Could Your Impulsive or Distracted Kid Have ADHD? Where to Get ADHD Testing and 9 Symptoms to Look For

ADHD in children Metro Health happy kid with fidget spinner

More than 16 Million Kids Have ADHD – Could This Be Your Kid?

Living with ADHD is hard, and takes incredible strength.

I have many adult friends (and kid friends!) with ADHD. ADHD is SO common.

Yet sadly, the modern world is not made for ADHD minds, so these amazing people struggle. School, work and even play is designed for linear minds, even though millions of people don’t think that way.

People with ADHD often feel “less than” just because they can’t sit still behind a desk all day or finish a project in one sitting. This can lead to low self esteem and even anxiety and depression. 

It’s time to break the stigma that comes with ADHD. It’s time to make space for the ADHD kid.

You know, that kid with the energy, big ideas, risk taking guts, ability to overcome obstacles and incredible powers of observation. 

If this sounds like your child (or maybe YOU?), check out the ADHD symptoms we list below, and consider ADHD testing. A diagnosis can make all the difference in understanding yourself and learning how to thrive with ADHD.

What it’s like as an adult with ADHD

Girl jumping on bed. ADHD testing can determine if excess energy is normal or a sign of something else.

All Kids are Active and Impatient, But Kids With ADHD Can’t Turn it Off

Adults know that certain behaviors from children are to be expected. These behaviors are a necessary part of a child’s growth and development. 

Children test limits: they test their own physical limits, and they test your limits of patience. They are hyper and seem to never stop moving. Kids are impatient and sometimes won’t sit still. We expect all that. Impulsivity, hyperactivity and being distracted are all normal behaviors. 

So how do you know when the line has been crossed from normal to excessive, and when a child could use extra help understanding how their brain works?

Symptoms of ADHD in Kids

For more than 16 million children in the United States, those normal behaviors cross the line into attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

“ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood,” says University of Michigan Health-West pediatrician Douglas O’Mara, MD

“Children with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors or may be overly active.”

Dr. O’Mara tells us that according to guidelines outlined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which is used to help diagnose ADHD, children under 17 must exhibit six or more of the following symptoms to be officially diagnosed:

ADHD Symptoms in Kids

  • Lack of attention or making frequent mistakes
  • Failing to finish tasks on time
  • Being easily distracted or forgetful
  • Not listening
  • Being disorganized
  • Being fidgety or restless
  • Age inappropriate hyperactivity
  • Excessive talking
  • Being disruptive or intrusive with others

ADHD doesn’t look the same for every child. Some present as predominantly inattentive, others as hyperactive and impulsive, and some have a combination of both. 

The severity of these symptoms also varies from mild to moderate to severe.

Dr. O’Mara understands that it can be difficult to know if your child’s symptoms meet the threshold for ADHD, and while there’s no simple ADHD testing to diagnose, there is a clear process for getting there.

ADHD Testing and Diagnosing ADHD in Kids

“The first step of the process involves having a medical exam, including hearing and vision tests, to rule out other health issues with symptoms similar to ADHD,” says Dr. O’Mara.

After this, you will fill out a checklist to rate symptoms. Once these are complete, Dr. O’Mara says he typically gathers a history from parents and teachers, and talks to the child as well. 

In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and sometimes medication, according to Dr. O’Mara.

“For preschool-aged children (4-5 years of age) with ADHD, behavior therapy—particularly training for parents—is recommended as the first line of treatment before medication is tried.”

Where to get ADHD Testing and Support in Grand Rapids

Thinking your child could have ADHD? Maybe you have a diagnosis and want local resources for your family.

These organizations can help.

Want help beyond ADHD? See even more in the therapy and disability resources guide.

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Karin's Horse Connection at Legacy Stables in Caledonia

8001 Patterson Ave SE, Caledonia, MI 49316

Everyone - all ages, physical, mental, and social (dis)abilities - are welcome at Karin’s Horse Connection!

Our experienced and certified staff works with 25 well trained, happy horses/ponies to meet a variety of needs. No matter if you want to nurture your mental health, build muscle and balance, healthy confidence, or to raise your quality of life, we can pick YOU up where YOU are individually.

In addition to traditional saddles, we use unique equipment which offers more security through big handles and a wider range of motion for the rider. You can also safely experience the different movements of the horse (slower/faster).

