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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children or Adolescents

ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or some combination of these. For these problems to be diagnosed as ADHD, they must be out of the normal range for the child's age and development. Through our assessment and observation process, we can help you determine which (if any) will be the best course of treatment for your child.

Avera Behavioral Health Center wants to help you and your family to find practical solutions and the customized treatment program your child needs-all in an active, engaging environment. And you can feel confident in knowing that everything we do is backed by our staff of compassionate, highly-trained professionals.

Does Your Child Have ADHD?

I am concerned my child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Should I take him to the physician for medications or to a therapist for counseling?

Research studies have shown that the best treatment plan would usually include both counseling and medications. Limited success is seen with medications for preschool children but effectively treat symptoms in older children. While medications ease the symptoms, therapy would focus on making behavioral changes. If you are concerned about your child or would like to talk more specifically about your situation please call our FREE 24 hour, confidential Assessment Line at 605-322-4065 or 1-800-691-4336.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a childhood disorder that is manifested by inattentive, impulsive, distractible, and hyperactive behavior that is not consistent with the developmental level of the child. A child with ADHD may have significant problems in learning, social interactions, and impulse control. An estimated 5-10% of all children meet the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD. Boys are diagnosed three times as often as girls. Impairment must exist in at least two areas of the child's life whether home, school, social events and other activities that the child is involved in.

Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms of Inattention

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association symptoms of ADHD may include:

  • Fails to pay attention to details
  • Problems in maintaining attention during tasks or play activities
  • Does not listen when spoken to directly
  • Frequently does not follow through on instructions and fails to complete assignments or chores
  • Exhibits problems with task organization
  • Avoids activities such as homework which require sustained mental effort
  • Often loses homework or items needed to complete assignments
  • Easily distracted by extraneous noises
  • Forgetful in daily activities

Symptoms of Hyperactivity

  • Fidgets with their hands or squirms in their seats
  • Runs and climbs at inappropriate times
  • Difficulty playing quietly
  • Always on the go
  • Talks excessively

Symptoms of Impulsivity

  • Blurts out answers before the question is completed
  • Difficulty waiting for their turn
  • Frequently interrupts the conversation of others


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosis requires 6 or more symptoms of inattention, lasting longer than 6 months, which impairs the child's ability to learn, interact with their peer group, and control their behavior that is inconsistent with their developmental level. Although it is unclear what the exact cause of ADHD is there are various forms of treatment in order to deal with this disorder.

Once ADHD has been diagnosed by a qualified mental health professional, there are both medications and behavioral approaches that can be implemented to assist the child to improve self-esteem, coping, social skills, confidence, and improve academic performance.

In dealing with children who have ADHD it is the most beneficial to have a trusting and calm approach in addition to a structured environment. Focus on what the child does well and praise him/her. This will allow for a healthy sense of self-esteem and accomplishment.

Additional Information