Pediatric ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder & Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a common disorder in children and teens. The healthcare professionals at MaineHealth can help your family better understand ADHD by offering evaluation, care and support for your child.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a common disorder that often is first diagnosed in children but may continue into adulthood. Kids with ADHD usually have a hard time paying attention and can act impulsively. ADHD can affect a child’s performance at school, relationships and self-esteem.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

There is no simple test for ADHD. Children need to be evaluated by their doctor or a specialist. There are some patterns that doctors will ask about.

  • Does your child have trouble following directions or finishing tasks?
  • Does your child seem anxious or worried a lot?
  • Does your child seem to have trouble listening and paying attention?
  • Does your child have trouble staying organized?
  • Have these problems lasted more than six months?
  • Do these problems seem worse compared to other kids the same age?

Doctors will speak with young clients and their families and teachers about behavior trends. ADHD can coincide with other concerns. Doctors may screen your child for:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Learning disabilities
  • Tourette syndrome

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Children who develop ADHD often show symptoms before the age of 12. People with ADHD may experience less hyperactivity as they get older. Children with ADHD may have:

  • Distractions

  • Excessive daydreaming

  • Fidgeting

  • Forgetfulness

  • Hyperactivity

  • Impatience

  • The need to touch things

  • Trouble keeping track of things

  • Trouble controlling emotions

  • Trouble understanding social cues

The cause of ADHD is unknown; anyone can develop the disorder. Risks factors include:

  • Family history of ADHD

  • Environmental exposures like lead and other toxins

  • Brain injury

  • Smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy

  • Low birth weight and premature delivery

Each child diagnosed with ADHD will have a plan created just for him or her by a doctor or specialist. ADHD can be managed in a variety of ways that include medication, counseling, special education and learning new strategies.

Children with ADHD need monitoring by their doctor. Sometimes medications and therapy will need to be adjusted. While there is no cure for ADHD, children can grow up to be successful and happy adults.


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