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ADHD: Frequently Asked Questions

​​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).

What are the signs and symptoms?

Children with ADHD typically exhibit behavioral symptoms that impact their school and family functioning and peer relations. Common behavioral symptoms include:

  • ​Hyperactive and Impulsive Behavior: The child often makes snap shot decisions, does first thing that comes to mind, exhibits frequent interruptions, difficulties waiting his/her turn and difficulties remaining seated or still.
  • Inattentiveness: The child may have difficulties resisting distractions, staying on task, and paying attention. The child may also daydream, exhibit difficulties following through on tasks and assignments and make frequent careless mistakes such as losing and misplacing items.

When does the child begin to exhibit symptoms of ADHD?

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.

Management of ADHD

Many treatments exist to assist with management of ADHD. Important components of treatment include:

  • Education of the family and school staff about the nature of the disorder and its management.
  • Research supports the use of stimulant medication as well as behavior modification in managing symptoms of ADHD. Parent training in child behavior management methods and behavior modification can also improve management of ADHD symptoms in the settings that they occur.
  • It is important to remember that behavior modification treatment must be maintained over long periods of time in order to sustain the initial treatment effects.

What should I do if I suspect my child has ADHD?

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.

  • ADHD: Frequently Asked Questions

    ADHD is a neuro genetic disorder.  So we are looking at a chronic delay in the development of a normal trait.  The trait of self-control, stopping and thinking or inhibiting, and this is not about bad parenting.  This is not about if the parent did something wrong.  This is not about diet.  This is really just how the person is, the way they are built.​

    Are there different types of ADHD?

    There are two subtypes of ADHD.  There is a subtype that is associated with more hyper active and impulsive behavior and for these children the first sign is typically hyper activity.  The child simply behaves too much and there is an excess in verbal and motor behavior and that is noted in their difficulties in stopping and thinking, with waiting their turn whether it be in line, in conversations, in play activities.  They will show a lot of interruptions.  They will have a hard time resisting distractions and they just tend to do the first thing that pop into their head without thinking about the consequences for their behavior.

    For the more inattentive subtype for ADHD that is not associated with impulsivity, these symptoms are going to include resisting distractions, and the child is going to have a harder time when they have to independently follow through on tasks.  They are going to have a harder time with organization.  They are going to frequently lose things or misplace things and just have a hard time staying on task and focused. 

    What should I do if I suspect my child has ADHD?

    If you're noticing impairment in your child's academic functioning, family functioning, peer relations or all of the above, then I would recommend scheduling an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss what is typical child development and what are the severity of symptoms that we are seeing. If there is a question about ADHD, I would then recommend that the parent obtain a referral from their pediatrician for a psychologist so they can have a thorough evaluation completed before initiating any kind of treatment.

    What are the treatments for ADHD?

    Chief among the treatment for ADHD is just education, education for the parents and for school staff on the symptoms and the management of the symptoms.  There is good research to support the use of stimulant medications and behavior modification.  I would strongly recommend that any child with ADHD be receiving some behavior modification treatment which is going to include parent training. It's important to remember that when you're doing behavior modification this is more about helping the child be successful at the point of performance, because we are dealing with a difficulty with inhibiting and stopping.  They are going to need additional support in the setting where these symptoms occur.​​

Behavioral Health;Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics