Find out what the warning signs are for ADHD and how best to tackle it with your child.
Many people still believe that this condition does not exist and that it is just naughty children who have not been brought up right. But in fact research has confirmed it as a genetic condition and one that can continue through into adulthood.
Scientists in 2010 found proof that ADHD cannot be blamed on bad parenting or poor diet but this has still not removed the stigma associated with the condition.
ADHD: THE REALITY
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a medical term used to describe a condition that affects the part of the brain that deals with attention, impulses and concentration. It often leads to problems with learning and behaviour.
A child with ADHD may display some or all of the behaviours listed below however they will be more frequent and more complex than in children of a similar age (who do not have ADHD) and will impact on the child’s social, family and school life.
ADHD is not, as some people suggest, a new health condition, resulting from modern lifestyles and food.
The condition was, in fact, first described in detail in 1902 in a series of lectures at the Royal Society of Medicine by the Paediatrician, Dr George Still – and a paper written as early as 1798 by Dr Alexander Crichton identified all of the essential features of ‘innattentive’ ADHD.
Since 1987 this complex condition has been widely known as ADHD. However, it is also referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or hyperkinetic disorder.
Symptoms may include:
- Fidgeting, restless and constantly on the move
- Impulsive behaviour, unable to wait their turn, shouting out in class
- Inattention, difficulty following instruction , completing a task or sustaining attention
- Easily distracted, often forgetful, social clumsiness, poor coordination
- Mood swings, inability to regulate emotions can lead to aggression
- Difficulty planning and organising themselves, their tasks or their belongings
- Have difficulty managing time
It is estimated that between 3% and 7% of school age children in the UK have ADHD. The UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence, (NICE), suggests that it affects 5% of the school-aged population. ADHD is a long term condition that affects learning and behaviour right through the school years and research suggests that up to two out of three children continue to experience symptoms into adulthood.
Although some people with ADHD can be very successful in life, without identification and proper treatment and support ADHD may have serious consequences.
Long-term effects of ADHD
Undiagnosed or untreated ADHD can have significant long-term impact on a child. Without adequate support and interventions ADHD can result in:
- Under-performance at school and reduced educational achievement
- Mental health problems
- Difficulties in making and sustaining relationships (with peers, teachers and family)
- Difficulties finding and keeping a job
- Criminal behaviour
Early identification of ADHD is critical to ensuring that appropriate interventions can be put in place to adequately support the child through their developing years and help them maximise their potential. Being aware of the condition and why the child exhibits such behaviour can make a huge difference to how the child is treated at home, at school and in social situations. This in turn affects their self-esteem, social and emotional development and ability to fulfil their true potential.
More information on ADHD can be found on http://www.addiss.co.uk/information.htm
- Parents make themselves as knowledgable as they can about their child’s condition
- Parents teach their children about their condition
- Find and attend a local support group (if there isn’t one on your area then find a group for parents of children with mixed disabilities. You will usually find parents who have children with ADHD at these groups)
- Give information to your child’s school.
- Give information to your family and friends.
- Make yourself knowledgable about the Equality Act 2010
- Know your rights
- Know your child’s rights
- Call our helpline for advice or signposting
ADDISS (The National ADHD Information and Support Service) is a registered charity providing information , support and training to parents, teachers and healthcare professionals.