Does My Child Have ADHD?
All kids have those moments when they are bundles of endless energy. Being hyper is part of growing up and exploring the world, but it can also be a symptom of a condition called ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a medical condition that causes trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behaviors.
Mommy Mundo talked with Licensed Occupational Therapist Monica Peralta, OTRP, about the tell-tale signs of ADHD.
“You can start seeing the difference in behavior at around two years of age. It can be difficult and challenging to differentiate being hyper and having ADHD, but you will be able to tell that your child is acting differently from others,” says Teacher Monica.
There is criteria called DSM-5 that developmental pediatricians refer to when diagnosing ADHD.
Teacher Monica adds, “To diagnose ADHD, doctors evaluate based on the symptoms. The child should manifest 6 or more symptoms in a period of 6 months to the degree that it affects the areas of occupation around the child.”
Watch Out For Signs
While there’s a whole list of symptoms DSM-5 enumerates, Teacher Monica gives three that you can easily watch out for.
“Being inattentive to the extent that they can’t sustain mental effort.” In this case, the child will have difficulty sitting down and finishing tasks. You can see their difficulty in paying close attention to details.
“Being hyper and impulsive, as if they were driven by a motor.” Because they’re powered like a motor, kids with ADHD will have a hard time staying still. They could fidget in their seats, do non-stop talking, and act without giving thought to consequences. While normal kids might do these too, they will listen once they are told to stop. But children with ADHD will have a hard time controlling their impulses.
“They could be physical or rough to the point of hurting others.” This is not intentional, of course. It’s an issue of control because of their hyperactivity and impulsivity.
What To Do If You See Signs
“Comparing your child to other children is hard because each one develops differently. Kids have different pacing. If you see a few signs and symptoms, monitor your child. Give him or her time and give yourself a timeline to observe. If the behavior is consistent for a month, do not hesitate to seek help,” shares Teacher Monica.
There is a stigma that seeing a developmental pediatrician means that something is wrong. But there’s nothing wrong with getting professional help. “Some parents try to avoid it. It’s hard because most parents are in denial. The first step to helping our children is acceptance,” she adds.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get an appointment with a developmental pediatrician. It will take weeks or months to get a schedule. While you wait to see the doctor, Teacher Monica suggests talking to moms in similar situations. You can also read up on ADHD from credible sources. She says, “Kids are referred to an occupational therapist by the doctor, it starts there. But while they wait, some parents approach me for times on activities you can do at home. At the end of the day, we have to wait for that dev ped appointment because therapists cannot diagnose.”
Moms want only the best for their child. It’s normal to feel anxious if you think he or she has ADHD. Getting help from a support group and getting the ball rolling in terms of behavioral intervention are things that can happen even before you get an official diagnosis. The most important thing is to realize that no matter what issues there are, your unconditional love for your child surpasses any medical condition. Assuring your child that you’ll be there to hold his or her hand through it all is a beautiful beginning to the journey ahead.
Monica Andrea Peralta, OTRP, is a Licensed Occupational Therapist at the Center for Learning and Intervention. Unit 223, FRDC Building, Bgy. Ugong, Pasig City. You can contact them at 0926-6185863.