ADHD, ADD, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Dypraxia, Sensory Integration
Private Assessment Treatment & Therapy Service For Children With Special Needs
ADHD & ADD
What is ADHD ? ADHD is a disorder affecting the learning & the behaviour of the child.
What causes ‘ADHD’ ? The cause of ADHD has not been firmly established but there are two things that are strongly held beliefs. Firstly, there is no doubt that genes play a part in the inheritance of ADHD. Many children with ADHD see to have a close relative with a similar presentation of behaviours. However, the reason why one child in a family rather than another is still unknown !
Secondly, ADHD problems result from a subtle difference in the fine tuning of the brain.
There is an under functioning of those areas of the brain that control concentration, attention and that modulate & inhibit inappropriate or irrational behaviour.
Main features of ADHD are :
Inattention The child appears easily distracted, has difficulty concentrating, dawdles when starting tasks or has little or no ideation or initiation, [this is often misinterpreted as laziness]. The child may have difficulty listening to and following instructions, often daydreams or wanders aimlessly.
Impulsiveness The child may act without thinking, has difficulty waiting in turn, moves from one unfinished task to another, calls out inappropriately or makes remarks that are inappropriate to the situation, rushes into a task, engages in dangerous activities without considering the consequences.
Hyperactivity Overactivity where the child may appear to be ‘movement driven’ or fidgety or restless. There may be finger drumming or feet tapping or the child may engage in non-task related activities and is often accident prone, talks excessively and may have difficulty playing quietly.
Disorganisation The child may lose toys, forget homework, instructions are not acted on.
Social Skills The child appears immature, has a lack of awareness and sensitivity to those around them, demands attention, is aggressive, argumentative or overreacts to minor problems, often interrupts or sabotages games.
Movement Difficulties The child may display movement difficulties; many ADHD children have terrible handwriting, poor coordination and movement planning which makes tasks like tying laces, throwing and catching a ball, using scissors, riding a bicycle, etc., very difficult to learn. Many ADHD children can often appear clumsy !
Other associated problems include:
With so much current interest it may be easy to think of ADHD as an ‘epidemic’ but it is occurring no more frequently than in the past, it is just more widely recognised & accurately diagnosed.
Contrary to belief, children ‘Do Not Grow Out Of It !’
Although it can be seen that the more overt signs of hyperactivity may recede with maturity & presenting in the older child / adult as fidget behaviour.
However, it is now becoming more recognised that children do not always have to display hyperactivity to have an attention deficit. Rather these children can seem more ‘dreamy’ than usual.
ADHD shows no socioeconomic clustering & research shows that it is approximately 4 times more present in males than females.
Can Diet or Food Additives Cause ADHD ? Although there is some evidence that diet can be a factor in ADHD for some individuals, recent UK research has identified that only a small proportion of children may respond to dietary help & modifications.
Can Poor Parenting or ‘Confused Home Backgrounds’ Cause ADHD ? There is little evidence that socioeconomic & environmental factors or poor parental management cause ADHD Children with ADHD often behave badly & cause stress for parents and other siblings.
Normal methods of discipline & behavioural management do not work well & parents can feel very inadequate or give in for a ‘quiet life’.
The ADHD child, however, will benefit from a consistent approach & routine. They require more structure than other children & do not cope well with chaos or change !
Is there a test for ADHD ? There is no specific diagnostic test for ADHD and accurate diagnosis can only be made after a comprehensive series of assessments, reports and clinical / situational observations.
There are many other conditions that produce similar difficulties and behaviours and it is therefore important that a thorough assessment from a multidisciplinary professional perspective takes place prior to a diagnosis.
Important Points to Remember … Early diagnosis & treatment are important a collaborative approach between home, educational and healthcare professionals is essential there is no ‘cure’ as such but intervention from a ‘team’ of professionals can help to manage the difficulties
Part 1 Either 1) or (2)
1. Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
2. Six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity – impulsivity have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with development level.
What to Do Next … Although there is no ‘cure’ for ADHD as such, a great deal can be done to assist the child and the family when the problem is recognised.
Children with ADHD often underachieve at school and appear to have more potential than they actually display. Unrecognised, it can cause frustrations for the family, educational professionals and more importantly, the child.
A lack of understanding can lead to unrealistic expectations and poor self-esteem for the child.
Most people are unaware that some medication can be extremely effective in the management of the child with ADHD. However, the most effective way to help the child with ADHD is with a multidisciplinary approach with educational, psychological and medical methods being coordinated appropriately.
TIP ! How can Therapy in Praxis Limited help ? By enabling the child to operate more productively in every domain of their daily occupations; play, academic, basic living skills and in the development of increasing self-confidence.
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