Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behaviour, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

What are the symptoms of ADHD in children?
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

  1. Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  2. Have difficulty focusing on one thing
  3. Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
  4. Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  5. Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
  6. Not seem to listen when spoken to
  7. Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
  8. Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  9. Struggle to follow instructions.
  10. Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:
  11. Fidget and squirm in their seats
  12. Talk nonstop
  13. Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  14. Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
  15. Be constantly in motion
  16. Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

  1. Be very impatient
  2. Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  3. Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  4. Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities.
What are the Causes of ADHD?

The specific causes of ADHD are still not known, however, a number of factors are identified to contribute to its development.

Genetics
Recent studies have indicated that the condition is extremely heritable and that the genetic makeup of a person is a component in seventy-five percent of all cases. Experts believe that a vast majority of ADHD conditions develop from a mixture of a variety of genes. Individuals who have close relatives with this ailment have a greater chance of acquiring ADHD themselves.

Environment
Infections during the mother’s pregnancy or in early childhood are related to an elevated probability of the child to develop ADHD. Some environmental factors suggested as a factor consist of liquor and cigarette smoke exposure in the course of maternity and environmental exposure in the early life of the child.

Head Injuries or Traumas
For some individuals, ADHD is an effect of a head trauma or a brain injury sometime in the past. Youngsters who have encountered a brain injury may demonstrate some behavior that is comparable to those people who has ADHD.

Food
It has been proposed by researchers that refined sugars and food additives increase the possibility of ADHD. The nourishment and diet can influence mood, behavior and brain advancement in the earlier stages of life.

How is ADHD treated?
Currently available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.

How can parents help?
Children with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed in school. Before a child is diagnosed, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family. Parents and children may need special help to overcome bad feelings. Mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it impacts a family. They also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.

Parenting skills training
Parental encouragement to share a pleasant or relaxing activity with the child. Sometimes, the whole family may need therapy. Support groups help parents and families connect with others who have similar problems and concerns.

Tips to Help Kids Stay Organized and Follow Directions

Schedule - Keep the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime. Include time for homework, outdoor play, and indoor activities. Keep the schedule on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board in the kitchen. Write changes on the schedule as far in advance as possible.

Organize everyday items - Have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and toys.

Use homework and notebook organizers - Use organizers for school material and supplies. Stress to your child the importance of writing down assignments and bringing home the necessary books.

Be clear and consistent - Children with ADHD need consistent rules they can understand and follow.

Give praise or rewards when rules are followed - Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism. Look for good behavior, and praise it.

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