What is ADHD | Facts, Symptoms, Treatment & Role of Parents - India Parenting Tips

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What is ADHD | Facts, Symptoms, Treatment & Role of Parents

It was my usual Monday morning in class. I was going to take classes for Grade III this year with my new set of the batch for the new academic beginning. I started the lesson with some initial warm up with my children and was about to start the lesson when I heard a loud noise near the window. One of the samplings kept in glass jar kept for science project observation was thrown out of the window. Worried and anxious to check if anyone got hurt or not first I approached the window pane in a hurry when I saw a small boy standing near the window blankly looking at me. It was Daren, my first encounter with a child having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

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What is ADHD | Facts, Symptoms, Treatment & Role of Parents



I remember still as it was the tip of the iceberg that I had seen that day. Being a class teacher, a facilitator I felt it was my duty to understand the child’s behavior and so I had started doing my research on ADHD disorders to know the basic facts to understand my student to help him come out of the situation.

Today I would like to share basic facts about children having ADHD disorders which would include the following details: 
  1. What is ADHD
  2. Facts vs Myths. 
  3. How to identify ADHD?
  4. Can it be cured? 
  5. Treatments. 
  6. Role of Parents. 
  7. Role of Teachers.


What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?

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What is ADHD | Facts, Symptoms, Treatment & Role of Parents



ADHD 
is a chronic mental disorder of an individual who is charged with constant activeness and restless behavior that makes him or her extremely difficult to listen, pay attention and stop his or her impulsive behaviors and manners. This is one of the most common brain-based neurological disorder that is very common these days. In India, for example, we have more than 10 million such cases every year. The affected age group of this syndrome ranges from 3 years till 60 plus. However, the most affected age groups are ages between 6 and 40 years.

Facts Vs Myths

  1. ADHD is not considered as a learning disability - Contrary to the common belief we cannot call ADHD as a learning disability. It is because this disorder has nothing to do with intelligence and learning ability.
  2. It is one of the common condition during childhood - Many of us have the viewpoint that this condition is a rare condition wherein a child gets mentally affected by hyperactive conditions. The fact is that ADHD is so common these days that for example in a class of 30-35 children at least one child could be having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
  3. ADHD is just not hyperactive alone - This kind of mental disorder can be divided into three categories for our understanding purpose. The first category would be the Inattentive type. This kind of children is often bullied, labeled as lethargic, stupid, boring, inefficient, forgetful, clumsy and so on. Teachers complain about incomplete work and wrong answers. Parents face daily problems of a child coming late home or missing to avail the school bus or taking a bus of a different route, failing to get down at the right stop and many more such terrible traumas. The Second category would be hyperactive and impulsive behavior when the child becomes very difficult to be managed. Excessive talking, not listening to instructions and fighting with others would be some common traits. The Third category is a mixture of both that is, hyperactive as well as inattentive behavior. This is also one of the common types of ADHD wherein a child has combined hyperactive and inattentive disorder. However, it should also be kept in mind that things vary from person to person, child to child and not every child have all or the same symptoms.
 To understand it more clearly let us now check out some common symptoms.


How to identify ADHD?

Here is a list of symptoms for a child with ADHD with the inattentive disorder: 
  1. Too many careless mistakes. 
  2. Does not give his or her attention to details. 
  3. Does not listen when spoken to. 
  4. Finds it impossible to follow instructions and rules. 
  5. Not interested in doing things that take time. 
  6. Gets easily distracted. 
  7. Bad memory. 
  8. Doing daily chores seem to be an impossible task. 
  9. Careless about belongings and often losing things. 
  10. Difficult to organize things be it activities or keeping books and stationeries.

Some of the typical behaviors and symptoms of ADHD hyperactive and impulsive disorder could include the following: 
  1. Finds it difficult to be in one place. 
  2. Always fidgeting around. 
  3. Not able to sit in a chair and often gets up from his or her seat. 
  4. Ready to say the answer before the question is completely asked. 
  5. Too much of talking. 
  6. Trouble in doing activities that needs concentration like painting, doing any delicate work etc. 
  7. Exhibits sudden inappropriate behavior like jumping around and running around in a class when everyone is trying to concentrate. 
  8. Does not want to wait for his turn to come. 
  9. Yells and hits his fellow mates.

