ADHD symptoms in kids aren’t always easy to spot. After all, many children struggle with time management, paying attention, or sitting still.
This makes it hard to determine whether or not your child is showing ADHD symptoms and requires a proper diagnosis from a doctor.
Taking our quiz to help you identify ADHD symptoms in kids. Then keep reading to learn how you can support your child’s well-being using natural therapy.
What Are ADHD Symptoms in Kids?
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is defined as a neurodevelopmental condition.
It’s characterized by certain behaviors, such as hyperactivity, being unable to concentrate, being easily distracted, and acting impulsively.
ADHD symptoms in kids usually appear around age 7. It’s a common, lifelong problem, but symptoms can be controlled with medicine and behavior treatments.
Here are some common symptoms of ADHD in kids:
- Being hyperactive and acting impulsively
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Unable to sit still
- A short attention span
- Making careless mistakes
- Losing things easily or becoming forgetful
- Constantly changing activities or tasks
- Being unable to listen or carry out instructions
- Organizational problems
- Acting without thinking
Here are some other possible symptoms of ADHD:
- Interrupting conversations or acting without fear of danger
- Excessive talking or physical movements
- Being unable to wait your turn
Children with ADHD may also suffer from other health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and learning disabilities.
ADHD vs. ASD: Which Does My Child Have?
ADHD usually presents with signs like excessive physical movement, difficulty maintaining concentration, and a tendency to perform actions without thinking.
On the other hand, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) also manifests with similar symptoms.
However, children with ASD may exhibit unusual, repetitive movements like hand flapping or back-and-forth rocking. Spinning in circles and inattentiveness are also signs of ASD.
Does My Child Have ADHD or ASD?
Determining if your child has ADHD or ASD can help you devise a treatment plan that works for them. Here’s what your answers might indicate.
If you answered mostly “A’s:” Your Child May Have ADHD
Most ADHD cases are diagnosed when children are 6 to 12 years old. There is no exact cause of ADHD.
However, factors like being born prematurely, low birth weight, and smoking or drug use during pregnancy may contribute to this condition.
ADHD Treatment: Western Medicine Approach
In Western medicine, the best treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication and therapy.
There are currently five types of ADHD medications. However, they do not offer a permanent cure. They only help ease the symptoms.
They may also cause side effects ranging from stomach issues, trouble sleeping and headaches to mood swings and a lack of appetite. These medicines include:
Therapies can also provide a more well-rounded approach to treating ADHD. Some common ones include:
- Psychoeducation: This technique engages individuals in an active discussion about ADHD so they can manage it better
- Behavior therapy: This therapy teaches behavior management techniques
- Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT: This involves talking with a therapist to help ADHD individuals cope with the condition
- Parent training and education programs
- Social skills training to help individuals develop better communication and interaction skills
ADHD Treatment: Eastern Medicine Approach
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the primary causes of ADHD are a weak body constitution and lack of kidney essence (jing).
“A child with spleen qi (vital life force) deficiency or liver yang (active energy) hyperactivity may also be at risk of ADHD, restlessness, and body heat,” says Eu Yan Sang TCM Physician Tiang Sack Sing.
In other words, ADHD occurs due to a weak constitution combined with acquired environmental and dietary factors.
To help reduce ADHD symptoms in kids, TCM focuses on invigorating the brain and kidneys and regulating spleen and stomach functions.
Some nutritious herbal soups that can support this:
- Pork bone soup with walnuts, wolfberries, black sesame seeds, sea cucumber, or dried scallops can effectively tonify the kidneys.
- Broth prepared using herbal soups like ‘Six Flavor Herbal Soup’, taken 2 to 3 times a week.
- Chicken soup and a pork soup cooked with yam, chestnuts, and red dates for kidney tonification.
Physician Tiang notes that a combination of proprietary Chinese medication like Liuwei Dihuang and Qi Jianzhong can improve a child’s weak constitution.
Spirulina tablets are also a good source of nutrient’s that support a child’s health. This includes beta-carotene, iron, alkaline minerals, and amino acids.
