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ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The best way to think of ADD is not as a mental disorder, but as a collection of traits and tendencies that define a way of being in the world.

Edward M. Hallowell from Delivered From Distraction

(Have you got a child whose ADHD "live wire" behaviour is causing them (and you) problems? Perhaps you've got a child who seems unable to concentrate or one who lives in a world of their own. All these scenarios apply to many neurotypical children, but in some cases, pervasive and severe inattention, distractibility and hyperactivity may be indicative of an underlying medical condition, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here we take a look at what ADHD is, its causes and the predominant symptoms. We also provide some pointers for families who are living with a child that presents with ADHD.

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The best way to think of ADD is not as a mental disorder, but as a collection of traits and tendencies that define a way of being in the world.

Edward M. Hallowell from Delivered From Distraction

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental order that's characterised by inattention, impulsive behaviour or a combination of these. It's commonly sub-divided into three distinct types: hyper-impulsive presentation; hyper-impulsive presentation; and combined symptoms. Whilst all children can display these types of symptoms, children with an ADHD diagnosis will display them more frequently and with greater severity than a neurotypical child. Children with ADHD will exhibit challenging behaviour both at home and at school. ADHD is a life-long condition, however symptoms can be frequently managed successfully.

Causes of ADHD

Firstly, it's important to emphasise that research doesn't indicate parenting or eating excessive amounts of sugar as factors that can cause ADHD. ADHD isn't typical "bad behaviour" (although children with ADHD can certainly behave inappropriately, in the same way as other children). The symptoms of ADHD are due to a difference in how the brain operates. Genetics is thought to play a significant role in ADHD - if a parent has the condition, children are far more likely to have it. Factors such as birth trauma, smoking or drinking during pregnancy, or early exposure to lead (or other toxins), could contribute to ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD

Inattentive ADHD

    • Poor organisational skills.
    • The child is easily distracted and has problems staying "on task".
    • Children have difficulty concentrating.

Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD

    • Child constantly fidgets or moves.
    • Child has large amounts of energy.
    • Child sleeps poorly.
    • Child doesn't think before acting or may act instinctively.
    • Difficulty in taking turns, or waiting for things.
    • Always talking.
    • Prone to risk-taking, little perception of danger.

    Combined presentation

    Some children combine symptoms from both categories.

Living with ADHD

Children with ADHD find the world a difficult and confusing place! Their inability to concentrate, coupled with excessive energy, means they often find school and daycare incredibly challenging environments. They are also prone to developing low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, as they recognise that their behaviour gets them into trouble, but find regulating themselves very difficult. For some children, drugs such as Ritalin or Concerta can help to control the symptoms of ADHD.

Parenting a child with ADHD is challenging and frequently exhausting. Parents must try and take time for themselves, as well as access professional support, to enhance their mental well-being and also learn parenting techniques that can help their child. With early intervention and the right support, many children with ADHD do manage to lead successful lives and have reduced symptoms as an adult.

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It is important if you suspect a child or loved one has or may be developing symptoms of Autism. Red flags to look for do not necessarily mean Autism however, they are there for a reason. We take these warnings seriously and consider all aspects before recommending further consultation with a specialised behaviour therapist or psychologist and a diagnosis can be confirmed one way or the other.

DO HEED THE WARNINGS SERIOUSLY AND GET YOUR CHILD CHECKED IF YOU SUSPECT ASC. EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMMES FOR AUTISM MEAN A BETTER OUTCOME FOR BUILDING AND DEVELOPING SKILLS LATER IN LIFE.

ADHD is the most common mental health disorder among children today

FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR CHILD

CONTENT CREATED: OCTOBER 2020