Are You Worried About ADHD in a Child?

Children who suffer from ADHD exhibit a range of worrisome symptoms. These children are described as inattentive and distractible; they exhibit short attention spans and often appear hyperactive and show poor impulse control.

Attention Problems Fall into Four Neuropsychological Domains

  • Selective/Focused Attention.
  • Shifting Attention.
  • Sustained Attention.
  • Attentional Capacity.

Children who show signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can exhibit problems in one or more  of these areas. They require individualized help to address their particular profile of strengths and weaknesses across these areas of deficit.

Some consider "Attention" as the foundation of all higher order processing. In order to regulate thinking and to complete tasks of daily living, including learning tasks at school, it is necessary to attend to both auditory and visual stimuli. Children who can't attend will have difficulty coping with a range of activities, especially  at school.

Problems with attention can adversely effect cognitive processes that are critical to success at school. These include problems remembering, comprehending and following through with various classroom and school related activities.  

Conversely, attention problems may be secondary to a range of neurocognitive concerns, such as memory problems, difficulties  processing language and/or verbal/auditory material, as well as mental health concerns like anxiety, depression and PTSD, or other  trauma related condtions. 

Symptoms of ADHD

  1. Inattention: The child has problems listening, is easily distracted and fails to persist with activities or finish tasks.
  2. Impulsivity: The child acts without thinking and has difficulty controlling her impulses (e.g. blurts out answers; has problems taking turns).
  3. Hyperactivity The child moves about, plays with things, appears restless and has problems sitting still.

Research suggests that 3-5% of children suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, many believe this disorder is over-diagnosed in children, and/or not assessed properly. A comprehensive psychological assessment (e.g. school neuropsychological testing) is required to determine if the attention problems of concern are primarily related to a neurocognitive attention deficit, or are secondary to  other neurocognitve processing issues, such as memory problems, or mental health problems like anxiety and depresssion.   

Some children who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are mainly inattentive. They do not exhibit signs of impulsivity or hyperactivity, nor are they disruptive. However, they have difficulty attending to academic and other tasks.

Parents report that children who show attention problems move rapidly from one activity to another and do not listen or attend to what they say. Teachers complain about poor attention to directions, limited concentration and off-task behavior. They also report that these children have difficulty with sustained attention and focus.

 Help a Child Who Shows Symptoms of ADHD

Contact Dr. O'Connor about ADHD in a child, and she will recommend options to further explore your concerns and help promote positive outcomes in the children you care about and work with.