I remember googling this phrase the first time ADHD was suggested as a possible ‘thing’ for my daughter. Racing home I typed in, ‘ADHD symptoms in children’. I rarely used Google as a Dr because as we all know, we can suffer from any of the symptoms listed if we put our mind to it!
Firstly it gave me a brief description of what ADHD was. In a nutshell, it said that ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, was the most common neurodevelopmental disorder to be diagnosed in children.
Children with ADHD have trouble with attention, focus, impulsivity and being overly active. My daughter was about four or five years old at the time. To be fair this sounded a lot like most children of that age to me!
As the name suggests, ADHD falls into two categories, creating three subtypes. There is the inattention aspect and the hyperactivity and impulsiveness side. And many people have both or combined, hence ADHD. ADD, on the other hand, Attention Deficit Disorder, can often go unnoticed as the symptoms are far less obvious. Children with ADHD have often been called the naughty or challenging children in class or at home, due to the behaviour they present.
ADHD Symptoms Checklist for Children
Having read this brief Google introduction, I needed to know more about the signs and symptoms. I found a teacher’s checklist! Teachers of SENCO must grade the child from 1 to 5, five being the highest.
- Experiences difficulty paying attention when the teacher is talking or during a discussion
- Difficulty with active listening when being spoken to directly
- More restless and fidgety than their peers
- Goes for wanders for no apparent reason
- Can talk for the sake of talking
- Struggles with turn-taking
- Little or no sense of danger
- Difficulty staying focussed and concentrating – even when interested and engaged
- Dislikes anything that involves sustained concentration – will actively avoid
- Constantly re-reminded about routine tasks as they have forgotten them
- Hyper-vigilant and easily distracted
- Very active with little or no need for rest times
- Blurts out things that are not on topic
- Constantly losing things they require eg pens, pencils, rulers
- Very little care given to the presentation of their work
- Constantly fidgeting, squirming or swinging on their chair
- Given repeated warnings over the same behaviour
- Finds it difficult to sequence events correctly in storytelling
- Appears to have greater potential than what is shown in class
I could tick so many of the above for my daughter. Not all, but a lot. The thing is ADHD is a very individual thing. Some people have mainly the impulsive, hyperactive side, others will have the inattentive side and many will have both.
My son, who has since been diagnosed with ADHD, presents differently from his sister, yet they are both ADHD combined. So why so different?
ADHD and Comorbidities
It is estimated that approximately two-thirds of children with ADHD also have another disorder known as a comorbidity. The most common comorbidities for children with ADHD are:
- ODD – Oppositional Defiance Disorder
- CD – Conduct Disorder
- OCD – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Sleep Disorders
- Learning disorders
- Tourettes or Tics disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
So, with such high rates of comorbidities in our children, we can now see why they are so individual. My son is your stereotypical ADHD boy. Hyperactive, impulsive, operating as if he was charged with Duracell batteries. I decided to medicate him and he is now able to do so well in school and beyond. The medication helps him to focus and sit still for longer periods of time. It balances out his symptoms of ADHD.
My daughter has comorbidities. She has ODD, dyslexia and dyscalculia symptoms added to her ADHD diagnosis. These don’t go away when you medicate a child with ADHD. The ADHD medications help, I’m not denying that at all, but she requires extra help with dyslexia and dyscalculia and a lot of patience from me and her teachers for the ODD!
I’m gradually writing up blog posts for each of the comorbidities to help with their signs and symptoms should you feel that your child may be suffering from an additional condition. Please let me know if you think I have missed any!