It’s completely normal for children to occasionally get fidgety or daydream during class, forget their homework or get distracted when you’re talking to them at the dinner table. But if your little one is having trouble staying still for a few minutes, has unusually impulsive behavior and is constantly engaging in dire, unrelenting activities like shouting and climbing the furniture, then there might be something more going on.
If you notice that your child frequently darts off into the busy street without any warning or struggles to settle down and maintain focus for even the smallest of tasks (homework, chores or even a short talk), then it might be time to consult with a doctor.
ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder which occurs during childhood and can continue into adolescence or even adulthood. The condition is characterized by an ongoing pattern of hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention which interfere with day-to-day functioning and brain development.
Affecting approximately 10% of school-age children, this disorder can turn into a serious impediment if left untreated – not only for your child’s ability to learn and concentrate, but also for his or her social interactions, as the lack of focus and tendency to say or do tactless or embarrassing things can make it difficult to communicate and get along with others.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is more common amongst boys than in girls and is usually discovered in the early school years when warning signs of the child’s lack of concentration first appear.
If your child is constantly disorganized and speaks before thinking, seems to not “hear” parental instructions, is easily distracted and tears around the house, doing things that may put him or her in physical danger, then it’s wise to visit your family doctor and have them refer you to someone qualified to make an informed diagnosis.
Taking care of a child with ADHD can be very physically and mentally exhausting and even frustrating at times, so it’s extremely important to catch on to the symptoms early and create a familial atmosphere which provides both love and structure.
Since ADHD children generally have deficits in executive function (the ability to control impulses, think and plan ahead, complete tasks), as a parent you will have to take over that function and provide consistently, but empathetic guidance for your child until he or she acquires and develops individual executive skills.
While many of the behavioral symptoms can be challenging to deal with or downright exasperating at times, it’s important to remember that ADHD children who ignore, annoy and upset others by acting embarrassingly do not do so willfully. In time and with professional guidance, it’s completely possible to respond positively to your child’s actions, successfully manage ADHD and create a happy, stable home for your little one.
Inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are the key behaviors of ADHD and can be recognized because they are more severe and frequent than is considered “normal” and oftentimes interfere or reduce the quality of their activities and social functioning.
Inattention means that a person has difficulty maintaining concentration, wanders off task, lacks persistence, often overlooks or misses details and makes hasty or forgetful mistakes in schoolwork. People with symptoms of inattention also dislike and consequently avoid tasks which require intensive, sustained mental effort, have problems with their attention span when it comes to lengthy reading, conversations, and even play and is easily distracted by unrelated thoughts and external stimuli.
They also seem absent-minded or preoccupied when spoken to directly, oftentimes fail to follow through on instructions and complete schoolwork or chores and have issues with time management, organizing and keeping belongings in order. Inattention also leads to them regularly losing materials or school supplies necessary for tasks and being forgetful in daily activities.
It’s important to understand that these manifestations are not a sign of defiance or a lack of comprehension, but rather the effect of an underlying condition affecting brain function.
Hyperactivity stands for extreme restlessness and is observable when a person excessively talks, taps or fidgets and moves about constantly.
Impulsivity generally manifests when a person makes hasty actions or reckless decisions, without thinking about the implications and potentially harmful consequences. Impulsivity usually stems from an intense desire for immediate reward and the inability to delay the need for gratification.
People with these symptoms oftentimes interrupt or intrude on others in conversations, are unable to engage in activities quietly and blurt out answers without thinking too much about what they said. They also have trouble waiting for their turn, as they are constantly “on the go”, and squirm, fidget or leave their seats in situations where this would be considered inappropriate.