How to Know If My Child Has ADHD?

25 September, 2020
Q How can I detect if my child have ADHD and anxiety disorder? How can I help as a parent?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•As you do not know if your child has ADHD, the first thing to do would be to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician for an evaluation.

•If your child has difficulty paying attention, is hyperactive, and impulsive, these may be warning signs.

•Children with anxiety may present differently. Anxiety is based on fear and worry.

•For children with either anxiety disorder or ADHD, home environments should be structured yet relaxing.


As salamu Alaikum dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us. As I understand your issue, you are concerned about whether or not your child has ADHD.

Possible ADHD or Anxiety Disorder

ADHD is a rather common but treatable disorder. There are other disorders or issues which may present as ADHD such as anxiety, stress, or depression, but are not ADHD.

As you do not know if your child has ADHD yet. The first thing to do would be to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician for an evaluation. Or to get a recommendation to a child therapist for an evaluation.

Evaluation process

Part of the evaluation process includes getting records from your child’s school pertaining to grades, behaviors. As well as having the teachers fill out questionnaires about your child.

The counselor will also ask you to complete various forms and behavioral scales. This helps determine if it may be ADHD or something else.

A correct diagnosis is most important because it will determine the treatment modality.

Signs of ADHD

There are certain signs and symptoms which may indicate that a child has ADHD. Briefly, if your child has difficulty paying attention, is hyperactive, and impulsive, these may be warning signs.

How to Know If My Child Has ADHD? - About Islam

More specific signs are fidgeting, squirming while seated. Also getting up and moving around in situations when staying seated is expected such as in the classroom, running or dashing around.

Or in situations where it is inappropriate, being unable to play, engage in homework, or hobbies quietly, constantly in motion or “on the go”.

Talking nonstop, blurting out answers before a question has been completed, having trouble waiting for his or her turn. Interrupting or intruding on others, for example in conversations, games, or activities and so forth.

Please do keep in mind though that this list is not inclusive nor is it indicative that your child does have ADHD. As stated, there can be other reasons for these behaviors thus it is important that your child have a professional evaluation.

Signs of Anxiety Disorder

Children with anxiety may present differently. Anxiety is based on fear and worry.  Some may worry excessively, feel they are sick, have multiple physical complaints, become clingy, appear jittery, short of breath, feel afraid or avoid social situations.

Other symptoms may include agitation, restlessness, inattention, poor focus, tantrums, crying, refusing to go to school, meltdowns, difficulties with transitions, problems with sleep.  Often children with anxiety due poorly in school.

As illustrated, it can be difficult to determine if it is ADHD or anxiety as there are some similar and overlapping symptoms.

Read also: Always Screaming at My Hyperactive Son

Treatment

Depending on the diagnosis, treatment can vary. Usually for ADHD it is a combination of medication and behavioral therapy for the child and parent skills training and stress management classes for parents.

Behavioral plans are usually developed for the parents to follow at home. The school is usually involved in the treatment process to ensure continuity at school and too optimize the learning environment.

For anxiety disorders, treatment usually involves cognitive behavioral therapy and mediation. Treatment can include just therapy without medication depending on the severity.

Creating a Conducive Home environment

For children with either anxiety disorder or ADHD, home environments should be structured yet relaxing. Structures provide a child with a routine.

Relaxation provides a sense of safety. Parents should also be aware of their own behaviors as a child will learn from their parents’ behaviors (modeling).

For example, if a parent is anxious and displays maladaptive coping behaviors in response to anxiety, the child will learn that this is the way to handle these feelings. Homes should be as stress-free as possible with lots of relaxing activities.

In fact, practicing relaxation techniques with your child such as deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation are very beneficial.

Parents should encourage their children to talk about what they are feeling and support them by providing activities that reduce negative feelings and/or thoughts.

When the child successfully manages an impulse or anxiety symptom, reward them. This builds confidence and encourages future attempts at utilizing coping skills.


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Conclusion

Insha’Allah, please do take your child in for an evaluation to determine if it is ADHD, anxiety, stress or something else.

By following the brief tips for a conducive home for your child’s situation, you can help them overcome current issues. As well as provide them with a platform of coping skills for things which may arise in the future.

You are in our prayers, we wish you the best.

Salam

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

 Read more:

How to Deal With a Hyperactive Child?
About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.