- Kids Health
ADHD in Children
Living with ADHD children
Life can be full of ups and downs that seem to define the character of a person. These times bring the the best and worse in a person. Everyone has times like this throughout their lives, but for a child that has ADHD, these times are constant. Teetering back and forth throughout the day. A constant state of emotional roller-coaster.
I live with a child like that. Not only has my oldest son been diagnosed, but my wife as well. But, focusing on my son, I have done some research on ADHD and would like to share what I have found with others, so that maybe this information will help in the understanding of what a child goes through daily.
In the DSM-IV, ADHD is determined as symptoms lasting 6 months or more of inattention:
* Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
* Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
* Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
* Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish what is asked of them (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
* Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
* Often loses things necessary for task or activities.
* Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
* Is often forgetful in daily activities.
Hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms lasting 6 months or more:
* Often fidgets with hand or feet or squirms in seat.
* Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
* Ofter runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate. Restlessness.
* Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
* Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"
* Often talks excessively.
* Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
* Often has difficulty awaiting turn.
* Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
Through observation, I have noticed symptoms that aren't listed in the DSM-IV due to the unique individuality of each person. These extra symptoms may differ with each child.
* Attitudinal, daydreams too much, touches and plays with everything they see, typically sensitive, and very impatient.
The problem with ADHD is found to be in the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe holds skills such as: focusing attention, thoughts, voluntary movement, decision-making, comprehension, and language. The brain doesn't make enough of the chemicals needed to stimulate the frontal lobe in order for these skills to function properly. Causes of AHDH have been narrowed down to a short list, yet no one main cause has been isolated. It has been found that ADHD is in a person's genes which are passed down from parent to offspring. Lead in plumbing parts is also a key factor in ADHD. Smoking and drinking alcohol while pregnant contributes to this disorder, as well as certain brain injuries. Food additives such have been found to increase the symptoms of ADHD in children.
With children, they absorb 50% of what they eat into the brain to assist in the development as they grow. The consumption of food additives like red dyes, increase the symptoms of the disorder. If your child has ADHD, you may want to check with your doctor for information on a ADHD diet. Though there is no cure for ADHD, it has been reported that some children (a small percentage) grow out of it. Their brains start making the needed stimulant chemical to function properly.
Along with ADHD, other disorder accompany. These disorders are as follows: Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Disruptive Behavior Disorder. This is why it is so hard for physicians to diagnose ADHD in a child.
To treat ADHD, first an assessment is needed to determine the symptoms followed by counseling. Counseling is to let the child release his/her thoughts and energy that build up. This is because their mind races from one unfinished thought to another. It's like trying to focus on one fin of a ceiling fan while it is on high speed all day long. In counseling, the child learns coping skills and how to slow their thoughts down. That it's OK to get frustrated. Positive reinforcements of the rules and how to act is constant. Parental counseling for ADHD is not required, but is highly recommended. Along with counseling, the child will see a psychiatrist. He/she will determine the need of and type of medication to be prescribed to further help the child. From there, it's a repetitive cycle for the rest of the child's life. Sessions will decrease with improvement of coping skills, but never stop.
ADHD is not necessarily bad. It has been found that those diagnosed are highly creative, intelligent, and intuitive. They can excel in society in certain subject areas. My son for example, excels in math and at 6 years old, can tell you as much about cars as a teen that has been under the hood for months. This part of ADHD amazes me. Above all, don't treat your children like they're sick or helpless. They just need a little extra attention and patience from you.