‘My daughter is extremely hyperactive, I get tired coping up with her’. ‘My younger one just cannot focus on anything. I don’t know how he will manage the school.’ Have you been telling yourself all this way too often? On close monitoring it is possible, you might find your child suffering from ADHD.
There are numerous such conversations, where we find parents ruing about their children and their behavioral problems. Some could be just a passing phase in the child’s life, part of growing up. For some kids, there could be an underlying medical condition. But just like depression or any other mental health issues, behavioral problems in children are never linked to medical conditions. Its high time parents wake up to this fact.
What is AHDH?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a chronic medical condition that leads to problems in focusing, uncontrollable behavior, hyperactivity to name a few. Kavyal Sedani, an expert counselor and psychotherapist, says you would typically see children with ADHD, as if they are driven by a motor, as if they just can’t stop, they constantly need activity, they need to get up, they will talk a lot or they will jump around the room or they will fidget constantly.
Getting them to sit and do anything for a long period could become a challenge. ADHD and ADD are a lot more common in Australia and America.
However, it is percolating into every continent in the world. And sometimes when a child does have a remarked level of ADHD, it could be the birthplace of certain learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia or where the child could feel it is not able to concentrate or focus at all.
It is like a gift!
Typically as parents, this would worry us, we would think something is wrong. But Kavyal here says that she wants the parents to know that ADHD is like a gift. When your child has ADHD, the child has so much energy that it’s not like that they are not focusing but they are focusing on many, many things at the same time. ADHD could be very common in a lot of children below the age of nine, so it is not formally diagnosed, as the child could outgrow the symptoms.
A clinical test is important. It determines if the child has ADHD. And if it is positive then the treatment can be done with the help of medicines, a proper diet and nourishment, and a proper environment.
What causes ADHD?
ADHD is not a condition that just crops up on its own. Several causes have been identified.
1. A lower level of activity in the parts of the brain that control activity level and attention.
2. Alcohol, tobacco, or drug consumption during pregnancy.
3. ADHD can be a genetic problem as well. If a parent or a sibling has ADHD, there are chances of another sibling or a child to have it too.
4. Premature birth
5. Head injuries
As many parents do not realize that ADHD is a medical condition because of lack of information, there are lots of myths around it.
12 Myths and facts around ADHD one must know:
1. ADHD is not a medical condition: This is the first myth that one needs to break away from. ADHD is a medical disorder. The child has no control over it. Remember, a child with ADHD does not choose to disobey or misbehave.
2. Only boys have ADHD: Another baseless assumption that people have is that only boys are affected by ADHD. The symptoms of this disease can be noticed in girls as well and one should let the doctor diagnose.
3. ADHD is the cause of bad parenting: If one goes through the causes of ADHD, then this is not the one. Bad parenting can aggravate the symptoms though.
4. This is a lifelong condition: Many children outgrow the symptoms of ADHD after 9 years of age and about 50% carry it forward into adulthood. But usually one learns to cope and handle the symptoms as they grow up.
5. People with ADHD are dumb and stupid: Certainly not! Intact they have above-average intelligence and are far more creative than anyone.
6. Hyperactivity is synonymous with ADHD: Not all hyperactive children need to have ADHD. Though it is one of the symptoms, it cannot be the only one.
7. ADHD is incurable: Though there is no cure for the disorder, medication, behavioral treatment and therapy do help in subduing and controlling the symptoms.
8. It is a childhood disorder: Though many children could outgrow the symptoms, some percentage could carry it forward in their adulthood. They might be able to control it with proper medication, therapy, and support.
9. ADHD is not to disease worth considering: The saddest part of any mental disease is that it is not taken seriously by the majority. Children are labeled as indisciplined, spoilt, and rude. What people don’t realize is that mental disease is more difficult to handle and live with than a physical problem. Such kids need more love, support, and understanding.
10. All children exhibit signs of ADHD: This is another misconception as some of the symptoms of ADHD are generally seen in most Kids. But that may be caused by other factors then ADHD.
11. Children with ADHD use it as an excuse for their behavior: It is a mental disease and beyond one’s control. The symptoms exhibited cannot be controlled by the child.
12. It can be diagnosed in a doctor’s clinic: A one-time clinical diagnosis may not prove that the child suffers from ADHD. An unfamiliar setting can lead the child to withdraw inside and result in a negative report.
Children suffering from ADHD need to be handled with a lot of understanding, love, and care. Parents need to look at their children differently. They need to see beyond the mundane and recognize what special abilities their child has. Academic performance no more is a benchmark to be successful in today’s world. Dr. Kavyal recommends the following to the parents:
1. Keep your child away from gadgets: As parents, we need to be careful to keep our children away from gadgets, the constant video gaming, mobile phone usage, and the never-ending screen time. The more they use it, the more restless their brain will become. The addiction to gadgets changes the brain wave in a way that they can be uncontrollably hyper. And this affects children without ADHD as well.
2. Proper diet and nutrition: Look for a proper meal plan to boost the immunity of the child. A well-nourished body is essential for a healthy brain function too and that can come from a balanced diet. Junking on fast food very often, a diet high on sugar and salt hampers the bodily and mental functions both.
3. The tone of voice matters: How you speak to your kids will affect their behavior for sure. Children with ADHD can be triggered very easily. So as parents your tone of voice does matter. Handle them with patience and love. Deal with them in the right manner.
4. Make the child feel loved: The child’s behavior is beyond its control. Be sensitive. Don’t make the child feel like a culprit or feel left out.
For handling children with ADHD, a synergy between parents, teachers and the school authorities is very important. Let the child feel loved for being different in a special way. After all, each child is unique and a gift from the Almighty.