Horses are beneficial for your health and FUN!

Our goal is to connect you to the healing power of horses and bring a smile to your face.

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man.” -Winston Churchill

“Karin’s Horses have been a life-enhancing experience for my nephew over the last 13 years. Through riding/vaulting he has improved strength, confidence, balance, self-worth, and quality of life.” -Pat

Comprehensive Therapy Center therapies and disabilities guide 2021

Comprehensive Therapy Center in Grand Rapids

2505 Ardmore SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Established in 1982, your local nonprofit Comprehensive Therapy Center provides programs and services to meet the therapeutic and educational needs of children with disabilities.

Our professional staff help children and families through skill building, academic enhancement, and social emotional support.

Services include dance/movement therapy, myofunctional therapy, occupational therapy, sensory therapy, and speech-language pathology.

Programs include playgroups for children 0-5, social groups for school-age children, parent support and counseling services, our clinical summer program Therapy & Fun, creative arts classes, and more.

CTC is CARF accredited and part of the Kent County Ready by Five Provider Network.

“Levi has almost reached his goal, and I am speechless at his progress. We highly recommend [CTC] and talk about it’s benefits at our IEP meetings and with fellow parents.”

BRAINS therapies and disabilities guide 2021

BRAINS in Grand Rapids

3292 North Evergreen Drive NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

2900 East Beltline Avenue NE, Suite F, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

At BRAINS, we strive to change lives by identifying each individual's unique strengths and potential for growth and incorporating these traits into attainable goals.

BRAINS is an assessment and treatment center offering a variety of services to help children and families navigate the journey to better mental and physical health.

Our team of professionals offer expertise in psychological and neuropsychological assessments, counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and applied behavior analysis.

Our multidisciplinary approach ensures a comprehensive and customized treatment plan.

Contact us today to discover how BRAINS can help your child thrive at home, at school, and in the community!

Our evaluation and recommendations were spot-on and life-changing for our family! We have recommended BRAINS to others and will continue to do so. - Cindy Meteyer

Duncan Lake Speech Therapy

Duncan Lake Speech Therapy, LLC in Grand Rapids

3737 Lake Eastbrook Boulevard Southeast Suite 218, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Duncan Lake Speech Therapy, LLC is a small, private speech-language pathology clinic based in Grand Rapids.

Our goal is to provide client-centered, collaborative services, and to live into the values of representation, diversity, inclusion, and cultural responsiveness.

Our services include treatment for articulation/phonological disorders, apraxia of speech, expressive/receptive language disorders, stuttering, early language delays, orofacial myofuncational disorders, AAC, and speech disorders related ASD, Down Syndrome, ADHD, and Cerebral Palsy.

We also offer gender-affirming voice modification for folks of all ages.

Contact us today for more information about how we can serve you and your family.

We have loved our experience with Duncan Lake Speech Therapy! Tamiko and her team have always been super flexible, especially during the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

Family Nest ABA Therapy is different from other ABA Therapy providers in that we provide not just insurance based services for those with an autism diagnosis, but we also provide an affordable private pay model that can be customized to fit individual families needs.

Our behavior concierge service focuses on parent training, observation and data collection, and in-home implementation of family behavior plans while working hand in hand with caregivers to ensure support.

Examples of in-home service to address family needs include behavioral challenges, school behavior, sleep disruptions, toileting, siblings relationships, self-care, and independence.

Lake Michigan Academy therapies and disabilities guide 2021

Lake Michigan Academy in Grand Rapids

2428 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Lake Michigan Academy is a private day school designed specifically for students with learning differences as well as ADHD.

Founded in 1985 by a group of parents who were seeking a local alternative for their children, Lake Michigan Academy continues to provide children with a sound education and appropriate remediation.

Students leave the school with a renewed sense of worth, insights regarding their learning needs, and the ability to advocate for themselves.

Wedgwood Christian Services therapies and disabilities guide 2021

Wedgwood Christian Services in Grand Rapids

3300 36th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512

When life gets difficult, Wedgwood can help.

We offers a unique continuum of care of grace-filled counseling services for children, teens, adults, and families.

Whether you are dealing with life changes, mood or anxiety issues, or other difficulties with behaviors or relationships, our experienced clinicians can offer the understanding, support, and practical guidance you need.

