Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition in which the person exhibits inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive behaviors. It is a brain based disorder and about 9% of kids age 3 to 17 have ADHD3. The symptoms of ADHD can disrupt learning and present challenges at school. For example, it may be difficult to organize work, pay attention to and follow through with instructions, manage time, or engage in activities that require a lot of concentration or time in a seat.
ADHD can also affect relationships with family and friends. Peers may notice that someone with ADHD is fidgety, noisy, and has trouble adapting to new things, all of which make it difficult to form friendships. Parents may notice that a child with ADHD finds daily routines and requests challenging to complete and struggles with doing homework. Without help to manage symptoms, a person with ADHD may have serious behavioral issues and even involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Warning signs of ADHD:
- Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity
- Distracted and bored easily
- Trouble focusing on detail, making careless mistakes
- Difficulty remembering things and following instructions
- Fidgets, squirms, moves around constantly
- Talks excessively
- Runs, climbs, often leaves seat at school
- Blurts out answers and interrupts conversations
- Can’t wait for a turn, intrudes on others
- Angered easily, temper tantrums or outbursts, aggression
There are a variety of strategies to treat ADHD. One of the first interventions is to get regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and good nutrition. A counselor may use various behavioral therapy techniques to make goals for behavior and set up rewards and consequences, and also provide social skills training. The school is an important part of effective treatment by making special plans or accommodations to help a child with ADHD succeed in the classroom. Medications can be used to help manage ADHD symptoms. Talk to a doctor or psychiatrist about using medications such as stimulants.