What is ADHD and How do You Manage it? By: Dr. Noel Swanson
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) show the following symptoms:
1) Poor concentration and attention span
2) Poor memory
3) Impulsiveness - the trait of doing things without thinking first
4) Easily frustrated - because of poor concentration and memory when they cannot remember things, they get frustrated. This causes behavioral patterns like temper tantrums and outbursts
The above traits are even shown by people who are not suffering from ADHD. Because of ADHD children suffer in various fields and activities in and out of school. They have to face defeat and failure in various areas like:
a) Participating in activities at school such as getting work done, paying attention, maintaining focus, being attentive in class etc.
b) Participating in healthy activities at home such as getting chores finished, maintaining cordial relations with siblings, maintaining a modicum of efficiency and getting things done on time.
c) socially (unable to take turns or wait in line, bossy and overbearing, easily frustrated leading to temper outbursts and aggression, impulsive, so often in trouble for doing antisocial actions e.g. unwise \”practical jokes\”).
ADHD is not a disease or illness in the sense that it is caused by germs, by injury, or by a clearly defined physical malfunction (such as asthma or diabetes). It is simply the result of parts of the brain not working at full efficiency.
Studies have proved that ADHD is partially genetic, gets transferred from parents to children and in a way runs in the family. What has also been established that the symptoms and the problems associated with ADHD are almost life long. They cannot be cured over night are with you for a long time. In most cases, these symptoms and problems continue well into the teens and often into adulthood too.
How do you manage ADHD?
The big concern for children with ADHD is the danger of developing long term complications. For example:
a) Their fear of failure at school owing to poor concentration, leading to school drop out
b) they may be constantly in trouble because of their impulsivity and so be excluded from school and end up with the police,
c) they may be so discouraged by their failures that they turn to drink, drugs, crime, or become depressed and anxious.
All of these, in turn, can lead to long term complications that affect functioning in adulthood.
Effective management of ADHD starts at home. Parents have to be very patient and give their best to their child. The treatment of ADHD is very long, but it has to be given to the child so that he is a better adjusted adult. The goal is to prevent those long term compliations. Since you as the parent know your child the best, it is you who will have to take an active part in the management of his ADHD. An effective ADHD management program should include the following components:
COMMITTED PARENTS who will work for the best for their child. There is much information, including books and videos, on ADHD and how to help your child - borrow them, buy them, read them, and become informed. But remember there is also much mis-information (especially on the internet and in newspapers and magazines), so discuss what you read with your local support group and professionals. Be especially suspicious of groups who claim to have the \”magic cure\” for your child.
GOOD COMMUNICATION. Communication between the school and the home is very important for effective management. This enables you to discuss solutions and implement them for an effective output.
ADJUSTMENTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT. Children with ADHD do best in a quiet, calm, structured, low-stimulation environment (e.g. one to one) and poorly in chaotic situations (e.g. busy classrooms, noisy, busy homes). As a family you may want to find ways to reorganise life so that it is less stressful for all of you. At school the teachers will be doing the same, and it is best if the two can be co-ordinated.
CLEAR STRATEGY FOR BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT. Children afflicted with ADHD are great responders to award and punishment scenarios. They come out best when they are informed of the awards they shall receive when they behave in a particular manner. Obviously, the awards have to be far more frequent than the punishment. Are not clear on what is involved need to consult a professional.
SUPPORT FOR THE PARENTS. Looking after children with ADHD can be very stressful for the parents. Bringing up these children can be very taxing. At times it may lead to depression and marital breakdown in parents. To help the parents to cope with the stress of bringing up a ADHD child, the parents should also consult the parent support groups and parents training groups, marital counseling, and family therapy etc.
MEDICATION for ADHD should be such that reduces the symptoms and lets the child the opportunity to learn academic, social, and other life skills. The aim here should be to get the correct medicine in the right dosage. child the opportunity to learn academic, social, and other life skills.
Most common type of medicines used for children with ADHD are the stimulants. One medicine that is available in the market to reduce the symptoms of ADHD is atomoxetine. This medicine has very less side effects.
Health professional can only help the parents solve particular problems of your child, but they can not bring up your child for you. They will also help you clear your doubts on how to handle certain situations.
The person who has to cope with this is you and your family. Therefore, this is best addressed by you and the first step towards this is to learn as much as you can. Learning all you can results in better management and better results.
Information about the Author: For more articles about child behavior and for his excellent book, why not visit Dr. Noel Swanson’s website www.good-child-guide.com ? He also does a free newsletter which is well worth reading.
Contributing Author for www.MyOutOfControlTeen.com