Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity disorder is beginning to get the serious attention it deserves. Like Autism before it, ADHD has been long thought to be the result of lazy parenting. We now know that it is much more than that. ADHD has been linked to genetic abnormalities, along with environmental factors, family environment and emotional stress.
Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. ADHD is also among the most prevalent chronic health conditions affecting school-age children.The behaviors associated with ADHD depend on where on the spectrum of the disorder the child’s symptoms fall. The core symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (Clinical Practice Guideline: Diagnosis and Evaluation of the Child With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, American Academy of Pediatrics Vol. 105 No. 5 May 1, 2000).
A child on the inattentive end of the spectrum will exhibit 6 or more of the 9 symptoms of inattention and 5 or less of the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Symptoms of inattention include such things as “often had difficulty sustaining attention in tasks of play activities” or “is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli”.A child on the hyperactive end of the spectrum will have 6 or more of the 9 symptoms of hyperactivity, but 5 or less symptoms of inattention. Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity include such things as “often runs about or climbs on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)”(American Psychiatric Association, 1994, pp.64-65).The child who falls in the middle of this spectrum will exhibit 6 or more of the 9 symptoms for both inattentiveness and hyperactivity and impulsivity (Carlson, 2011).
There is a specific protocol followed to determine wether a child has ADHD, and if so, where on the spectrum he or she falls. The guideline contains the following recommendations for diagnosis of ADHD: 1) in a child 6 to 12 years old who presents with inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, academic underachievement, or behavior problems, primary care clinicians should initiate an evaluation for ADHD; 2) the diagnosis of ADHD requires that a child meetDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria; 3) the assessment of ADHD requires evidence directly obtained from parents or caregivers regarding the core symptoms of ADHD in various settings, the age of onset, duration of symptoms, and degree of functional impairment; 4) the assessment of ADHD requires evidence directly obtained from the classroom teacher (or other school professional) regarding the core symptoms of ADHD, duration of symptoms, degree of functional impairment, and associated conditions; 5) evaluation of the child with ADHD should include assessment for associated (coexisting) conditions; and 6) other diagnostic tests are not routinely indicated to establish the diagnosis of ADHD but may be used for the assessment of other coexisting conditions (eg, learning disabilities and mental retardation) (Clinical Practice Guideline: Diagnosis and Evaluation of the Child With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, American Academy of Pediatrics Vol. 105 No. 5 May 1, 2000).
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