Almost every parent with an extremely energetic child has thought it: is my child just super energetic, or do they have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)? The number of children diagnosed with ADHD has grown substantially over the past 20 years, nearly tripling over the past decade. Children are naturally active and inquisitive, and while a high percentage of children with ADHD are very energetic, high energy is not enough to diagnose ADHD. Some children are just hyperactive. So, what is the difference between the two?
One main difference between a child with hyperactivity and one with ADHD is that ADHD will affect the child’s ability to function in school and social settings. Here are some of the other differences between the two:
Symptoms Of ADHD
- Difficulty paying attention in tasks
- Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Often loses things
- Easily distracted
- Forgetful in daily activities
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Fails to pay close attention to details, and makes careless mistakes
- Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
Symptoms Of Hyperactivity
- Fidgets with hands or feet, and squirms in seat
- Talks excessively
- Runs or climbs excessively in inappropriate situations
- Leaves their seat in the classroom when they should be seated
- Difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Appears to always be on the go
You might have a child that exhibits some of these signs, and it can be hard to tell if they have ADHD or are just hyperactive. A good solution for this is if their school teacher or daycare comes to you with concerns. If your child finds it hard to sit still, then they are displaying signs of ADHD. However, some kids are just hyper. If your child is like that, but is able to both control their impulses in school and pay attention, then they are just an energetic child.
Over the years, more and more children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and some may be given medication that is unnecessary. Some children are just naturally energetic, and it is completely normal for preschoolers to have short attention spans. ADHD symptoms constantly disrupt daily life and relationships. If your child’s overactivity is negatively affecting their ability to learn and behave in school, then you should be concerned. As mentioned before, teachers will bring it to your attention if there is an issue. If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, then make an appointment with your family doctor. The doctor will go over a list of questions and observe your child’s behavior. ADHD runs in the family, so the doctor will also look into family history. If your child does have ADHD, then the earlier you find out, the more tools and support you will have to help them become more successful in school and life.