Diagnosing ADHD in children
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Diagnosing ADHD in Young Children- Do’s and Don’ts Explained

The cases of ADHD have been drastically increased in the last few years but without any diagnostic tool, it is hard to predict who is at risk. Diagnosing ADHD in children is almost impossible as there is no screening test for it, like other diseases. But the health care experts suggest various ways which may help to identify if there is an underlying problem.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder commonly known as ADHD is a chronic condition which shows up as hyperactivity, inability to focus, impulsive behaviour, etc. considering it is possible for healthy individuals to be disinterested, hyperactive, or demotivated too, it is hard to draw a line between ADHD and non-ADHD people.

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The symptoms typically appear in childhood when a child is unable to complete or perform a task like other children of his age. While some children naturally take more time than others or some children are more energetic and quicker than the rest, most parents are unable to understand if their child has ADHD or not.

Diagnosing ADHD in children is a huge problem because most of these young children are likely to have short attention periods and they get excited about every other activity. Sometimes this develops into a habit and remains intact even when they grow up but for other people, they become somewhat ‘stable’ as they age and find distinctive interest areas. Just because one child is different doesn’t always mean that he has ADHD which is why drawing a distinction between typical childhood nature and ADHD symptoms is critical and challenging.

Contrary to popular opinion, a child with ADHD doesn’t show it everywhere. It is possible that his symptoms are triggered only in a certain environment or with certain factors such as classroom setting, examination room, playground, etc. There are multiple factors involved which means there is also a possibility that he may be different at other places i.e. home or with friends.

If a child has an older sibling with ADHD or any other case of ADHD in family, his chances to develop it are increased as compared to those without a family history. In addition to this, early life medical conditions such as premature birth, low birth rate, etc also affect the chances of developing ADHD in children.

Health care experts suggest parents look for common signs which may be linked to ADHD, for example.

  • Distraction
  • Mobility
  • Impulsive responses
  • Calculative actions
  • Safety concerns
  • Attention span
  • Levels of distraction
  • Hyperactive behavior

If a child shows all of these or some of these signs, it is better to get a complete medical evaluation from the nearest healthcare provider. Diagnosing ADHD in children is a multi-step process which may include medical exams, language test, response check, and other methods. Based on the behavior of a child, a doctor is able to diagnose if he has ADHD or not.

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Sometimes the doctor asks parents, friends, or relatives to answer questions related to the ADHD suspected child or fill a questionnaire regarding information about his or her’s attitude. Considering how all these people think about the actions of a suspected child helps to evaluate his condition. As mentioned before, it is possible for a child to show these signs only in a specific setting. For that reason, talking to the nearest people around him, other than his parents may be a useful thing.

American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Psychiatric Association have developed guidelines on diagnosing ADHD in young kids. These guidelines are available online which may help parents to decide if their child needs medical evaluation and how to manage an ADHD-affected child.