ADHD in children
What is ADHD or ADD?
We all know kids who can’t sit still, who never seem to listen, who don’t follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, or who blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. Sometimes these children are labeled “troublemakers.” However, they may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), formerly known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD. ADHD makes it difficult for people in inhibit their spontaneous responses, these responses can involve everything from movement to speech to attentiveness.
How to tell the difference if it is normal kid behavior or is it ADHD?
Once you understand the issues your child is struggling with, such as forgetfulness or difficulty paying attention in school, you can work together to find creative solutions and capitalize on strengths. Signs and symptoms of AHDH typically appear before the age of seven. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between attention deficit disorder and normal “kid behavior.” If you see just a few signs appear only in the occasion situation, it is probably not ADHD, but if your child shows some signs that are existing across all situations – at home, at school, and play – it is time to take a closer look.
Myths & Facts
Myth: All kids with ADHD are hyperactive
Fact: Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, but many others with attention problems are not. Children with ADHD, who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated.
Myth: Kids with ADHD can never pay attention
Fact: Children with ADHD are able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. Although no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive.
Myth: Kids will eventually grow out of ADHD
Fact: ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem. Treatment can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms.
Main features of ADHD
When some people think of ADHD, they picture a child in constant motion, bouncing off the walls disrupting everyone around them. But this is not always the case. The three primary traits of a child with deficit disorder are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. A hyperactivity child may be similar to what people think; whole others have attention elsewhere. This type of ADHD child commonly puts too much focus on a task and has trouble shifting it to something else.
Children with ADHD may be:
Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive
Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention
Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive (the most common form of ADHD)
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
These children are most often overlooked, since they are not disruptive. Although it does have consequences: getting in hot water with parents and teachers for not following directions; underperforming in school; or clashing with other kids over not playing by the rules.
When they are doing they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they are interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. But when the task is repetitive or boring, they tend to tune out very quickly. Staying on track in another problem, ADHD children often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skipping necessary steps. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children.
Concentration is something kids with ADHD have trouble with, if there are distractions going on around them they are not able to focus. They usually need a calm and quite environment in order to stay focused.
- Appears not to listen when spoken to
- Has trouble staying focused is easily distracted or gets bored with a task before it is completed
- Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
- Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items
- Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions; doesn’t pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes
The most obvious sign of ADHD is hyperactivity. While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of ADHD are always moving. They may try to accomplish many things at once, bouncing around from one activity to another. When forced to sit still the results is usually leg shaking, foot tapping, or fingers drumming.
- Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
- Talks excessively
- Constantly fidgets and squirms
- His difficulty sitting still, playing quietly, or relaxing
- May have a quick temper or “short fuse”
Impulsive behavior can lead to problems with self-control. Children with ADHD tend to censor themselves les than other kids results in interrupted conversations, invasion of people’s space, irrelevant questions in class, and inconsiderate observations and questions. Children with impulsive signs also tend to be moody and overreact emotionally. As a result others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy.
- Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games
- Acts without thinking
- Often interrupts others; saying the wrong thing at the wrong time
- Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem or blurs out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
- Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
Positive effects of ADHD in children
Creativity: ADHD children can be very creative and imaginative. The child who daydreams and has ten different thoughts at once can become a master problem-solver, a fountain of ideas, or an inventive artist. Although some may be distracted easier, but they notice what others don’t see.
Flexibility: ADHD children consider a lot of options at once, they don’t become set on one alternative early on and are more open to different ideas.
Energy and drive: When kids with ADHD are motivated, they work or play hard are strive to succeed. It actually may be difficult to distract them form a task that interests them, especially if the activity is interactive or hands-on.
Enthusiasm and spontaneity: ADHD children are rarely boring. They are interested in a lot of different things and have lively personalities. They tend to be a lot of fun to be around.
Helping a child with ADHD
Whether or not your child’s symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are due to ADHD, they can cause many problems if left untreated. Children who can’t focus and control themselves may struggle in school. And get into frequent trouble, and find it hard to get along with others or make friends. These frustrations and difficulties can lead to low self-esteem as well as friction and stress for the whole family.
Parenting Tips for children with ADHD
Take care for yourself so you are better able to care for you child. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, find ways to reduce stress, and seek face-to-face support from family and friends as well as your child’s doctor and teachers
Establish structure and stick to it. Help your child stay focused and organized by following daily routines, simplifying your child’s schedule, and keeping your child busy with healthy activities.
Set clear expectations. Make the rules of behavior simple and explain what will happen when they are obeyed or broken. Follow through each time with a reward or a consequence.
Help you child eat right. To manage ADHD, schedule regular healthy meals or snack every three hours and cut back on junk and sugary food.
Encourage exercise and sleep. Physical activity improves concentration and promotes brain growth. Importantly for children with ADHD, it also leads to better sleep, which in turn can reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
Teach you child how to make friends. Help him or her become a better listener, learn to read people’s faces and body language, and interact more smoothly with others.
Tips to manage ADHD symptoms at school
Tip: seat the child away from doors and windows. Alternate seated activities with those that allow the child to move around. Divide big assignments into smaller ones and allow frequent breaks.
Tip: Use discreet gestures or words you have previously agreed upon to let the child know they are interrupting. Praise the child for interruption-free conversations.
Tip: Tap a written behavior plan to the wall or the child’s desk. Give consequences immediately following misbehavior and recognize good behavior out loud.
Fidgeting and hyperactivity
Tip: Finding creative ways to allow the child to move in appropriate ways at appropriate times can make it easier for the child to keep still during work time. Provide a stress ball, encourage exercise before and after school and ask the child to run errands in the classroom.
Tip: Make learning fun. Using physical motion in a lesson, connecting dry facts to interesting trivia, or inventing silly songs that make details easier to remember can help a child enjoy learning and even reduce the symptoms of ADHD.