My Child Has Been Diagnosed With Adhd Now What
When a child is diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , parents often have concerns about which treatment is right for their child. ADHD can be managed with the right treatment. There are many treatment options, and what works best can depend on the individual child and family. To find the best options, it is recommended that parents work closely with others involved in their childs lifehealthcare providers, therapists, teachers, coaches, and other family members.
Types of treatment for ADHD include
- Behavior therapy, including training for parents and
Treatment recommendations for ADHD
For children with ADHD younger than 6 years of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parent training in behavior management as the first line of treatment, before medication is tried. For children 6 years of age and older, the recommendations include medication and behavior therapy together parent training in behavior management for children up to age 12 and other types of behavior therapy and training for adolescents. Schools can be part of the treatment as well. AAP recommendations also include adding behavioral classroom intervention and school supports. Learn more about how the school environment can be part of treatment.
Additional Problems In Adults With Adhd
As with ADHD in children and teenagers, ADHD in adults can occur alongside several related problems or conditions.
One of the most common conditions is depression. Other conditions that adults may have alongside ADHD include:
- personality disorders conditions in which an individual differs significantly from an average person, in terms of how they think, perceive, feel or relate to others
- bipolar disorder a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another
- obsessive-compulsive disorder a condition that causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour
The behavioural problems associated with ADHD can also cause problems such as difficulties with relationships, social interaction, drugs and crime. Some adults with ADHD find it hard to find and stay in a job.
Tips For Parenting A Toddler With Adhd
If your toddler has ADHD, one first step might be setting aside time to learn specific behavior therapy techniques from a qualified therapist.
Healthcare professionals recommend behavior therapy as the first treatment young children with ADHD should receive, and experts believe this therapy is most effective when it comes from parents.
A few key tips for helping your child manage ADHD include:
- telling them your expectations simply and clearly
- making sure they get lots of exercise, which will help them concentrate and sleep better
- creating a routine and sticking with it
The U.S. Department of Education offers specific techniques for teachers that you could also apply at home, making sure you adapt them to your toddlers developmental level. These include:
- praising your child when they start or complete an activity you asked them to do
- being specific, telling them exactly what they did well
- praising them right after they complete the action
- being genuine when offering praise and encouragement
- using visual prompts to remind your toddler about your expectations
- giving your child physical rewards for engaging in the right behavior
And if youre looking for more tips on parenting a child with ADHD, you can find them here.
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How Doctors Diagnose Adhd In Children
When making an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will first want to determine whether you or your child has the ADHD symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition .
According to the latest DSM-V guidelines1, in order to be diagnosed with ADHD, a patient must demonstrate at least six of the nine symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity prior to age 12. In addition, these symptoms must impair the persons functioning in more than one setting home, school, or work.
While the DSM-V outlines the basics for an ADHD diagnosis, theres much more to an accurate diagnosis. In addition to reviewing these criteria, doctors will conduct a thorough clinical interview using one standardized ADHD rating scale. A screening test is also often administered to rule out common coexisting conditions like learning disorders, anxiety, autism, and mood disorders.
Diagnosing an adult is trickier than diagnosing a child. The DSM-V symptom guide is really invalid for adults almost all of its criteria is geared toward diagnosing children. An ADHD diagnosis in adulthood emerges only from a careful clinical interview conducted by a specialist in ADHD who takes his or her time with the evaluation.
What Causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but the condition has been shown to run in families.
Research has also identified a number of possible differences in the brains of people with ADHD when compared with those without the condition.
Other factors suggested as potentially having a role in ADHD include:
- being born prematurely
- having a low birthweight
- smoking or alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy
ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability, although it’s more common in people with learning difficulties.
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What Happens If Adhd Is Left Untreated
Symptoms will continue if ADHD is left untreated and people are left to manage them on their own. Children may struggle at school, home and in social situations, and adults may struggle with work, education, interactions with friends and family and more. Untreated ADHD makes life harder than it has to be.
Diagnosing Adhd In Adults
ADHD often lasts into adulthood. To diagnose ADHD in adults and adolescents age 17 years or older, only 5 symptoms are needed instead of the 6 needed for younger children. Symptoms might look different at older ages. For example, in adults, hyperactivity may appear as extreme restlessness or wearing others out with their activity.
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How Is Adhd Diagnosed In Preschoolers
It is usually hyperactive and impulsive behavior that leads to an ADHD diagnosis in preschoolers. They may have been kicked out of preschool or banned from playdates. Their parents worry constantly that they will run into the street or hurt themselves in some other impulsive way.
