ADHD in children is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in the 21st century. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, also known as ADHD, is diagnosed when a child under the age of seven meets six or more specific criteria determined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, including squirming and fidgeting, being in constant motion, having difficulty listening, being easily distracted, talking excessively, frequently interrupting conversations, having trouble finishing tasks, and displaying difficulty playing quietly. Children over the age of seven can be diagnosed, however, they are classified differently than younger children.
ADHD In Children
There are four distinct types of ADHD in children. The first is Combined Type ADHD (Inattentive/Hyperactive/Impulsive), which is the most common type. Children with Combined Type ADHD exhibit inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, as suggested by its classification name. These children are what most people think of when the ADHD is discussed. The second classification of ADHD, Hyperactive/Impulsive Type, categorizes children who display mostly impulsive and hyperactive behaviors, but are not inattentive and generally do not have trouble following directions in a school setting. Most often these children are males, but it is not unheard of for females children to meet this criteria.
Contrary to popular belief, not all children with ADHD are hyperactive. The third type of ADHD is the Inattentive Type. While these children aren’t hyper or impulsive, they are inattentive and have problems following directions or staying on task. Children who meet the criteria for this type of ADHD are typically females, but again, in some instances, males receive this diagnosis if they meet six or more of the criteria. Lastly, diagnosing ADHD in children is not always cut-and-dry. Attention Hyperactive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, also referred to as ADHD NOS, is a catchall for patients who seem to exhibit most behaviors associated with ADHD, but cannot be diagnosed due to the symptoms not meeting specific criteria. The diagnosis of ADHD NOS is frequently assigned to children children over the age of seven, who meet all of the guidelines for diagnosis, but because of the age stipulation for diagnosis, cannot be diagnosed in the other three categories.
While treatment for each child varies, the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD in children are stimulants under the trade names Ritalin and Adderall. Although stimulants typically increase activity for the general population, in children with ADHD the effects are much different, aiding in focusing and helping the child ignore distracting stimuli. Another common treatment is behavioral therapy, which centers on providing routines, structure, and a comfortably appropriate environment for the individual child. It may include parenting skills training to educate parents on how to properly handle or discipline their child with ADHD and social support groups.
ADHD In Children – Conclusion
Pediatricians and Psychologists both agree that the most effective form of treatment for ADHD patients is a combination of both therapy and the right medication. Each individual child may react differently to medications and types of therapy, but the research shows that the majority of children respond positively to a combination of both forms of treatment. ADHD in children has been researched more than any other childhood disorder, making diagnosis and treatment a workable process for frustrated and overwhelmed parents.