Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that may include problems with inattention and/or impulsive behavior. The disorder was previously called attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and/or hyperactivity. Children with ADHD may lean more toward inattention or toward hyperactivity, but most of the time they have a combination of the two types of behaviors. Symptoms can be a challenge for parents and children, but treatment can help make a difference in helping children grow up to be successful. Usually signs of ADHD appear by age 7.
Patterns of behavior have also shown to be different between genders. For example, a boy may be more likely to be hyperactive, where a girl may show more signs of inattention. And regarding inattentiveness, a girl may more frequently daydream, while a boy is more likely to play or grow restless.
Signs of Inattention (ADD)
- not paying attention to details, makes careless mistakes
- easily distractible
- difficulty sustaining attention during tasks
- appears not to listen even when spoken to directly
- has trouble following through on instructions
- trouble organizing
- avoidance of things requiring sustained attention, such as homework
- often loses things and is forgetful
Signs of Hyperactivity
- fidgeting, restlessness
- gets out of seat or runs during inappropriate times
- excessive talking
- answering questions before a person is finished asking
- difficulty waiting for it to be their turn
- interrupting conversations
Even healthy children will show signs of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsive behavior from time to time. Attention spans have to do with the age of the child, maturity and level of interest. Children are also often full of energy and may have higher levels of energy than others. Yet, there is a difference between normal distracted or energetic behavior and ADHD. If your child’s disruptive behaviors persist at school and at home, and seem to be from trouble concentrating, staying still or controlling themselves, it can be important to see a mental health professional to evaluate what is causing the behavior.
There are treatment options beyond medications, though a combination may be a good solution. Psychotherapy for individuals with ADHD may consist of talking with children about what bothers them, and helping children learn better behaviors and how to handle their symptoms. Ms. Schechtman or Dr. Drutman can also help family members, parents and teachers learn strategies for understanding and guiding their children’s behavior.
For more information on ADHD, contact Marsha Schechtman, LCSW at 770.753.4911 or Howard Drutman, Ph.D. at 678.867.7020 at the Atlanta Behavioral Consultants.