You may know someone who has been diagnosed with or is suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But how much do you know about this most common childhood brain disorder?
A fact from WebMD shows that ADHD is the most common mental or developmental disorder among children in the United States. Children under the age of 18 with ADHD outnumber those with autism spectrum disorder by nearly four to one.
ADHD symptoms typically appear between the ages of 3 and 6. Children with more severe ADHD are typically diagnosed around the age of five. Mild cases are typically discovered around the age of eight. Children with hyperactivity and impulsivity are frequently diagnosed earlier than children with inattention alone.
It should also be noted that ADHD can become milder or change as children grow. For example, hyperactivity may subside as they age. However, young adults with ADHD may suffer from depression, mood disorders, or substance abuse issues.
In this article, we will be discussing how to help a child suffering from ADHD, but before that we need to understand what ADHD is all about so as to find the best way to help a child out.
It is important to understand the meaning of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is a chronic condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and, at times, impulsivity. ADHD usually begins in childhood and lasts into adulthood. As adults, up to two out of every three children with ADHD continue to have symptoms.
ADHD symptoms vary from person to person, but there are three basic types of ADHD. The term “addiction” refers to the process of becoming addicted to something. When the primary symptoms are inattention, distraction, and disorganization, the condition is referred to as primarily inattentive.
The symptoms of hyperactivity and possibly impulsiveness appear to fade with age, but they are still present in the hyperactive/impulsive type. The third type, known as the combined type, shares some symptoms with the other two.
Children with ADHD frequently struggle to function at home and at school, and they may have difficulty making and maintaining friends. If untreated, ADHD can interfere with school, work, and social and emotional development.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms can be divided into two types of behavioral issues:
- inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
- impulsiveness and hyperactivity
Many ADHD patients have issues that fall into both of these categories, but this is not always the case.
For example, approximately 2 to 3 out of every 10 people with the condition have difficulty concentrating and focusing, but not hyperactivity or impulsiveness.
This form of ADHD is also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). Because the symptoms of ADD are not always obvious, they can go unnoticed.
ADHD is more common in boys than in girls. Girls are more likely to have symptoms of inattention only and are less likely to exhibit disruptive behavior that highlights ADHD symptoms. As a result, girls with ADHD may not always be diagnosed.
Symptoms in Children and Adolescents
ADHD symptoms in children and teenagers are well-defined, and they usually appear before the age of six. They occur in multiple contexts, such as at home and at school.
Children may exhibit symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity and impulsiveness, or they may exhibit only one of these types of behavior.
Impulsiveness and hyperactivity
The main symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are inability to sit still, particularly in calm or quiet surroundings, unable to concentrate on tasks due to constant fidgeting, Excessive physical movement, excessive talking, inability to wait their turn, acting without thinking, interrupting conversations, and a lack of a sense of danger.
Inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
The following are the primary indicators of inattention:
- Being easily distracted and having a short attention span
- Making careless mistakes, such as in schoolwork
- Appearing to be forgetful or to be losing things
- Being unable to complete time-consuming or tedious tasks
- Appearing unable to listen to or follow instructions
- A task or activity that is constantly changing
- Having trouble organizing tasks.
These symptoms can lead to significant problems in a child’s life, such as academic underachievement, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and behavioral issues.
What are the Possible Causes of ADHD in child?
Scientists are researching the cause(s) and risk factors of ADHD in order to find better ways to manage and reduce the likelihood of a person having the disorder.
Although the cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, current research indicates that genetics plays a significant role. Recent research has linked genetic factors, Brain structure and function, and Threatened groups to ADHD.
ADHD runs in families, and it’s thought that the genes you inherit from your parents play a significant role in developing the condition.
According to research, parents and siblings of someone with ADHD are more likely to have the disorder themselves.
However, the inheritance of ADHD is likely to be complex, and it is not thought to be caused by a single genetic flaw.
Brain structure and function
A number of possible differences in the brains of people with ADHD and those without the condition have been identified by research, though the exact significance of these differences is unknown.
Brain scan studies, for example, have suggested that certain areas of the brain in people with ADHD may be smaller, while others may be larger.
Other research has suggested that people with ADHD may have an imbalance in neurotransmitter levels in the brain, or that these chemicals may not work properly.
