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Monday, December 17, 2018

Signs That Your Child Might Have ADHD

Having a child with ADHD has become more recognized in the last few years, but still seems to have negative connotations around it.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, doesn't have to have the negative impact that it has. In fact, getting a diagnosis for my son had changed our lives for the better because my husband and I were able to understand what my son was going through and were able to make a game plan.

Related Post- Does Your Child Have ADHD? It Isn't the End of the World

Medical Disclaimer- This article is not meant for diagnosing purposes. If you suspect your child may have ADHD talk to your child's pediatrician before self diagnosing and treating your child. Only a medical professional can give a diagnosis.
Disclaimer- This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase something from a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help to keep this blog running. Thanks for stopping by today!

How Does ADHD Present Itself?

One of the reasons why it seems that ADHD seems to be getting diagnosed more regularly is because it's being more and more understood. It also doesn't present itself in the way that people more commonly associate it with, which is hyperactivity and lost attention. 

This scene is from the movie "Up"

So what are the symptoms that you should look for? 

  • Hyperactivity- While not all kids with ADHD show this sign, this one is the biggest indicator. Kids are going to be fidgety and want to play, but if your child is constantly bouncing off the walls and can't sit still for more than five minutes constantly and seems to do this more than other children, your child might have ADHD. In this scenario, though, a teacher, doctor, or someone who knows kids with ADHD, probably have already approached you.
  • Inattentive- Do they pay attention to things? My preschooler is expected to be able to follow three step instructions. Children who are older and have ADHD, have trouble doing all of those steps because they didn't pay enough attention when given the instructions. Also, children who are inattentive may not always present this behavior. If there is something that they really enjoy, they can focus on that for as long as they want. It's more common in school work. Things to look out for are:
    • You need to ask them several times to do something.
    • When you talk to them face-to-face, you might see their eyes glaze over or shift their attention to something else.
Unfortunately, many of the signs of inattentiveness are also part of being a child.

  • Forgetfulness- Children with ADHD might forget things more often. Part of this is because they can be inattentive and didn't pay attention enough to remember. Clues are:
    • How often do they leave homework at school?
    • Do you have to tell them something more than once?
    • Do they lose things?
    • Even though they've grown up with rules, they still seem to not follow them.
  • Excessive Talking or Fast Talking- Girls get accused of this all of the time, especially when we're excited, mad, or have something that we think is important to say. However, it eventually evens itself out and we speak at normal speeds from time to time. What makes it different for kids with ADHD is:
    • Not knowing when is a good time to talk. Does your child interrupt you or others all of the time?
    • Does your child talk so fast that you can't understand them?
    • Does your child take longer than other to tell you story? Do they tell you the story straight through or does it always take twists and side courses before you get to the end.
Part of this is just because they're kids, but if it seems like its more than usual, you might have a child with ADHD.
  • Excessive Volume- Sometimes this gets mistaken as your child yelling. Both my son and I got in trouble a lot for this because we weren't aware that we were talking louder. Now that I know and understand, it's easier to stop and think, "Is he being loud because he's yelling and being disrespectful or is he being loud because he can't help it or doesn't realize he's yelling. One thing that helped us out is visual cues. We asked him if there was a hand gesture that we could do to help him realize that he needs to lower his volume. The peace sign is what he chose. So when he starts to get loud, we just flash the "We're number two" sign and he knows to adjust his volume. 

  • Aggressiveness- Does your child get into fights at school or is just unruly at home?
    • A child with ADHD can also have anxiety and depressive disorders. Many times when they get in trouble for fighting or arguing, they just can't help it because they have all of these feelings and emotions that they can't process and just eventually have melt downs and explosions. Ways to stop that:
      • One way to really help your child is to have a schedule or order of things in the house. Changing things up can confuse the child and they need to have consistency.
      • Avoid distractions- If you have a child with ADHD in a classroom, don't sit them next to the window or a door way.
      • Give a warning if something will change. Examples:
        • Give a 5 or 10 minute warning if you're going to go from tablet time to dinner. That way, they aren't surprised when the tablet has to go off. 
        • If you're going to time something, let them know the new time every three minutes or so. So if you start with 10 minutes, then announce when it's 7 minutes, then 4 minutes, and then one minute left.
        • Include them in making plans. If you have to run to the store that day and have to take them along, tell them earlier rather than later. When kids are caught off guard, that's when their moods can change. 
  • Compulsive- This is again, very characteristic of kids, especially young ones. However, children eventually learn that if I do this, then this other thing will happen. Children with ADHD don't always learn from their mistakes and will do it again. Example:
    • Does your child cross streets without looking?
    • Do they always say whatever is on their mind?
    • Do they take things without asking?
    • Do they tend to follow the kids in class who misbehave?
    • Do they tend to not follow the rules?
  • Messy or extreme cleanliness- Did you know that OCD, Hoarding, and ADHD all have similarities? Some of these orders can actually be treated with similar medications. Messiness or even cleanliness can be contributed to compulsiveness and are the result to how each person has been able to channel it. 
  • Learning difficulties- Children who have ADHD can be behind in other subjects that children their age are average in. Some things may include:
    • Reading- Does your child have a difficult time reading?
    • Speech- Is your child difficult to understand? Part of it is because they may speak to quickly or that their mind is moving so fast that they don't realize they aren't putting the emphasis on the correct annunciation of words.
    • Motor Development- Is your child's handwriting atrocious? Can they pedal a bike?
    • Socializing- Does your child play well with others? Are they always dictating what others do or miss social cues? Do they play with other kids at all?

