Could my child have ADHD?

Somewhere between 3% and 7% of school-age children , or one child in every classroom  have ADHD, according to various reports.

While every child will at times be inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive, the difference with kids who have ADHD is that these symptoms will be overabundant, happen in all settings and be severe enough and persistent enough to interfere with their learning and relationships.

Signs of ADHD

Some signs that may indicate ADHD could be the reason for your child’s behaviour include:

  • Concerns raised by multiple sources such as a teacher, other parents, the babysitter, or other carers that your child’s inattention or hyperactive behaviour is causing significant disturbance
  • Persistently high activity levels that affect others or cause injury
  • Changes in your child’s emotional and activity level that are not a result of a recent family crisis or alteration in routine.

ADHD checklist

Here is a very simple checklist of symptoms associated with ADHD. Does your child:

  • Act before thinking and doesn’t consider the consequences?
  • Make “careless” mistakes in homework?
  • Jump from one activity to another?
  • Seem unable to get organised?
  • Seem forgetful, particularly when given a series of instructions to complete a task?
  • Interrupt other people’s conversations?
  • Act restlessly ie that is, can’t sit still, fidgets, squirms, climbs on things, and doesn’t sleep well?
  • Have difficulty staying focused, or gets easily distracted?
  • Daydream?
  • Have difficulty finishing homework or chores around the house?
  • Have trouble listening?
  • Have trouble forming friendships?

If you have any concerns at all, visit your GP for a referral or organise a proper medical assessment by a qualified and experienced paediatrician, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

This article was written by Fiona Baker for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best family health resource . Sources include Michele Toner, Living with ADHD, Raising Children Network and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

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