ADHD cases on the rise in school-age children, psychologist says

Posted at 5:52 AM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 08:31:55-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- It's a condition that affects families and children around the world - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.

October is ADHD Awareness Month, a time where doctors are hoping to educate parents on what they need to know about getting the right diagnosis for their child.

For parents, it could mean your child has difficulty following instructions, managing themselves, their emotions and their behaviors.

"ADHD has become a really significant problem for a lot of kids and families,” said Dr. Nicole Beurkens, local Psychologist and Board Certified Nutritionist.

“We`re up to now almost twelve percent of school-age children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder."

WATCH: Live interview with Dr. Beurkens on handling anxiety and ADHD in children

Dr. Beurkens has been working with children and families for more than 20 years, diagnosing ADHD in children and finding ways to help kids cope.

"It`s not just that this name that we give this disorder is one thing and all kids who have this look the same and have the same underlying issues,” she said. "So the individualization of treatment becomes really important."

Dr. Beurkens who is the owner of  Horizons Developmental Resource Center in Caledonia, has spent the last several years, working with parents like Teresa Dood, whose child was diagnosed with the hyperactivity disorder at a young age.

"Hope has always been kind of a challenging kiddo, always, constantly in motion. always very strong willed. wanted her way,” said Teresa Dood, whose nine-year-old child has been diagnosed with ADHD.

A young girl, with a big heart, who struggled to complete everyday tasks.

"If you got your coat and your shoes on, she might start towards that but then lost focus and couldn`t complete that task,” Dood said.

That's when Dood said she started seeking help for her daughter.

“It`s tough for parents because when they notice that something`s going on with their child, everybody`s sort of familiar with ADHD as being these really hyperactive kids that don`t stop moving and certainly that is some kids, but that`s not the only symptom of that,” Dr. Beurkens said.

Hope started with counseling, and visits to psychiatrists, who all tried different medications.

"We found that a lot of the medications brought about just a lot of side effects,” Dood said, which is what led her to Dr. Beurkens Office seeking treatment without any medicine.

“For a lot of kids medication doesn`t really do anything for them or they experience a lot of significant side effects,” she said.

It could be their diet, a food allergy, or even a lack of sleep.

"25 to 40 percent of kids diagnosed with ADHD actually have an un-diagnosed and untreated sleep disorder,” Dr. Beurkens said.

"ADHD is a name we give this set of symptoms but the reality is there are probably dozens or a hundred or maybe even more specific types of issues that fall under that umbrella of ADHD,” she said.

As for Teresa, she says she is happy that having her child see a psychologist, has allowed her to get her daughter back.

“It`s changed, obviously, her ability to be successful at school to be able to grow and learn,” Dood said. "Ultimately she`s outgoing and silly and is able to be a nine-year-old kid".

WATCH: Live interview with Dr. Beurkens on handling anxiety and ADHD in children