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Does My Child Have ADHD?

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopment psychiatric disorders in children. It affects about 6-7% of children.

What are the symptoms – how do I know if my child has ADHD?

A child may show the following symptoms

1.Inattention

-Does not seem to listen when spoken to

-Has difficulty sustaining attention on tasks or play activities

-Is forgetful in daily activities etc.

2.Impulsivity

-Has difficulty awaiting turn

-Blurts out answers before the questions have been completed

-Interrupts or intrudes on others etc

3.Hyperactivity

-Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

-Talks excessively

-Is ‘on the go’ or often acts as if ‘driven by a motor’

Which doctor should I take my child to?

If a child is suffering from the above mentioned symptoms, he/she has to be referred to Pediatric Neurologist, followed by Developmental Pediatrician for diagnosing and management of ADHD.

He may require the help of Psychologist, Counselor and Special Educator for behavior management and education.

What are the risk factors and causes of ADHD?

ADHD is currently considered to have multiple causes however exact etiology of ADHD is unknown. These could be:

Genetic Factors

Research supports a strong genetic component. For example, first degree relatives (parents, siblings and children) with ADHD have a 3 to 5 times increased risk.

Environmental Factors

This includes low birth weight, prenatal and perinatal obstetric complications, intrauterine toxins such as nicotine or alcohol, severe early deprivation and institutional rearing.

How to manage a child with ADHD? 

Management of primary problem:

Treatment includes various forms of psychotherapy, medications, education or training or a combination of treatments. With treatment most children with ADHD can be successful in school and lead a productive life.

Behavioral and Psychological Treatment:

-Psychoeducation and  Parent training and school-based intervention

-Reinforcement of positive behaviors by praise or by providing incentives like (gold star or happy face) in daily consistency charts

-Providing a distraction-free environment in school and at home for children

-Social skills training

-Adapting tasks to the child’s abilities

-Provision of integrated and inclusive education in schools

-Close monitoring in the classroom, preferably seated in the front row in the class

-Predictable schedules and brief study periods

-Special education and remedial teaching

Medicines available for treatment

The medicines are to be given only as per the treating doctor’s advice. The medications may include use of:

-Stimulant médications: Methylphenidate and Atomoxetine

-Non-stimulant medications: These are useful in around 30% of children who may not tolerate or respond to stimulant medicines.

What measures can be taken to prevent ADHD in children?

Avoiding environmental risk factors such as maternal smoking during pregnancy and lead exposure

Is there any special diet chart to follow for a child with Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

It is recommended that children with ADHD should have a normal healthy balanced diet, with less sugar intake and also do some regular exercise.

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