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10 Signs of ADHD: Does Your Child Have It?

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There is no single rulebook for ADHD, as it manifests differently from person to person. That said, the symptoms of ADHD in children can be broadly categorized in two ways: inattentive symptoms and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. But how do you know when it’s time to get a kids ADHD evaluation in NYC?

It’s important to remember that symptoms of ADHD change with age, as do the qualifications for a diagnosis. Here are 10 common signs of ADHD in children.

Inattentive symptoms

  • Uses avoidance techniques and/or dislikes tasks that require long periods of attention, such as chores, homework, or classwork
  • Has difficulty keeping track of and/or loses items that they need for daily activities, such as homework, pencils and pens, phones, etc.
  • Can have difficulty staying focused on schoolwork and/or playtime activities
  • Has difficulty and/or regularly does not finish schoolwork, chores, and other tasks
  • Can have difficulty following instructions, such as directions on homework or classwork

Hyperactive-impulsive symptoms

  • Fidgets or squirms while seated, taps hands or feet, or leaves their seat in situations where they are expected to remain seated
  • Talks excessively and/or blurts out answers before a person has finished asking a question
  • Can have difficulty waiting their turn, often in conversation
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others, such as butting in during a game or conversation that they are not a part of
  • Has difficulty playing or engaging in hobbies quietly.

Many of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, making it difficult for parents to diagnose their child with online self-checker tools or the myriad of websites available. Further, every child presents differently with ADHD, so it’s possible for a child’s needs to be overlooked if their symptoms are mild. That’s why it’s important to get your child professionally evaluated and treated.

How is a child diagnosed with ADHD?

The specifics of an ADHD evaluation for children vary from clinic to clinic. However, in general, you can expect several key components.

  • Both parents and child will have an initial meeting with an evaluator, who may review their medical history, home life, academic strengths and weaknesses, report cards and standardised test results, and so on.
  • The evaluator will run a battery of diagnostic tests based on the child’s age.
  • After the tests, the evaluator will review the results and either make a diagnosis of ADHD or make a referral if they believe the issue lies elsewhere.

The symptoms of ADHD fall into two categories. Since a child can have traits from both, an evaluator may make one of three diagnoses:

  • Predominantly inattentive. The child mostly exhibits symptoms characteristic of inattentive ADHD.
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. The child mostly exhibits symptoms characteristic of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD.
  • Combined. The child exhibits inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms equally.

Knowing which presentation of ADHD your child has can help guide the conversation with your school’s administration about types of ADHD accommodations in the classroom that can help your child succeed.

Should your child get tested for ADHD at school or by a specialist?

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is among the qualifying disability classifications of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a free evaluation that parents can request from their child’s school. Although this assessment may be convenient for many parents, there are a few things to keep in mind about school-based evaluations.

  • Schools are often reluctant to diagnose students as doing so may hold the school responsible for treating the problem.
  • Some school-based evaluations do not cover all of the child’s issues and can fail to make a proper diagnosis, recommending the proper treatment, or both.
  • Some school professionals may be unable to conduct extensive assessments within the school. As a result, it’s possible for children with ADHD to be mislabeled or overlooked, thus delaying them the diagnosis and help that they need.

A neuropsychologist such as Neuro Psych Doctor can provide a kids ADHD evaluation in NYC. A professional diagnosis can identify the causes, presentation, and best treatments for a child’s ADHD. This spares both the parents and the child frustrations at school and at home. A correct diagnosis and treatment will set kids up with a solid foundation for both academic and professional success throughout life.

Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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