From 2 to 6 percent of preschoolers are estimated to have the disorder a much lower percentage than school age kids. Boys are twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed.
But Dr. Stein, who is also a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the University of Washington, emphasizes that diagnosing ADHD at this age should be done with great care, since all preschool children exhibit some hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, the key symptoms of ADHD.
Observing a childs behavior in the doctors office is not sufficient for a diagnosis, as symptoms may not be present in that environment. Pediatricians are encouraged to collect screening questionnaires filled out not only by a parent but by at least one other adult who spends time with the child. Symptoms must be present in more than one setting ie at home, at preschool or daycare, with relatives or family friends.
As Dr. Stein notes, its harder to evaluate children who are not yet in a structured environment like preschool, where their behavior is easier to observe and compare to that of other kids.
What To Think About
Medicines may also be used to treat other mental health conditions that often occur along with ADHD. One condition is anxiety disorders.
If your child is taking medicine for ADHD, consider:
- All of a child’s behaviour problems may not be controlled by medicine. And it hasn’t been proved that medicine improves the long-term educational, occupational, and social functioning of a person who has ADHD.
- Stimulant medicines may be related to slower growth in children, especially in the first year of taking the medicine. But most children seem to catch up in height and weight by the time they are adults. Your doctor will keep track of your child’s growth and will watch for problems.footnote 6
- Some medicines used to treat ADHD can be abused. Make sure that your child knows not to sell or give medicine to other people. An adult should supervise the medicine.
- Some parents worry about their children becoming addicted to stimulants. Research has shown that these medicines, when taken correctly, don’t cause dependence.
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Can Toddlers Have Adhd
Toddlers are children between the ages of 1 and 3 years, according to the AAP.
Since ADHD is a condition youre typically born with, its possible for toddlers to have ADHD even if theyre young.
While some children do receive an ADHD diagnosis before theyre 4 years old, this isnt common.
The AAP has published guidelines for pediatricians on how to diagnose and treat ADHD in children of preschool age and older. It does not have guidelines geared toward younger children.
About 11% of U.S. children 4 to 17 years old are living with symptoms of ADHD. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest 388,000 children ages 2 to 5 years in the United States have an ADHD diagnosis.
But according to some
Early signs of ADHD generally include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Here are some examples of how these symptoms may appear in toddlers:
- Their behavior seems disruptive or inappropriate for their age.
- Your daycare provider has noted that your childs behavior is often disruptive.
- It often seems like they arent listening or paying attention.
- They frequently squirm in their chair or fidget with their hands or feet.
- They run or climb excessively.
- Caregivers or early childhood educators identified that your child may need special education, which can be associated with having ADHD.
Healthcare professionals diagnose ADHD according to criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
Behavioral Therapy Comes First
For preschoolers diagnosed with ADHD, behavioral therapy is the first treatment.
This type of treatment involves changes in behavior by parents and teachers. Techniques include praising and rewarding good behavior, ignoring bad behavior, and using time-outs. Structure and routine are important for young kids with ADHD.
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Behavioral Treatment For Adhd
Parent training for behavioral management techniques is the recommended treatment for preschoolers with ADHD. Through these programs, parents learn how to more effectively shape the behavior of young children, and the children usually show marked improvement in their ability to comply with direction and rein in their impulsivity.
Why parent training, rather than therapy delivered directly to the child? Dr. Adesman explains that children are often referred for play therapy, but this is not a very helpful intervention for ADHD. At its worst its like an expensive play date. At its best its a well-intentioned intervention that doesnt have any evidence to support it. What families should be pursuing is parent training in behavior management techniques.
Intuitively one would think that if the child has the problem, the therapy should be focued on the child. The reality is that, while its the child who has the problem, what we want to do is change the environment so we can set the child up for success. And that typically involves working with parents and teachers, he explains. If a child has allergies the problem is with the child but the solution is in working with the environment. You might get rid of the carpet or the drapes or find a new home for the cat. We can do things with the environment to help kids behave better.
- because of the childs behavior
How Does Adhd Affect Adults
Many adults don’t realize that they have ADHD until their children are diagnosed. Then they begin to notice their own symptoms. Adults with ADHD may find it hard to focus, organize, and finish tasks. They often forget things. But they also often are very creative and curious. They love to ask questions and keep learning. Some adults with ADHD learn to manage their lives and find careers that let them use those strengths.
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Adhd In The Transgender Community
Most of the sources used in this article do not delineate between sex and gender and can be assumed to have primarily cisgender participants.
While research on ADHD within the transgender community is new, recent surveys state that transgender individuals are significantly more likely to report an ADHD diagnosis.
