Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that is becoming much more common today. This condition, normally diagnosed in preschool or elementary grades, causes children to have difficulties with inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Until detected and treated, many aspects of a child’s life suffer, from their social interactions with other children and adults to school performance.
A diagnosis of ADHD can both frighten and relieve parents at the same time. It is scary when parents do not know much about the condition, yet a relief to know that there are reasons for their child’s behavior and ways to improve it.
Although children with ADHD struggle in school, quite often, they are very intelligent. Sitting still, being quiet, and paying attention are simply very challenging to these children. Consequently, if they cannot pay attention long enough to hear what their teachers are saying, or to write down their homework assignments, their grades suffer considerably. Because of this, teachers usually identify it first.
There are three subtypes of ADHD. The first is Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type. In this type, the problem is not so much with inattentiveness as it is with hyperactivity and impulsiveness ”just as the name suggests. In the second type, the Predominantly-Inattentive Type, the hyperactivity and impulsivity are not as apparent as the inattention. The third subtype is the Combined Type, which displays all three types of behavior.
A few signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity are general feelings of restlessness, constant fidgeting or squirming, and inability to sit still when quiet behavior is expected. It would not be at all unusual for this type of child to get up in the middle of a lesson during school and begin touching or climbing something he should not.
An inattentive child is often forgetful, and unfocused. He can pay attention to something of interest to him, but when it is required, it can become very difficult. These children are often disorganized and can only stay on task for short periods. They also have difficulty following directions. Frequently, parents and teachers overlook the inattentive type; however, they struggle and need help just as much as children with the other types of ADHD.
With a combination of medication, counseling, and advocacy, the outlook for your child can be very positive. In fact, your first task should be to learn all you can about this disorder and how it has affected your child, your family, and his education. Then be sure that you take an active role in his life. If he seems to be struggling in school, then speak with his teachers on a regular basis, and know what and how he is doing in school.
If he is struggling socially, then it would be a good idea to get him whatever counseling he needs. Family counseling would also be a productive way to learn how to communicate more effectively and to deal with feelings of frustrations addressing both your child’s frustrations with himself, as well as family conflict.
Having ADHD can be a difficult disorder for a child growing into a teenager. Peer pressure becomes more difficult to handle. Furthermore, it is harder to make good choices for these teens. Because they tend to be a bit more impulsive, saying no to drugs and alcohol, and make sound judgments while behind the wheel may also be challenging.
However, sound parenting including good routines, discipline when necessary, and ensuring that he is taking his medicine will help him to maintain self-control and deal effectively with his disorder.
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that all children mature at different rates, and just because your child may have some of the typical ADHD traits, only a professional can make the diagnosis. There are several professionals with the proper qualifications.
Psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists, neurologists, and clinical social workers can all make a diagnosis. If you think your child needs help, speak to your family doctor or pediatrician. He can help you locate the people and resources you need to help your child successfully navigate through these rough years.Psychiatrists