Does your child struggle with staying focused on a task, easily distracted, and/or unable to compete the task to completion? Does your child get into trouble frequently at home or school, forgets things, or struggles with building positive relationships with his/her peers? If so, please know that you are not alone!
Although all the above behavior concerns may be developmentally and age appropriate, it may also be a sign of something more. It may be that your child is struggling with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Children as young as 4 can be diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, according to the 2010-2011 National Survey of Children’s Health, approximately 194,000 preschoolers ages 2-5 years old, have a diagnosis of ADHD. Children with ADHD are suspended from school and daycares more often than their peers, struggle making friends, tend to have low self-esteem and struggle in school without the proper modifications and interventions.
Children that are struggling with Hyper Impulsive ADHD will have trouble controlling their emotions, reactions, and behaviors. They often react without considering the consequences, especially at an early age. Children with Inattentive ADHD will display behaviors as if they are not listening, poor organization skills, loses things and they are forgetful with daily things. Some children have a combination of both.
As a parent it can be exceedingly difficult raising a child with ADHD. However, there are several initiative-taking strategies and interventions that can help. Strategies such as redirecting, frequent reminders, preparing children for transitions, keeping a structured routine, physical movement, offering choices, one-step directions, and calming strategies can be beneficial.
The most important thing as a parent of a child with ADHD is to stay positive, educate yourself about the disorder, and participate in behavior therapy. The CDC reports that 1 out of 2 preschoolers with an ADHD diagnosis do not receive recommended behavior treatment.
If you suspect your child may have ADHD, please consult your physician about an ADHD Evaluation. With the proper behavior treatments, interventions and strategies, your child will be successful not only in school but throughout his/her life.
By Carmen Dorton, Mental Health Assistant