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Diagnosing ADHD: Warning Signs That Should Alert Parents

written by: Mayflor Markusic • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 7/28/2010

Do you suspect that your child has ADHD? Maybe his behavior is just normal for an energetic kid. Maybe not. Here are some warning signs of ADHD parents can look out for.

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    The first challenge of children who suffer from ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the recognition of this medical condition. ADHD, unlike other allergies or cancer, has symptoms that can be passed off as normal or due to improper parental discipline or lack of training. When the child sneezes, the parent is alerted to the potential presence of an allergy. But when the child can not maintain attention or is hyperactive, the parent assumes the child to be simply misbehaving. It is only when the child’s school performance and social interactions become severely affected that the presence of ADHD is suspected and symptoms of ADHD in children become evident.

    The early detection of ADHD is crucial so that the child will greatly improve the chances of dealing with this particular disorder and living a relatively normal adult life. The first people who can make that early detection are the parents. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifies three subtypes of ADHD, which are predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, predominantly inattentive, and the combination of the hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive behaviors.

    Some Warning Signs of ADHD

    A child who may have the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype of ADHD may always fidget, squirm, run, and climb without any thought about safety or consequence. The child can not sit still and can not wait in line. Children without ADHD may also exhibit these behaviors but only for a short period of time. When hyperactivity and impulsiveness is long-term and severe, it may be time for the parents to seek professional help.

    A child who may have the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD may always appear lethargic and slow. They seem to daydream all the time. They are immediately distracted and they often forget many things. Children without ADHD may also make mistakes and may also appear inattentive. But such behavior in children without ADHD can be easily corrected. Such children can eventually follow instructions and remember details. The children with ADHD, however, will have their school performance suffer because of their incapability to pay longer attention. Homework is often incomplete or contains many errors. Parents who observe these in their child must consider the possibility of ADHD.

    The parents, of course, should not make their own diagnosis. They should bring their child to a trusted professional who can conduct the necessary investigation. The ADHD in the child is a medical disorder that is not caused by parenting skills. But it would be a severe inadequacy of parenting skills if parents ignore such ADHD symptoms.

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