Many young people come to see me as they have lots of energy, hard to control what they say or do and/or trouble paying attention. When these start early in life (before the age of 12) and interfere with the quality of social and academic functioning, ADHD should be ruled out.
There are three subtypes of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined.
What are the red flags?
There are a number of red flags that you and/or your child might notice including:
Short attention span
Forgetting or losing things
Problems following instructions
Difficulties completing school work
Fidgeting in school and being continuously told by the teacher to sit down, or not to blurt answers out
Be on the go, in constant motion
Act out of turn and don’t think about consequences of actions
Little or no sense of danger
Why this is happening?
The exact cause is not fully understood, although a combination of factors is thought to be responsible and the risk factors may include:
Genetics, such as a parent or sibling with ADHD
Smoking, alcohol or drug use in pregnancy
Exposure to environmental toxins
Some young people may also have other mental health conditions alongside ADHD, such as anxiety, depression, behaviour problems, autism or sleep problems, and/or physical health conditions (e.g., epilepsy, allergies, gastrointestinal problems).
What is my approach?
As a first step, I will carry a thorough evaluation with you and/or your child. Screening questionnaires (SNAP IV, Conners comprehensive behaviour rating scale, DIVA-5, Social Communication Questionnaire), cognitive assessment, physical examination or liaison with other professionals and school will be provided if you wish.
Once the condition is identified, I will develop a personalized treatment plan jointly with you and/or your child based on personal needs. The treatment will include an integrated approach to achieve optimal quality of social and academic functioning.
This can include:
Information and support to better understand and cope (psychoeducation)
Personal development and self-improvement
Person-centred talking therapy such as interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, play therapy, social skills therapy
Tailored learning techniques and/or behaviour learning plan with school when appropriate
Mind-body centre exercise to increase the relaxation response
Empower parents through positive parenting techniques
Promote a healthy lifestyle through exercise, diet and micronutrients
State-of-the-art medication when appropriate