    My Child Doesn't Display All of These, Can They Still Have ADHD?

    Not everyone who has ADHD presents the same way. In fact, men and women display them all differently. 

    My son is hyper, lacks focus, talks loudly and quickly, is forgetful, is compulsive, and presented with aggression. However, before he was diagnosed, many of those signs also just seemed like regular childlike behavior.

    My daughter, on the other hand, is going to be screened for ADHD, this year for different symptoms. We never thought to have her screened for it because she always seemed to have her stuff together. Unfortunately, that's what happens many times with girls. 

    The reason's that she will be screened is as follows: 
    • Instead of having her eyes on her teacher, she's often found fidgeting and playing with things in her desk. However, if the teacher asks her a question, she can give her the correct response or repeat back to the teacher what she said.
    • Although my daughter knows what's going on in class and is learning, she has a difficult time getting started with her tasks. 
    • When asked to do something on their own without the help of the teacher, most kids can get things done within a few minutes, but my daughter can take twice as long. However, if she's working alongside the teacher, she can get it done if the same amount of time as others because she's constantly getting prompt to do so.
    • She's difficult to understand. We started off with just getting her speech intervention because she talks so quietly and mumbles, but really she's just talking too fast.

    So What Do You Do if You Suspect Your Child Might Have ADHD?

    If you suspect that your child may have ADHD, talk to your child's pediatrician.

    If you don't want to start off with them, talk with your child's teacher. If you suspect your child has ADHD, their teacher may have noticed the signs, too.

    The school was a big help in getting my son's diagnosis. 

    In his case, my husband, family, and I just thought that my son was behaving like any other child. In fact, if you read my older blog posts from when I first started blogging, you'll see that there were days when I thought that my son just like to play rough and was naughty from time to time. 

    When he started Kindergarten, he really began to get into trouble. Tablet time was a HUGE contributor to his outbursts. He didn't transition well and would throw things or slam chairs on the ground. It was actually something that we thought he had picked up from a student that he had class with in Preschool. We had talked with him and disciplined him, but nothing worked.

    Eventually, I got a call from the social worker at his school and together we had worked up a behavior plan and addressed other concerns like speech and Occupational therapy. That's when my son's Education Plan was made. ( A topic for another time) The behavior plan had worked for the rest of Kindergarten and First Grade. 

    Because we had that plan in place, I was able to talk to the new social worker when my son was in Second Grade. He was a huge help for us and put together a team to get this diagnosis. He contacted the school psychologist and she worked up a survey and it was determined that he had attention issues, hyperactivity, and even anxiety. We then showed those results to the doctor we switched to who worked with children with ADHD and that was that!

    My Child's Been Diagnosed With ADHD, Now What?

    If the verdict after speaking with the doctor is that your child has ADHD, don't be dismayed! One thing that my son's doctor recommended was to go to counseling. Learn what you can about ADHD and learn coping mechanisms. 

    Also- chances are, someone else in your family does, too. That's right, ADHD can be genetic. 

    Even though I haven't been formally diagnosed, I also have ADHD tendencies that were missed when I was a child. I was loud, fast talking child who often got in trouble for being mouthy or sassy when really, I was just passionate.  At school, I was a social butterfly and I also had a difficult time focusing, but it wasn't something that anyone took much concern over. 

    Guess what! I overcame it for he most part and I grew up to be a mostly functioning, well adjusted person, who could have her forgetfulness and fuzzy brain contributed as mom moments.

    Ok, so that was probably an unnecessary bunny trail brought to you by an ADHD "over explaining" tangent moment, when I could have gotten straight to the point. 

    If you're still reading, then know this- There are ways to get help:

    • You can teach your child to work through it. Teach them ways to learn to focus. There are fidget spinners and other different devices to work through hyperactivity and inattentiveness.
    • Exercise! There are many studies that show that exercise can eliminate ADHD. A school in Texas has tripled recess to test the theory. Read about it here. 
    • Diet Change- There have been studies that suggest that changing your child's diet can help them refocus and quite possibly help with ADHD. You can find books all about it online or at a book store.
    • Medication- Medication has a negative connotation about it because of how the drugs for it used to make children behave. Things have changed this day and age. My husband and I were very wary about having my son take the medication because of all of the horror stories that we heard about it, but we decided to have my son try it and the change in my son was miraculous. I can tell you about everything in a different post because there would be just too much to write about, but all of the negative side effects that we thought would happen, never did. We didn't lose him, he is still the same creative and happy boy he always is with or without the medication. 

