By Dr Mansi Arya , Homeopath
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is the most commonly diagnosed psychological disorder in children. The symptoms of ADHD typically begin to start in childhood and continue through teenage years although they become less noticeable by the time one reaches adulthood. It is more common in boys than girls. Here are some common symptoms of ADHD as well as how to deal with children who have ADHD…
1. Inattention: The child gets easily distracted, daydreaming, is absent-minded, cannot sit still or pay attention and makes silly mistakes in his/her academics.
2. Hyperactivity: The child may not sit still, talks excessively and is always running, jumping or climbing on things.
3. Impulsivity: In class, the child cannot wait for his/her turn, blurts out answers and interrupts others as well.
Treatment for ADHD isn’t just about taking medication. There are many other effective treatments that can help kids with ADHD improve their ability to pay attention, control impulsive behavior, and curb hyperactivity. Nutritious meals, play and exercise, and learning better social skills are all part of a balanced treatment plan that can improve performance at school, improve your child’s relationships with others, and decrease stress and frustration.
How can Parents Support and Help?
As a parent, you have a huge influence over your child’s treatment. It is true that living with a child suffering from ADD/ADHD is overwhelming, but as a parent there is a lot you can do to help control and reduce the symptoms. You can help your child overcome daily challenges, channelise his or her energy into positive arenas, and bring greater calm to your family. The earlier and more consistently you address your child’s problems, the greater chance they have for success in life. That means your child can begin treatment for ADD/ADHD today-at home.
Remember, ADHD is not something that can be CURED, but rather, is a condition that can be managed with teaching strategies, making accommodations, practicing difficult skills, and sometimes, medication.
Here are some ways to deal with your child suffering from ADHD…
1. Create a Routine: It is crucial that you create a routine in which you set times for routine activities like eating, slepping, playing, studying, etc.
2. Tell him/her to tell you what they were thinking: If your child speaks out about why they did something, you can understand their thought process and tell them whether their thought process is rational or not.
3. Encourage Exercise: If your child burns the excess energy they have, they will be less likely to be hyper and will probably not blurt out answers or interrupt others in class.
4. Do not get angry with your child: Remember that your child has a disability and you yelling or hitting him/her will not help. Instead try the tips listed above so that they can slowly overcome this disorder.
5. Help your child eat right: Diet is not a direct cause of attention deficit disorder, but food can and does affect your child’s mental state, which in turn seems to affect behavior. Monitoring and modifying what, when, and how much your child eats can help decrease the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
6. Teach your child how to make friends: Children with ADHD often have difficulty with simple social interactions. They may struggle with reading social cues, talk too much, interrupt frequently, or come off as aggressive or “too intense.” So, it is always recommended to help them teach how to behave socially and how to make friends.
What teachers can do in the classroom to help students who have ADHD?
- Break complex instructions into small parts.
- Show students how to use an assignment book to keep track of their homework and daily assignments.
- Post a daily schedule and homework assignments in the same place each day.
- Provide regular and frequent breaks.
- Seat the child away from distractions and next to students who will be positive role models.
- Form small group settings when possible. Children with ADHD can become easily distracted in large groups.
- Find a quiet spot in the classroom where student can go to do his/her work away from distractions.
- Establish a secret signal with the child to use as a reminder when he or she is off task.
- Focus on a specific behavior you wish to improve and reinforce it.
- Explain to the student what to do to avoid negative consequences.
To summarize, children with ADD/ADHD basically have deficits in executive function: the ability to think and plan ahead, organize, control impulses, and complete tasks. That means you need to take over as the executive, providing extra guidance while your child gradually acquires executive skills of his or her own. Although the symptoms of ADD/ADHD can be nothing short of exasperating, it’s important to remember that the child with ADD/ADHD who is ignoring, annoying, or embarrassing you is not acting willfully.
Kids with ADD/ADHD want to sit quietly; they want to make their rooms tidy and organized; they want to do everything their parent says to do, but they don’t know how to make these things happen. Having ADD/ADHD can be just as frustrating as dealing with someone who has it. If you keep this in mind, it will be a lot easier to respond to you child in positive, supportive ways. With patience, compassion, and plenty of support, you can manage childhood ADHD while enjoying a stable, happy home.