Do you ever wonder why some children are so hyper active at all times? Or when you give them instructions they doze off and ignore everything you said to them. What about the ones who constantly blurt things out? We often stereotype these children as the “trouble makers” or “misbehaved” ones, but do we really know what actually goes on in their minds? These children are typically diagnosed with the disorder called ADHD.
What is ADHD?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a behavioral disorder that usually affects 3-5% of school-aged children. ADHD is diagnosed more in boys than girls. The primary characteristics of ADHD are inattentive, hyperactive or impulsivity. Children with ADHD may be very creative and intelligent. They are capable of doing things normally just like a child that is not diagnosed with ADHD. It all depends on how they are being treated.
What are the symptoms of the primary characteristics?
- Easily distracted, difficulty paying attention
- Has difficulty remembering instructions
- Has trouble being organized & finishing assignments
- Frequently loses or misplaces homework, or other items.
- Moves around constantly, runs or climb on objects
- Fidgets and squirms
- Talks excessively
- Difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
- Blurts out answers in class without being called on
- Impatient, can’t wait for his/her turn
- Interrupts others
- Inability to keep powerful emotions in, which cause angry outburst, temper tantrums
- Acts without thinking
Children are faced with many challenges in school when they are diagnosed with the disorder. They struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. The biggest problem for these children is the relationships they may have with their peers. It is difficult for children to maintain friendships because they may be socially awkward. Some children do not know how to interact with others well. They may become easily agitated with others and have random outburst. Many children with ADHD become alone and secluded from their peers.
Can this disorder follow them to adulthood?
Without the proper treatments, ADHD may follow to adulthood. 60% of the 3-5% school aged children will maintain the disorder to adulthood. In adulthood, time management is the most difficult thing to manage for adults with ADHD. If their time management is off, it may cause associated behavior, emotional, social and academic problems. The most common problems adults face are:
- Low self-esteem, anxiety
- Employment problems
- Difficulty controlling anger, impulsiveness
- Substance abuse or addiction
- Frustration tolerance, procrastination,
- Mood swings, depression, chronic boredom
- Relationship problems
What are the possible treatments?
The best possible treatment for a child is seeking therapy. If therapy does not seem to work, medication would be the next best solution. A combination of medication and behavioral treatment works best. The most popular drug used to help children with ADHD is Methylphenidate (Ritalin). Therapy for both the child and family can help better understand the child’s situation and may be less stressful.
Behavior therapy tips:
- Communicating regularly with the child’s teacher
- Limit distractions in the child’s environment
- Healthy diet
- Keep a consistent daily schedule, Avoid last minute changes.
- Praise and reward good behavior.
- ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (moorestorms.wordpress.com)
- Breaking the Silence of ADHD Stigma (psychcentral.com)
- In Blur of A.D.H.D., Sleep Troubles May Be a Culprit – Kate Murphy via NYTimes.com (underpaidgenius.com)
- The Age of ADHD (neuroskeptic.blogspot.com)
- Is Immaturity Being Mistaken for ADHD? (children.webmd.com)
- Is ADHD overdiagnosed? Findings from a new study in Germany (sharpbrains.com)
- More December-Born Kids Diagnosed With ADHD (abcnews.go.com)