Saturday, February 16, 2013

How do you know it's ADHD?

I've been asked "how do you know your kids are adhd?" "what do you look for?" etc. So I thought I'd share the parameters that you should use in order to know for yourself if you should be seeking help. I'm sharing the information provided by CHADD's National Resource Center on ADHD but first a few notes from me:

First have a thorough health exam to exclude any health conditions that could be causing the symptoms. When reading through this criteria keep in mind that in order to "qualify" as being ADHD you need to have had symptoms for 6 months or longer, they need to affect TWO areas of your life (home, school, social settings, work, etc.) and you need to fit in at least 6 of the 9 criteria for either inattentive or hyperactive or in both areas for combined type. Also the symptoms need to be more frequent or severe when compared with other people the same age. If you're wondering about adult ADHD you need to have had symptoms from childhood.

Also when reading through this criteria it is wise to be as unbiased as possible. Yes we all love our kids. Yes our own children are the cutest children on the planet. Yes our children are the smartest in their class, etc etc etc.... but when filling out something like this you need to think comparatively. You need to be thinking about the fact that- if my child has a disability do I have the guts to get them the help they deserve or do I just sweep it under the rug, hope it goes away, and tell my child to "just work harder"? Our boundless love will not protect them forever if they don't know why they're having to work 10 times harder than everyone else. They will have to work harder but having a diagnosis gives you an EXPLANATION of why they're behaving a certain way NOT AN EXCUSE. It also helps the child to know that they're not dumb, they're not lazy, and they're certainly not a bad kid.

The single most important part of parenting is retaining, nurturing, and growing a wonderful relationship with your children.

Hug your kids. Love them. Even when they're running around crazy and you feel like giving up.


feel free to use this link to access this information yourself.

Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the guide that lays out the criteria to be used by doctors, mental health professionals, and other qualified clinicians when making a diagnosis of ADHD. The most recent edition of the manual is the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision). The next edition of the manual, DSM-5, was approved by the APA Board of Trustees on December 1, 2012 and is expected to be pushed in spring 2013. See this DSM-5 Fact Sheet on ADHD for upcoming changes
 As with all DSM-IV diagnoses, it is essential first to rule out other conditions that may be the true cause of symptoms. The DSM-IV identifies three sub-types of ADHD, depending on the presence or absence of particular symptoms: Inattentive type, Hyperactive type, and Combined type.  Because everyone shows signs of these behaviors at one time or another, the guidelines for determining whether a person has ADHD are very specific. To be diagnosed with ADHD, individuals must have six of the nine characteristics in either or both DSM-IV categories listed below. In children and teenagers, the symptoms must be more frequent or severe compared to other children the same age. In adults, the symptoms must affect the ability to function in daily life and persist from childhood.  In addition, the behaviors must create significant difficulty in at least two areas of life, such as home, social settings, school, or work. Symptoms must be present for at least six months. Criteria for the three primary subtypes are:  ADHD - Predominantly Inattentive Type
  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention.
  • Does not appear to listen.
  • Struggles to follow through on instructions.
  • Has difficulty with organization.
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
  • Loses things.
  • Is easily distracted.
  • Is forgetful in daily activities.
ADHD - Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type
  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair.
  • Has difficulty remaining seated.
  • Runs about or climbs excessively.
  • Difficulty engaging in activities quietly.
  • Acts as if driven by a motor.
  • Talks excessively.
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns.
  • Interrupts or intrudes upon others.
ADHD - Combined Type
  • Individual meets both sets of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive criteria.

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