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Everything You Need to Know About Attention Deficit Disorder

Everything You Need to Know About Attention Deficit Disorder

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 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.

Key Points

  • Children with ADD may struggle to pay attention, may fail to follow instructions, and may have organizational issues.
  • ADD is generally treated with a combination of behavioral therapy and medication.
  • People with ADD are more likely to be depressed and/or suicidal; know the signs and watch for them in your child.

Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms

A child diagnosed with ADD will show six or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fails to pay attention to details and makes careless mistakes
  • Forgetful with regular activities
  • Trouble focusing on tasks or while playing
  • Has trouble with organization
  • Often loses things like books, pens, notebooks
  • Often resistant to participating in tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Easily distracted
  • Fails to follow instructions, may not finish schoolwork
  • Seems not to listen when spoken to directly

These symptoms must also be inappropriate for their age. 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 at home and at school. Finally, the symptoms must interfere with many activities in a noticeable or significant way.

A 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 difficulty 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.

Treatment Options for ADD

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 Dexedrine and Adderall. 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 come by 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 and 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.”

Complications to Watch Out For As Your Child Grows

If your child has been diagnosed with ADD, you'll need to watch out for further complications as they grow up. The sooner you can get them diagnosed, the better off they'll be. Even with help from a therapist and from you, however, further issues can still arise.

People with ADD are unfortunately more vulnerable to depression and suicide than those without the disorder. This is especially true if they face discrimination or bullying from peers. As your child grows, keep an eye on their behavior. If they suddenly become closed off, irritable, disinterested in what they're normally passionate about, lethargic, or temperamental, they may be depressed or suicidal. It's important to know the warning signs so you can intervene.

If you need to intervene with a depressed or suicidal child, it's important to remember to keep calm. Don't get angry at them, ask them how they could do this to you, or have an outburst about how their suicide would affect you. When intervening with a depressed or suicidal person, your concern should be entirely about them. Ask them why they feel as they do, and listen. Don't interrupt them, judge them, or just tell them to get over it. Work together to find a solution.

If your child seems to still be struggling in school despite counseling and medication, consider getting them a tutor. A tutor will help them keep up with their academics, while also building their confidence. If you can find a tutor who has experience tutoring children with ADD, that's a bonus. Help your child learn strategies for achieving success in school.

Do not take the content of this article as professional medical adviceIt's important to exercise due diligence when obtaining relevant information in matters pertaining to your health. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any medical decisions.

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