How to tell if your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    7:42 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) comes in different forms and effects people in different ways. The diagnosis typically comes early, and it's more common in children.

    How do you know when your child is just being a child or when it might be something else?

    Doctors estimate that three to seven percent of school aged children have some form of ADHD, which comes out to about one student in every classroom.

    The disorder effects thousands of Arkansas children.

    April Ammons has two sons, and one of them has been diagnosed with ADHD.

    "I always said I never wanted to put my child on any kind of medicine, but when I came to the realization that it was going to affect his school and how he learns, I was like okay I'm going to have to," explained Ammons.

    She told THV 11 News that her son, Blake had trouble staying on task, and toward the end of his Kindergarten year, she took him to the doctor. That's when he started taking medication.

    Ammons said they alter the dosage from time to time, but overall, it's working.

    There are three different forms of ADHD:

    1. Hyperactive

    "If you're hyperactive we are going to talk to mothers when [the children] are 4, 5, 6 or 7. A child goes to kindergarten and they can't sit still, they are moving around and climbing things," explained Pediatrician Dr. Jerry Byrum.

    2. Inattentive

    "The inattentive form you might see them in the third fourth of fifth grade. I've seen a child as late as college come in with the inattentive form, they come in because they can't pay attention, they can't get their work done and they forget things," Byrum said.

    3. Combined

    The third form explains itself. Your child could have a combination of the previous two forms.

    Byrum admitted that there's a fine line between a hyper child and an inattentive child, but an assessment can tell the difference.

    "Basically you're going through 18 different questions. Part of the symptoms is: I'm not paying attention to any details. I'm making careless mistakes," Byrum continued. "There are nine different questions that have to do with inattention, and there is nine different questions that have to do with hyperactivity."

    If you meet 6 of nine criteria, you have ADHD in some form.

    "You might say 'That's too simple!' Well, not really. This has been tested over the years and found to be very accurate," said Byrum.

    Byrum concluded that once a student is diagnosed with the disorder, a prescription can help.

    "With ADHD a nerve fires, but another nerve doesn't receive it. So, you have a thought, 'I think I will throw this spit wad at my teacher,' and that's the only thought you have, there's no but. The only real treatment for ADHD is a medicine that basically overcomes the neurochemical imbalance that's present," Byrum said.

    It's medicine that Ammons says keeps her second grader on task.

    Dr. Byrum said ADHD is present in the front of your brain and is almost always inherited. While medicine helps you cope, you never fully grow out of it.

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