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How Can I Tell If My Child Has ADHD?

Cj Mackey

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For my son, teachers noticed there were slight problems at school. He would sometimes lose focus or zone out and didn't participate in group activities in class. He still did very well at school, but we started to notice that he was beginning to have issues with his friends. Because my child was not noticeably hyperactive, It took some time and a number of different doctors before we could finally put a name to the problems that continued to dog him, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD.

I didn't know much about ADHD before my son was diagnosed. I am consistently surprised with how many people, like me, thought of it as a disorder where the child was in constant motion. But ADHD can manifest in different ways, and knowing some of the more common symptoms and signs can help you identify if your child is as risk.

ADHD can appear as different types or as a combination of types, Inattentive, Impulsive and Hyperactive. Inattentive type children have difficulty focusing or maintaining focus, although that doesn't mean that they can't focus incessantly on something that interests them, like video games! They can appear to not be paying attention or not to hear when being directly spoken to, and you may have to repeat what you are saying many times before getting a reaction. They can be easily distracted by other external factors. They may lose things or appear forgetful about normal daily activities. I know, it sounds like I'm talking about every kid out there, but Inattentive type children do this everywhere, at home and in class, and sometimes need visual cues to regain their attention.

Impulsive children find it difficult to wait their turn or to keep from blurting out answers. They may consistently interrupt conversations. Impulsive children have difficulty stringing together cause and effect. They may repeat the same negative behavior multiple times without remembering the outcome. This is primarily because they live in the moment. For them, the future holds no meaning. Everything is about what is going on here and now. They sometimes too have difficulty picking up social cues from other children and don't read the negative reactions that their need to speak or be first can cause in their friends.

Hyperactivity, as I mentioned, is one of the better known signs of ADHD . But like with my child, it doesn't necessarily mean they are constantly in motion. They may not be able to sit down at the dinner table or stay still long enough to do homework. They may talk excessively, fidget and squirm, or run and climb. Our child didn't have the patience to use a knife and fork but preferred to eat quickly with his hands to get onto the next interesting thing.

The ADHD child may be incredibly disorganized. Their backpacks may be a mass of crumpled papers or forgotten notebooks. You may battle through a three-hour homework marathon trying to maintain his or her attention on work, only to have them forget to hand in the assignment the next day at school.

If you think your child may be exhibiting any of the symptoms of ADHD, be sure to discuss this with your child's teachers and pediatrician. The school psychologist can also help provide valuable insights and help evaluate your child's risk of ADHD. Observations from the parents, teachers and psychologist can help the ADHD specialist determine if your child has the disorder and start him on the road to help. Don't worry about labeling your child. As our doctor pointed out, everyone already saw the symptoms. By discussing them and getting a diagnosis, you can get your child the assistance he or she needs to live successfully with the disorder.

About Author : C. J. Mackey is a working mother of three, balancing a full time career while taking an active role in her children's lives. She has an advanced degree in engineering and over twenty years making technology decisions for fortune 500 companies. She has always been passionate about writing and started contributing to Yahoo! Voices in December 2010. For more professional information you can visit at


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