Children younger than most students in their class may have a more difficult time paying attention, sitting still, or controlling their behavior. These things happen to be a symptom Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) too.
ADHD It is one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorders in children in the United States, but some experts believe ADHD It is overdiagnosed, especially in immature children.
Experts say the younger children in their class are more likely to have ADHD than their older peers. One recent study found that boys born at the end of the term (for example, born in December if the class to start school is January 1) were 30% more likely to have ADHD. In the same study, girls at the end of the semester were 70% more likely to get a degree Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosis.
Because ADHD is a neurological condition that causes brain Differences that have nothing to do with age or date of birth, some say immaturity is often confused with ADHD.
“There can be up to a year between older and younger children in a classroom. Developmentally, there may be a significant gap between these groups,” says Anson Koshy, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine. McGovern Medical Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
“Younger children may have a more difficult time paying attention or sitting still, especially compared to their older peers. These age-appropriate behaviors may be confused as ADHD,” says Koshy.
If you’re not sure if your child has ADHD or just immature, there are a few things that can help you figure it out.
young children? Watch and wait
ADHD can be diagnosed as early as 4 years of age, but many experts, including Kochi, say early diagnosis may be a mistake for most very young children.
“young children Preschoolers are especially likely to have problems with impulse control and have trouble concentrating and staying on task,” says Koshy. But most kids grow out of it. Only 5% to 10% of Children with ADHD in preschoolersSymptoms are similar to those diagnosed with ADHD later in life.
Look outside the classroom
Teachers are often the first to suggest that a child may have ADHD. It makes sense, because they see them all day. But research shows that teachers are more likely to suspect ADHD in the young children in their classroom.
“They may not realize immaturity or another issue, like learning difficulties, may be the real reason a child has difficulty paying attention during lessons,” says Koshy.
In addition, younger children have shorter attention spans and need lots of opportunities to move around. If your child is in a classroom where there are few or no breaks Physical activity (such as a break class and physical education), they may be more likely to fall asleep or lose focus.
That’s why it’s important to look at your child’s behavior outside of school.
“I ask concerned parents: What does your child’s morning routine look like? What about mealtime, play, and extracurricular activities?” Kochi says.
“If your son or daughter has trouble concentrating, sitting still, or showing self-control at home and on weekends, that’s a sign that he may have ADHD.”
Don’t rush to diagnose
Since there are no lab tests for ADHD, an expert (such as a pediatrician, psychologistAnd neurologist, or a psychiatrist) makes the diagnosis based on your child’s symptoms and by looking at other things, such as your child’s family history and health history.
Nicole Brown, MD, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Montefiore in New York City.
This process can take some time. Your child’s doctor or therapist may want to evaluate your child for several months to see if his behavior changes as he gets older or as his circumstances change (for example, during summer vacation).
When in Doubt About a Diagnosis, Get second opinion.
Ask your child’s doctor: Do you feel comfortable being diagnosed with ADHD? Do you have experience diagnosing it, and what methods do you use? “If the answer is no, seek help from someone with experience in treatment Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. “
It is also important to consider other causes, such as learning difficulties. A psychoeducational test is an objective way to compare your child’s educational strengths and weaknesses with those of other children their age. Ask your child’s doctor or school about this.
Focus on the behavior
More than 90% of pediatricians prescribe it Drugs For children diagnosed with ADHD. Medications can be effective for children with ADHD. But it can cause serious side effects, such as sleeping appetite problems; So it should only be used for children who definitely have ADHD and who are at least elementary school age, says Koshy.
behaviorism Psychiatric treatment It’s often the best first step.
“Psychiatric treatment Research has proven that it helps Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder So do those who are simply immature,” says Koshy.
When looking for a therapist, Brown says, “Look for someone who has worked with children of all ages and developmental stages and has experience with ADHD.” “This increases the odds that they can decipher if your child has problems because of or because of their age [they have] ADHD. “
Parent training — learning behavioral strategies for communicating with and helping your child — can help you be clear and consistent with expectations and consequences.
“Parent training often makes the biggest difference for kids,” says Koshy.
Consider taking a class or meeting with a therapist who specializes in ADHD and child behavioral issues. Ask your child’s doctor for a recommendation.
“While you wait to find out what’s happening to your child, there’s a lot you can do to help her do better and have an easier time at home and school,” Brown says.