Recently, we have been spotlighting Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in adults.

We learned how undiagnosed ADHD can negatively affect an adult’s ability to find success in some aspects of their life. We also now understand how identifying and coping with adult ADHD differs between men and women.

This is a topic often overlooked in discussions about ADHD. We hope in addressing it we have provided some of our readers with new tools to add to their wellness toolkit.

Now, we’re going back to the beginning.

Every adult with ADHD was once a child with ADHD. Identifying the symptoms of the disorder earlier in life gives parents tools to help children avoid the hardships that come with being an adult with misdiagnosed or undiagnosed ADHD.

To get a better understanding of the appearance of ADHD in children, we’ll begin by reviewing what the issues look like as they appear in children.

You’ve likely seen kids who can’t sit still, who never seem to listen, who don’t follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, or who blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. Sometimes these children are considered troublemakers, lazy or just undisciplined.

In some cases those are fair assumptions. However, instead of just being unruly they may have some form of ADHD.

What does ADHD really look like?

Once called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), ADHD makes it difficult for people to inhibit their spontaneous responses—responses that can involve everything from movement to speech to attentiveness. This inhibition presents itself early in childhood, usually before the age of seven, and can be difficult to distinguish from normal “kid behavior”.

Identifying just a few signs, or when the behaviors only appear in some situations may mean what you’re seeing is probably not ADHD.

On the other hand, if your child shows a number of ADHD signs and symptoms that are present across all situations, e.g. at home, at school, and at play, it’s time to take a closer look.

Myths vs Facts about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Myth: Children with ADHD can never pay attention.

Children with ADHD are often able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive.

Myth: All children with ADHD are hyperactive.

While the H in ADHD does stand for hyperactivity, ADHD as become the blanket term to cover all variations of attention deficit disorder.

Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, but many others are not. Children with ADHD who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated.

These children often have ADHD overlooked as a possible contributor to their issues with schoolwork or social interaction as they don’t fit the classic stereotype of a hyperactive ADHD kid.

Myth: Children with ADHD could behave better if they wanted to.

Children with ADHD may do their best to be good, but still be unable to sit still, stay quiet, or pay attention. They may appear disobedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re acting out on purpose.

Myth: Children will eventually grow out of ADHD.

ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem. Treatment can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms so as adults they can be prepared to cope with their ADHD on their own.

Is Medication The Best Treatment?

Medication is often prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but it might not be the best option for your child.

Effective treatment for ADHD also includes full physical examination including laboratory studies, education, behavior therapy, support at home and school, exercise, proper nutrition and supplements.

Should you talk to your pediatrician about ADHD? Click here to get an at home survey.

Talk with your child’s doctor. They are your best resource for making the decision whether to medicate your child.

Whether you choose to medicate your child or not, once you understand the issues your child is struggling with reach out for more resources. Discuss problems such as forgetfulness or difficulty paying attention in school with school staff. By working together, you will have more options to find creative solutions and capitalize on your child’s strengths.

Keys Points to Remember about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • ADHD begins in early childhood, usually by age seven.
  • Children with ADHD don’t choose to misbehave, they have difficulty controlling their behavior.
  • Children can focus on activities they enjoy and still have ADHD.
  • Not all children with ADHD are hyperactive.
  • ADHD is a lifetime chronic condition. Children typically do not outgrow ADHD.