Kids With Special Needs: ADHD Symptoms & Signs
ADHD is a disorder in which children have inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. There are three basic things that you should know about this. First, attention span, activity level and impulse control can vary widely between children of the same age. Second, despite a wide range of normal, there is a point beyond which a child will start to have problems functioning at home, school, in social gatherings and in other situations. Finally, different things can cause inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. For example, depression, anxiety or medications can cause problems with a child's level of attention or concentration.
All these things have to be kept in mind before you can decide that your child has a short attention span or hyperactivity and try to find out what is causing this. A child of 5 years old, for example, would be expected to have poor attention and high activity compared to adults and older children. It may be helpful to talk to your child's teacher or caregivers to find out if they feel that your child has more problems with attention and activity level compared to other children of the same age and gender.
Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health or medical professionals get a lot of training and supervised clinical experience before they can fully appreciate what is normal and abnormal for human behaviors. When evaluating a child with suspected ADHD, these professionals perform a comprehensive evaluation, which can involve the use of rating scales filled out by parents and teachers. These rating scales can plot your child's scores against those of a normal population of same-aged peers. You should not try to obtain these rating scales to use on your child yourself, since these scales are meant to be used by trained professionals to diagnose kids with special needs. If you are concerned about your child having ADHD, get an evaluation from an expert such as a child psychiatrist, psychologist or developmental pediatrician.