We live in a society that places an emphasis on diagnosing and prescribing medications for what is considered “not normal”. The real question we should be asking is: what is normal? How does one define normalcy? Is anyone considered “normal”? If so, I would love to meet them one day.
The ones that hurt the most from this labeling is our children. Often children are diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for mistaken regular child-like behaviors. So, how do you know if your child is behaving like a “normal” child and when are they truly diagnosed ADHD? Well, here are the signs and symptoms for those that would be considered appropriate for the diagnosis ADHD (according to National Institute of Mental Health’s website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml#part_145444):
Children who have symptoms of inattention may:
- Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
- Have difficulty focusing on one thing
- Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
- Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
- Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
- Not seem to listen when spoken to
- Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
- Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
- Struggle to follow instructions.
Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:
- Fidget and squirm in their seats
- Talk nonstop
- Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
- Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
- Be constantly in motion
- Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.
Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:
- Be very impatient
- Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
- Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
- Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities.
If you observe any of these signs or symptoms from your child(ren), make sure that you have them assessed appropriately by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Some of the symptoms listed can in fact be a result from other factors: environment, brain injury, or personality. Family First Counseling has counselors that can assist in helping your child reduce some of these symptoms through play therapy, without prescribing medications. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!