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What is ADHD by Kelly Lange

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My health topic of interest is ADHD.  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  My daughter was recently diagnosed with this childhood behavioral disorder and I thought this would be a good way for me to understand the disorder better as well.  ADHD is primarily diagnosed early in childhood and can carry out into adulthood.

The main symptoms of ADHD are lack of attentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.  Most children are diagnosed with a combination of two of the symptoms.  My daughter was diagnosed with lack of attention with impulsive behavior. The common inattentive symptoms are the following: failing to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, has difficulty keeping attention during tasks, does not seem to listen when spoken to directly, does not follow through on instructions, has difficulty organizing activities and tasks,  often loses things, easily distracted, and often forgetful.  The common impulsive symptoms are the following: blurting out answers to questions before the question is complete, difficulty waiting ones turn, interrupts or intrudes on others.

It is important to take the appropriate steps to assure that you get the correct diagnosis in order to set the child up for the most success.  This process is not a quick one and requires a lot of patience.  The first step would be to contact your child’s pediatrician to set up an appointment to have an evaluation of the child done.  The pediatrician will then direct you to take the child to a child psychologist to run a series of tests.  Depending on the results of the test will result in the next steps in which you will be directed to take your child.  Most likely the psychologist will recommend that you get the child tested for a learning disability, if school work has suffered, to pinpoint if specific arrangements need to be made to accommodate the child’s learning environment in order to set them up for the most success.  This can be done through the public school system, usually free of charge, but with ADHD on the rise, there is a pretty extensive waiting list.  Independent reputable testers are available to do these tests for a fee.

Once all of the testing is complete you will bring all of the results to your child’s pediatrician and psychologist to discuss medication options (if applicable) and behavioral modification tools.  If medication is recommended, finding the right dosage takes time.  Pediatricians will most likely start the child out on a low dosage and then adjust if needed.  It is important to relay this information to the child’s teacher, principal, school psychologist and school nurse.  Keeping open communication with these individuals, especially the child’s teacher, is crucial for the child’s success.

A particular area that peaks my curiosity is adjusting a child’s diet with ADHD in order to improve brain function and lessen ADHD symptoms.   Although much research has been done and has resulted with mixed reviews, many health care providers recommend the following suggestions: Eat a diet high in protein, eat fewer simple carbohydrates and processed foods, eat more complex carbohydrates and eat more Omega-3 fatty acids.  Protein may help improve a child’s concentration and aid in length of ADHD medication effectiveness.  Reducing simple carbohydrates, i.e., “white foods” (sugar, foods made with white flour, etc.) may help decrease irritability.  Complex Carbohydrates are found in vegetables and some fruits and may aid in helping children get a more restful sleep at night. Omega – 3 fatty acids (fish oils) may reduce symptoms of ADHD in children.  Making sure the child sticks to a healthy diet and a regimented schedule will set a child with ADHD up for success.


To find out more information on ADHD visit the following websites:



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