One study in Australia reports that ADHD is four times more common among transgender people than the cisgender population.
At the time of publication, no research could be found that discussed the breakdown of symptoms between trans men, trans women, and gender nonconforming people. Intersex people were also not represented.
When Should I See My Doctor
It is normal for children to get restless and distracted from time to time, and to be active and have lots of energy. But if a child has ADHD, their problems with attention and hyperactivity will be severe enough to interfere with learning and social relationships.
There are many behavioural and developmental disorders that can cause symptoms of ADHD in young children, so it’s important to have a proper assessment. Other reasons for children being inattentive, impulsive or hyperactive are health or emotional problems, learning difficulties or lack of sleep.
If you are concerned that your child may have ADHD, the first step is to see a doctor. The diagnosis can only be made after a detailed assessment of the childs behaviour, including interviews with parents or carers and the school.
How Is It Treated
There is no cure for ADHD, but treatment may help control the symptoms. Treatment may include medicines and behaviour therapy. Parents and other adults need to closely watch children after they begin to take medicines for ADHD. The medicines may cause side effects such as loss of appetite, headaches or stomach aches, tics or twitches, and problems sleeping. Side effects usually get better after a few weeks. If they don’t, the doctor can lower the dose.
Therapy focuses on making changes in the environment to improve the child’s behaviour. Often, counselling and extra support at home and at school help children succeed at school and feel better about themselves.
How Is Adhd Treated
There are several different options for the treatment of ADHD, depending on the specific needs of each child and family.
Treatment may involve different health professionals, including a doctor, psychiatrist, paediatrician, psychologist or family therapist. Parents and possibly schoolteachers too need to be actively involved in the treatment plan.
The first step is often to use positive parenting strategies. It can help to stick to a routine, help the child build their social skills and talk to the school to plan an environment where they are able to learn.
If the ADHD is still having a big impact on the childs life, it might be time to consider medication. Stimulant medicines can reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity. They help a child to focus and learn.
Stimulant medicines have been thoroughly researched for many years and have been shown to be safe and to greatly improve concentration, impulse control and hyperactivity in about 4 in 5 children with ADHD. The doses used to treat ADHD are not addictive and do not cause withdrawal symptoms. However, they can cause side effects like loss of appetite and difficulty falling asleep. For children who may experience side effects from these medicines, non-stimulant medicines are also available.
Psychological treatments, such as behavioural therapy, may help a child develop strategies and skills for learning and controlling their behaviour.
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How Is A Child Diagnosed With Adhd
Most people follow an Aha moment with an appointment to see a pediatrician or general practitioner. That makes sense, but before agreeing to treatment, ask how many other cases of ADHD the doctor has treated, and what the plans and outcomes were, says Russell Barkley, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. If the doctor has handled only a few cases, you might be better off going to a specialist developmental pediatrician, psychiatrist, or psychologist who has significant experience with ADHD.
As a rule, most general practitioners are not trained in the idiosyncrasies of ADHD and its overlapping conditions, or are not equipped to perform the in-depth evaluation needed. One reason is time. It can take several hours of talking, test taking, and analysis to diagnose someone with ADHD. Most general practitioners cant give you or your child that much attention in a busy practice.
Regardless of how experienced your is, says Barkley, you should strongly consider a medical specialist if your childs ADHD is accompanied by another diagnosed disorder, such as oppositional behavior, anxiety, or if there are urgent issues involved. Professionals trained in diagnosing ADHD routinely screen for these problems.
Your family doctor or health insurer can probably steer you to a qualified ADHD specialist. If not, contact your local chapter of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder .
What Are Some Additional Strategies For Managing My Childs Adhd At Home
You may find the following strategies helpful for managing ADHD in the home:
- Give clear and specific directions and limits: Children with ADHD need to know exactly what others expect from them.
- Catch your child being good: Punishing a child only teaches them what not to do. Recognizing and acknowledging positive behaviors is an effective way to teach your child what to do. This increases the expression of appropriate behavior.
- Set up an effective behavior system: Create a consistent system to reward appropriate behavior and respond to misbehavior with alternatives such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. Corporal punishment is not effective. A common practice is to use “marbles-in-a-jar” wherein the child earns one marble for a specified appropriate behavior in the household. When a certain number of marbles are earned, they can be exchanged for a privilege.
- Stick to a schedule: Follow the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime. The schedule should include time for homework and play.
- Use a calendar or planner the child can see: Create a place to write down important reminders, responsibilities and events. These tools may be especially helpful for adolescents and young adults who struggle with time management.
- Organize items that are needed every day: Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks and school supplies. An organization checklist may be helpful.
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