms and behaviors, testing and diagnosis is the only way to get him/her the help they need. Conversely, neglecting to have your ADHD child tested and treated can result in many problems now and in the future, including:
- An increased chance that your child will drop out of school
- Very little chance of finishing college
- Difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships
- A very high rate of medical and mental health problems
- Increased likelihood of substance abuse
Not only will ADHD testing and treatment reduce the odds of these academic, social and medical pitfalls in the future, the proper combination of medication, therapy, diet and lifestyle changes will almost immediately help an ADHD child become more successful in school and improve his/her self-esteem.