In the spirit of ADHD Awareness Week, we would like to help by spreading more information concerning ADHD.
In a classroom of 30 children or youth, it is likely that at least two students are affected by ADHD. This surprisingly common condition makes it hard for children and youth to control their behavior (sit still, think before speaking or acting, etc.) and/or to pay attention. If left untreated, it can lead to school or job difficulties, depression, relationship problems, and substance abuse.
What Is ADHD?
There are three types of ADHD: the hyperactive-impulsive type, the inattentive type, and a type that is a combination of both. The severity of ADHD varies among children, even siblings, so no two children will have exactly the same symptoms. Also, you may hear that girls have lower rates and less severe cases of the disorder than boys. More research is needed on this subject, but girls may have lower rates of the hyperactive type. Signs of the hyperactive and inattentive types are as follows:
• Feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated;
• Running, climbing, or getting up in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected;
• Blurting out answers before hearing the whole question; and
• Having difficulty waiting in line or taking turns.
• May appear to not be listening or seems easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds;
• Often failing to pay attention to details, and making careless mistakes;
• Rarely following instructions carefully, and often losing or forgetting things like
toys, pencils, books, or other tools needed for a task; and
• Often skipping from one uncompleted activity to another. Experts believe that in some cases, heredity plays a role in whether or not a child has ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD are first seen in children before age 6 and may cause problems at home, at school, or in relationships. Sometimes, it is hard to tell if a child has ADHD because symptoms can be mistaken for typical childhood behaviors or other mental health issues, and ADHD often occurs at the same time that other conditions are present. Equally important are the roles that a family’s culture and language play in how causes and symptoms are perceived and then described to a mental health care provider. Misperceptions and misunderstandings can lead to delayed diagnoses, misdiagnoses, or no diagnoses—which are serious problems when a child needs help. That is why only qualified health care or mental health care providers can diagnose ADHD, and why it is important that supports be in place to bridge differences in language and culture.
What Happens After an ADHD Diagnosis?
If a qualified health care or mental health care provider has diagnosed your child with ADHD, he or she may suggest several different treatment options, including a combination of strategies for managing behaviors, medications, and talk therapy. Your child’s health care or mental health care provider may also suggest enrolling in a system of care, if one is available.
More information about ADHD, including common treatments, is available from your health care or mental health care providers. A list of resources on ADHD is on the back of this fact sheet.
What Is a System of Care?
A system of care is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that are organized to meet the challenges of children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. Families—as well as children and youth—work in partnership with public and private organizations so services and supports are effective, build on the strengths of individuals, and address each person’s cultural and linguistic needs. Specifically, a system of care can help by:
• Tailoring services to the unique needs of your child and family;
• Making services and supports available in your language and connecting you with professionals who respect your values and beliefs;
• Encouraging you and your child to play as much of a role in the design of a treatment plan as you want; and
• Providing services from within your community, whenever possible.
Are Systems of Care Effective?
National data collected for more than a decade support what families in systems of care have been saying: Systems of care work. Data from systems of care related to children and youth with ADHD reflect the following:
• Children and youth demonstrate improvement in emotional and behavioral functioning.
• Children and youth with ADHD have fewer contacts with the juvenile justice system after enrolling in a system of care.
• Children and youth with ADHD improve in school related tasks, such as paying attention in class, taking notes, and completing assignments on time.
This information has been provided by SAMSHA.gov
Below are some links to more information on ADHD
Survey: Awareness Week
Help for ADHD
Succeeding in College
Women and ADHD
Teens and ADHD
Parents of Teens with ADHD