    You're Doing Everything Right.

    Before my son's diagnosis, I felt like such a terrible parent. I felt like I was doing it all wrong and that's why he behaved the way he did. 

    I felt like a failure. I thought that he would purposely not listen to me or try to get into trouble, but it wasn't that at all. I thought that the way I had disciplined him, only made things worse.

    Once I had realized how far behind he was in school, I thought that I just wasn't doing a good enough job teaching him at home for him to move ahead. I also wanted to blame the school because how could he be so far behind if they weren't teaching him well?

    I was so wrong! Since his diagnosis and his medication, his learning growth has tripled and he's right where he needs to be on the learning curve. He's so sweet and helpful in school and a great pal to all of his friends. 

    Your friends and family may not understand. I still have to explain to my family why my baby needed the intervention. To them, he was just a normal boy, why would he need any extra help or medication? Once I explain to them and show them the results, they understand. 

    It's just that when people hear ADHD, they have a specific picture in their head about what it means to have it. They more often think of Dumb and Dumber, but really, many of the most well known masterminds of the times had some sort of disorder like ADHD, but they channeled it into their passions and were just brilliant about the things they loved.

    You're doing it right. You can breathe, you can relax. Things are going to change and everything will be alright.

    Has this post helped you in understanding ADHD? Did you or your child get diagnosed with it? What were some things that you learned? What did you have to adjust?

    Comment below and don't forget to share if you enjoyed what you read!

    (P.S.- As a blogger, I realize that sharing and promotion is EVERYTHING in order to build up traffic to your blog. I'm use Tailwind to help promote my blog posts. In order to Niche Down, I also created a Tailwind tribe for moms who have children with ADHD. If you're interested in joining the tribe community, our tribe would love to have you! Click to Join ADHD Mom .)


    1. I used to know a few people who had ADHD and they have figured out ways to cope with this. Using those strategies towards their advantage, not making ADHD a 'thing'. Great article!

      1. Thank you! I was never diagnosed with ADHD, but my son's pediatrician looked at me and told me I should see my own doctor for it. It's something that you do learn to work around and find different strategies to make it work for yourself.

    2. I love that you listed medication last in the ways to help. I fear some doctors and parents rush to it so quickly, as the magical fix, when it's quite likely not necessary for every child with ADHD. I have 3 kids (ages 3, 3, and 5) and now that the worry over major allergies and autism is behind us, ADD/ADHD has taken over as something I worry about. So far they don't have many red flags from your list so fingers crossed we dodge this bullet.

      1. My youngest is four with ADHD tendencies, but the pediatrician said not to worry about it. They (good doctors) won't even think about screening until the child is at least in Kindergarten, but they prefer later than that because emotional intelligence also plays part in how children behave and it changes as they age.

    3. I do find that ADHD is always misdiagonised as a kid being difficult, thanks so much for sharing this well written and well explained post

      1. Thank you! One thing that I was very glad for when we got my son diagnosed was that the school psychologist had many people who worked with my son fill out a survey. Many misbehavior can be a result of family life, in which case a social worker is needed, but sometimes being difficult is just because the child has too much stimuli coming from all directions and needs help coping with it.

    4. Thank you for all this information, I have never looked in to ADHD before so it is nice to have a something to look back on as a reference if I need to in the future.

    5. Thank you for bringing awareness, there seems to be so many kids these days with ADHD and so sad when they get labeled as bad kids when they just need a little help and proper care.

      1. It absolutely broke my heart that my son was getting in trouble in school because at home, he was a sweet, gentle boy. Many of the aggressive situations that he got into had started when he was in school, so at first, I was like, "What is the school doing to him that he's getting into trouble?" I've since learned not to place blame and to work together.

    6. I thought my son was ADHD when he was younger. He was just overactive, no concentration and always on the go. He is now 24 years old and a successful young man.

      1. Many people who have ADHD are able to find ways to cope with it. An many people who have ADHD also grow up to be strong, independent, hard-working people, with a side of brilliance and creativity.

    7. I have a diagnosed ADHD son, and I can tell you from personal experience, he legit exhibits most of these behaviors. He is a great kid, but sometimes he struggles with control and the FORGETFULNESS!! Ok, I struggle more with the forgetfulness, and that is probably my no. 1 struggle. Great post and thanks for sharing.

      1. My son has had help from the school when it came to getting his homework sent home, but this year, the teacher has been making him be accountable, which is a good thing.

        I struggled in school and even college because I would forget I had homework. A planner never worked either because I would forget to write it down. It was the worst!


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    Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

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