Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder
ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder of unknown cause. The persistence or consistency of your child’s symptoms and the interference in learning and life at home define ADHD. Generally, symptoms have been present for at least 6 months, before a diagnosis is made.
Children with ADHD have one or a combination of the following types of behavior symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. There are 3 subtypes of ADHD: primarily inattention, primarily hyperactivity/impulsivity and combined.
The American Psychiatric Association has outlined diagnostic criteria for ADHD and estimates 3 – 7% of children suffer from ADHD. Three times more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD.
The following lists give examples of behaviors associated with (a) inattention, (b) hyperactivity, and (c) impulsivity (note: these examples are not diagnostic in and of themselves):
- Inattention: difficulty focusing, daydreaming, appearing not to listen, incomplete tasks, inability to complete instructions, disorganization, losing or forgetting things
- Hyperactivity: always moving, "on the go," not "sitting still," fidgeting, being physically active at inappropriate times (e.g. climbing on furniture during school hours or meal times), inability to play quietly
- Impulsivity: interrupting others, difficulty taking turns, blurting out (e.g. answering in school without being called on), impatience, not wanting to wait
We have questionnaires for parents and teachers to complete that are useful in making the diagnosis of ADHD. These forms also help us identify other emotional disorders (e.g. anxiety, conduct disorder, etc) that may co-exist with ADHD or be confused with ADHD in your child.
Learning strategies for behavioral management of children with ADHD are crucial for the patient and family. This is done by working with a child psychologist. The mainstay of ADHD medical therapy involves stimulant medication. Much of managing ADHD involves finding the appropriate medication for your child, a process that can take several months. After an effective therapy plan is reached, we will still monitor and evaluate your child’s condition periodically throughout the year.
Our office has developed a refill request form for ADHD medications that you will fax to our office on a regular basis. This form allows us to monitor possible side effects as well as effectiveness of the medication.
There are numerous resources on the web for parents of children with ADHD. These websites may also be useful for children to view. One particularly helpful website is the following: Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder www.chadd.org. Another resource is the website/online magazine ADDitude www.ADDitudemag.com
Please call us with any questions
Silver Spring Pediatrics
Drs. DeConcini, Schooler, Zang, Wang, Yee & Marcus