Could My Child Have ADHD? If so, What Do I Do?

Could My Child Have ADHD? If so, What Do I Do?

Schools are starting to resume, however, many children are still experiencing issues due to the pandemic and remote learning. Children and teenagers reporting anxiety and depression have increased significantly since remote learning. Additionally, many students are still experiencing difficulties adjusting to their school schedules now that they are going to the school site versus logging on from home. These are issues parents need to keep in mind if their child or teenager is having difficulties with school.

Now that schools have resumed so has the fighting parents and teenagers have over getting homework completed and turned in on time. This means parents are once again getting notices from their children’s schools that their child is not doing homework and not paying attention in class. When kids were attending school remotely, many teachers and parents were not as concerned because they knew doing school remotely was very difficult. However, now that students are back in the classroom, teachers and parents are no longer ignoring attention issues or difficulties with homework.

As a result, some schools and family members may be suggesting to parents that their child has ADHD and needs medication. Many parents are not sure about the diagnosis and they are concerned about their child taking ADHD medication. I hear this very often from parents and do many assessments on children to determine if a child has ADHD. Yes ADHD is a really disorder, but too many teachers and schools rush to the conclusion that a child has ADHD and needs medication. Additionally given everything children have been through with the pandemic and remote learning, we need to be very careful about labeling a child with ADHD. There are a number of other options such as depression, anxiety and boredom.

According to statistics by the American Psychological Association, five percent of children in the United States have ADHD. It is also more common in males, however it does also occur in families. According to the CDC 15.9% of boys and 5.6% of girls have ADHD. However, not every child who has ADHD requires medication. Many children can be treated with psychotherapy and behavior modification. Therefore, if your child is diagnosed with ADHD do not rush to medicate your child. There are different subtypes of ADHD and different severities of the diagnosis.

If you child does have ADHD, they are entitled to accommodations such as extra time taking a test. It’s important to get them the accommodations they need. Children who have ADHD, but do not receive accommodations tend to show signs of low self-esteem around the fifth grade. Accommodations for ADHD can be covered by a 504 plan. However, if your child has severe ADHD and needs resource assistance too, they are entitled to an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Many schools may tell parents ADHD does not qualify for an IEP. This is not true. The severity of the ADHD determines if a child needs an IEP. They would qualify under the categories of Emotional Disturbance or Other Health Impairments.

If you feel your child may have ADHD or their school suggests the idea, make sure you have your child appropriately assessed by a professional who specializes in ADHD. In the past schools would often diagnosis children with ADHD. Schools are no longer supposed to make this diagnosis. If they feel a child might have ADHD, they are supposed to have your child evaluated. Many parents take their child to their pediatrician, however, many pediatricians are not trained in diagnosing ADHD. I would suggest having your child evaluated by a mental health clinician trained in working with children and in assessing for ADHD.

As I stated above, if you are going to have your child evaluated for ADHD, make sure you take your child to a mental health clinician who specializes in children and in doing assessments. The assessment for ADHD is not very difficult and an appropriate evaluation by an appropriate mental health clinician should cost around $250 depending on where you live. I have seen some parents who have spent thousands of dollars getting CT scans, MRIs and PET scans. You do not need an expensive scan of your child’s brian to diagnosis ADHD.

The DSM V, the diagnostic manual that mental health clinicians use, list the criteria needed for the diagnosis. I am including a link to the Center for Disease Control which list the criteria for the diagnosis and other information about ADHD, http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html. Typically the diagnosis can be made by a clinician interviewing the parents, having a play session or two with the child and observing the child at school or consulting with the teachers. However, remember if you are going to have your child evaluated for ADHD, you want a mental health clinician who specializes in treating children and assessing children for ADHD. Your child’s pedestrian should be able to refer you to someone or if you call your insurance they will probably have referrals.

Before you rush to have your child assessed, remember some basic facts. Most children between the ages of two to five are very active. They also have very short attention spans. Sometimes you need to give a child some time to mature especially if you have a boy. Remember boys mature slower than girls and tend to be more active than girls. It is important to keep these facts in mind when you are wondering if your child has ADHD.

Now if you child is more hyperactive than other kids his age or his attention span is shorter than most kids his age, there might be an issue. Also if there is a strong family history of ADHD in the family such as his father had ADHD as a child and paternal and maternal uncles all had ADHD as children, there might be an issue. Also if your child was born premature or there were complications during the pregnancy or child birth, there might be an issue. Premature babies or babies with a difficult pregnancy or birth are more likely to have ADHD and learning disabilities.

Bottom line, if someone suggests that your child has ADHD don’t rush to the pedestrian seeking medication. Compare your child’s behavior to other children and consider the risk factors. If your child doesn’t have many risk factors for ADHD maybe wait six months and reassess the situation. Also remember many children are experiencing anxiety due to the pandemic. Anxiety can easily look like ADHD. Therefore, instead of medication, maybe your child needs therapy for anxiety.

