ADHD in Children (6-12)

You can help your child with ADHD.

 “I have talked with many worried parents who are discouraged and at their wit’s end. After trying many different ways of parenting, they still feel like they are failing and don’t know what to do. It is always a relief when they find out that there was a valid and understandable reason for their child’s struggles. Now, they have a renewed hope. Their child’s ADHD can be treated and managed by attaining the proper tools and resources to help both the parent and the child.”
– Dr. Douglas Neal


Here are three steps to take if you think your child may have ADHD.

1. Know the ADHD symptoms for children ages 6-12

  • Easily distracted
  • Homework poorly organized, contains careless errors, often not completed
  • Often disruptive in class; blurts out answers before the question is completed
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (impulsive)
  • Unwilling or unable to complete chores at home
  • Does not transition well from task to task
  • Fails to wait turn in games
  • Often out of seat


If you child comes in for an assessment, we will carefully screen to make sure the presenting behavior problems are not due to a different issue, such as:

  • Language processing disorders
  • Sensory integration issues
  • Pervasive developmental disorder or autism spectrum disorder
  • Behavioral issues due to stressful family situations
  • Auditory and visual processing disorders
  • Allergies or food intolerances that affect mood and attention
  • Gastro-intestinal issues, which can affect brain neurotransmitters


Children with symptoms of inattention without the hyperactivity or impulsivity element may have the disorder, but it can go unnoticed because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit quietly, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what they are doing. They will not be able to focus or stay on task; they will be disorganized, forgetful, and lose things. They will not be able to complete homework or chores in a timely manner. They may get along well with other children compared with those with the other subtypes of ADHD, who tend to have social problems because of their impulsivity or misunderstanding of social cues.


But children with the inattentive type of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorder can go undiagnosed. Adults often mistake children with hyperactive and impulsive subtypes of ADHD as overly emotional or “defiant.”


When a young child is highly hyperactive or impulsive, parents are often advised to "wait and see,” and parents of boys may be repeatedly told that their son is simply being "boyish." But if you think that something is not right, listen to your intuition. There are lots of ideas for tools and strategies that many parents find helpful, and no one regrets getting help too soon.

This is a typical story we have heard many times from our parents: 

“I was trying to talk Tyler through yet another tantrum at the pool when a mom walked over to say that Tyler reminded her of her son, now nine years old. She gestured toward a boy sitting on a towel, quietly playing cards with a couple of other boys. Her son, as it turned out, suffered from severe ADHD. She gave me the name and number of a psychologist who specialized in young children with ADHD. I called right there and made an appointment.”


After a thorough evaluation, her son was diagnosed with ADHD. She and her husband decided to use both a behavioral plan and a low dose medication just before he turned five. She and her husband joined the local parent group called CHADD. “Tyler is much more able to enjoy his friends, he gets invited back to play, and our home is more peaceful. Had I seen a doctor who truly understood the signs of ADHD in young children earlier on, or had I known that ADHD could be diagnosed and treated at a younger age, I could have spared our family a lot of heartache."

2. Know how ADHD is diagnosed and treated at NPS

We do not assume every inattentive or highly active child has ADHD. Instead, we do a thorough and comprehensive assessment to weed out or identify other factors.


The medical field has spent decades attempting to answer the question, “What is ADHD?” Doctors and researchers will tell you there is no single marker or ADHD test that can assess for the signs of ADHD in toddlers, kids, or teens.


Dr. Neal has invested over 30 years answering that question and determining how to measure the signs of ADHD in kids and adults. He developed an ADHD intake assessment, which must be filled out prior to the first session. The evaluation is based on the completed intake form, rating scales, and an interview with the parents. Sometimes the child will be present for part of the interview/evaluation.


Depending on the results of the interviews, your child may come back to take the Quotient ADHD computer test and possibly additional testing to find or rule out various disorders. We will have a follow-up session after testing is completed to review all the results and determine if your child has ADHD.


If it appears that your child is struggling with ADHD, Dr. Neal will walk you through the various alternative non-medication options as well as various medication treatments, services, and tools that are available, in cooperation with your child’s school and healthcare providers. Dr. Neal will work with your school and other professionals to ensure that there is good communication, no duplication of services, and that everyone is working on the same page toward the same goals.

3. The last step: evaluation and diagnosis


For more information on ADHD, call our office at (815) 477-4727, or contact us to schedule an appointment.


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