ADHD in Children | Mental Health Monday

This post is sponsored by UnityPoint Health.

Des Moines Mom is committed to creating a safe space for ongoing conversations about mental health. 

ADHD Brain- Mental Health Monday - Des Moines Mom

ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. In today’s Mental Health Monday conversation, we chat with Dr. Michelle Ewest, a Pediatrician at UnityPoint Health – Blank Children’s Developmental Center. We discuss the ADHD diagnosis process, behavioral strategies, and ways to help your child during unstructured free time.  

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Michelle Ewest is a pediatrician who works as a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics specialist at UnityPoint Health – Blank Children’s Developmental Center in West Des Moines. Dr. Ewest works primarily in the areas of Autism and ADHD.

How is ADHD diagnosed? 

1. Start with a conversation with your child’s pediatrician.

Have an honest conversation about the behaviors you are observing at home, the behaviors your child’s teacher is observing at school, or the behaviors your child’s coach/extracurricular activities leader is observing at practice.  

2. Complete questionnaires.  

For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, typically your child would have to have functional impairment in two settings (usually at home and at school). You and your child’s teacher would complete a caregiver/teacher “scale” or questionnaires and return them back to your physician. 

3. Wait for the assessments.

Next, your doctor will assess for ADHD symptoms in your child, rule out any physical or medical reasons that might be causing symptoms, and spend some time interacting with your child.    

As moms, we know our children best and are blessed with a momma’s intuition. We know when something feels off and when to advocate for help for our children. We hope this helps other moms consider if they need to have further conversations about ADHD. 

Watch more of our conversation with Dr. Michelle Ewest about “ADHD in Children.”

Connect with Dr. Michelle Ewest

Dr. Michelle Ewest PediatricianDr. Ewest is a pediatrician in the Blank Children’s Developmental Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Ewest attended medical school at A.T. Still University, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. She then completed her pediatric residency at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. She is board certified in pediatrics. She has worked in various settings including in the pediatric emergency room and in the community as a general pediatrician. Dr. Ewest resides in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband Mark and daughter.


Thank you for making time to help normalize the conversation about mental health. In this ongoing monthly series, we will be talking about mental health for ourselves, our kids, our spouses, and our families. 

See more of our conversations about Mental Health

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Kara Knaack
Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


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