Most adults take life skills for granted, like knowing when to wake up for work or take medication and how to balance their checkbook. Yet to a teen with ADHD, those tasks can become huge hurdles.
Kids with ADHD tend to be much slower than their peers to develop skills needed to organize, plan, and prioritize, says Cindy Goldrich, EdM, ACAC. She is a certified ADHD coach and parenting specialist with PTS Coaching in Long Island, N.Y.
Kids and teens with ADHD know what they need to do. They just...
Each has different kinds of symptoms, and they change with age.
ADHD begins in childhood and for some people can last a lifetime, but treatments can help.
ADHD in Toddlers and Preschoolers
Little kids are an active and unruly bunch. So how can you tell if one has ADHD? Usually, their unruly behavior is extreme.
These kids are “running, jumping, climbing on everything, they can’t sit still, they talk all the time," says Steven Cuffe, MD. He is chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville. "They’re often described as ‘on the go’ or ‘driven by a motor.’”
Russell A. Barkley, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina, describes fidgeting and restless behavior: “They simply can’t concentrate very long on anything,” even a bedtime story.
While you may see the warning signs, the diagnosis usually comes a little later. But a doctor may be able to give you strategies for parenting.
ADHD in Elementary School Kids
Not all children with ADHD are hyperactive, but one that is will still be so when he becomes school-age. Other symptoms will show up, too. He may be unable to focus, and may also have trouble making good decisions and planning for the future. “What you’re seeing is a blossoming of a more and more complex disorder,” says Barkley.
He may have more trouble than other kids his age with:
Letting others talk
Finishing homework or chores
Keeping track of things like homework and books
Also, a child with ADHD can be emotional, says Barkley. If something frustrates her, “you’re going to see that frustration come out.” If you say you might take her to a movie, she may ask about it non-stop. “If you say no, they’re going to blow up.”