ADHD is a harmful disorder especially because of the effects the condition exhibits upon a child's behavior, development as well as learning. Three main kinds of problems are witnessed in children with this condition: overactive behavior, impulsive behavior as well as extreme difficulty to pay attention (Wender, 2000). A vivid description of a child suffering from ADHD is a constant display of disruptive behavior which cannot be explained by other psychiatric conditions. The distractive behaviors are not of equal magnitude as those of pother children in similar age bracket. Children with ADHD exhibit short attention spans since they are distracted very easily and always appear restless. In addition the child is continually impulsive and suffers moods swings as well as social clumsiness where he is continually falling out with his friends and peers. Other terms used to refer to this condition include hyperkinetic disorder and ADD which is an acronym for attention deficient disorder. Statistics indicate that ADHD is more prevalent in boys as compared to girls and affects at least one in every 20 school age children. Diagnosis largely begins from age 7 although the symptoms continue being exhibited even up to adolescence as well as into adulthood. Medical professionals recommend that if a parent suspects that their child is suffering from ADHD, then immediate diagnosis as well as treatment should be undertaken. This ensures that the symptoms do not escalate thereby affecting the development of the child.
While ADHD does not make a child less intelligent, the concentration lapses largely interfere with the ability of the child to learn thereby affecting total classroom performance. In case a child is hyperactive, the symptoms are noticeable or are aggravated after the onset of schooling. Learning is largely slowed down due to lack of concentration as well as attention of the child. The child is largely unable to form lasting relationships with the other children due to the hyperactive and aggressive behaviors exhibited. The most common symptoms of children with ADHD include poor coordination as well as suffering from specific learning disabilities like language problems, reading problems, writing difficulties as well as dyslexia (Wender, 2000).
While symptoms of ADHD come into being in early childhood, the process of diagnosing the problem is pretty difficult and challenging. For instance there is no physical test available to test for ADHD. Thus the healthcare professionals make use of a list of the symptoms of ADHD to officially diagnose the problem. The DSM-IV of the American psychiatry Association or the ICD10 of the world health organization stipulates the diagnostic criteria used when dealing with this condition. Another challenge confronting the diagnosis of ADHD is the resemblance of symptoms present in other conditions like obsessive compulsive disorders and deafness. The existence of such conditions as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and Asperger's syndrome whose symptoms' are similar to those of ADHD end up masking this condition thus diagnosis is not done on time. When parents and guardians are not aware that their children are suffering from this condition, they continually accuse them of being careless and not paying much attention in school. According to DSM-IVI or ICD-10, healthcare professionals must ensure that the child has displayed hyperactivity and inattention symptoms for at least 6 months (O'Dell &Cook, 2004). Inattention problems are made evident when such symptoms as inability to pay close attention to little details which are easy to follow.
A child makes careless errors in their schoolwork or when involved in other activities like playing. In ability to listen to what the child is being told is also evident. The child also avoids activities which make use of sustained mental effort like schoolwork and homework hence the reason why the child would find it difficult to complete chores. The child also experiences troubles when trying to organize activities and tasks as is always losing items and materials like books, tools, toys or stationery intended for activities. The child is also easily distracted by irrelevant information when undertaking tasks and is always forgetful even on instructions given within a short duration of time. In regard to hyperactivity and impulsivity, the healthcare professionals look out for such symptoms as always squirming and fidgeting in seats. Feelings of restlessness whereby the child runs and climbs during inappropriate situations are also seen. The child talks excessively and appears to be constantly moving. He or she is always interrupting others and has trouble waiting for his chance to undertake a task. During diagnosis of ADHA, the healthcare professionals must ensure that the symptoms have been evidenced before the child gets to 7 years with symptoms being replicated both at home, school or at the workplace (Lougy &Deruvo, 2007). Evidence of negative effects of the child in schoolwork, social as well as occupational functioning need be available. It is important to work closely with a child psychiatrist as well as psychologist to help in diagnosing the condition.
Once diagnosis is made, it is important to embark on the treatment process immediately. Most experts are in agreement in regard to the fact that ADHD requires the use of different approaches in order to fully address the condition. While putting the individual needs of a child into consideration, medical, behavioral as well as teaching support can be employed in order to assist the child lead a normal life within a short duration of time as possible. It is important to consider the kind of response demonstrated by the child so as to use the treatment procedure which is most successful. The commonly used treatment procedures incorporate self help strategies, medicines as well as undertaking therapy. The diet given to children with ADHD largely determines whether the occurrence of the symptoms will be increased or minimized. Cutting down on such ingredients like food additives, caffeine as well as sugar greatly reduces the intervals of hyperactivity.
