Amanda McLean, Ph.D.
ADHD (Attention Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder) is a neuro genetic disorder that causes difficulties and deficits in self-control, or the ability to stop and think. Difficulties with self-control cause deficits in several areas including sustained attention and resistance to distraction, the ability to regulate activity level (hyperactivity), and the ability to stop one's immediate response to an event or situation (impulsivity).
Children with ADHD typically exhibit behavioral symptoms that impact their school and family functioning and peer relations. Common behavioral symptoms include:
Symptoms of ADHD typically become more apparent when the child enters into a more structured educational setting – especially for the subtypes associated with hyperactive and impulsive behavior. Individuals who have the predominantly inattentive ADHD may appear to develop attention problems in middle or later childhood. The vast majority of those with the disorder have had some symptoms since before the age of 13 and therefore, the disorder is believed to be one of childhood onset.
Many treatments exist to assist with management of ADHD. Important components of treatment include:
If you are noticing that your child is exhibiting symptoms that interfere with their academic development, friendships, or family functions, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician and if your pediatrician suspects that your child may have symptoms of ADHD, it is helpful to obtain a referral to a psychologist so the child may receive a thorough assessment prior to initiating any treatment.