What is ADHD?

What is ADHD?

 Paying attention, sitting still and curbing urges are good skills for children to learn. But those things are hard for children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Some signs of the disorder are:

  • Trouble paying attention;
  • High levels of action (hyperactivity); and
  • Acting before thinking (impulsivity).

For children with ADHD, these happen more than what is normal for their age. And that touches each part of their life. Some children with ADHD only have problems with attention, while others deal only with hyperactivity and impulsivity. Most have problems with all three.

Get Help

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about ADHD. There is no one test for it, but a full evaluation will help with treatment. Children with ADHD can thrive, but knowing they have it and how best to treat it are critical, says the National Resource Center on ADHD  . Treatment choices include:

  • Behavior therapy. Helps children learn positive actions and limit problem behaviors
  • Medication therapy. Helps children handle ADHD symptoms and control some of the behavior problems; and
  • Blend of both, helpful for children 6 years of age and older  .

Treatment must be monitored. Long-term monitoring is vital to success in handling ADHD. Studies show that children with ADHD who stop treatment are at a greater risk for more serious problems later. Other steps to take may involve parent and child training, school programs/support and child/family therapy.

Tips for parents:

  • Set a routine. Try to follow the same schedule each day, from wake-up time to bedtime.
  • Get organized. Encourage your child to put schoolbags, clothing and toys in the same place each day so your child will be less likely to lose them.
  • Handle distractions. Turn off the TV, limit noise, and give a clean workspace when your child is doing homework. Some children with ADHD learn well if they are moving or listening to music. Watch your child and see what works.
  • Limit choices. Offer choices between a few things so that your child doesn’t have too many to choose from.
  • Be clear and specific. Let your child know you are listening by telling what you heard them say. Use clear, brief directions when they need to do something.
  • Use goals and praise. Use a chart to list goals and track positive behaviors. Let your child know when they have done well. Reward their efforts. Be sure the goals are realistic.
  • Create positive chances. Children with ADHD may find certain situations stressful. Find what your child does well — whether it’s school, sports, art, music or play. That can help create positive experiences.
  • Provide a healthy life. Nutritious food, lots of physical activity   and sufficient sleep are important. They can sometimes help with ADHD symptoms.

Other things you can do?

Sources: The A.D.D. Resource Center  2019.