ADHD In Children in Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Lorton, VA
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is a brain disorder that can affect children differently. If left untreated, this issue can cause a child to be restless, misbehave and prevent him or her from learning in school.
If you or your child’s teacher begin to notice signs of ADHD in your child, contact ALL Pediatrics to discuss ADHD diagnosis and management. Please call our pediatric clinic at (703) 436-1200 to schedule your consultation today.
Common ADHD Symptoms
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulse control are not symptoms that are exclusive to children with ADHD, but the symptoms tend to be more pronounced in those who are affected. Although ADHD affects everyone differently, the following behaviors are the most commonly observed issues:
ADHD can cause a child to have difficulty paying attention. Children who are inattentive tend to be disorganized and may give up on tasks easily. Many parents mistake these behaviors as simply misbehaving, but in children with ADHD they are not making an intentional choice to behave this way.
Hyperactivity causes a child to feel the need to move or fidget, even in situations where it may not be appropriate. If you notice that your child frequently taps his or her fingers, rapidly moves his or her legs when sitting or simply talks an above-average amount, ADHD may be causing this behavior.
Typically, even children without ADHD need to learn impulse control over time. But, if your child doesn’t seem to “grow out of” the pattern of making decisions without thinking or interrupting others, the disorder could be the cause.
Causes of ADHD
Over the years, there has been a lot of misinformation about the causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. According to HealthyChildren.org researchers believe that ADHD could be the result of brain damage, head injuries, or even the ingestion of too much-refined sugar. All of these theories have been disproved.
Simply put, ADHD is caused by chemical and structural dysfunctions in the brain that are the result of genetics. Pathways in the brain and neurotransmitters that regulate dopamine and norepinephrine are different in those with ADHD than those without.
The following criteria are used to validate a diagnosis of ADHD:
- Symptoms manifest in two or more settings, such as home, school, and social environments, resulting in some level of impairment.
- For children aged 4 to 17 years, a minimum of six symptoms must be identified.
- For individuals aged 17 years and older, a minimum of five symptoms must be identified.
- Symptoms significantly hinder your child’s capacity to engage in various daily activities, including schoolwork, interactions with family members and siblings, relationships with peers, or participation in group activities like sports teams.
- Onset of symptoms occurs prior to the child reaching 12 years of age, although they may not be recognized as ADHD symptoms until later in life.
- Symptoms have persisted for more than six months.
Furthermore, alongside observing your child’s behavior, your pediatrician will conduct a thorough physical and neurological examination. A comprehensive medical history will be gathered to contextualize your child’s behavior and screen for other potential conditions influencing their behavior. Your pediatrician will also engage in a conversation with your child to understand their behaviors and emotions.
There are several options for treating a child with ADHD. With appropriate care, a child can manage symptoms and can begin to better focus in school and at home. According to NHS common treatment options include:
- Therapy to help a child learn to manage his or her symptoms.
- Parent training to help create an environment that will allow their child to thrive.
- Medication to decrease severe symptoms.
- School intervention to make teachers aware of any necessary accommodations.