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Pediatric Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Services and support. Service profiles. Blog Blog. Blog authors. Podcast Podcast. Listen show more. More show more. Tags: Behavioural conditions Behavioural conditions - Disruptive behaviour disorders. Also called. A child with ADHD has three main symptoms — inattention, impulsivity and overactivity. Not all children who are inattentive, impulsive and overactive have ADHD.
No single test can diagnose ADHD. Assessment by a doctor or psychologist involves putting together lots of pieces of information to make a diagnosis. A child with ADHD needs support and understanding from their family and teachers. Medication, positive parenting strategies, school support and counselling can help most children with ADHD and their families.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD is a condition that affects the brain.
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In most cases a person with ADHD has it throughout their life. Types of ADHD include: ADHD combined type — if the child meets the criteria for both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity for the past six months ADHD predominantly inattentive type — if the child meets the criteria for inattention, but not the criteria for hyperactivity-impulsivity, for the past six months ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type — if the child meets the criteria for hyperactivity-impulsivity, but not the criteria for inattention, in the past six months.
Caring for a child with ADHD There is a range of different ways you can help your child learn and develop. Keep rules clear and simple, and give reminders calmly. Give your child only one or two instructions at a time. Ask them to repeat the instruction to be sure that they have understood.
Praise your child when they are behaving appropriately, and acknowledge their achievements. Be clear about discipline for behaviour you find unacceptable. For example, if your child turns the television on before they have finished their homework, then they do not get to watch television that day. These include: medication — ADHD medications can reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve a child's ability to focus, work, and learn psychotherapies — such as behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy counselling — for your child and other family members.
Parents and carers of children with ADHD may find that they benefit from: parenting skills training that helps them learn how to encourage and reward positive behaviours in their child learning some stress management techniques joining a support group. What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD? Send us your feedback.
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Related information on other websites. Behavioural Neurotherapy Clinic. You can help your child manage their ADHD symptoms by using positive parenting strategies, along with a range of home and classroom strategies. Sometimes counselling for your child or the family is also needed. The most effective treatment for the symptoms of ADHD is stimulant medication, and it has been the standard treatment for children with ADHD since the s. About one to two per cent of children in Australia are prescribed stimulant medication.
Stimulants act on the parts of the brain involved in controlling attention and arousal being alert and awake. The two most common stimulants used in Australia are methylphenidate e. Ritalin and dexamphetamine e. Both have similar actions and side effects.
Stimulants can be short acting e. Ritalin 10 or long acting e. Ritalin LA, Concerta, Vyvanse. The short-acting forms usually last about three to four hours. Ritalin LA lasts six to eight hours, and Concerta and Vyvanse last around eight to 12 hours. In Australia, stimulant medications are regulated and can only be prescribed by paediatricians, child psychiatrists or neurologists and GPs in certain situations.
Stimulant medication is probably the most highly researched of any medication prescribed for children. They are not addictive in the doses used to treat ADHD. Non-stimulant medications are also available, for example, atomoxetine Strattera , clonidine and guanfacine Intuniv. These medications can be helpful for some children with ADHD, such as those who experience side effects with stimulants.
The most common side effect of stimulants is decreased appetite especially for lunch , which can sometimes affect weight gain.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Youth | Here to Help
Less common side effects include:. Many children will have no side effects at all. It is possible that stimulants may have a minor effect on some children's growth height , so this needs to be monitored along with their weight. Stimulant medication may cause a very small increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This is extremely unlikely to cause any problems for children with normal hearts. Your child may require tests before starting stimulant medication if they have a known heart or blood vessel abnormality, or a family history of heart problems.
Children taking stimulant medication need to be monitored by their treating doctor. This should happen regularly in the early phase of treatment, and at least every six months while the child is taking stimulants. In particular, height, weight, heart rate and blood pressure should be checked.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and sea food, are important for parts of the brain used for memory, learning and reasoning. Increasing omega-3 levels may reduce the severity of ADHD-type behaviour, such as inattention, in some children. However, not all fish oil studies have shown improvements in ADHD-type behaviour, and there are not enough good-quality studies to be certain of its benefit.
Your child should not take fish oils if they have a known hypersensitivity to fish oils, have a have a bleeding disorder, or are taking anti-coagulant or antiplatelet medicine. Otherwise, taking fish oil is considered safe and may help your child. My preschooler is very hyperactive and impulsive. Usually, children must be at least about five years old to be assessed for ADHD.
Many younger children show the signs of ADHD, but this is within the normal range of behaviour for their age. In some cases, especially when there is a strong family history of ADHD, a child may be assessed at a younger age. Discuss this with your child's doctor. There may be a number of reasons for children being inattentive, impulsive or hyperactive, such as health or emotional problems, learning difficulties or lack of sleep. Talk to your GP if you are worried. Most children manage their symptoms better as they get older, and many people no longer have symptoms by the time they are adults.
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I've seen media reports about kids being on 'speed'. Is stimulant medication really the same as speed? Does my child really need this medication?