Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
What is it ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects children and teens and can continue into adulthood. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable control their impulses. Or they may have trouble paying attention. Children with ADHD often present with three main characteristics being:
- Inattention – having difficulty concentrating, forgetting instructions, moving from one task to another without completing anything
- Impulsivity – talking over the top of others, having a ‘short fuse’, being accident prone
- Hyperactivity – constant restlessness and fidgeting.
ADHD and ADD affect a child’s behaviour, social interaction, learning ability, and can put a strain on the whole family. It is natural for young children to have a short attention span and to act on impulses. It is important to remember that not all children who inattentive, hyperactive or over-active have ADHD. ADHD represent extreme behavioural cases where these behaviours occur more frequently or more intensely that what is considered developmentally appropriate for that age bracket.
What are the indicators of ADHD?
Below are some common features of ADHD. It is important to note that these behaviours need to be occurring frequently and be occurring in more than one environment i.e. home and school to be characteristics of ADHD.
A child with symptoms of inattention will, on a regular basis:
- Fail to give close attention to details, or make careless mistakes, in school work or other activities
- Have difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Not follow through on instructions
- Fail to finish school work, chores or other duties (but not because they are being wilful or do not understand instructions)
- Have difficulty organising tasks and activities
A child with symptoms of impulsivity will often:
- Blurt out answers before questions have been completed
- Have difficulty waiting in turn
- Interrupt or intrude on others (for example, they will butt into conversations or games).
A child with symptoms of hyperactivity will often:
- Fidget with their hands or feet or squirm in their seat
- Leave their seat in the classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
- Run about or climb excessively in inappropriate situations
- Have difficulty playing or taking part in leisure activities quietly
- Be ‘on the go’ or act as if ‘driven by a motor’
- Talk too much
Intervention for ADHD
Treatment for ADHD can involve a multi-faceted approach to support both the child and family to manage the symptoms of ADHD. Treatment can include medication, positive parenting strategies, school support and counselling and/or a combination of these.
Counselling can involve some or all of the following:
- Cognitive therapy – help with problem solving and impulse control
- Behaviour modification – changing the way a child acts and rewarding them for good behaviour
- Parent training – changing the way respond and manage challenging behaviours
- Anger management – coping skills, relaxation techniques and stress management
- Social skills training – improving self esteem and social interaction with peers
YLO Psychology Clinic has a team of clinicians who are experienced in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment for ADHD. If you are concerned about your child or believe they exhibit signs of ADHD please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 07 3341 4619 to discuss making an appointment.