Hyperactive ~ Is your on-the-go child always on the brink of danger running and climbing, always in trouble, always fidgeting, always talking, wiggling and jiggling…?
Impulsive ~ Do you have a child whose teachers tell you he cannot sit still, he cannot stand in line, he cannot keep his hands to himself, he cannot stop blurting comments, he often has angry outburst and temper tantrums …?
Inattentive ~ Are you worried about your child who always seems to be dreaming, who is always behind in his school work, always seems to be late, to be moody, to be forgetful, and has, once more, lost or misplaced his homework, toys or books?
Wishing ~ Are you asking yourself if your child can control himself or can snap out of it. Are you questioning if this is just ‘kid behavior’ that he will outgrow? Are you wondering what a parent can do to help such a child?
What is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention are signs of a common neurobiological condition called Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children who have ADHD do not make enough chemicals in their brain for organizing thought. Without enough of these key chemicals, the organizing centers of the brain do not work well. It affects between 5-8 percent of school age children, and between 2-4 percent of adults. ADHD makes it difficult for people to control their impulses—responses that can involve everything from movement, to speech and attentiveness.
Can My Child Just Snap Out of It or Outgrow ADHD
Naturally one person does not exhibit all of these symptoms. But as soon as you notice some, seek help. ADHD has serious consequences including your child’s ability to learn, risks for accidental injuries, family stress and disruption, and problems making and keeping friends. Moreover these problems will manifest themselves at home, at school, and at play. Your child cannot control himself. It is much more than a young child’s antics and these individuals can and should be helped because they will become adults with the same problems.
HOW to Help a Child with ADHD?
~Family Doctor First
The first place to look for answers or for ruling out other problems is with your family doctor. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD but research clearly indicates that ADHD tends to run in families and that it sometimes co-exists with other conditions like anxiety, depression and other learning disabilities. To determine what your child has and how best to treat him is a multifaceted process requiring time and effort.
A medical exam including tests of your child’s eyesight and hearing will probably be the first steps. His sleep patterns, food intakes, general health and physical exercise regimen will be discussed. Your doctor may recommend that you see other health care professionals and give you suggestions to try at home and at school. Leave his office with a follow-up appointment already planned as soon as the results of the other tests and reports from other professionals get back to your family doctor.
In the mean time, read up on ADHD and familiarize yourself with the type of treatment/accommodations/medication your child with ADHD might receive. Your child might need an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and all that you save and file will be very helpful when you meet with his IEP team at school.
Start journaling your child’s behavior and the events you think might influence this behavior. Save and file all reports, recommendations, names and contact information of every one you see about his ADHD. Get and give signed permission notes so information about your child can be shared with the team that is working with your child.
Learn Behavior Management Techniques
Learn about Behavior management techniques that will help you as a family to cope with the demands and disruptions of your child with ADHD. Have strategies, like being consistent in your discipline, using rewards and consequences, having a routine for homework, bedtimes, mealtimes, and free times that include physical activities. Give structure, love, and positive reinforcement to your child who will often not find enough of it “out in the world” because of his ADHD behavior.
Meet With Your Child’s Teachers
Next, get the child’s teachers on board. Schedule a teacher conference and together draw up a plan to help your child feel comfortable, feel in control, and feel successful in the classroom, in the gym, and on the playground.
Get and Sign Permissions Granting Information Sharing
Your family doctor, the school, and other professionals will ask for a free flow of information/results from one to the other. Work as a team. Cover all bases, and you, the parent, will be the glue that holds all this process together and pushes the right buttons to get solutions.
Children who have ADHD and are supported by their parents, are accommodated at school, and have professional counsel will have a much better chance to succeed as a child and as an adult.
Please leave us a comment: What symptoms did your child have that led you to believe he/she had ADHD?
The UpSide of ADHD
In PARENTING A CHILD WITH ADHD by Dr. Kay Trotter, parents will find many answers to their questions about their child who seem to have symptoms of ADHD. One thing I like about Dr. Trotter’s guide is the encouraging advice she has for parents:
“Most importantly, remind your child that ADHD doesn’t make him or her broken or bad. Reinforce positive behaviors, stick to productive rules and routines, and nurture your child’s strengths. And, help your child appreciate all of the qualities that make him or her special and unique…
It’s undeniable that ADHD presents many challenges for children. However, what looks like a harmful symptom in one setting or situation can become a benefit in the next. Some characteristics of ADHD, especially when properly harnessed, can help your child thrive and excel.
Children with ADHD are often:
- Creative and imaginative (day-dreamers are often artists and inventors!)
- Flexible and adaptable
- Enthusiastic, spontaneous, and adventurous
- Energetic and driven to follow their passions
- Capable of deft associative thinking
- Witty and entertaining
- Observant of details that others might miss
- Capable of innovative problem-solving
- Open to new ideas (because they’re carrying so many around already!)
- Persistent and resilient, trusting that something better is around the corner
While rigid classrooms and formal environments are sometimes not the best fit for a child with ADHD, that doesn’t mean your child isn’t intelligent, sensitive, driven, and full of ideas that can make a positive difference in the world.”
- Is ADHD a Learning Disability? Can a Child Have Both?
- Helping Kids with ADHD: Top Ten Ways on How to Increase Concentration Skills
- Michael Phelps, Most Decorated Athlete in Olympic History, Beat ADHD Too!
- Ways I Help My Six-Year Old Child with ADHD Cope in First Grade
- AD/HD Success! Solutions for Boosting Self-Esteem: The Diary Method for Ages 7-17