Almost every child will daydream in school, forget homework, fidget when seated, or act without thinking. However, if this hyperactivity, lack of impulse control, and inattention become problematic, it may be because the child has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It is important, therefore, to know how to recognize the ADD signs, symptoms and treatments as a parent.
What Is ADD/ADHD?
There are children who constantly seem to blurt out things they shouldn’t be saying, who can’t follow even the simplest instructions, and who can never sit still. It is easy to describe these children as “troublemakers”, but parents and teachers may need of to understand better the ADD signs, symptoms and treatments. ADD is now more commonly called ADHD, with the H standing for hyperactivity. This is because most children with ADD also show signs of hyperactivity.
Is it ADHD or Is it Bad Behavior?
One of the reasons why it is so important that people learn to recognize the ADD signs, symptoms and treatments is because the condition is significantly over-diagnosed. Children who have just a few signs of ADHD are often labeled as such by their parents and other people, often without a proper diagnosis. This is of significant concern, because it takes away from the seriousness of the condition in those who do truly have the condition, and it also means that some parents are essentially given a carte blanche to be lazy parents and not look at their own skills in terms of managing their children’s behavior.
Myths about ADD:
1. All children with ADD are hyperactive.
This is a myth, and it is also why the proper ADD diagnosis has to be followed. Although it is less common, it is possible to only have ADD.
2. ADHD children cannot pay attention.
This is another myth since ADHD children can concentrate very well on enjoyable things. However, if something is repetitive or perceived as boring, they simply can’t do it – even if they genuinely try.
3. ADHD children can choose to show better behavior.
This is absolutely untrue. As disobedient as these children appear, their behavior is not a choice.
4. ADHD is something you outgrow.
It is certainly true that some children may fully outgrow the condition. However, 50% continue to experience some effects and at least 15% continue to have the exact same symptoms even in adulthood.
5. ADHD has to be treated with medication.
Medication is a common treatment for ADHD/ADD but it is not the only one and not necessarily the best one either. Proper nutrition, exercise, good support at school and at home, behavior therapy, and parental education are all important.
Primary Characteristics of ADD Signs, Symptoms and Treatments:
When people think about ADD, they picture a child that is out of control, constantly moving, and disrupting everything. However, this is not always the case. Yes, some ADD children are hyperactive, but others simply seem to drift away. Some focus so strongly on one thing, that they cannot switch to something else. Others have no impulse control and have some mild inattentiveness.
There are three characteristics of ADHD, which must be present in order for someone to be diagnosed. These are:
In each child who suffers from ADD/ADHD, one of those three characteristics will dominate. One of the key problems is that children who are predominantly inattentive tend to be overlooked. Yet these are the very children who clash with others, get into trouble, and perform poorly in school.
How to Spot ADD/ADHD:
It is difficult to diagnose ADD/ADHD at a young age because children are naturally hyperactive and easily distracted. Hence, what most specialists look for is impulsive behavior. These children are the ones who insult others, who climb to great heights, and who push other children. However, once they reach five, children should be able to pay more attention to others, which is why it is around this age that the condition becomes more obvious.
Inattentiveness is characterized by:
– Not being able to stick to boring, repetitive tasks
– Not being able to complete a task before moving to another one.
– Difficulty concentrating in a busy environment.
– Not being able to stay focused
– Appearing to not properly listen
– Difficulties in following and remembering instructions
– Struggling to properly manage time and stay organized
– Often losing or misplacing things
Hyperactivity is characterized by:
– Being unusually active
– Trying to do multiple things at the same time.
– Squirming and fidgeting
– Climbing and moving
– Talking excessively
– Being short tempered
Impulsivity is characterized by:
– Having lack of self-control
– Struggling to wait and be patient
– Overreacting and being moody
– Acting without thinking
– Not taking time to think and therefore guessing the answer to a question
– Interrupting games and conversations
– Struggling with containing strong emotions
One of the key ways to determine whether a child has ADD/ADHD or not, is by noticing that the above signs and symptoms are consistent, regardless of the environment of the child. Hence, both educators and parents will notice these characteristics.
Treatment for ADD/ADHD:
If your child has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, it is likely that medication has been prescribed. Often, this is for short periods of time only, and different medications may have to be tried before finding the one that works best for your child. During the times when medication is at its most effective, other forms of treatment can be engaged in, which should have a continuous positive effect, eventually even leading to no medication being needed at all in some young people. Those treatment options include:
– Providing consistency, structure, consequences and rewards, and clear communication. Above all, showing love, encouragement, and support
– Looking after yourself as a parent, so that you are able to cope with the demands of your children. This means getting enough sleep, eating well, getting plenty of exercise, taking time out for yourself, and getting support from others.
– Developing a structure, and sticking to that at all times. Children with ADD/ADHD need routine and a simple structure that they can understand and doesn’t overwhelm them is recommended.
– Setting clear and concise expectations with simple behavioral rules. Set consequences for breaking those rules and rewards for sticking to the rules. Be consistent in this.
– Encourage plenty of sleep and exercise and feed your children a healthy, balanced diet.
– Teach your child how to make friends.