Additionally, children can benefit from taking Power Up! Concentration – Chicken Essence For Kids to boost concentration and mental power.
Caution: You should consult a TCM practitioner and your child’s pediatrician before giving these medicines to your children.
Remember, good habits like going to sleep early, limiting light and sound exposure, and consuming natural, balanced foods are beneficial, too.
If you answered mostly “B’s”: Your child may have ASD
ASD and autism refer to a group of brain development disorders characterized by difficulties in social interaction.
Verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as repetitive behaviors, are also common.
The most obvious symptoms of autism tend to occur between 2 and 3 years of age.
ASD Treatment: Western Medicine Approach
While ASD is common among young children, there is currently no cure or medication for this condition.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy
According to the Early Autism Project (EAP) in Malaysia, the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) approach is the only research-based teaching approach for autism.
This technique is supported by over 1000 journal articles based on controlled studies, post-treatment follow-up data, and peer-reviewed studies.
In fact, results are encouraging – 50% of young children with ASD who receive good quality intensive ABA can catch up to their typical developmental age.
Other ASD Treatments
Other than ABA, other therapies can also be part complete ASD treatment program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists a few recommendations:
- Assistive technology: This therapy uses electronic devices for building interacting skills
- “Floortime” approach for emotional and relational development. Encourages parents to follow the interests of the individual to expand opportunities for communication.
- Occupational therapy to teach individuals life skills so that they can function independently (include dressing, eating, bathing and relating to people)
- Social skills training: This approach includes communication and problem-solving skills
- Speech therapy for improving communication skills
ASD Treatment: Eastern Medicine Approach
According to TCM, 3 organ systems — the heart, spleen, and kidney — govern awareness and reasoning.
The heart governs the mind and spirit (shen) and controls the emotional state and short-term memory.
On the other hand, the spleen links to a child’s ability to concentrate, memorize or study.
Meanwhile, the kidney controls long-term memory. A disturbance in these systems can cause autistic symptoms.
In TCM, treatment for this condition relies on phlegm elimination by clearing heart heat, tonifying kidney jing-essence, spleen qi, heart blood, qi (vital life energy) and yin (passive energy).
According to TCM, phlegm elimination is crucial as it concerns two TCM diagnoses of ASD:
- Phlegm dampness in the mind can cause dullness, lethargy, impaired speech, mental confusion, and a lack of awareness.
- Secondly, phlegm fire presents with signs like aggression, constipation, disturbed sleep, self-talk, a short temper, or uncontrolled laughing or crying.
Heart or blood or yin deficiencies will also cause ASD symptoms like lethargy, stillness, aggressive behavior, or fidgeting restlessness.
Furthermore, kidney essence and spleen qi deficiencies affect a child’s food intake and mental development.
In addition, the Scientific Bases of Acupuncture book suggests that acupuncture influences the central nervous system and neuroendocrine function.
The book also mentions that tongue acupuncture is being studied for several brain disorders in children, including blindness, cerebral palsy, and autism.
What To Do If You Notice ADHD Symptoms In Kids
If you want to consider TCM medications or treatments for ADHD or ASD, speak to a qualified practitioner beforehand. Help them understand your child’s daily activities and dietary habits.
It’s also advisable to notify the practitioner if you had an unhealthy diet and lifestyle during your pregnancy, as well as any difficulties you might have encountered.
Ultimately, recognizing the signs of ADHD or ASD contributes to a child’s healthy growth and development. Therefore, seek treatment as early as possible to attain better treatment efficacy.
- NHS. 2018. Symptoms: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- HealthCMI. 2018. Acupuncture and Herbs Benefit Autistic Children. [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders. [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- PACIFIC COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND SCIENCE. TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE AND AUTISM. [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- NHS. 2018. Treatment: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- Early Autism Project. Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA). [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Treatment and Intervention Services for Autism Spectrum Disorder. [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). [Accessed 27 January 2022]
- NHS. 2021.
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