A look into the brain disorder of ADHD

Dr. Johanne Lévesque of Neurodezign shares the misconceptions and most common signs of ADHD

By Alyssia Rubertucci

“My child isn’t organized, it must be ADHD,” say some parents that visit Neurodezign, a family company that specializes in the assessment and optimization of various disorders in children.

Dr. Johanne Lévesque, a neuropsychologist, often listens to these assertions made by concerned parents who come into her office.

Though, more often than not, Dr. Lévesque says these parents are wrong and the presence of ADHD in their child is not the case.

In fact, organizational skills or lack thereof should not point to the disorder, since she says a child with great organizational skills can still have ADHD.

It is more complex than that. The brain disorder that is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known as ADHD, is one with many facets and can’t necessarily be self-diagnosed.

Dr. Lévesque, who’s been specializing in neurofeedback for the last 15 years, says that parents who suspect their child may have it must have a proper neuropsychological evaluation.

Before taking that first step, though, it is best to know what exactly to look out for and what not to worry about.

A misinterpretation of ADHD can be rooted in the notion of constant hyperactivity, which may be troubling in the eyes of a parent.

Dr. Lévesque, however, says not to think immediately that your child has ADHD because they are hyper by nature.

She says the way to differentiate it from ADHD is to observe whether or not the child can stay calm when the time calls for it.

“If they’re in class and doing their thing and the teacher says, ‘OK, it’s time to work,’ they’ll be able to do it,” Dr. Lévesque says of a child who is hyperactive but doesn’t show signs of ADHD.

Another prejudice can come when a child thinks, moves, and talks rapidly. Some may think that the speed in which the child is moving at is related to ADHD, when, in fact, Dr. Lévesque, says this could merely be a sign of high intelligence.

A true warning sign of ADHD, the most prevalent one, is when a child has trouble paying attention for prolonged periods of time.

“The child may have major difficulty to stay focused when the teacher is teaching,” Dr. Lévesque says.

Other signs include: moving all the time in a way that is not appropriate, being impulsive, emotional, having low self-esteem and not thinking before acting.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. In many cases, children can cope with the problem without medication. But in more severe cases, medications and neurofeedback, a service of Neurodezign, is recommended.

Dr. Lévesque says a good support system is needed for a child who may have ADHD, especially once confirmed.

It is especially important to find out if a child does or does not have the disorder, in order to take the right measures as soon as possible.

“The sooner you know, the better it is,” Dr. Lévesque says.

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