For Children’s Sake (FCS) is a local therapeutic foster care agency that provides support to foster families as they help children in need. FCS also provides a variety of therapy services to the whole community. This month, FCS wants to address a disorder that affects approximately 9.4% of the children in the United States – ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder with symptoms that start at 3-6 years old, with a subset of symptoms that frequently continue into adulthood. Boys are much more frequently diagnosed than girls.

What Are the Symptoms?

Individuals with ADHD have ongoing problems with three different types of behaviors; inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Children frequently have trouble functioning at home and at school. Boys frequently present with more hyperactivity in a form that appears disruptive, whereas girls typically display more inattention. While these three behaviors can all present differently, some examples of these behaviors could include; seemingly careless frequent mistakes as the individual rushes through work, having trouble sitting still, interrupting, being easily sidetracked, not appearing to listen when being spoken to, and frequently losing or forgetting things.

What Causes ADHD?

ADHD is to some extent genetic, and if you have a relative with ADHD you are 25-35% more likely to have it. However, there are a number of other causes; prenatal exposure to alcohol or smoking, prematurity, and, in some cases, head injuries or toxins in the environment may lead to ADHD.

How Do You Treat It?

Everyone experiences ADHD slightly differently, and so there are a number of ways you can treat it. First and foremost, identifying a pediatric therapist that can assist in formally diagnosing your child or ruling ADHD out is key! ADHD symptoms can also be symptoms of anxiety, depression, and number of other disorders, so diagnosing is vital in determining treatment. From the diagnosis, a therapist may recommend continued therapy, medication, exercise and structured routines, and/or parenting skill and support groups to help you best understand how to support your child.

Other Resources/Sources

Thanks to the sites below for their information, all of which are great sources if you’d like to know more about ADHD!

National Institute of Mental Health www.nimh.nih.gov  

Center for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/  MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder.html

WebMD https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/understanding-adhd-basics 

You can also reach out to FCS at 703-817-9890 to learn about available services or to help a child in foster care.