July 20, 2007

Things you should know about ADHD.

I’ve decided to do a blog on ADHD because my youngest son was diagnosed with it in the 3rd grade. I think its one of the most over diagnosed problem, but if a child does, in fact have this disorder, its very important to seek help and treatment. I always noticed that Brad was a little more active than most children but I thought that was his personality. It wasn’t until he started Elementary school that the calls from the teachers started. I took him to his primary doctor who referred me to a psychologist. They gave him a couple tests, I was given some evaluations for myself and his teacher to fill out, and he was diagnosed. It was extremely hard for me to put my son on medication, but without it, he would have never made it as far as he has. The doctor explained to me what happens in a person’s brain when they have ADHD and it really helped me to understand. Neuroimaging studies suggest that the brains of children with ADHD are different from those of other children. These children handle neurotransmitters (including dopamine, serotonin, and adrenalin) differently from their peers. A lot of these children are abused because parents or caregivers believe the children can control their behavior, and they can to a point, but they have so much going on throughout their body, they don't know what to do with the extra energy. Here are some guidelines to review. If you think your child may have ADHD, I urge you to contact your primary care physician for a game plan:
I. Either A or B:
A. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:
1. Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
2. Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
4. Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
5. Often has trouble organizing activities.
6. Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
7. Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
8. Is often easily distracted.
9. Is often forgetful in daily activities.
B. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:
1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
2. Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
3. Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
4. Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
5. Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor".
6. Often talks excessively.
1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
2. Often has trouble waiting one's turn.
3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
II. Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.
III. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. at school/work and at home).
IV. There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.
V. The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder. The symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).

But Id like to add that even though my son may have this disorder, he is the funniest, kindest, most well adjusted kid I know. He just has a little more energy than most but that's OK with me. I wouldn't change a thing!

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