ADHD Signs & Traits
Picture the following scenario.
The telephone rings and it is the school, again, summoning you to yet another meeting with your child's teachers to discuss a lack of educational progress in class, a poor attention span as well as general misbehaviour, angry outbursts, and fights with other children.
Difficult and uncomfortable questions are being asked that must be addressed and answered. Does the child have a learning disability? Is there trouble at home? Are there some more serious problems? Is there a general lack of parental discipline?
Does this sound familiar?
The feelings of guilt and self doubt that such questions cause any parent are both difficult and painful. If you should find yourself in this position, a series of investigations will usually follow to rule out possible underlying causes such as a learning disability or an exceptionally bright child who is simply bored to tears at school. However, when a learning disability is not identified and there is no obvious physical or emotional reason to explain the problems, the time will come when other possibilities must be considered. If the behaviour patterns have been persistent for at least six months and have been evident since before your child reached seven years old, one of the possibilities you should think about is ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
So what signs or traits should be looked for if ADHD is suspected?Look for signs and traits associated with hyperactivity-impulsivity, or inattention, or a combination of both.
Hyperactivity / Impulsivity ADHD - Signs & SymptomsHyperactive children seem to be 'on the go' non stop, dashing around touching or playing with anything in sight. Hyperactive-impulsive children may talk incessantly without stopping to listen or consider what others have to say. Sitting still at mealtimes or during lessons may be extremely difficult, and an ADHD hyperactive child is likely to fidget continually with their hands and feet, playing with any object that they can find, and they may find it simply impossible to remain seated, leaving their chair or seat at every opportunity.
Examples of impulsive behaviour in ADHD children include situations where a child seems unable to pause and think before reacting to a situation. They will consistently blurt out inappropriate comments, and give free reign to their emotions and anger without any thought or understanding of the possible consequences of their actions. Taking their turn or waiting in line may be very difficult for an impulsive ADHD child, with a consequence that these children may frequently get into fights over snatched toys, or other seemingly silly situations. Impulsive ADHD children are also very likely to hit or lash out at others when they are upset.
Inattention ADHD Signs & SymptomsChildren with the 'predominantly inattentive' type of ADHD are rarely hyperactive or impulsive, and may have much less severe problems with socialisation than hyperactive/impulsive children. Predominantly inattentive ADHD children will often appear to be paying attention in class, and yet they may have a hard time processing and understanding instructions given to them. They may be easily confused or spend a considerable amount of time daydreaming; additionally, inattentive children will make frequent mistakes in their schoolwork.
When an inattentive child is doing something they really enjoy, they can focus on the task in hand and have no trouble with their concentration and mental focus. However, for the majority of the time, these children will find it extremely difficult to keep their minds on any single activity, and will get bored with a task after just a minute or two. Additionally, these children will find organising themselves extremely difficult, and learning something new will be very hard.
Homework will be a source of perpetual problems and a cause of considerable frustration for children, parents and teachers alike. Typical behaviours might include forgetting to write down their homework assignment, bringing the wrong books home or forgetting to bring books home entirely. When the homework has been completed, it will be full of mistakes, crossing out, and handwriting is likely to be very poor.
An inattentive child will become very easily distracted by sights or sounds that are irrelevant to the task in hand. They will rarely pay attention to detail, and will frequently make careless mistakes. Following any kind of instructions carefully or completely will be difficult, so that an inattentive child will be permanently losing or forgetting things; this will include items that are precious or important to them, from pieces of school uniform to toys and other items. Additionally, an inattentive child will find it very hard to focus on only one task and will spend considerable time skipping from one task to another without completing any of them.
If any elements of these descriptions sounds like your child, seek help and advice from your GP.