What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common behavioural disorder that effects around 10% of children. It is characterized by an inability to concentrate on any task, hyperactivity, and disruptive behaviour.
Isn’t that just any active child?
Its true that all active kids can behave like this from time to time. However, a child who has ADHD is like it most, if not nearly all, the time, and in many different situations.
So in a child with ADHD what are you typically going to see?
There are three recognized patterns of behaviour:
- difficulty paying attention, particularly to details, or a tendency to make careless errors in school work or other activities
- staying focused on tasks or play activities is a really difficulty
- don’t seem to be listening
- difficulty following instructions
- problems with organization
- avoidance or dislike of tasks that require mental effort
- tendency to lose things like toys, notebooks, or homework
- distracted very easily
- general forgetfulness
- can’t sit still
- difficulty remaining seated
- excessive running or climbing
- difficulty playing quietly
- always seeming to be “on the go”
- excessive talking
- blurting out answers before hearing the full question
- difficulty waiting for a turn or in line
- problems with interrupting or intruding
combined: a combination of all the above symptoms is most common. What parents have to understand is that ADHD is not a disease and therefore does not come with exact symptoms. It is a behavioural disorder and the symptoms can be as individual as the child. Not all children with these symptoms are necessarily ADHD, and a child does not need to be displaying all of them to be diagnosed.
What ever the circumstance, and no matter how difficult it is to cope with as a parent, you need to realize that your child is not being ‘bad’ or difficult on purpose, It is about understanding the underlying problem and managing it in an appropriate way.
So it is important to make a correct diagnosis?
Absolutely. If your child does have ADHD it is vitally important for their continued development to make a correct diagnosis and to get the correct therapy.
And Diagnosis is not as simple as taking a few tests. There is a misconception that ADHD is the easy answer to all childhood behavioural problems. This is far from the case. A child-health care professional is going to go through a whole lot of evaluation before coming to any conclusions about your child’s welfare, and only if the diagnosis is absolutely the right one will they diagnose ADHD.
And treatment, is it just pumping otherwise healthy kids full of drugs just to keep them quiet? And is this something that is going to be ‘cured’?
First of all this is a behavioural condition, it can be successfully managed, but never cured. With the right program for your child you will see a vast improvement in their ability to function in their society (ie school and with their peers, just as much as with parents).
Yes, most therapy will include some form of medicine, but it isn’t about ‘drugging’ your child. Good, well thought out, continually monitored, therapy programmes will see a vast improvement in the quality of life that your child will have.
What’s it like being the parent of a child with ADHD?
Well, before diagnosis it can be a nightmare. You are going to doubt yourself and worry about your child.
With the correct treatment programme, help, and support you are going to discover that your child has talents that were otherwise completely hidden by the ADHD.
And how does an organization like The Hout Bay Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder Support Group help?
This is somewhere you can turn to for information, support and to meet other parents or professionals working with ADHD related issues and the families of those who are affected. This includes children, adolescents and adults. People connect with people who are in the same boat and learn that they are not alone, sharing advice and insights.
We arrange talks for our meetings. When requested we do talks and workshops at schools and other places.
We also offer counselling , and are a resource for parents and teachers to tap into.
How can people get involved?
You can send an email requesting to be added to our email list (email@example.com)
Or give me a ring on 021 7904178