Diagnosis of ADHD and ADD
Although most people experience one or more symptoms of ADHD behaviors throughout their lifetime, some people experience them to such a degree that it becomes difficult to function effectively across different situations (e.g., school, home, social situations). This group of symptoms can impact children and adolescents and usually looks different depending on the individual’s age:
Preschool Aged Children:
Since inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity are expected behaviors of preschool children, ADHD is often hard to identify in young children. Usually, the distinguishing factor from normal behavior is the severity and consistency, across settings, of the symptoms.
Elementary School Children:
Since there are more expectations placed on elementary school children (e.g., being able to complete homework, working with others, sitting still and listening in class), ADHD symptoms tend to be more noticeable among this age group. Often children with these problems have trouble achieving in school, may have difficulty with peers, struggle with low self-esteem because of the academic and social difficulties, and may present with poor organizational and study skills.
Middle School / High School:
Teenagers who present with ADHD often look very different than young children with ADHD, because they have learned to control their disruptive behaviors. However, teenagers who have not learned the strategies to cope with the other aspects of ADHD (such as inattention and impulsivity) may demonstrate significant decline in their ability to manage their responsibilities in school and subsequently may struggle with self-esteem, and possibly social problems.
As increased demands and pressure are placed on the high school student (e.g., college, issues related to self-efficacy), anxiety and depression may emerge. Proper diagnosis, treatment and coaching are invaluable for children and teens who suffer from symptoms of ADHD and ADD. Learning strategies to deal with problems of inattention and developing skills to manage problems with impulsivity and hyperactivity can be life changing. Treatment may mean the difference between feeling effective as a student and feeling inadequate.
ADHD and ADD Treatment
At Equilibria Kids in Philadelphia we offer coaching, therapy, and referral services geared toward helping the individuals we work with harness their strengths and develop the skills necessary to function successfully. All children’s ADHD and ADD treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation, either done through the course of therapy or a more comprehensive and formalized psychoeducational evaluation, to determine a proper diagnosis and to aid in individualized ADHD or ADD treatment planning.