ST. LOUIS - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of American children ages 4 to 17 have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
ADHA can often be mistaken as kids just being kids or troublemakers, but it’s a lot more serious. It’s that misconception that psychologists say can lead to children going untreated, or sometimes misdiagnosed.
The Stegmann boys are full of energy.
"Hunter is 13, Drew is 11, and Henry is 9," smiled Lynn Stegmann.
As a mom of 3 boys, she didn't think their hyperactivity was anything unusual. Besides, she has ADHD herself, and didn't see the warning signs in her kids at home.
"When my child was first diagnosed with ADHD, I was really shocked and really questioning the doctor. You know my child can sit and build an entire Lego set and my child can do all these other things, I don't see a focus issue," explained Stegmann.
It was the persistence of her son's teachers that encouraged Lynn to get the boys tested in the first place. She remembers how her oldest son’s teacher approached the issue of how he couldn’t sit still in class.
"She described it in such a beneficial way to me. She said it looks painful to watch him. When someone tells you it looks painful to watch your child you start thinking I got to do something about this," explained Lynn.
She took her sons to be evaluated by neuropsychologist Dr. David Kauffman. He specializes in diagnoses ADHD.
"ADHD in one person might look very different from ADHD in another," explained Dr. Kauffman.
The most common behavior he looks for when diagnosing children is the repeated behavior of being forgetful or not being able to pay attention.
"You're often going to find that there is recurring patterns of avoiding homework, losing assignments, forgetting to bring something home with you from school, forgetting to take something from school," he explained.
Dr. Kauffman also pointed out how important it is to get evaluations on behavior from more than just the child’s parents. He looks for reports from teachers and coaches as well.
Dr. Kaufmann diagnosed Lynn's two oldest boys with ADHD. Today, they're on medication and able to focus much better in school. Lynn is happy she had her boys tested when she did.
"You just have to realize well get through this, my child will be okay and it will really help them when they're older, they'll have more energy, they'll be more creative," she explained.
Dr. Kauffman told Five On Your Side about a very useful website parents can use as a first step in getting their questions answered. You can find a link to the website below.
Link: Effective Child Therapy
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