It's a disorder that affects nearly one out of every ten school-aged children. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can make it very difficult for kids to sit still, complete tasks or simply pay attention.
It's no surprise that kids always seem to bursting with energy. But when should parents be concerned that their rambunctious little one could have ADHD?
"They just kind of noticed that the kid is maybe a little bit more energetic or a little off in their own world so to speak and easily distracted." Said Latanda Salmen, and outpatient behavioral health therapist.
Salmen says the signs of ADHD tend to show up around age seven and for most parents the symptoms are clearly visible. Kids seem to be easily distracted by sights and sounds, unable to concentrate for long periods of time, or are just restless and impulsive. ADHD tends to affect boys more than girls and during these elementary ages getting the necessary help is critical.
"When you start thinking about treatment it's to the point where now they're falling behind their classmates so they're failing classes and not keeping up in terms of homework and schoolwork so parents feel like that wits end at home because it so hard to keep them on task and get things done." Said Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig, a pediatrician with Avera Medical Group McGreevy.
Doctors still don't know what exactly triggers ADHD. But genetics and the child's environment are believed to be main contributors. With more research being done therapists like Latanda are developing better methods for kids to cope.
"We're learning what helps kids stay focused what helps release their energy and what is lacking the chemistry is lacking in the brain and helping to modify it through behaviors to help them succeed in life." Said Salmen.
That's where Latanda is a great resource to families of ADHD patients. She teaches kids behavior modification and relaxation techniques to help them focus and accomplish tasks without medication. But kids need more than a therapist to fully succeed.
"It's up to parents to put in strategies have consistent schedules guidelines are breaking tasks down so they can be successful in completing those bigger challenges." Said Salmen.
Behavior modification tends to be more successful in teenagers as they have a better grasp on their condition. For younger kids Ritalin is still the go to medication, but Dr. Sam says in the grand scheme medicines should only be a temporary solution.
"Our goal for the little kids is to really let them maximize how are they doing schools winner at that young age so we don't get to sixth or seventh grade and they fallen behind a long time ago we really want them to maximize their potential when they're younger as they get older if they outgrow that need for medicine, wonderful." Said Dr. Schimelpfenig
Every child is different and may respond to treatment differently. But with help from doctors and therapists, they can work to stay calm, focused and put all that extra energy to good use.
ADHD doesn't just affect children. Many adults have to adopt similar medication or behavior modification treatments in order to focus throughout the day. Medicines are getting better but there is still no cure. For more information about ADHD just call 877-AT-AVERA.