Attention Deficit Disorder is a condition where a child has great difficulty with their attention skills. A child with undiagnosed ADD can silently suffer in so many ways.
So what do you do if you think or know that your child has ADD? Read on here to discover the symptoms of ADD, some problems a child with ADD will face, and some ways you can bring calm and order to your child’s life.
According to the DSM-IV® manual, a child diagnosed with ADD will show six or more of the following symptoms:
* Fails to keep attention on details, makes careless mistakes
* Forgetful with regular activities
* Trouble keeping attention on tasks (or in playing)
* Has trouble with organization
* Often loses things like books, pens, notebooks
* Often resistant to participating in tasks that take sustained mental effort
* Easily distracted
These symptoms must also be inappropriate for their development level. In other words, you would expect an eight year old to hold attention longer and be less distracted than a two year old. Also, the symptoms must occur in more than one setting, such as both home and at school. Finally, the symptoms must interfere with many activities in a pretty noticeable way.
The child with Attention Deficit Disorder has problems with working memory, a brain function that remembers information just long enough for you to use it. They also have difficulty with executive functioning, which includes the abilities to prioritize, organize, be persistent, resist distraction, handle frustration, and multi-task.A child with ADD has problems controlling their impulses. They also tend to misread social cues, personal boundaries, and body language. This can result in trouble making and keeping friends.
Other children often think of ADD kids as annoying, rude, asking too many “dumb” questions, saying or doing pointless things, or unlikeable. The exact cause is unknown, but many experts believe it is a problem with the chemical balance of the brain. There also seems to be a family connection with attention problems.
The most common treatments for ADD include medication and some form of behavioral guidance, often done with a counselor. Ritalin is the most well-known medication prescribed for ADD. Other commonly used medications include Dexadrine and Aderall. These medications are all stimulants. They change the chemicals in the brain regions that control impulses, attention, and working memory.
If your child is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, there are many things you can do to reduce their symptoms.
Creating a schedule will reduce stress and give your distracted child some predictability. Be attentive when your child is playing with others to help with social skills. Stay in touch with your child’s teachers, get progress reports, and work on problems as they arise.
Keep your instructions short and simple. Remember, they can’t easily keep information in their memory for long. Use positive language and stay calm when giving discipline. Use natural and logical consequences or give choices that you approve of. These keep the struggle out of disciplining your child. ADD can be a very frustrating situation for a parent to work with. However, if you change your expectations to match up with your child’s challenges and strengths, you can recognize progress more easily.
When a member of a family has a bothersome frustrating disorder like ADD, everyone is affected. It may be necessary to help with your child’s individual skills and work on the relationships in the family. Like with most mental health issues, a combination of counseling or behavioral strategies plus medication gives the best overall outcome.
Many parents have known or met a child who fits the ADD description. When you don’t understand what’s going on, a child with ADD can be irritating and frustrating.
However, Attention Deficit Disorder is a very treatable problem with many solutions to try. Once you know how to help a child with ADD, you can really see them as just “a child.”