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ADHD: Reading the Symptoms Properly


ADHD: Reading the Symptoms Properly

Amanda McLean, Ph.D.​, Staff Psychologist

Symptoms of ADHD typically arise or become apparent when the child enters into a more structured educational setting.  The first sign is often times hyperactivity.  That is particularly true for children showing more of the hyperactive and impulsive subtypes.  So they are just going to show a lot of behavior.  They simply behave too much.  A lot of verbal and motor behavior and that's noted in the child's difficulties with stopping and thinking with waiting their turn. Interrupting.

For individuals with the inattentive type of ADHD that is not associated with impulsivity, then we are going to see those symptoms become apparent later in middle to late childhood.  They are going to struggle with resisting distractions. They are going to have a hard time with following through on tasks independently, remembering to follow through on tasks without reminders. 

At what age can you start to detect these behaviors?

So for children who are showing more hyperactive and impulsive behavior, then I would expect those symptoms to arise earlier in early childhood probably just as soon as they start to enter into a more structured educational setting.  When those task demands become more challenging, they can arise as early as preschool or kindergarten.  So specifically for that inattentive subtype of ADHD sometimes the impairment doesn't show up until later when expectations to work independently, follow through on assignments, remember, and to be organized become more difficult.

What common mistakes do parents make when reading the symptoms?

I think one of the common mistakes that all of us make is we kind of blame the child.  We make the child wrong because the behavior is very frustrating for us.  And so we are using a lot of correction s and a lot of punishment.  We're talking to them a lot about their behavior and really when you are dealing with behavior in general but specifically with kids with ADHD talking to them is probably going to worsen their behavior and using high rates of punishment and corrections is probably just going to cause more frustration.   So the best thing to be doing to start off with, your foundation is really catch your child being good or praise and interactions.​

Does your child have ADHD? Reading the symptoms of ADHD can be difficult for parents. Amanda McLean, Ph.D., Staff Psychologist at Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health, explains the symptoms of ADHD and what age parents should be looking for these symptoms in their child.​