1. Learning Disabilities
Like ADHD, learning disabilities can cause children to appear inattentive and restless in the classroom and to be delayed in their academic development. It’s important to determine the reason for the child’s inattention. Is it because he’s unable to pay attention or because he doesn’t understand the material? In other words, a child with ADHD will slip behind in school not because he’s incapable of learning but because he’s too distracted to focus. A child with a learning disability will eventually tune out and possibly misbehave because he can’t comprehend the material.
2. Vision or Hearing Problems
If your child can’t see well enough to read the words on the chalkboard, he’ll naturally start to slip behind in school. Likewise, if he can’t hear his teacher’s instructions, he may seem to be ignoring her. Even minor hearing loss in one ear can make it hard for your child to hear directions. One of my relatives appeared to be ignoring directions when she was small but in actuality, she had fluid build-up in one of her ears. If your child is having trouble in school, ask your child’s doctor about having his vision checked by an optometrist or ophthalmologist who works with children, and his hearing evaluated by a hearing specialist. All children should be screened for hearing and vision problems before entering kindergarte
3. Lack of Sleep
Some researchers have noted similarities in behavior between children who are sleep-deprived and those who have ADHD. Kids who aren’t getting enough sleep simply can’t concentrate to their full potential. One clue that your child may not be getting enough sleep is if he has trouble waking up in the morning. Chart your child’s sleep pattern for a week or so and then ask your pediatrician whether he thinks he’s getting enough shut-eye.
All children cope with some degree of stress, and certain times of the day can be particularly taxing, such as bedtime or getting ready to leave in the morning. It’s normal for children to become clingy or moody during these times. However, any situation that causes extreme or long-term stress, such as a divorce or the birth of a new baby, can cause a child to withdraw or act hyper. A chaotic home or school environment can also trigger symptoms of stress and anxiety. If there isn’t a lot of structure and routine in your child’s life, he or she is likely to feel and act out of control.
The symptoms of depression in children (e.g., moodiness, irritability, and difficulty sleeping and concentrating) may also be noted in children with ADHD. Depression in children is often overlooked because the symptoms are easily confused with signs of normal developmental phases. This is particularly true of girls. Depression can also be an elusive diagnosis in young children because they can’t clearly communicate how they’re feeling. If your child has unexplained outbursts of crying or yelling, complains frequently about vague physical pains (such as headaches, stomachaches or fatigue), shows a lack of interest in playing with friends, or engages in reckless behavior, he could be depressed and should be evaluated by a mental health practitioner.
In conclusion, there are other conditions that can look similar to ADHD external from what is listed above. Monitor patterns in your child’s behavior and talk to a practitioner to identify the root cause.