The fact that children are bundles of energy and fidgets, “perpetual motion machines and jumpers” is known to all parents. But for some guys, activity can cross all boundaries. However, ADHD can also present with other symptoms.
There are more and more children with this disorder, and information about it is often not enough. About how to recognize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), why it is dangerous and how to help such children, aif.ru told pediatric neurologist, expert of the non-profit organization Naked Heart Foundation Svyatoslav Dovbnya.
He is spoiled for you!
ADHD should not be confused with spoiledness, laziness, promiscuity or capriciousness, explosive temperament and other character traits. It is a congenital developmental disorder and a medical diagnosis. The syndrome implies difficulties that a person has at an early age, regardless of his motivation, behavior or educational methods, parental attention, etc.
Unlike children who are simply mischievous and unwilling to learn, children with ADHD have a serious lag in any of the areas of development. Only specialists can assess how developed a child’s speech, mathematical skills, large and fine motor skills, social skills (ability to communicate, friendly contacts) and so on. It is possible that the child has no problems with studies, but social functioning is seriously impaired.
At least 6 signs
This syndrome can manifest itself with a whole range of symptoms associated with difficulties in maintaining attention, concentrating on educational and work tasks, impulsivity, hypermobility, etc.
For example, it is difficult for such a child to concentrate on something even for 5 minutes, it may be difficult to calm him down and put him to sleep (especially during the day). At the same time, he often lacks caution and fear of potential dangers, so he is more at risk of injury than others. People with ADHD also have difficulty learning self-care skills that require attention, such as tying shoelaces or buttoning up buttons. For children under 16 years of age, a criterion of six or more signs of the syndrome is used; for patients over 16 years of age, five characteristic symptoms are sufficient, which must be stable over time (lasting more than 6 months constantly) and manifest themselves regardless of the social environment.
The symptoms of ADHD vary from person to person: some have more pronounced attention deficit, some have hyperactivity. Experts distinguish three subtypes of the syndrome: the first is associated with attention problems, the second with hyperactivity and impulsivity, and the third subtype combines both.
high risk syndrome
It is difficult for children with ADHD to study, without adequate help they will not absorb new information well, have problems with academic performance and behavior, conflicts with teachers and classmates. All this can affect the formation of self-esteem and self-esteem in a child, and in some cases cause depression.
Some children with ADHD may have difficulty assessing risk in certain situations and controlling their emotions. They can get a variety of injuries, get into unsafe situations. Peer relationships can be difficult — such children find it difficult to share toys, take turns doing things, play with other children, and simply make and keep friends.
Adolescents with ADHD who do not receive an assistance program are more likely to start smoking, using alcohol and drugs, are more prone to promiscuous sexual relationships, are at risk of accidents, traffic accidents, various kinds of addictions, and conflicts. Therefore, once a child is diagnosed with ADHD, they need to get the right help program.
And although hyperactivity often decreases with age and can practically disappear by the end of adolescence, attention deficit, impulsivity, emotional disturbances do not disappear anywhere. Therefore, if children and adolescents with ADHD do not get help, they will have difficulties at home, at school, and later at work and in their personal lives.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
Let’s make it clear right away that there are no reliable online tests for diagnosing ADHD. If you suspect hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder in your child, contact an experienced psychologist who will conduct observation and interviews with parents and the child, perform a series of tests and, if necessary, refer you to psychiatrists and neurologists for consultation. Before visiting a psychologist, it is worth consulting with kindergarten / school teachers to collect information about the child’s behavior in the classroom and possible learning difficulties.
The first signs of ADHD can be noticed at an early age, around 1-2 years old, but officially the diagnosis is made from 3 years old. Do not be afraid and delay this moment. The sooner a child receives a diagnosis, the sooner they can receive a support program and the more effective it will be.
How to correct
Drug treatment for ADHD is not always prescribed. Before 6 years of age, only behavioral intervention strategies are generally recommended. For help to be successful, it is necessary to involve different specialists: psychologists, teachers, neurologists, psychiatrists. Methods of assistance are selected depending on the individual characteristics of the child and his specific difficulties. A holistic approach that combines cognitive behavioral therapy, parenting education programs and visual support is showing good results, all of which can be used immediately after diagnosis in the youngest children.
The main thing is not to get lost in a huge flow of information and find reliable data. For example, the new season of the Naked Heart Foundation podcast, Inclusion and Life, talks about this syndrome in 8 episodes. Fund experts, as well as psychiatrist Anna Portnova, pediatrician Sergey Butriy and many other experts discuss the myths and facts around this topic, the causes, diagnosis, treatment methods and personal experiences of people with ADHD.