Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a very common neurodevelopmental condition seen in children. The known causes of ADHD are genetics, premature delivery, low birth weight, and exposure to drugs during pregnancy. There are over 6 million (9.6%) children in the United States aged between three to 17 years diagnosed with ADHD according to data provided by the Centre for Disease Control(CDC).
These children appear to be very fidgety, cannot sit still, are impulsive and have difficulty completing the tasks. But some of these symptoms overlap with the normal part of development in toddlerhood. And we all feel our child is hyperactive, don’t we? So, does your child have ADHD too? OnlyMyHealth editorial team spoke to Dr Isha Soni, Senior Occupational Therapist and Head at Lexicon Rainbow Therapy & Child Development Centre, to highlight the symptoms of ADHD in teenagers and toddlers.
Symptoms of ADHD toddlers
Let us have a look at the early symptoms seen in toddlers:
- Constantly “On the go” as if driven by an engine
- Very fidgety and restless
- Finds it very difficult to sit in one place and focus on a task like while reading a book or playing puzzle
- Frequently moves from one toy to another without playing with the prior properly
- Finds it difficult to wind down for the day or even fall asleep
ADHD is a condition which if goes unaddressed in early childhood often runs into teenage and/or adulthood as well. It has a significant impact on family, school, work, and relationships. The symptoms seen in teenage are :
- Inattentive in classroom
- Difficulty organising self and his chores
- Losing things often and being careless
- Focusing on tasks that are time consuming like projects
- Difficulty waiting for their turn
- Talking excessively
- Constantly moving or touching things around
- Impulsive decision – making
- Thrill seeking behaviour often landing in trouble
- Interrupting conversations
- Acting without thinking
Types of ADHD
All these can be reflected as poor social interaction, sub-average academic grades and frequent peer conflicts. The presentation of ADHD is usually of one of the three types as mentioned below:
1. Inattentive type: Here the symptoms are mainly related to difficulty paying attention and organising tasks.
2. Impulsive or Hyperactivity type: Here the symptoms are related to hyperactivity and impulsive behaviours.
3. Combined of the above two
But just by observing these few symptoms one cannot conclude a child has ADHD. These symptoms have to be persistent for at least a period of six months in various settings like home, school, and or daycare. The most important step is to connect with your child’s paediatrician to address your concerns.
There is no medical test to confirm this but various parent and teacher questionnaires are administered by the developmental psychologist along with a detailed development, behavioural history and her own clinical acumen. On confirmed diagnosis, various therapies are helpful for the child like Parental Counselling, Behaviour Therapy , Occupational Therapy and Sensory Integration Therapy. In more severe conditions, even medications are prescribed by the doctor.