What is ADHD ?
ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder of childhood especially affecting school aged children.
Why Do some children have this disorder ?
ADHD is currently considered to have multiple causes however exact etiology of ADHD is unknown.There can be some environmental and genetic factors .
Environmental factors:Low birth weight, prenatal and perinatal obstetric complications, intrauterine toxins such as nicotin or alcohol, severe early deprivation, institutional rearing.
Research supports a strong genetic component. For example, first degree relatives (parents, siblings and children) of people with ADHD have a 3 to 5 times increased risk.
What are the symptoms ?
Child will have inattention , poor impulse control , decreased self inhibitory capacity , motor / physical overactivity and restlessness.
About 9 percent of school aged children are affected with ADHD.
If a child exhibits several of the following characteristics over a long period of time, consider this a red flag:
Distracted very easily
Difficulty concentrating on tasks for a reasonable length of time
Difficulty paying attention to detail (often makes careless mistakes)
Problems following instructions and completing activities
Difficulty keeping track of personal belongings and materials
Struggles to remember routines and organize task/activities
Difficulty getting started on activities, particularly those that are challenging
Does not seem to be listening when spoken to directly
Often fidgets, squirms and turns around in seat constantly
Constantly on the go
Makes a lot of noise even during play
Talks incessantly when not supposed to talk
Blurts out answers before hearing the whole question
Becomes easily frustrated waiting in line or when asked to take turns
Leaves seat when expected to stay in seat
Runs or climbs excessively when it is not appropriate .
How to identify weather the child has ADHD or is just super active ?
In case any of these red flag signs are present one needs to get the child evaluated in detail by a Developmental Pediatrician to differentiate between super active child and one with ADHD . There are several tools , questionnaires and criteria available with an expert in the field to diagnose ADHD .
What can be the repercussions of being ADHD ?
It leads to academic underachievement , problems with interpersonal relationship with family members and peer and may have end up with low self esteem.
How can parents Help?
If parents and teachers are aware and find any of the red flag signs they must seek advise from a specialist. Early diagnosis will lead to initiation of behavioral therapy early in the course of treatment by parents and teachers . For preschool-aged children (4–5 years of age) behavioral therapy is the main course of treatment whereas For elementary school–aged children (6–11 years of age) and For adolescents (12–18 years of age) can be managed with medication and behavior therapy both.
Tips for parents :
1) Parents should act like an executive planner and Organizer for the child.
2) Parents need to be compassionate and patient ,
3) Parents need to keep up with their own health by eating right , adequate sleep and exercise everyday to keep stress at a bay.
4) parents need to create and sustain a structure at home like having a simple and predictable rules for homework, bed, play . also parents can use clocks, timers to notify child to switch to the next task.
5)Parents can set clear rules and consequences. Can write down the rules and hang them in a place visible to the child. Explain them the consequences of not obeying the rules. refrain from criticizing and give appropriate feedback for negative result. Praise often as it helps in positive reinforcement.
5)Parents can encourage sports and sleep : choose sport that require constant motion like football , basketball etc . Activities like yoga and martial arts can help improve mental control.
6) Parents need to monitor Meals: regular meals with fresh fruits , avoid junk food.
7) Having a pet can work wonders . It teaches children to be more responsible and outgoing.
8) Parents can help their children to improve their social skills and interactions.Can role play. Do not encourage or tolerate gestures like hitting, pushing , yelling while playing .
Can reward praises for good and desired behavior.
All i want the parents to know is that ADHD is not a disability it is a different ability.