Certain people are also thought to be more vulnerable to ADHD, including those who were born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy) or with low birthweight, people with epilepsy, and people with brain damage – which occurred either in the womb or later in life.
Possible steps to help a child with ADHD
It can be difficult to care for a child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD’s impulsive, fearless, and chaotic behaviors can make daily activities exhausting and stressful.
Pay Positive Attention
Parenting an ADHD child can be exhausting. Even the most patient parent can become exhausted by their never-ending supply of energy and desire to talk all the time. Providing a child with ADHD with positive attention, on the other hand, is a wise investment.
Positive playtime reduces the need for attention. It will also improve the effectiveness of your consequences. Set aside one-on-one time with your child every day, no matter how difficult their behavior has been.
Ensure that your child gets plenty of physical activity throughout the day. Walking, skipping, and participating in sports can help your child exhaust themselves and improve their sleep quality.
Check that they aren’t doing anything strenuous or exciting close to bedtime.
When Necessary, Use Time-Out
Time-outs can be an effective way to help children with ADHD calm their bodies and minds.
A time-out does not have to be severe. Instead, it can be a valuable life skill that can be applied in a variety of situations.
Teach your child to go to a quiet place to calm down when they are overstimulated or frustrated. Make a comfortable space for them and gently lead them there, not as punishment, but as a way for them to relax. Before getting into trouble, your child will eventually learn to go to this location on their own.
Recognize Your Child’s Hard Work
Catch your child doing something good and praise them. Children with ADHD respond positively to praise, and frequent feedback is essential.
Make your compliments specific. You could probably say, “Great job putting your dish in the sink right when I asked you to,” instead of “well done.” Praise your child for following directions, playing quietly, and sitting still, and they will be more likely to continue.
It is important for you to keep a close eye on what your child consumes. If your child becomes hyperactive after eating certain foods that may contain additives or caffeine, keep a diary of these and consult with your doctor.
Provide Clear Instructions
Children with short attention spans require extra assistance in following directions. They frequently do not hear the instructions in the first place. To improve the effectiveness of your instructions, begin by capturing your child’s full attention. Turn off the television, establish eye contact, and place a hand on your child’s shoulder before making a request.
Avoid chain commands like, “Put on your socks, clean your room, and then take out the trash.” A child with ADHD is more likely to put on their socks and then find something else to do on the way to their room rather than cleaning it. Give each instruction one at a time.
Sleep issues and ADHD can create a vicious circle. ADHD can cause sleep problems, which can exacerbate symptoms.
Many children with ADHD wake up frequently after being put to bed and have disrupted sleep patterns. Trying a sleep-friendly routine can benefit your child and make bedtime less stressful.
Ignore Minor Infractions
Attention-seeking behavior is common in children with ADHD. Giving them attention, even if it is negative, encourages them to continue their behavior.
Ignoring minor misbehavior teaches them that obnoxious behavior will not result in desired outcomes. Ignore whining, complaining, loud noises, and interruption attempts. Your child will eventually stop.
Create a Reward System
Reward systems can be an excellent way to keep children with ADHD on track.
Traditional reward systems, however, often bore children with ADHD because they require them to wait too long to earn a reward. Consider implementing a token economy system to assist your child in earning tokens throughout the day.
Set a few target token-earning behaviors, such as staying at the table during a meal, using gentle touches with a pet, or putting toys away after they have been used. Allow tokens to be exchanged for larger rewards, such as electronics time or the opportunity to play a favorite game together.
Collaboration with Your Child’s Teacher
When parents collaborate with a child’s teacher, the chances of a child’s academic success increase. To be successful, some children require modifications to their schoolwork, such as extra time on tests.
Changes in behavior may also be required. Forcing a child with ADHD to stay in for recess may exacerbate behavioral issues. As a result, it’s critical to collaborate to develop a behavior management plan that will support your child’s efforts to manage their symptoms.
If all these steps are followed accordingly, there’s a high possibility of the child to heal faster.
A final thought on how to help a child with ADHD
Helping a child with ADHD is very important so they get to enjoy their childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11% of all children in the United States have ADHD, and that number is rising.
It should be noted that, while ADHD is most commonly associated with young children, particularly boys, it affects many adults of any gender.
This fact shows that there’s a need to help a child with ADHD by following some practice steps which have been highlighted in this article.