By their very nature, children are often distractible. A short attention span, especially in the face of a stimulating environment, is to be expected for many curious and interested children. Young children are typically blessed with an abundance of energy, so they may appear fidgety and “on the go” much of the time. While some inattention and hyperactivity is to be expected in childhood, if it interferes with learning in school and negatively impacts family and other social relationships, a child may need help. If your child is having problems in school related to distractibility or disrupting class, it may be time to check to see if he or she is struggling with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Diagnosing and treating ADHD will help your child stay on track in school and keep him or her from becoming frustrated in school and at home.
Signs of ADHD fall into two general categories: inattentive behavior and hyperactive or impulsive behavior. A child with ADHD may primarily exhibit one type of behavior or the other, or he or she may exhibit both types of problems. Inattentive symptoms include making frequent, careless mistakes, losing belongings, and not listening or following through with multi-step instructions. Impulsive and hyperactive behaviors include restlessness, interrupting or intruding on others’ conversations, speaking without thinking, and constant talking. Both inattentive and hyperactive or impulsive behaviors may lead to poor grades, getting into trouble in class, and even problems with friends and family members.
Diagnosing ADHD is a multi-step process at The Summit Counseling Center and includes a comprehensive initial consultation and interview with you and your child. Your child (or adolescent or young adult) is then administered a computerized attention task, as well as brief measures of cognitive ability and academic achievement. Questionnaires are administered to determine whether emotional or other mental health issues may be interfering with attention skills. Following testing, we provide a summary of our findings and recommendations for any necessary treatment.
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, there are many options for treatment. Medication is not always necessary, and often counseling, therapy, behavior modification and/or tutoring are sufficient ways of dealing with ADHD.
As with most disorders, early diagnosis is optimal. Don’t hesitate to contact The Summit Counseling Center for a Screening Assessment or visit http://summitcounseling.org/ for more information on diagnosis and treatment options.