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10 Tips for Parenting a Child With ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children Overview

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common conditions of childhood. Research studies differ about how common this condition really is, but most experts agree that it affects 8% to 10% of school-aged children. If you are not actively parenting a child with ADHD, chances are that you know someone who is dealing with this challenge.

ADHD in Children Symptoms

ADHD in childhood becomes apparent when the child exhibits symptoms of hyperactivity, inability to sit still or pay attention, and impulsivity. The degree of severity varies widely. Some children with ADHD may need only mild interventions and guidance, while others require much greater support to achieve optimal levels of function. While doctors do not fully understand what causes ADHD, it is believed to be related to both changes in the chemical environment of the brain as well as inherited or genetic factors. ADHD does tend to run in families. It is not possible to prevent ADHD.

ADHD in Children: Boys vs. Girls

ADHD is more common in boys than in girls. The predominantly hyperactive type of the condition is four times more common in boys, while the inattentive type is two times more common in boys than in girls. Children of all ages can be affected, and the condition can persist into adulthood. Medications are available for treatment of the symptoms of ADHD, although they do not "cure" the condition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/8/2014

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ADHD in Children Test

Children mature at different rates and have different personalities, temperaments, and energy levels. Most children get distracted, act impulsively, and struggle to concentrate at one time or another. Sometimes, these normal factors may be mistaken for ADHD. ADHD symptoms usually appear early in life, often between the ages of 3 and 6, and because symptoms vary from person to person, the disorder can be hard to diagnose. Parents may first notice that their child loses interest in things sooner than other children, or seems constantly "out of control." Often, teachers notice the symptoms first, when a child has trouble following rules, or frequently "spaces out" in the classroom or on the playground.

No single test can diagnose a child as having ADHD. Instead, a licensed health professional needs to gather information about the child, and his or her behavior and environment. A family may want to first talk with the child's pediatrician. Some pediatricians can assess the child themselves, but many will refer the family to a mental health specialist with experience in childhood mental disorders such as ADHD. The pediatrician or mental health specialist will first try to rule out other possibilities for the symptoms. For example, certain situations, events, or health conditions may cause temporary behaviors in a child that seem like ADHD.

National Institute of Mental Health

Medical Dictionary