The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as “a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development” (NIMH, 2016). But of course, all children have moments of inattention or hyperactivity, so how do you know if it is developmentally appropriate?
Regarding inattention, does your child have a hard time staying on task or keeping focus, but not due to a lack of understanding or an act of defiance? Sometimes children are uninterested in certain topics or activities because it is beyond their age-appropriate comprehension or is something they simply don’t care about. In some children, this inattention expands beyond things they are uninterested in to daily activities. Some parents might struggle to gain their children’s attention when trying to speak with them. You might notice children who struggle with keeping attention trying to avoid tasks that take sustained mental effort.
In many cases, hyperactivity and impulsivity can be developmentally appropriate for children. Children who might require an assessment are constantly on the move or fidgeting, and are climbing or running when inappropriate to do so. Many children have a hard time sitting still in their chairs at the end of the school day, and it is important to keep in mind that even adults have a hard time staying still for eight hours. However, some children even after play can never spend enough energy, and are constantly going. Impulsivity in children can be seen in those who have a very difficult time waiting their turn, blurt out answers before questions have been asked, and often interrupts others.
At Rogers Counseling, we can help provide assessments for parents who are unsure if their child is struggling with ADHD. Beyond a diagnosis, our counselors can help provide children and families with therapy and psychoeducation. More specifically, we can work with families on learning new ways to handle disruptions, coping skills, behavior adaptations, and improve family interactions.
If any of the prior descriptions of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity sound familiar, we encourage you to reach out to us about an assessment. We offer a complimentary ten-minute phone consultation to determine if Rogers Counseling would be a good fit for you and your family.