My Child Can't Have ADHD. He’s Not Hyper!

ADHD is a disorder characterized by difficulties in paying attention to specific items that require directed attention, hyperactivity, distractibility, excessive daydreaming, and an overall lack of focus. Many people don’t realize that there are actually three types of ADHD diagnoses, and you don’t have to be hyperactive to have the disorder.

ADHD-Inattentive Type is what used to be called ADD. Children with Inattentive Type have trouble following directions beyond what is typical for children their age. They may also struggle to pay attention and stay on task. Children with Inattentive Type are often disorganized and may have trouble following directions that include more than one or two steps.

ADHD-Hyperactive Type includes the now stereotypical hyperactive behaviors that most people associate with ADHD. These are the children that never seem to stop moving, sometimes not even in their sleep.

ADHD-Combined Type is just what it sounds. It includes all of the qualities of Inattentive Type plus hyperactivity.

Children cannot be diagnosed with ADHD unless the symptoms are interfering with their ability to perform expected daily functions. Interestingly, research suggests that homeschoolers are diagnosed at a lower rate than children in public school. This is due to the ability to individualize instruction and the flexibility of schedule and movement that we can much more easily implement. In fact, homeschooled children with ADHD have a lower rate of medication usage than children in public schools.

The next time you (or someone else) thinks your child may have ADHD, consider a few things. First, does the child have the typical characteristics of ADHD such as distractibility, disorganization, lack of focus, short attention span, impulsive, extensive daydreaming, and hyperactivity? Second, do the child’s behaviors interfere with his or her daily life?

If you think your child has ADHD, contact your pediatrician. If your child is hyper but doesn’t have the other characteristics of ADHD, consider other factors that could be influencing your child’s behavior.

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