Whether your child is having trouble focusing well enough to write an essay at school or seems unable to wait their turn when playing at home, you might wonder if they have ADHD. This mental disorder is actually quite common. According to the CDC, 6.1 million children (about 9.4%) in the U.S. have received this diagnosis. But that doesn’t mean it applies to any particular child. So, what can you do if your child’s behavior seems to indicate they might have a problem?
Take a Diagnostic Test
Simple quizzes can give you a clue about whether you have a mental disorder. Your child can take the test, or you can take it based on what you’ve seen from them. There are tests for ADHD that might help you rule that disorder out as the cause of the difficulty. If ADHD doesn’t seem to fit, you can turn to other sources of information to find out if any other factors might be at play.
Get Familiar with ADHD Symptoms
Most people think of ADHD as a disorder that causes people to flit from one subject to another while having a conversation. This could be one indication of ADHD, but it could also be caused by something else, and it’s also possible to have ADHD without showing this type of speech. So, it’s best to learn about all the signs of this disorder and recognize that a child with ADHD typically has multiple different symptoms.
- Often interrupting others
- Can’t seem to wait their turn
- Emotionally volatile
- Fidgets a lot
- Can’t seem to play quietly
- Has trouble completing tasks
- Unable to pay attention even when you talk directly to them
- Avoids tasks that require a lot of mental exertion
- Has a hard time following directions
- Daydreams often
- Can’t seem to get organized
- Forgets to do things or loses things
- Doesn’t do daily chores
- Doesn’t maintain good hygiene
When looking through these symptoms, consider where they occur. A child with ADHD will have the symptoms in more than one setting. If you see that your child seems to have significant symptoms of ADHD, you still don’t have a diagnosis, and there’s not much to do at this point. However, you have accomplished a good first step. You’ve gathered some information that will be valuable for diagnosis.
Talk to a Mental Health Provider
When parents assume their child has ADHD and take self-help steps to relieve it, they often cause more trouble than they cure. Instead of trying to go it alone, talk to a mental health professional about the issues you’re noticing. A psychologist can assess your child’s behavior in light of the diagnostic criteria for ADHD and let you know if you’re on the right track. Once you know what the real problem is, you can move forward with confidence to help them manage their behavior and improve their educational outcomes.
Start Therapy for Yourself
If your child does have ADHD, their doctor or psychologist will likely recommend therapy, skills classes, and maybe medication. Your child’s mental health providers will work with you to help you help your child. But what about you? How are you doing with this?
Having a child with ADHD can be extremely frustrating, saddening, or even make you feel angry. Dealing with the emotional turmoil that comes up surrounding this disorder can be difficult. You want to be your best to help your child succeed. That’s why many parents of children with ADHD benefit from going to therapy for themselves. Then, you can learn to feel better about yourself, change the way you think about the situation, and practice good parenting skills. When you do that, you can create a family environment where your child can grow and thrive and you can enjoy the rewards of being a positive parent.
About the author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with Mind-Diagnostics.org. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.