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How can you tell if your child has ADHD? And if so, what can you do?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is being increasingly recognised in schools. This difficulty with attention accompanied by hyperactivity often becomes evident at school going age, if not beforehand, when children start preschool. In any case, hyperactivity generally does not appear overnight. So how can you detect it, and how best can you deal with it?

ADHD: difficult to diagnose

To identify ADHD in a child under 6, you need to be careful and avoid jumping to hasty conclusions, because almost all children in this age group tend to get hyper and are not terribly attentive!

However, if their hyperactivity starts to seem excessive and you notice that your child gets in trouble at school, at home and in other places, perhaps you need to ask yourself the question.

For example, if you notice that a child from 3 to 6 years old is constantly moving  even in calm situations (meal times, while reading a story to them, etc.), often gets themselves in dangerous situations and finds it hard to concentrate, these can be red flags for ADHD.

In general, the mothers of hyperactive children are forever saying “he/she can’t sit still”, “he/she always needs to be doing something with his/her hands or feet”. If you recognise yourself in these phrases, ask the advice of your doctor or your public health nurse.

Beware of “calming” medications for children

Above all, never give your child medication or “calming” pills without having had them prescribed by a doctor or a psychiatrist. There is an increasing public health problem in the United States at present, with parents buying such medication without prescription and giving it to their children, believing them to be hyperactive, without ever having received a diagnosis. But these medications have side effects that cannot be ignored if you care about your child’s health.

What should you do if your child is hyperactive?

Hyperactivity is due to a problem with neurotransmitters in the brain, which explains the child’s impulsivity. One child in two who are diagnosed will have this problem into adulthood. But your parenting is not the cause!
Obviously, parents of children with ADHD need to increase their monitoring of their children, because household accidents are more frequent. Also, instead of chastising them every time they do something wrong, wait for the times when they are listening, paying attention or concentrating and praise them for this. You can also ask them to do jobs that are within their capabilities, which will help them improve their concentration, even disguising certain activities as games.
When your child succeeds at something, reward them immediately by congratulating them on their success or giving them a hug or a kiss on the cheek. The goal is to show them that you recognise their efforts to concentrate.