“Is my child just going through a phase, or does my child need extra help?”
That’s a common question for parents to ask, especially when they suspect signs of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – commonly called ADHD. Childhood is a big period of growth and development when physical and emotional highs and lows are frequently experienced. While many kids have childhoods filled with fond memories, an estimated 1 in 5 children in the U.S. have learning or attention challenges.Their memories may include episodes of struggles, like trying to succeed in school only to feel frustrated. Academic failure often results in low self-esteem, poor grades, frustration, anxiety, and isolation. Parents are then in a tough spot, grappling to figure out, “How do I help my child?”
Our doctors at TrueCare have extensive experience identifying ADHD in children. In this post, we’ll look at what ADHD is, what signs to look for, and steps for parents and families to take that will help support your child to a more positive approach.
Are you an adult (18+ years) and suspect you have ADHD? The CDC provides signs and symptoms of ADHD in adults here. Talk to your primary care provider, who can help you navigate this complex disorder.
What is ADHD and Why Does My Child Have It?
ADHD is one of the more common disorders of childhood. According to the CDC , it is usually first diagnosed during the early developmental years. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active. It’s one that can often go undiagnosed, especially in young girls.
According to the CDC the causes for ADHD are still unknown, however, research is showing genetics play an important role.
Did you know TrueCare is the only community health center to offer an Academic Success Program (ASP)? Struggling students can get tested for ADHD at TrueCare. Make an appointment to see your child’s provider to start the process. New patients should call or text (760) 736-6767 to get scheduled with one of our pediatricians.
Difference Between ADD and ADHD
The short answer is, there is no difference between ADD and ADHD. More research had found that children with attention deficit disorder also often had issues with hyperactivity and impulsivity, so ADHD was coined to include ADD.
What are some signs of ADHD?
- Easily distracted
- Difficulty paying attention to tasks or activities
- Extremely talkative
- Careless or risky
- Struggles to resist temptation
- Difficulty getting along with others
Types of ADHD
According to the CDC there are three different types of ADHD, depending on the child’s behavior:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the child to organize or finish a task, pay attention to details, or follow instructions. The child is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The child fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump, or climb constantly. The child feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the child to wait their turn or listen to directions. A child with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present.
Experts say that symptoms change over time, which means the type a child was diagnoses with can change as well.
“We tackle a lot of the hard questions, and we’re able to give insight and tools that empower kids who are struggling in school. The incredible team at TrueCare plays a key role in helping these children and their families to thrive.” – TrueCare pediatrician Dr. Alison Zachry
When Should I Have my Child Diagnosed?
Children can be diagnosed and treated at any developmental stage from pre-school age to high school teens. Often your pediatrician can tell you if your child may be at risk for having attention deficit disorder in the future.
Dr. Zachry notes that if parents believe their child needs to be evaluated for ADHD, she recommends getting additional input by talking with your child’s teacher about how they are doing in school. Is the teacher seeing the same behavior you are seeing at home? If so, seek additional support through your pediatrician and discuss whether your child should be evaluated for attention deficit disorder.
Once a child is enrolled in TrueCare’s ASP, our doctors use state-of-the-art assessments to identify the issue and recommend an action plan for improvement.
ASP has been highly regarded by school districts in North County San Diego at the elementary, middle and high school levels for more than 20 years. Testing for learning disabilities is not always readily available at most doctor’s offices. Through the diligent and passionate work of Dr. Emerito Posadas, a TrueCare pediatrician since 1991, the need for this important service was identified and created as a resource for our communities.
Want to know more about what a pediatrician does? Check out our blog here here for an in-depth look at pediatrics.
How to Determine the Best Treatment for ADHD?
There are several different treatment options for parents and children to choose from, per the CDC. It’s recommended that parents work closely with others involved in their child’s life, including providers, therapists, teachers, coaches, and other family members when deciding on how to address the prognosis.
Types of treatment for ADHD:
- Behavior therapy (including behavior management training for parents)
Tips for Parents of Children with ADHD
Experts suggests these tips below if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD:
- Create a routine
- Get organized
- Manage distractions
- Limit choices
- Be clear and specific when you talk with your child
- Help your child plan
- Use goals and praise or other rewards
- Discipline effectively
- Create positive opportunities
- Provide a healthy lifestyle
“I sleep better at night knowing we are making a difference in the lives of our families.” -Dr. Zachry
TrueCare offers several programs and medical services to make sure your child’s life journey gets a healthy start. Our services include:
- Pediatric care – keep your child on track with regular check ups.
- Women, Infant and Children program (WIC San Diego) – provides supplemental food and nutrition education for eligible low-income families.
- Food Distribution and Agricultural Health Program – free food distribution events several times per month
TrueCare is here to ensure your child’s health and wellness is covered from head to toe. Make an appointment today with a TrueCare pediatrician for your child’s next well visit or for sick care.
TrueCare serves communities in several locations across North County San Diego as well as a Perris. Our doctors have the experience, expertise, and dedication to help your kids achieve health and wellness.
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