As already discussed, it is not compulsory that a child should have all the mentioned symptoms. If you could identify any 6 or more than 6 symptoms you need to check with a good health care expert who can guide you appropriately.

Can it be cured?

ADHD is a disorder that directly hits the brain affecting the behavior of an individual. Although there is no direct cure of for it, there are many options available that can surely help children to minimize its symptoms.

Treatments:

The treatment for ADHD could either be some therapeutic treatments which include psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, Social skills training and developments like sharing things, showing gratefulness, asking for help when needed, how to deal with teasing and so on.

The other kind of treatment is a purely medical treatment through both stimulant and non-stimulant medications. Medication in case of ADHD children is a tough decision to make for parents. However, the best person to guide here would be the doctor who would know best which could be the best possible option for a particular child as it often varies from case to case.

The central nervous system stimulant is the most common drug for ADHD disorders. What it does is that it increases the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are brain chemical that aids to stay focused and increases concentration power. Some such common stimulants are dextromethamphetamine (Desoxyn), methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Ritalin, Metadate); dextromethylphenidate like Focalyn and amphetamine-based like Adderall, Dextrostat, Dexedrine etc).

When stimulant medication does not work well in a child the other option is non-stimulant medications like some antidepressants or stimulants like clonidine or even guanfacine. All these are medical treatments and medications which only a health care professional is best to guide and understand. We must always consult doctors and together decide which option to choose as often there could be bad side effects of medications like irritation, weight loss, constant headache, frequent stomach upset, nervousness and feeling of dry mouth. On more serious level side effects of medication could also be increased in Blood Pressure, a certain form of hallucinations and even suicidal thoughts or attempts. So one must be extremely careful and have complete knowledge before making any decision of medication. Not that all medical treatments have bad side effects for each and every patient. It varies from individual to individual.

Having discussed the language of medical practitioners and people of medicine let us try to understand things from a layman’s perspective and find solutions as a parent or a teacher to help a child having ADHD disorder.

Role of a Parent

One of the best options that I could understand to suggest to parents would be therapeutic treatments that include the following:

Psychotherapy

If your child is a closed book and you feel it is hard to break the barrier in order to understand his or her mind then psychotherapy could possibly be one such option. It is because this therapy would help children to deal with psychological issues be it peer pressure or bully.

Behavior therapy

In this treatment, you would need to work as a group together to deal with your child’s behavioral issue. The group includes you, your child and your child’s school teacher or facilitator. You need to inform the school teacher about your child’s issue and discuss the therapy as advised by the doctor. It could be mental support or acceptance or even be in the form of appreciation like giving a star or other kinds of rewards to make the child realize that his or her positive behavior is appreciated and noticed.

Get your own Support Groups

Support groups mean forming a group of parents dealing with similar issues and situations. Today in the age of social networking this is an absolute cakewalk for parents to find their own support groups and stay connected to each other sharing the best practices and supporting each other to lift up the spirit and get going.

Role of a Teacher or facilitator

A teacher indeed has a great role to play to help children with ADHD disorders by working closely with parents as a team. While it may not be possible for a teacher to help a child with ADHD disorder absolutely, however, there are certain little things that a teacher can do which could be a great help and booster for a child. One such concern is getting organized. 

Let us discuss how:
  1. Often a child with ADHD disorders fails to take actions of immediate changes. Following daily routines can be cumbersome and laborious. The best solution for this is to keep most of his notebooks in class and only send relevant ones to home. Same textbooks could be brought daily or kept in class if no homework is assigned.
  2. Keep a designated place to sit for the child and a particular corner where he could find his belongings without making any changes.
  3. If the child is not able to complete his task in class, let her carry the assignment to complete as homework with or without parents help to depend on the situation.
  4. Maintain a reward chart for the children in the class and ensure to appreciate the child and reward him whenever he crosses any milestone of development, improvement, and growth.
These are some of my thoughts and suggestions that I could think of that perhaps might help parents as well as teachers to deal with children having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

For more information about child behavioral issues and another form of disorders, you could also read my article on Dyslexia and Stress eating.

Cheers.
Happy Parenting!

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