A typical child with ADHD
Child with ADHD will not be able to focus or sustain interest for more than few minutes in toys or any activity. Kids with ADHD act without thinking, are hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. They may understand what’s expected of them but have trouble following through because they can’t sit still, pay attention, or focus on details. Teachers comment about his inattention and disruptive behavior in class. These symptoms are present over a longer period of time and happen in different settings. They hamper a child’s ability to function socially, academically, and at home.
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common types of behavioral disorders in children. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors and are hyperactive. It is important that these features are present in more than 2 settings (i.e. at home, school, play area etc). It feels as if they are “driven by a motor” or “are always on the go”.
Age of onset: less than 7 years with more common in boys
Cause: ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, too much sugar, or vaccines. Exact cause is still not known but there is possible genetic and environmental links.
For diagnosis detailed evaluation by developmental pediatrician/child psychologist is done. Various Checklist and Performa are developed in this regards. It involves besides clinical observation of child; detail history from parents, teachers or other caregiver.
Medical examination (including hearing and vision) to rule out other problems may be needed sometimes.
What can you do as a parent?
Talk with your child’s doctor. If you or your doctor has concerns about ADHD, you can take your child to a specialist such as a child psychologist or developmental pediatrician.
Treatment of ADHD
ADHD can’t be cured, but it can be successfully managed. Aim is to help child to learn to control his or her own behavior and to help families create an atmosphere in which this is most likely to happen.
Combination of Medication and behavior therapy is needed in most cases. Plan of management will include multidisciplinary approach (pediatrician, child developmental specialist, child psychologist, behavior therapist etc) with close follow up and monitoring.
Medications help to curb impulsive behavior and attention difficulties and are more effective when combined with behavioral therapy.
This therapy attempts to change behavior patterns by:
- reorganizing a child’s home and school environment
- giving clear directions and commands
- setting up a system of consistent rewards for appropriate behaviors and negative consequences for inappropriate ones
Here are few examples of behavioral strategies that may help a child:
- Create a routine. Following a proper schedule day in and day out help child and they know what is going to follow so their anxiety level is less. You can make a schedule or time table and put in important places in house, so that your child can see what is expected of him.
- Organize yourself and your home well, so that everything is kept at its regular place, so that less chances of losing things like schoolbag, cloths.
- Try to avoid distractions as far as possible; especially while doing homework etc
- Do not give too many choices to baby. We should limit choices, so that it is easier for children to make decision.
- Give brief and clear instructions to children. Do not speak ambiguous words or open ended statements, which can lead to confusion in child’s mind.
- Rewards can be helpful in these children.
- Like all illnesses, patience is the key
- Parents should lead by example and behave properly in front of children.
For further reading click on the link: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/
Dr Rahul Varma