Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADHD children are more active, less attentive and more impulsive than most other children their age. The probable cause of ADHD is a particular disturbance in brain neurochemistry. Characteristics of ADHD include:
- Squirming and fidgeting
- Difficulty remaining seated
- Difficulty waiting to take turns
- Short attention span
- Shifting from one activity to another
- Talking excessively
- Engaging in activities impulsively without thinking of the consequences.
ADHD begins at an early age and is displayed across settings. Many children exhibit characteristics of ADHD. However, children with ADHD’s difficulties are extreme and interfere with day to day activities. It is a chronic disorder that lasts into adulthood.
There isn’t a quick fix for ADHD. But there are some suggestions to support your child who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
- Help others in your life understand ADHD.
- Expect that you may need to teach your child social skills that other children acquire independently, and know that you may need to teach them over and over again.
- Seek professional advice. You may need help developing behavior management programs at home.
- Consult your child’s doctor if your feel you child might benefit from medication or if your child is on medication and you observe drastic changes in behavior.
- Set appropriate expectations for your child while accepting their limitations. Distinguish between behaviors that they can’t do and behaviors they refuse to do. These behaviors need to be treated differently. Behaviors they won’t do require positive discipline. Behaviors they can’t do require teaching or accommodations.
- Plan play that incorporates physical activity.
- Give short, clear, firm and specific directions to your child.
- Keep a regular bedtime. Self-control breaks down when children are overly tired.
- Establish routines and clear expectations for meals, homework and bed times.
- Praise your child for affirmative behavior. Avoid criticism. Children need to be praised at least 5 times to every 1 criticism for positive change in behavior to occur.
Children with ADHD have incredibly positive characteristics. They can be ambitious, creative, energetic, and fun to be around, great conversationalists, not afraid to help out, or act in an emergency, initiators, quick thinking, spontaneous, persistent and are likely to think out of the box in problem solving.
Stephanie Gagne, Director of Special Education