When we think about kids, we often think that they are carefree, imaginative and playful. Sometimes, they would pretend to be their parents or the people around them. On other times, they would be all over the place and there is no stopping them.
These actions are normal for kids.
However, if you notice that they are constantly fidgeting and too active, your child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Many people confuse ADHD with other behavioural disorders. Sometimes, people disregard ADHD entirely because they believe children can outgrow it.
What exactly is ADHD and is it important to know? Here is a brief primer about this disorder and what you can do if your child has it.
What exactly is ADHD in children?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most common behavioural disorders in children today.
Kids with ADHD are hyperactive and cannot control their attention and actions. It is said that boys are often affected by ADHD as compared to girls and it can continue until they are older.
What are the causes of ADHD?
Experts are still uncertain as to what causes ADHD to persist in children. However, several factors have been identified to cause ADHD:
• Chemical imbalance
• Premature birth
• Mild brain trauma
• Poor nutrition and lifestyle of their mothers during pregnancy.
Many believe ADHD can also be caused by too much television and sugar; but, experts say this is not true.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
There are many signs and symptoms that can help you determine if your child has ADHD. The most notable of this is their disability to pay attention. Aside from this, they will always be on the move, speak too much and play loudly.
Other symptoms of ADHD include:
• Losing their belongings
• Easily distracted
• Daydreams a lot
• Makes simple mistakes often
• Cannot follow instructions easily
• Avoids any activity that will force them to sit down
• Avoids any activity they see boring.
Seeking a Diagnosis
The signs and symptoms of ADHD sound normal at first, especially for young kids. Experts also note that there could be other reasons why kids tend to show these signs even if they do not have ADHD.
When your child turns 5 or when they go to elementary school, check their behaviour and rule out other potential reasons for such actions.
You should also look into your family’s medical and developmental history because you may have family members who had ADHD. You can also reach out to your child’s teachers and other adults who have been in contact with your child.
If you are still uncertain if your child has ADHD, you can seek the help of a doctor who can conduct a neuropsychological test on your child. Usually, the questions will be directed towards the people around the child to identify if there are other factors contributing to the child’s behaviour.
For a child to be classified to be suffering from ADHD, they must tick six characteristics which doctors can assess if it is normal for their age to act that way.
What to Do After a Diagnosis
Once a doctor verifies that your child has ADHD, it will help you understand your child better. If before you believe your child’s behaviour is normal, you now know that there is more to their actions and the way they act.
You will also be able to do early intervention which can help them adjust to their situation. Intervention strategies for ADHD vary depending on the symptoms; however, it will help patients do their school work and other activities while working around the disorder.
Early identification and intervention have a lot of benefits and it includes:
• easier management of their changing behaviour
• improves predictability and order
• easier reduction of distractions to help your kids focus
• enabling the use of routines
• better learning in a smaller classroom setting.
• reduce the onset of negative self-esteem
• better interaction with others
• seek help from special needs tutors
Currently, there is no clear treatment for ADHD. However, its impacts can be improved with the help of a new environment, change in parenting and communication style and patience.
For those with severe symptoms, they may be prescribed with a stimulant or norepinephrine uptake inhibitors. These medications will increase the neurotransmitters in the brain and help the child focus. Parents are advised to monitor their children when they are given medication for ADHD symptoms.
Therapy can also be recommended to help ADHD patients learn other techniques to get by their disorder. The therapist can also help ADHD patients understand their condition and help parents respond to their child’s needs.
It is important to remember that ADHD does not go away over time. People can still have it even if they are older. However, some may notice that the symptoms are not as pronounced as before. Families of people who have ADHD are advised to continue supporting their family members as they grow older to manage the disorder.
If a person with ADHD is not immediately identified, they can find it difficult to interact with others. They will also have problems at home and school and have low self-esteem. They will continue to have problems focusing and paying attention to anything they do.
If you find out that your child has ADHD, do not immediately fear for your child’s future. Research is still ongoing to discover more about ADHD.
While waiting for this research to finish, your child can still live out their life even with ADHD if they are given the right support that they need.
As parents, your love, support and effort to make everything easier for your child can go a long way. Even if your child is frustrated with their condition, your support will give them the courage to continue trying their best despite ADHD affecting them.
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