Have you ever had these feelings about your child, or have heard others express these thoughts? “I do not want my child taking any medications for a mental condition. All the doctors and therapists want to do is medicate our children. Even though I do not want my child to take medicine, I do not know what else I can do for him/her. They are so active, and they never want to sit still longer than a minute. This is affecting their school work to the point that the teacher has already stated that my child may have to repeat their grade. My child has been in trouble at school already this year, but he/she is so smart. I am truly frustrated.”
This type of attitude and belief is very common within our community. Recent studies have shown that at least 1/10 of every child has a mental condition that is so severe it is causing them some type of disability or impairment. Although the numbers from this statistic is very high, only about half of those children are actually receiving help for their conditions. Most children that are diagnosed with mental issues are diagnosed as having ADHD. It has also been recorded that boys are more often diagnosed with this disorder as compared to girls.
Most children that are diagnosed with ADHD display the same symptoms. They have a hard time concentrating, they are very impulsive, and they are super active. It is very hard for them to pay attention and stay still during class or during other times throughout the day.
How Is A Child Diagnosed With ADHD?
ADHD should not be confused with the term ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder. ADD was the previous term used until the mid-1990’s. After that time, the mental illness was divided into subcategories including:
- Hyperactivity and Impulsivity
Each one of these categories is recognized by their own special set of characteristics.
If a child is categorized as being inattentive, they have to possess at least six of the common characteristics. The child should also have had these signs and symptoms for at least seven months. Some of the characteristics are:
- Does not listen when someone is speaking to them.
- Cannot organize tasks effectively.
- Is distracted easily.
- Is forgetful.
- Does not like tasks that will stimulate them mentally (reading, homework)
- Makes careless mistakes in their schoolwork or other tasks.
- Does not finish chores and tasks even when they understand the instructions.
A hyperactivity and impulsivity diagnosis would also require that a child displays at least six characteristics for at least seven months. These characteristics include:
- Fidgets and squirms excessively.
- Talks a lot.
- Shouts out an answer before the completed question has been asked.
- Does not like waiting for their turn.
- Interrupts other people constantly.
- Cannot play quietly.
- Often moves around the room when they are expected to stay in their seat.
A combined diagnosis is a combination of several of these characteristics being displayed in a child over a period of time.
Medications and therapy have long been the recommended treatments for this mental condition. Some children are often given social skills training so they can learn how to interact with other children appropriately.