Facts About ADHD in Children Every Parent Should Know


Is your child finding it hard to focus lately? Does your little one get distracted and fidgety quickly? Keeping the kid focused on a single task becomes difficult for you, whether finishing the homework or listening to what you are saying?

If your child is not concentrating on anything intently, the chances are that they are experiencing ADHD. Many parents are unaware of this condition and blame the child for being disrespectful and naughty, which is the wrong approach. Here’s all you should know about ADHD in children and how to deal with it.


Is ADHD a Learning Disability?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a commonly reported childhood brain disorder previously called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). ADHD is also common in adults, but the symptoms almost always emerge from childhood days. It affects the child’s tendency to pay attention, control their behaviors, and sit still long. The behavior may emerge during childhood and continue until teenage or adulthood. There is no cure available for preventing or treating ADHD, but with proper attention and the right strategies, it is possible to help the child control his behaviors.


ADHD Symptoms

Many different symptoms indicate ADHD, such as lack of will to complete tasks, failure in following directions, or difficulty in sitting still for a long time. Check the next slide for a detailed overview of ADHD symptoms. Though it is a common disorder in children, its symptoms and intensity differ considerably from person to person. Check out some common symptoms of ADHD.


Lack of Attentiveness:

 The most common and primary symptom of ADHD is the child’s inability to pay attention to anything. You’ll notice that your little one doesn’t listen to you attentively or what the teacher is saying. The child may also find it hard to follow directions and keeps asking about what’s to be done. He or she won’t be able to finish chores or tasks and keep track of their stuff. The child may also daydream, make careless mistakes, and avoid activities that require concentration.


Hyperactivity:

Hyperactivity is another common symptom of ADHD. If you feel that your child cannot sit still for long and keeps climbing or running on things, it means he or she is experiencing ADHD. This tendency won’t be restricted to outdoor areas as the child will remain as hyperactive indoors as when in the playground. Sitting still will become too difficult for them as they will start to squirm, bounce, or fidget when you try to make them sit. Your child will also find it hard to stay quiet and talk a lot throughout the day.


Impulsiveness:

Impulsiveness occurs when a person displays behaviors without any consideration and forethought. The person fails to consider the consequences of his or her actions before behaving a certain way. If you are noticing that your child cannot wait for his turn, interrupts when you are talking, or when the teacher is talking and blurts out replies before the teacher has finished the question, these are all impulsiveness signs.


Causes of ADHD:

ADHD is a brain disorder affecting those areas of our brain that control behaviors and actions. Children who have ADHD have a lower level of activity in these brain areas. Another cause of ADHD is an imbalance in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Although researchers haven’t been able to identify what causes this imbalance, studies suggest that ADHD is a genetic disorder and runs in families. Hence, genes may be responsible for neurotransmitter imbalance. Moreover, research indicates that boys are more likely to suffer from ADHD than girls. 


Getting a Diagnosis:

ADHD isn’t diagnosed through lab testing. Instead, the doctor will ask a few questions from your child, listen to the behaviors you have noticed, and check the teacher’s comments before making a diagnosis. Diagnosis is possible only if the child shows multiple symptoms of ADHD for six months. Such as, the child cannot pay attention, remains hyperactive all the time, and becomes impulsive all of a sudden are the key symptoms that indicate the onset of ADHD. Also, the symptoms must appear no later than 12-years of age.


 ADHD Types:

A common form of ADHD is where the child displays multiple symptoms simultaneously, which is known as combination ADHD. That is, the kid fails to stay attentive and remains impulsive and hyperactive. If all these three symptoms stay persistent for over six months’ period, the child will get fidgety a lot and won’t control his or her impulses and actions. This combination of symptoms is called the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type of ADHD. There is another type called the predominantly inattentive. It mainly affects the child’s ability to focus, but he or she won’t be hyperactive and won’t disrupt the classroom.


ADHD Treatment and Medications:

ADHD has no treatment other than medications or therapies. Stimulant medications can help the child’s tendency to stay attentive and prevent them from being hyperactive and impulsive. Studies reveal that stimulant medications can help at least 65% to 80% of children with ADHD. However, just like any other medication, these meds also have their fair share of side effects. Certain non-stimulant medications are available for kids with ADHD, but these are also not free from side effects. Do consult your doctor for the right dose of medications and their probable reactions.  


Therapies and Counseling:

Counseling can help your child learn to deal with ADHD and manage the frustrations that it commonly causes. Building self-esteem is imperative for treating ADHD as it is primarily a brain disorder, so altering thinking patterns can help manage it properly. Social skills training is a helpful therapy to build self-esteem in your child. It will teach the child to wait for his/her turn, be patient, and share. Studies reveal that long-term treatment using medications and behavioral therapies can be more productive in managing ADHD than using either meds or counseling.


Special Education

Children with ADHD can attend regular classrooms with other kids, but a more structural and educational environment would yield favorable results. If you enroll your child in a special education school, they will get the right type of schooling tailored according to the learning style they require.


Importance of Routines:

Not just at school, giving the child a structural environment at home is also equally important to manage ADHD. To make sure your child learns to cope with the situation independently, try laying out clear routines for them to follow. Such as, inform them about the schedule of how they are supposed to spend their day. This is a workable strategy in keeping your child focused on a particular task. Do mention specific timings for waking up and going to bed, homework, playtime, meals, and other everyday chores and ensure that the child follows the plan.


Dietary Changes:

There have been extensive researches on the impact of diet in treating ADHD, and the studies have revealed mixed results. Experts believe that food that is beneficial for the brain can help children with ADHD. Moreover, a high protein diet is also helpful. Do incorporate eggs, beans, meat, and nuts in your child’s diet and replace simple carbs with complex ones. Such as, instead of candies and white bread, give your child whole-grain bread and pears. However, before making any substantial dietary changes, do consult your pediatrician.


Impact of Junk Food on Children with ADHD:

 There is no such indication that high sugar levels can lead to or aggravate ADHD. Although you may think that it does since kids usually get hyperactive after eating junk food. Similarly, the role food additives can play in worsening ADHD symptoms is also not yet established. However, many parents feel that junk food, food colorings, and preservatives can affect children with ADHD adversely. Keeping this in mind, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents should avoid feeding their children junk food.


Can Watching TV affect Children with ADHD?

 There’s no connection established between the time spend in front of the TV screen and ADHD. Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents not allow older kids to watch television for more than 2 hours. In contrast, kids under 2-years of age should not watch TV at all. Watching TV and using a computer or even a tablet for longer duration can affect attention skills, leading to worsening the ADHD symptoms. Instead, physical activities, like playing indoor/outdoor games, reading, and blocks, should be encouraged.


Is ADHD Preventable?

 Since ADHD is a brain disorder that is primarily caused by genetics and runs in the family, it is difficult to prevent it. Yet, you can ensure that your child does not develop it. When pregnant, it is essential to avoid alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Do you know that babies born to mothers who smoked while pregnant are twice as likely to develop ADHD?

With appropriate strategies and treatment, most children with ADHD show improvement. If the symptoms continue until adulthood, there are many treatment options and therapies available for adults.