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Follow the Warning Signs for ADHD

Paul Granoff, M.D.
Pediatrician, Rush Copley Medical Group

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobehavioral condition and one of the most common health problems of school-age children in the United States. Approximately 6 percent of school age children have ADHD, and although it is more common in boys than girls, one should not overlook this condition in girls.

Many parents worry whether or not their children have ADHD, especially if their children are not doing well in school or are having difficulties with behavior or following rules at home. Many teachers notice that children have difficulty paying attention, completing tasks, waiting their turn or following the class routine. Teachers are often the first to call attention to the possibility of a child having ADHD and suggest the need for an evaluation by the child's physician.

The primary symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and poor organizational skills.

Some examples of inattention include:

  • Inability to follow instructions, failing to complete schoolwork or requiring an excessive amount of time to finish homework
  • Easily distractible, forgetting daily activities
  • Failure to focus, failure to pay attention to someone speaking

Some examples of impulsivity include:

  • A child who interrupts or blurts out answers before a question i

    s finished.
  • Trouble waiting for ones turn.
  • Acting or speaking without thinking of the consequences or dangers.

Some examples of hyperactivity include:

  • Inability to sit in ones seat with constant fidgeting of hands and feet.
  • Running and climbing at inappropriate times.
  • Children who talk excessively.
  • A child who is on the go constantly.

Some examples of poor organizational skills include:

  • Failure to bring home assignments or to turn assignments into the teacher on a timely basis.
  • Inability to follow instructions or be able to plan success strategies such as when to study for a test, or how to organize papers

    and folders.

  • Difficulty remembering to bring home books etc.

There is no single reliable test to provide a definite answer to a question that often is raised -- does my child have ADHD? Rather, the answer comes from parents, children, teachers and doctors working together as a team, sharing concerns and observing the behaviors of the children at home, at school and in the community. Consult your child's physician for a comprehensive exam and a thorough review of school records, reports, parental observations, and the completion of appropriate scales to determine the best course of action.

An ADHD diagnosis should only be made after all information has been evaluated. Children with ADHD can be helped with proper intervention and treatments tailored to their needs. From a physician's standpoint there can be no greater joy than helping a child to better achieve his or her potential.