Diagnosing children with any mental health disorder is complicated, at best, since kids go through an incredible amount of change as they develop and mature. When it comes to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the numbers are on the rise. In fact, the condition currently affects nearly 10% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 in the United States.
However, this jump doesn’t necessarily mean that the incidence of ADHD is increasing, but, rather, it may stem from a clearer understanding of the condition and better diagnostic criteria.
As experts in child and adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Brook Choulet and the extensive mental health team here at Choulet Wellness, are well-versed in recognizing and diagnosing ADHD using the current criteria, and we can do the same for your child.
The first step, however, is recognizing when there may be an issue that warrants a closer evaluation, which is where you, the caregiver, come in. To that end, we outline a few of the more common signs that ADHD may be present.
If we break down ADHD, we see that there are two components to the disorder, including:
This side of ADHD is tricky since it can be hard to capture your child’s attention for any length of time, especially when it’s something in which they have little interest. That said, if your child has ongoing difficulties with one or more of the following, it may signal inattention:
Focus or concentration
Following through with even the smallest task
Being easily distracted
Keeping track of things (they lose items quite a bit)
Avoiding anything that requires mental effort
There’s a very good case to be made for the fact that most kids and adolescents display these behaviors, so you want to look for patterns.
This side of the ADHD equation is also tricky as most kids are full of energy. A good way to determine whether your child may struggle in this area is to see whether they’re more hyperactive or impulsive than their peers. Signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity include:
Racing around at inappropriate times
Fidgeting (inability to sit still)
Being unable to wait their turn or in line
Again, kids learn patience over time, so these behaviors can be quite normal. If, however, you notice a pattern of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors that don’t improve with socialization, that could signal ADHD.
When it comes to determining whether your child has ADHD, we urge you not to draw any definitive conclusions on your own. To call ADHD complex is an understatement, and you need to come to see us for a full evaluation. As we mentioned, there are diagnostic criteria that need to be met, and we’re very familiar with them.
As well, ADHD can present itself quite differently in children. For example, one child may be hyperactive, while another child may space out and daydream. Still, both children may have ADHD. Through our considerable experience, we’re able to recognize the wide-ranging behaviors and manifestations of ADHD, which allows us to better identify the issue.
If you would like to learn more about how we go about diagnosing children with ADHD or if you’d like to schedule an evaluation for your child, call 480-448-6571 or book an appointment online with Choulet Wellness. We’re based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and we also serve the Paradise Valley area.