According to the NICE Guidelines (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) March 2018, a large increase in early signs of ADHD and a corresponding rise in the numbers treated: from an estimate of 0.5 per 1,000 children diagnosed in the UK 30 years ago (Taylor, 1986), to more than 3 per 1,000 receiving medication for ADHD in the late 1990s (NICE, 2006b). The rates in the US have risen too.
By identifying early signs of ADHD, a child will be able to receive the right treatment and parents would be able to prepare for the challenges involved in raising a child with ADHD.
It is important to consult a psychiatrist and/or a psychologist if you feel that your child may show signs of ADHD. Some of the early signs of ADHD are described below:
By the age of four, children learn to sit quietly at school and pay attention to the teacher. Most children are able to focus on the tasks given at school or at home. Children with ADHD can stay focused if they are doing something that they love but if things get repetitive or they find it boring then they would easily lose focus.
They find it difficult to concentrate on an activity if there is too much noise or activity in their surroundings. To improve their focus, they need a calm and distraction free surrounding. They may also need constant reminders to carry out their task if they are not enjoying what they do.
They may not necessarily show signs of fidgeting or hyperactivity. Some children with ADHD only struggle with inattentiveness which is sometimes referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder/ADD. Some signs include:
Difficulty with remembering instructions and making careless mistakes when doing their work
Lose stuff very easily such as toys, books, stationery and even homework may easily be misplaced.
Struggle to pay attention when you talk to the.
The most common sign of ADHD is hyperactivity. While children of the same age group will show a certain extent of activity, children with ADHD will find it very difficult to sit still even when forced to do so. They tend to tap their foot constantly, drum their fingers or fidget with something. They are unable to focus on their work properly and often become bored and disruptive in classrooms. Some signs include:
Continuous fidgeting and constantly moving around
Inability to sit quietly
Impulsiveness often exists alongside hyperactivity and is shown among children with ADHD. They have very little self-control and are unable to wait for their turn or stay patient in a group. Moodiness is also a concern among children with ADHD and they may often react emotionally. Sometimes their impulsive nature may put them in danger or other children in danger too. Some signs include:
Invading the personal space of another person without finding it inappropriate
Answering questions in the class before their turn or before allowing the question to be completed
A tendency towards risky behaviour without fear of consequences
May not be able to control their emotions easily leading to emotional outbursts
If you notice these signs, then it is ideal to consult a psychiatrist and/or a psychologist who can further observe the child to identify if the child has ADHD or not. Do not reach your own conclusions and always rely on professional discretion.