Does Your Child Have ADHD?
Let’s get right to the point. ADHD is real. Children have ADHD. Teens have ADHD, and adults have ADHD. ADHD is alive and well and can make life very complicated. Properly treated and harnessed, ADHD can add to a person’s creativity, ability to multi-task, and be successful.
For a complete description of ADHD, please see www.webmd.com and look for ADHD in Children Health Center. I want to focus on what you can do as a parent if you become concerned that your child is exhibiting signs or symptoms of ADHD.
The first thing you can do is see your child’s pediatrician. He or she will take a history of your concerns, and you will receive a checklist form to fill out. Although the doctor may want to see your child as well, the diagnosis is not made based upon your child’s behavior in the waiting room or office. Your pediatrician may conclude that your child meets the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD and make treatment recommendations, which may include the use of medicine and work with a local Child Psychologist who is familiar with the diagnosis and treatment options.
You may decide to see a Child Psychiatrist rather than your Pediatrician as the Psychiatrist by definition is more of an expert in the Psychological and Psychiatric issues that children often deal. Get a name or two of Psychiatrists that enjoy solid reputations as the decision to use medication with your child for ADHD is often much more thought-provoking that using the medicine for your child when he or she is sick. The Child Psychiatrist may also refer you to a Psychologist for treatment to augment the use of medication.
You may also decide, before seeing a Pediatrician or Psychiatrist, have your child undergo a Psychological Evaluation to rule in or rule out the diagnosis. Off the top of my head, the only reason I can think of which would rule against starting with the Evaluation is the cost associated. I am not implying that if you do not do this, you are not a good parent. We can do what we can do. The evaluation consists of several academic and psychological tests and questionnaires that teachers and parents fill out. The Psychologist will not only determine whether or not your child has ADAD, but will also make recommendations for treatment and also educational recommendations.
Take A Deep Breath
ADHD is not something to be feared; instead, embrace it. It is part of your child. In the office, I often share with families (anonymously, of course) the fact that one of the most brilliant Psychologists and Sugeoens I know personally has full-blown ADHD. For emphasis, I also share that a very successful entrepreneur I know credits his success to the power, creativity, and ability to muli-task to his ADHD.
You are not responsible for your child having ADHD. However, you are responsible for availing yourself of the best treatment option you can so that your child can continue to navigate the many challenges he or she faces without the weight of ADHD hanging around his or her neck.