ADHD is an acronym that is thrown around often in today's educational system. A child that exhibits excessive energy, difficulty following directions, and a short attention span will often be sent to a pediatric psychologist for an ADHD evaluation.
These evaluations are crucial in helping better understand if your child's negative behavior is caused by a disorder like ADHD, or by some other set of circumstances that can be remedied without prescription medications.
1. Normal Development
Some of the behaviors that are labeled as being negative are, in fact, natural developmental milestones. Teachers and parents might feel that a child who is constantly telling them "no" is affected by ADHD. In reality, the child is merely expressing his or her desire to gain control over the choices being made in his or her life.
This desire for personal control is a natural developmental milestone that can be frustrating but isn't linked to any type of disorder.
2. Poor Communication
Tantrums, hyperactivity, or a refusal to stick to a prescribed schedule can all be challenging behaviors for parents or teachers to cope with. These symptoms can be a part of the evidence used to justify an ADHD diagnosis, but they can also be the result of poor communication between the child and the adults in his or her life.
Young children don't have the language skills required to express complex emotions. A child will act out in response to this inability to convey his or her needs due to the frustration involved.
Regular therapy can help the child become more expressive and help parents learn to recognize a child's way of communicating to alleviate some frustration. Bad behavior caused by poor communication will typically resolve themselves quickly once the lines of communication have been opened.
It is entirely possible that your child's bad behavior really can be attributed to ADHD. It's important that you are able to tell the difference between normal child behavior and ADHD. A child suffering from ADHD will exhibit the symptoms of this disorder across all situations, not just at home or school.
Multiple symptoms will be present simultaneously in children who truly have ADHD. A child psychologist will evaluate whether your child exhibits inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness to a degree that justifies an official diagnosis.
Medications can be prescribed in coordination with behavioral therapy and changes to a child's eating and sleeping routines to help reduce the negative impact ADHD can have on your child's life.