Our therapists have the skills, experience, and compassion to help you create meaningful and lasting change.

"Life changing - for the better! Counseling taught both our child, and us, skills to grow, improve, and help our daughter embrace her future." - Parent of Counseling Client

The Tutoring Center therapies and disablilities guide 2021

The Tutoring Center in Wyoming

5751 Byron Center Ave SW Suite S, Wyoming, MI 49519

The Tutoring Center's mission is to empower children to reach their potential.

As a nationally recognized education services provider, we offer 1:1 instruction in Math, Reading, Writing and Enrichment.

The Rotational Approach to Learning, designed for children with ADD, rapidly builds academic skills and improves concentration and confidence.

Students enjoy attending. Families see immediate results!

95% success rate getting students to grade level

FREE diagnostic assessment, custom learning plan, high-quality materials

Affordable tuition from $349/month

Family Tree Therapies therapies and disabilities guide 2021

Family Tree Therapies in Grand Rapids

2251 East Paris Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Family Tree Therapies is a private clinic that specializes in occupational and speech therapy.

Our unique approach combines the best of all current research-based therapy techniques and individualize a program for your child.

We work together as a team to understand your child’s sensory system and communication skills.

Horizons Developmental Resource Center

Horizons works with individuals and families who have a variety of neurological, psychological, physical, and relational symptoms.

Includes assistance for children with Bipolar Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury and many more.

Center for Neuropsychology and Behavioral Health

Providing both assessment and intervention services, Dr Crystal Young helps children and families to address concerns related to learning, development, mood, behavior, and other factors.

Dr. Young believes in the importance of collaborating with other providers including schools, physicians, and other therapists to help you effectively advocate for your child’s needs. She will also work closely with your child’s physicians to provide guidance in treatment planning.

Pine Rest

Providing testing & assessment for ADHD, autism, learning disabilities and cognitive impairment at the Psychological Consultation Center and Parent Support and Counseling Services through the Outpatient Clinic Network.

Arrowsmith Program at St. Stephen School

The Arrowsmith Program is based on the application of neuroscience research and the premise that it is possible to address a range of specific learning difficulties by identifying and strengthening cognitive capacities.

Paper Plane Therapies

At Paper Plane Therapies, we create an engaging, warm, and creative atmosphere that considers the needs of the entire family. It is our goal to identify barriers and construct a functional plan to help the child and their family reach their fullest potential and lead happy and healthy lives.

Michigan Alliance for Families

A statewide resource for families of children with disabilities to help improve educational services and outcomes.

  Life With ADHD – Your Kid May Carry it Into Adulthood

 ADHD in children can last into adulthood for at least one-third of children. 

Just because a child is diagnosed with ADHD, doesn’t mean he or she will always struggle. Individuals with ADHD can be just as successful in life as those without ADHD, if it’s identified early and treated. 

Addressing ADHD in your child is one of the most important steps to helping them. If they can learn how their brain works differently, and that they are not broken, they can start learning how to live a healthy life with ADHD.

Kids with ADHD who are never treated often struggle. 

“Children with untreated ADHD may face problems at home and at school,” Dr. O’Mara explains. 

“The child may not learn everything they’re taught and fall behind and get poor grades.

They may struggle to control their emotions, which can lead to social problems and low self-esteem or even depression. The problems may only get worse as the child enters his or her teens.”

Dr. O’Mara encourages families to work with a team to help their child with ADHD. This team includes health care providers, teachers, behavioral therapists and other adults who care for your kid.

 “Your role as a parent is critical,” Dr. O’Mara emphasizes. “You are an important part of the team that will monitor your child’s response to medications and behavior therapy.”

Dr. O’Mara encourages any parents who wonder if their child’s behavior is just a part of normal growing up, or if it could be ADHD, to discuss it further with their child’s healthcare provider.

He also points to the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) organization as a great place for parents to go for information, resources, advice and support.

1 thought on “Could Your Impulsive or Distracted Kid Have ADHD? Where to Get ADHD Testing and 9 Symptoms to Look For”

  1. The Tutoring Center’s Rotational Approach to Learning was designed to help children with attention disorders or that struggle with focus. Through 1:1 instruction and development of academic skills, students increase confidence and build the concentration needed to reach their potential.

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