The child need be given a diet with extra vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids as well as minerals as children suffering from this condition have lower levels of these essential vitamins and minerals. The parents of the child need be proactively involved in managing the behavior of the child especially at home. The parent need provide a structured environment having laid down a clear set of rules regarding acceptable behavior to undertake when at home. The parent should caution the child from engaging in unacceptable behaviors like inattentiveness or disruptions. Parents need be involved with support groups of parents with this condition where they share insights, experiences as well as knowledge on how best they can assist children with this condition. The school environment where the child spends substantial a lot of time at need also be involved in the therapy process of the child. The child's teacher should maintain a structured as well as an orderly classroom devoid of many distractions so as to boost concentration levels. Individual teaching comes handy in assisting the child to better focus in school activities. The child's teacher should thus offer extra help to a child diagnosed with ADHD in regard to such school activities as reading, organizational skills, speech therapy as well as counseling (Lougy &Deruvo, 2007). The educational psychologists need to focus on the needs as well as the progress that the child is making. In other instances, the healthcare professionals may prescribe medicines to best treat the condition.
Medicines are given to the child depending on the child's symptoms and other medical conditions he may be suffering from. The medicine should not subject the child to any side effects. The most commonly prescribed drugs for children suffering from ADHD include atomexetine, dexamphetamine as well as methylphenidate. The medicines balance the levels of chemicals in the brain which contribute to ADHD, thereby reducing hyperactivity and impulsiveness. This ultimately increases the concentration span of the child. These drugs have several side effects like insomnia, weight loss, irritability as well as headaches hence the reason why it's important to consult the child's physician before administering the drugs. in order to reduce the side effects of ADHD medications, simple steps like changing meal times can greatly assist the child fight the constant side effects associated with ADHD medications. In order to avoid stomach upsets and appetite troubles in a child suffering taking ADHD medications, it is vital to give the medication together with food. For instance, the morning medication need be given immediately after breakfast. Many healthy snacks need be given to the child after school and before bedtime. The snacks should be high in protein as well as energy levels. Since ADHD medication is absorbed quite quickly in the body of the child, it is important to give the child long acting medication which will not trigger occurrences of headaches (Lougy &Deruvo, 2007). In order to counter difficulties in sleeping, the parent need come up with a consistent bedtime ritual. Avoid giving the child caffeinated beverages which largely increase insomnia. The parent need ensure that the bedroom is dedicated to sleep alone and not for activities like doing homework or entertainment. The bedtimes as well as waking times need be consistent so as to establish a regular sleeping rhythm.
Extreme cases of insomnia in children with ADHD need some form of medication under the child's doctor guidance. Psychological and behavioral therapy is important in helping the child to cope with their condition. This helps in reducing impulsive behaviors. Coordination training through sensory-motor integration need be undertaken to children with ADHD. The child need also be helped in acquiring social skills since they have massive difficulties in knowing how to socialize. It is important for the child to learn the subtle communication rules which will enable them make lasting relationships. The child suffering from ADHD need be assisted to have things done. Successfully undertaking daily routines can become constant battlefields between the child and the parent. The child need be assisted to adapt to his symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity as well as inattention so as to become successful in life. The parent as well as family of a child with ADHD need understand that the child is not intentionally defying instructions neither is he dumb or lazy. Thus when the child is undertaking any task, any form of distractions should be removed. Family members need be role models to the child by practicing the behavior which one would like the child to develop. The set family rules need be few and enforceable consistently. When daily routines are established, the child will follow them when continued reminders and repetition is undertaken. Visual reminders are helpful in assisting a child with ADHD acquire a particular behavior. Since children with ADHD are attracted to novelty, it is important for the family to use new events and sounds consistently when teaching the child. Colorful reminders on a particular task work to instill consistency in behavior especially because ADHD children are primarily visual learners (Heininger & Weiss, 2001). Hands-on experiences help a child acquire concepts easily thus can remember. Parents need to always concentrate on the present situation when instilling particular traits in the behavior of a child with ADHD. In case a child misbehaves, the parent should immediately caution the child so that he or she can learn from immediate consequences leveled against him by the parent at the time. A child with ADHD does not acquire a solid concept of past and future activities, thus the parent should start the days activities on a clean slate everyday. This helps the child become confident due to the success of the projects he undertakes.
In conclusion, having a child diagnosed with ADHD can be especially difficult and challenging to the parents as well as the whole family at large. A parent need be involved in the development of the child thereby gain control over their behavior and can assist the child to improve on the child's attention and concentration levels. Since a child suffering from ADHD, shows different symptoms early identification is paramount so that a treatment procedure can be embarked on to enable the child realize his full potential. A disciplined as well as well structured lifestyle need be put in place so help a child with ADHD adjust to their condition by forming satisfying relationships with their peers.
Heininger, J & Weiss, S (2001). From chaos to calm: effective parenting for challenging children with ADHD and other behavioral problems. Mathews, NC: Perigee
Lougy, R &Deruvo, S (2007). Teaching young children with ADHD. CA, U.S.A: Corwin Press
O'Dell, N &Cook, P (2004). Stopping ADHD: a unique and proven drug-free program for treating ADHD in children and adults. New York, U.S.A: Avery
Wender, P (2000). ADHD: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults. Oxford, U.S.A: Oxford University Press