We all know kids (and maybe even adults!) who can’t sit still, seem to need multiple repetitions of requests, blurt out inappropriate comments or have trouble following instructions no matter how clearly you present them.
It’s normal for kids to sometimes forget their homework, daydream during class or act without thinking. However, frequent inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity can also be signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some children with ADHD may be constantly in-motion, “bouncing off the walls” and have trouble following rules or expectations for behavior. Other children with ADHD may sit quietly, with their thoughts miles away.
Children with ADHD may:
● Have trouble staying focused or get easily distracted
● Appear not to be listening when spoken to
● Constantly fidget and squirm
● Talk excessively
● Act without thinking
● Interrupt often, or blurt out the first thing that comes to mind
● Have a quick temper or “short fuse”
Often, children and young adults who have difficulty controlling impulses or get into trouble at school can find it hard to make friends. These frustrations can later lead to low self-esteem and even tension and conflict with other family members.
Depending on the child’s challenges and strengths, effective treatment for ADHD typically involves a combination of behavioral interventions and stimulant medication. Behavioral interventions include learning how to regulate emotions and impulses, developing and practicing routine and structure, and providing additional supports (like prompts and visual schedules) at school and home. For medication, the first line of evidence-based treatment is stimulants, followed by non-stimulants. Depending on a particular person’s needs, medications may need to be combined for optimal results.