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ADHD... My child?

What if it was not a matter of will....?

Wondering or hearing from others that your child may be showing signs or symptoms of ADHD?  When these words are first heard it can feel overwhelming, however it doesn’t have to be a negative one!  When the symptoms of ADHD are recognized, understood and effective strategies are implemented you and your child can achieve positive results.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is often associated with symptoms from one or more of these categories;

Inattention is often thought of as not paying attention to a speaker, task at hand or directions being given but it may be more than that...

  • Easily distracted from task
  • Daydreams
  • Pre-occupied from task
  • Forgetful
  • Easily looses things
  • Difficulty with organization skills
  • Misses verbal cues

Hyperactivity: an abundance of energy!

  • Constant movement/ difficulty sitting
  • Running at the wrong time and place
  • Loud  voice inappropriate to the situation
  • Often touching everything around them.
  • Appears agitated
  • Difficulty settling down when required
  • Excessive talking

Impulsivity: the action of doing before thinking!

  • Difficulty recognizing others personal space  for example;
  • Invading others space by poking, grabbing, tapping or grabbing objects that are not theirs
  • Re-acting before thinking of the consequences often finding themselves in trouble in social situations
  • Speaking out of turn/interrupting others
  • Over reacting to a situation with intense emotion and or behaviour
  • Often wanting to be first in line, at speaking, playing  games

Looks like ADHD, thinking it may be ADHD, what happens next?

It is important to know that the only professional who is able to diagnose ADHD is a Doctor. Speak with your Pediatrician about your child. Your doctor may suggest an assessment.  This assessment is a gathering of information.   You will be asked about your concerns and observations of your child and other significant people in your child’s life such as teachers, coaches, daycare workers, and/or school psychologist will be asked for their observations. When all the information is gathered then a diagnoses can be given.

Medication may be one of the recommendations, gather information from reliable resources then make your decision.  Other recommendations will be suggested to help you, your family and child.

The benefits of having a diagnosis are to provide your child with reasonable accommodation and possible modifications to support them in their daily life.  For example, at school, strategies can be implemented to support your child in achieving their full potential. A medical diagnosis helps you understand the symptoms of ADHD.

Some choose not to have a medical diagnosis and they learn and implement strategies that work for them, this is often dependent on the severity of the symptoms.

Developing a support network or participating in a support group is an important factor in successfully living with ADHD. Often parents of ADHD children feel isolated or judged for their parenting skills, connecting with others who understand the challenges associated with ADHD can provide a positive experience. 



ADHD in Adults

Contrary to popular belief, ADHD and its symptoms does not always disappear after adolescence.  Around 30 to 70 percent of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms in their adult lives. Neither does ADHD appear in adulthood, one has to think back to when they were a child and ask themselves; did I have any symptoms of ADHD in childhood such as, distractibility, short attention span, impulsivity or restlessness?  The symptoms that come with adult ADHD are quite similar to the ones that children and adolescents experience.


The following are symptoms in adults:
-Difficulty concentrating
-Having difficulty following directions
-Have difficulty remembering information
-Organizing tasks can prove hard
-Completing work within time limits


If these difficulties are not dealt with appropriately, they can lead to behavioural, emotional, social, vocational and academic problems.


The following problems and problem behaviours may stem from ADHD in adults:

-Chronic anxiety
-Lowered self esteem
-Substance abuse (or substance addiction)
-Difficulty in controlling anger
-Mood swings
-Being impulsive
-Repeated lateness and forgetfulness
-Poor organizational skills (loosing things, not putting things back where they belong)
-Difficulty concentrating (especially when reading)
-Problems with work
-Chronic boredom
-Easily distracted during sex (may cause breaks or turn off during love making)
-Relationship problems (maintaining long term relationships)


These behaviours can be mild to severe and can change with the situation, or be there constantly. Some adults with ADHD may be able to concentrate if they are really interested in or excited about what they are doing. For others, focusing under any circumstances is hard. Some adults look for stimulation, but others avoid it. They are usually on either extreme when it comes to their social personality, either withdrawn, or overly social and not comfortable when alone.



What to do?

To get a diagnosis when you’re an adult does not differ a lot from a child. You have to talk to a doctor. It may be possible that your doctor is not completely comfortable diagnosing ADHD. In that case, do not hesitate to give them Annick Vincent’s coordinates. She is a psychiatrist specialized in ADHD who offers information to doctors who wish to expand their knowledge in this field.

Annick Vincent


What to expect when one arrives at the doctor’s?

There isn’t one single test for ADHD. One should expect an array of different scales and checklists that are made to help doctors get information from the individual, their family, teachers, employers and others about symptoms and functioning in their various day to day settings. This is needed to make an accurate assessment for ADHD and to make an effective treatment plan. The symptoms have to be present in more than one setting to meet the criteria to be classified a medical condition (DSM-IV). The evaluation might also include a medical examination, interviews and possible psychological assessment.


Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, (2005), AD/HD and the Adult.Fact sheet #7, retrieved on April 14, 2009 from:

WebMD revised by:Brunilda Nazario, MD and the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.(n.d) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD in Adults retrieved on April14,2009 from:

Brunilda Nazario, MD, (n.d) Adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Checklist, Retrieved on April 20, 2009 from:

Also took information from the french side Le TDA/H chez l’adulte, source: Marie-Josee Areneault, psychologist.  
Checklist that can be very helpful made by Dr. Daniel G. Amen:

Dr. Daniel G. Amen is a child and adult psychiatrist, brain-imaging specialist, best-selling author, and medical director of The Amen Clinics in Newport Beach and Fairfield, California as well as Tacoma, Washington. He is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of "the brain and behavior" and "brain imaging."