Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a common mental disorder seen in about 8 to 10 percent of school age children. It is characterized by behavior problems with the child having trouble in focusing his attention on a particular task or activity. They tend to be hyperactive and most parents describe their child with ADHD as having a world of its own. It can be a frustrating situation for parents to have a child with ADHD, but the condition is manageable with the proper treatment and therapy.
Recognizing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children
The early recognition of ADHD helps in the management process in helping the child and the parents cope with the condition. Children with ADHD may manifest both the inattentive type of symptoms or the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD or both.
1. The inattentive type of ADHD symptoms
A child manifest the inattentive type of ADHD symptoms when the inability to pay attention to details and instructions is apparent. The child is usually careless and cannot retain information more accurately. There is the difficulty of sustaining information communicated and the problem of organization is very common. The child often do not like to perform tasks that involve mental activities and has the tendency of being forgetful and most of the time appears to be distracted.
2. The hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD symptoms
A child with the hyperactive-impulsive ADHD behavior is often very talkative and always on the go. Their energy level is very high and tend to be squirming all the time. They never stay in one place. Instead, they like to run around most of the time. They tend to be impatient with the difficulty of waiting for their turn during an activity.
Common causes for ADHD in children
Genetics has a strong relation to the development of ADHD, but there are other causative factors identified as contributory to the development of ADHD in children.
- Genetic history has a strong correlation to the development of ADHD. Researchers believe that there are specific genes that are responsible for causing the ADHD symptoms. A thinner brain tissue is apparent among children with ADHD that is responsible for the attention deficit commonly seen in the condition and it is common among children having a specific gene suspected of causing ADHD.
- Traumatic brain injury is also suspected to cause the ADHD symptoms, but only a few children with the condition have a history of TBI.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals in the environment is also known to cause ADHD. The exposure to secondhand smoke is likely to contribute to the abnormalities in the brain activity and alcohol drinking during pregnancy can also result in ADHD.
- Medical researchers also pointed out food additives as the culprit in causing the manifestations of the ADHD symptoms in children, more particularly in the hyperactivity response of the child. Artificial colors or preservatives are the current interest of researchers in discovering its contribution in causing ADHD to occur.
Because ADHD in children manifest itself differently according to the child personalities, behavior and temperament, a closer observation is required in order to detect the condition at its early stage. Children with ADHD will show different levels of energy which is often mistaken as a normal behavior until it manifests on a certain extreme level. The symptoms of ADHD usually become apparent at the age of three, sometimes when the child reaches six years old.
Both the parents and the teachers are in the best position to take notice of the child's unusual behavior. Teachers often suspect the child's abnormal behavior when the child gets out of control in the classroom, has difficulty in paying attention in class and following the rules. Taking the child to a pediatrician will help rule out the other possible causes for the child's unhealthy behaviors. Most of the time, a specialist will go over the child's performance in class and school records to find the common patterns of ADHD symptoms. The physician will also investigate about the child's environment that may cause a stressful situation that tend to induce their symptomatic behavior for ADHD.
Proper management of ADHD
Both the parents and the teachers need to know the proper management of ADHD in order to help the child cope with their condition. Managing distractions will help the child manage their difficulty in retaining instructions. Teachers usually ask the child with ADHD to sit in the front row in order to avoid distractions and to help them focus on the class discussion. It is also easier for the teacher to provide assistance to the child when needed.
Providing ADHD children with a clear instruction will help them focus on the important details given to them. Breaking down the instructions into steps and dividing activities into smaller tasks can help the child accomplish more. Children with ADHD are likely to be hyperactive and you can help them release their energy by assigning them in doing tasks such as cleaning the house and helping chores will make them more productive while using their high level of energy.
Medication and treatment
There is no known cure for ADHD. Medication treatments are prescribed in controlling the symptoms, but they do not provide a cure. Drugs can help the child improve their attention span and control hyperactivity. Behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and counselling are also among the resorted measures in helping the child and his family in coping up with the condition.
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