Children mature at different rates (in different domains - cognition, social, motor, etc.) and have different personalities, temperaments, and energy levels. Most children get distracted, act impulsively, and struggle to concentrate at one time or another. It is quite easy to mistake these normal factors for ADHD-Primarily Hyperactive, AD/HD Combined: Hyperactive and Inattentive, or ADHD Primarily Inattentive.
However, there are specific characteristics for this disorder, an age of onset for specific subtypes, and consistency of symptoms across environments, situations, and age.
The referring pediatrician and/or specialist will determine if a child:
- Is experiencing undetected seizures that could be associated with other medical conditions - these type of seizures look much like ADHD-primarily inattentive
- Has a middle ear infection that is causing hearing problems
- Has any undetected hearing or vision problems
- Has any medical problems that affect thinking and behavior
- Has any learning disabilities
- Has anxiety or depression, or other psychiatric problems that might cause ADHD-like symptoms
- Has been affected by a significant and sudden change, such as the death of a family member, a divorce, or parent's job loss.
- Are the behaviors excessive and long-term, and do they affect all aspects of the child's life?
- Do they happen more often in this child compared with the child's peers?
- Are the behaviors a continuous problem or a response to a temporary situation?
- Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one place, such as the playground, classroom, or home?
Finally, if after gathering all this information the child meets the criteria for ADHD, he or she will be diagnosed with the disorder.
BEWARE of the doctor or clinician who asks a few simple questions and hands over a quick prescription!!! THERE MAY BE A LOT MORE THAN ADHD GOING ON !
DO NOT TAKE ANY CHANCES!
Let me give you a very true, but cautionary story. My brother-in-law's daughter was very impulsive