Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) make it difficult for children to succeed in school, at home, or within relationships. There is hope: counseling and behavior modification can help overcome the symptoms of ADD/ADHD with or without medication.
Children and adolescents who struggle with ADHD require proper diagnosis so that an effective plan of action for ADHD treatment can be put into place. Although symptoms of ADHD and ADD can be difficult to deal with, developing the skills and structure necessary to achieve one’s personal potential is not an insurmountable task.
Characterized by difficulty concentrating or maintaining focus, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity, ADHD can create problems at school or work, within families, and elsewhere. It often results in or comes alongside other issues, such as low self-esteem, depression or different types of anxiety. Untreated, ADHD can interfere with nearly every aspect of daily life.
DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE ADD/ADHD? ASK YOURSELF:
- Does your child seem to have trouble with focus and concentration?
- Do you have to repeat yourself over and over when giving even simple instructions?
- Has your child’s teacher reported he is disruptive in class or failing to perform at his academic ability level?
- Or is he always “on the go” and seems to be driven by a motor?
Answering yes to the above questions is a good indicator that your child might have ADD/ADHD. ADD and ADHD affect 3-5% of all school-aged children, and is much more common in boys than girls. Research has indicated that ADD and ADHD may run in families, but the exact causes of the disorder are unknown.
ADHD AND ADD SYMPTOMS
Childhood ADHD is diagnosed after a child has shown six or more specific symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity on a regular basis for more than six months in more than two settings.
The symptoms of ADHD and ADD are often split out into three main categories:
Having a short attention span and being easily distracted. Some common examples of inattention type behaviors include:
- Easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
- Bouncing from one activity to another
- Easily bored
- Frequent forgetting
- Zoning out in the middle of a conversation or task
- Difficulty paying attention or focusing when in conversation or when engaged in a task
- Difficulty completing or following through on tasks
- Overlooking details, leading to errors
- Poor listening skills
- Difficulty remembering conversations or following directions
- Hyper-focus (a tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding)
Spontaneous behaviors without much thought for the consequences. These behaviors may cause a person to do inappropriate or harmful things. Some common examples of impulsive behavior include:
- Interrupts others
- Talks over others
- Poor self-control
- Can be rude or inappropriate without thinking
- Addictive tendencies
- Reckless behaviors
- Can be perceived as socially inappropriate (e.g., trouble sitting still, blurting out comments)
Inappropriate or excessive activity. Some common examples of hyperactive behavior include:
- Easily bored
- Racing thoughts
- Risk taking
- Pressured and excessive speech
Although many people experience one or more of these types of behaviors throughout their lifetime, some people experience them to such a degree that it becomes difficult to function effectively across different situations (e.g., school, work, home, and relationships). Overall, the symptoms of ADHD or ADD may range from mild to severe and can vary depending on the situation (e.g., the child or teen may struggle more at school than he/she does at home).
DIAGNOSIS OF ADHD AND ADD
Although most people experience one or more symptoms of ADHD behaviors throughout their lifetime, some people experience them to such a degree that it becomes difficult to function effectively across different situations (e.g., school, home, social situations). This group of symptoms can impact children and adolescents and usually looks different depending on the individual’s age:
PRESCHOOL AGED CHILDREN:
Since inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity are expected behaviors of preschool children, ADHD is often hard to identify in young children. Usually, the distinguishing factor from normal behavior is the severity and consistency, across settings, of the symptoms.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN:
Since there are more expectations placed on elementary school children (e.g., being able to complete homework, working with others, sitting still and listening in class), ADHD symptoms tend to be more noticeable among this age group. Often children with these problems have trouble achieving in school, may have difficulty with peers, struggle with low self-esteem because of the academic and social difficulties, and may present with poor organizational and study skills.
MIDDLE SCHOOL/HIGH SCHOOL:
Teenagers who present with ADHD often look very different than young children with ADHD, because they have learned to control their disruptive behaviors. However, teenagers who have not learned the strategies to cope with the other aspects of ADHD (such as inattention and impulsivity) may demonstrate significant decline in their ability to manage their responsibilities in school and subsequently may struggle with self-esteem, and possibly social problems.
As increased demands and pressure are placed on the high school student (e.g., college, issues related to self-efficacy), anxiety and depression may emerge. Proper diagnosis, treatment and coaching are invaluable for children and teens who suffer from symptoms of ADHD and ADD. Learning strategies to deal with problems of inattention and developing skills to manage problems with impulsivity and hyperactivity can be life changing. Treatment may mean the difference between feeling effective as a student and feeling inadequate.
ADHD AND ADD TREATMENT
At Family Legacy Counseling we offer coaching, therapy, and referral services geared toward helping the individuals we work with harness their strengths and develop the skills necessary to function successfully. All children’s ADHD and ADD treatment begins with a comprehensive assessment, to help determine a proper diagnosis and to aid in individualized ADHD or ADD treatment planning.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
If you would like to meet or talk with one of our therapists about our ADHD and ADD treatment or assessment services, please call us at (515) 727-1338 or fill out our online form to request an appointment and one of our staff will contact you.