Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children

Powerful Essays

Most people have heard of the term Attention Deficit Hyperactive (ADHD) disorder. “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder that interferes with an individual’s ability to attend to tasks (inattention), inhibits one’s behavior (impulsivity), and may interfere with a person’s ability to regulate one’s activity level (hyper-activity) in developmentally appropriate ways (Barkley 19)”. The most important job for teachers and parents is to separate fact from fiction, to clarify what we know and don’t know.

Properly diagnosing ADHD, medication choices, and behavioral interventions are the key focal point. Is medication truly worth the side effects?

Diagnosing ADHD

As the name implies, ADHD is typically characterized by two distinct sets of symptoms: inattention and hyperactivity / impulsivity. Although these problems usually occur together, one may be present without the other and still qualify for an ADHD diagnosis. Children are diagnosed with ADHD when they have met specific guidelines within these two categories.

A number of parents observe signs of inattentiveness, restlessness, and impulsivity in their child even before their child starts school. The child might lose attention while playing a game or watching TV, or the child might dash about totally unrestrained. Since children mature at different levels and vary in character, nature, and energy levels, it is critical to obtain a specialist’s diagnosis of whether the behavior is suitable for the child's age, the child has ADHD or the child is simply immature or uncommonly high-spirited.

To qualify as having ADHD, the symptoms must significantly affect a child's ability to function at home and at school. A diagnosis is based on the guidelines provided in the “American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) published in 1994 (Barkley 133)”. In general, children are diagnosed with ADHD if they show at least six symptoms from each category. Dr. Berkley lists the following symptoms for each category:


• Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities

• Often has trouble sustaining attention during tasks or play

• Often doesn't seem to listen when spoken ...

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...counseling the child and the family and facilitating them in the development of new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other. The important step is proper diagnosis of ADHD. It is imperative to know about any medication being prescribed for each individual child.

Work Cited Page:

American Academy of Physicians “ADHD: What Parents Should Know.” Family Doctor, 10 April, 2005

Barkley, Russel A. Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents. New York: The Gilford Press, 2000.

Eli Lilly and Company “Strattera.” Strattera 10 April, 2005

McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc “Prescription Medication Overview” Focus on ADHD. 14 April, 2005


Rabnier, David. “Behavioral Treatment for ADHD: An Overview.” Health. 14 April, 2005

Wilens, Timothy E. Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids New York: The Guilford Press, 1999.

Wilens T.C. et all. Does stimulant therapy of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder beget later substance abuse? A meta-analytic review of the literature. Pediatrics, (2003) 111:1:179-185.
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