The most important thing to remember is if you decide to have your child assessed for ADHD, make sure you go to a mental health clinician who specializes in children and ADHD. You want a mental health clinician who specializes in treating children with ADHD and assessing children for ADHD. Also remember you do not need any expensive scans like a CT scan. There are other treatment options besides medication, so do not rush to medicate your child either. Consider all the treatment options.

Dr. Michael Rubino specializes in treating children and assessing children. He has over 25 years experience treating and assessing children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Michael Rubino’s work visit his websites at www.rcs-ca.com, http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/Drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple.

Is Your Child Dealing with Anxiety due to the Pandemic or ADHD

Is Your Child Dealing with Anxiety due to the Pandemic or ADHD

Schools are starting to reopen during a pandemic. Many schools are still arguing about if teachers and students over 12 years old must be vaccinated in addition to arguing if students and teachers must wear masks while at school. While these debates are occurring students are adjusting to be back at school and many students are adjusting to new schools entirely. A student who was a freshman in high school last year never set foot on the high school campus because most schools were operating remotely. Therefore, they are sophomores this year, but it is the first time they have been on campus or interacted with other students and teachers. For many students they are experiencing anxiety and panic attacks as they return to school. Additionally for high school students, they really missed out on an entire year of their high school experience. How will this impact them?

Now that schools have resumed so has the fighting parents and teenagers have over getting homework completed and turned in on time. This means parents are once again getting notices from their children’s schools that their child is not doing homework and not paying attention in class. When kids were attending school remotely, many teachers and parents were not as concerned because they knew doing school remotely was very difficult. However, now that students are back in the classroom, teachers and parents are no longer ignoring attention issues or difficulties with homework.

As a result, some schools and family members may be suggesting to parents that their child has ADHD and needs medication. Many parents are not sure about the diagnosis and they are concerned about their child taking ADHD medication. I hear this very often from parents and do many assessments on children to determine if a child has ADHD. Yes ADHD is a really disorder, but too many teachers and schools rush to the conclusion that a child has ADHD and needs medication. Additionally given everything children have been through with the pandemic and remote learning, we need to be very careful about labeling a child with ADHD. There are a number of other options such as depression, anxiety and boredom.

According to statistics by the American Psychological Association, five percent of children in the United States have ADHD. It is also more common in males, however it does also occur in families. According to the CDC 15.9% of boys and 5.6% of girls have ADHD. However, not every child who has ADHD requires medication. Many children can be treated with psychotherapy and behavior modification. Therefore, if your child is diagnosed with ADHD do not rush to medicate your child. There are different subtypes of ADHD and different severities of the diagnosis.

If you child does have ADHD, they are entitled to accommodations such as extra time taking a test. It’s important to get them the accommodations they need. Children who have ADHD, but do not receive accommodations tend to show signs of low self-esteem around the fifth grade. Accommodations for ADHD can be covered by a 504 plan. However, if your child has severe ADHD and needs resource assistance too, they are entitled to an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Many schools may tell parents ADHD does not qualify for an IEP. This is not true. The severity of the ADHD determines if a child needs an IEP. They would qualify under the categories of Emotional Disturbance or Other Health Impairments.

If you feel your child may have ADHD or their school suggests the idea, make sure you have your child appropriately assessed by a professional who specializes in ADHD. In the past schools would often diagnosis children with ADHD. Schools are no longer supposed to make this diagnosis. If they feel a child might have ADHD, they are supposed to have your child evaluated. Many parents take their child to their pediatrician, however, many pediatricians are not trained in diagnosing ADHD. I would suggest having your child evaluated by a mental health clinician trained in working with children and in assessing for ADHD.

As I stated above, if you are going to have your child evaluated for ADHD, make sure you take your child to a mental health clinician who specializes in children and in doing assessments. The assessment for ADHD is not very difficult and an appropriate evaluation by an appropriate mental health clinician should cost around $250 depending on where you live. I have seen some parents who have spent thousands of dollars getting CT scans, MRIs and PET scans. You do not need an expensive scan of your child’s brian to diagnosis ADHD.

The DSM V, the diagnostic manual that mental health clinicians use, list the criteria needed for the diagnosis. I am including a link to the Center for Disease Control which list the criteria for the diagnosis and other information about ADHD, http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html. Typically the diagnosis can be made by a clinician interviewing the parents, having a play session or two with the child and observing the child at school or consulting with the teachers. However, remember if you are going to have your child evaluated for ADHD, you want a mental health clinician who specializes in treating children and assessing children for ADHD. Your child’s pedestrian should be able to refer you to someone or if you call your insurance they will probably have referrals.

Before you rush to have your child assessed, remember some basic facts. Most children between the ages of two to five are very active. They also have very short attention spans. Sometimes you need to give a child some time to mature especially if you have a boy. Remember boys mature slower than girls and tend to be more active than girls. It is important to keep these facts in mind when you are wondering if your child has ADHD.

Now if you child is more hyperactive than other kids his age or his attention span is shorter than most kids his age, there might be an issue. Also if there is a strong family history of ADHD in the family such as his father had ADHD as a child and paternal and maternal uncles all had ADHD as children, there might be an issue. Also if your child was born premature or there were complications during the pregnancy or child birth, there might be an issue. Premature babies or babies with a difficult pregnancy or birth are more likely to have ADHD and learning disabilities.

