What is ADHD?

Though ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, is still a common term, most people in the field now use ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which encompasses more of the symptoms.

Children with ADHD can have three different groups of symptoms that lead to that diagnosis if the symptoms are out of the normal range for that child’s age and development. The symptoms can be present in varying combinations:

  • Not being able to focus (inattentiveness)
  • Being extremely active (hyperactivity)
  • Not being able to control behavior (impulsivity)

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children, and is usually diagnosed before the age of seven. According to the DSM-IV, ADHD is prevalent in 3% – 7% of school-age children. It is diagnosed much more often in boys than in girls. Experts have not agreed on a cause, though research points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Inattentive Symptoms

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Has difficulty keeping attention during tasks or play
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork or chores and tasks
  • Has problems organizing tasks and activities
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork)
  • Often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity Symptoms

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
  • Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
  • Has problems playing or working quietly
  • Is often “on the go,” acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • Talks excessively

Impulsivity Symptoms

  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Has difficulty awaiting turn
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games)

How can I help my child with ADHD?

At CTS, we can work with your pediatrician to evaluate your child based on the patterns of symptoms listed above, as there is no test for ADHD. Most children with ADHD have at least one other developmental or mental health problem, such as a mood, anxiety, or substance use disorder, or a learning disability.

Our occupational therapists can work with your child on self-regulation and any sensory issues that may be interfering with his ability to handle changes in his environment. If you have any questions please call CTS at 630-444-0077 to speak to a therapist, or to speak to a client support specialist.