What is ADHD? Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a disorder that is comprised of the following characteristics: impulsivity, distractibilty, inability to stay attentive, and increased hyperactivity.
An estimated 5%-7% of all children get diagnosed in this country with ADHD. These children simply are unable to concentrate, become disruptive, some are defiant and have a tough time getting along with their parents, friends and teachers.
ADHD is very controversial. Is it unfortunately not tolerated in societies high demanding work world. There are also several theories as to the exact cause. It is noted that close to 50% of kids will grow our of this condition. That’s great but it still makes the early developmental years a struggle for them in regards to learning and interacting in life.
Experts seem to disagree if treatment for ADHD should be used with a behavioral approach or a pharmacological intervention is the best approach. These would include the stimulants: (Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvance). What does seem to be working is a combination of both.
Managing school work, household chores and basic tasks seem to be very challenging for those who have ADHD and ADD. On the positive side, many can learn the necessary skills to cope with shortcomings.
The cause of ADHD is still not clear. Genes appear to play an important role. Research also implicates that there are toxic environmental factors such as old plumbing, old paint, smoking and alcohol consumption at time of pregnancy.
Parenting seemingly does play a role on the child’s ability to self regulate. One belief that is popular is that eating sugar in large amounts can cause ADHD. This theory has not held up will in research thus far.
Symptoms of ADHD fall into 2 categories:
Symptoms of Inattention:
Symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity:
The following are great pointers to look for when seeking a therapist for your child.
1. Seek one that makes emotions a high priority for your child as well as you. It should feel like a very supporting and engaging connection with the therapists. Emotions are what help people to survive. We are able as humans to detect threat and are able to respond to dangerous attempts of harm. We seek to have engagement on a social level. First we must feel safe on the level of the body and the mind. If we do not then all of our energy is directed to basic survival needs being met. Emotional regulation is hard for those children with ADHD
2. A good therapist will see that it is more important that the child feels safe rather than seeking to mange behavior. Nurturing feelings of safety should always be put first before behavior management. If not it may seem as though a child is thriving but they are actually suffering.
3. Find a therapist that is willing to work on all levels. It is important that the therapist you choose is willing to get involved with the schools, provide family and/or parenting support as well as work one on one with your child. You want to feel that a team is addressing your child’s needs and not split into a thousand directions.