Bottom line, if someone suggests that your child has ADHD don’t rush to the pedestrian seeking medication. Compare your child’s behavior to other children and consider the risk factors. If your child doesn’t have many risk factors for ADHD maybe wait six months and reassess the situation. Also remember many children are experiencing anxiety due to the pandemic. Anxiety can easily look like ADHD. Therefore, instead of medication, maybe your child needs therapy for anxiety.

The most important thing to remember is if you decide to have your child assessed for ADHD, make sure you go to a mental health clinician who specializes in children and ADHD. You want a mental health clinician who specializes in treating children with ADHD and assessing children for ADHD. Also remember you do not need any expensive scans like a CT scan. There are other treatment options besides medication, so do not rush to medicate your child either. Consider all the treatment options.

Dr. Michael Rubino specializes in treating children and assessing children. He has over 24 years experience treating and assessing children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Michael Rubino’s work visit his websites at www.rcs-ca.com, http://www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/Drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple.

How Closely Should Parents Monitor Their Teenagers 

How Closely Should Parents Monitor Their Teenagers 

In today’s world there are many things for parents to worry about regarding their children. Parents worry about drugs, alcohol, sexting, teenagers send naked photos of themselves and online predators just to name a few. Teenagers have also developed ways to engage in activities without their parents knowledge. They have developed a texting language and apps that look like a way to get help for homework when it is really a way to chat online just to name a couple. So what is a parent to do?
Many parents have resorted to installing software on their teenagers cellphones and laptops so they can monitor everything their teenager is doing online. Other parents insist they must be present if their teenager is going online. However, are these approaches effective? From my experience as a therapist working with teens, the answer is no. I have many teens who tell me they now their parents are spying on their cellphones and they simply use different apps or have learned how to deactivate the program without their parent knowing. As for their parent being present again teenagers tell me they have developed a text language that their parents don’t understand so they don’t care if parents are present.
Another tactic that parents are using is monitoring where there teenagers are all the time via their cellphones. In addition parents are questioning their teenager about everything and wanting to meet all their friends and their friends parents. This often causes a number of arguments. Teenagers tell me they feel smothered by their parents and they resent the lack of trust. The most common result is this pushes the teenager a way from their parents and damaging the parent-teen relationship.
One final example is that more parents are using their teenager’s school website. Parents are often checking weekly, some daily, what grades their teenager are getting in their classes and have they been doing and turning in their homework. Again, this creates a number of arguments. Teenagers feel like their parents don’t trust them and they feel like they are being treated like a ten year old. The result I usually see are angry teenagers who don’t want to talk to their parents due to the lack of trust.
When I speak with these parents, most parents are using these approaches out of fear. They hear about all the risks teenagers are exposed to these days and they don’t want their teenagers to get hurt. In the parents defense, I have many teenagers in therapy because they are in trouble at school and/or probation for doing something they didn’t think they could get in trouble for. The best example are pictures. If a teenager sends a naked picture of themselves to their boyfriend or girlfriend, they are guilty of transmitting child pornography. They are under 18 years old so they broke the law that they never were thinking about.
Since most parents are concerned about safety and not invading their teenagers privacy, I recommend a different approach to parents. We need to start discussing all of these issues with children in the third grade. Yes the third grade and it needs to be an on going conversation. Third graders are using computers and the research indicates this is usually the age when most children see porn for the first time.
Parents need to start discussing drugs, alcohol and sex too at a younger age. The research shows many kids try marijuana for the first time in the fifth grade. Also on middle school campuses many kids are selling Vicodin, Concerta etc. Furthermore, many middle schools provide condoms to sixth graders because research shows many children in middle school are sexually active.
The point is for parents to start having conversations early so your child is educated about risks and so they feel comfortable coming to you if there is a problem. Monitoring your child at this young age is appropriate. They still don’t understand everything yet and as a parent it is your job to educate your child and keep them safe while doing so.
If you do so, this should reduce arguments and help build an open, honest relationship with your child.
As for teenagers who are 16 and 17 years old. Parents need to start to take a step back. The spyware is inappropriate and checking their homework all the time is inappropriate in my opinion. Knowing where there are going and coming home is appropriate especially if they are using your car. You need to remember in a year, year and a half your teenager will be 18 years old. They are then a legal adult and are responsible for their behavior.
Yes if you step back they may make some mistakes, but that is one way we learn. Also if they are going to make a mistake, it is better if they make it at 16 versus 18 years old. I understand that it may be frightening to let go, but if we want them to act like an adult, we need to allow them the opportunity to act like an adult. If you have been discussing issues with them since they were nine years old they should be prepared. Additionally, this way strengthens your relationship and helps your teenager make appropriate decisions because they know they can ask for help by talking to you.
Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating children and teenagers especially high risk teenagers. For more information about his work with teenagers or his private practice visit his website at http://www.rcs-ca.com or his Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/Drrubiano3