What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome - Know ADHD Types, Impacts in Children
Created by Dr Himani Narula Khanna Updated on Aug 21, 2018
We keep hearing about ADHD and some of us would probably be acquainted with it as well, but then do we truly understand the disorder? Dr. Himani Khanna, Developmental Pediatrician at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon, shares with us some basics of ADHD.
Toddlers are known to be tough to handle. After all, they don’t call it the ‘terrible twos’ for nothing! However, if you do notice your little one being too cranky, fussy or breaking rules too often at home, it's not something you must let go. These are not just signs of misbehavior mommies! There could be more. You child might be signaling a condition called ADHD.
What is ADHD Syndrome?
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome is a behavioral disorder associated with the brain, and is known to affect school-going children. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/syndrome is a chronic condition that affects many children and teens and often continues to adulthood. We all know kids who can’t sit still, blurt out anything that comes to their mind, and cannot focus at one thing either in school or at home. These sign are normal for a child but sometimes inattentiveness, hyperactivity etc. can also be the signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/ syndrome.
3 Types of ADHD in Children
- Inattentive- formally known as Attention deficit disorder (ADD) a child cannot stay focused on a given task; do not seem to listen etc.
- Hyperactive- child is hyperactive and impulsive.
- Combined-shows both inattentive and hyperactive behaviour.
What Causes ADHD Syndrome?
While there are several factors linked to ADHD syndrome, an exact cause has not been pinned down. There are genetic and environmental considerations to take into account.
- Environmental factors: Several factors such as a lower than average birth weight, complications during pregnancy and delivery, toxins like alcohol, and early deprivation, can possibly contribute to ADHD.
- Genetic factors: Research has shown a strong genetic link to ADHD. Children or siblings of someone with ADHD are three to five times more at risk of developing ADHD.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD Syndrome?
Lack of attention, poor control of impulse, reduced self-inhibitory abilities, physically over active and being restless for most part of the time, are some symptoms of ADHD.
Data suggests that about 9% of school-age children display symptoms of ADHD.
Note: If a child shows any of the following symptoms over an extended period, he needs immediate attention:
- Gets distracted very quickly
- Has trouble focusing on a task for a reasonable duration.
- Unable to take care of details, resulting in errors often
- Unable to finish a task with instructions
- Unable to care for personal belongings
- Has trouble with routine and organized tasks
- Trouble with starting challenging activities
- Appears distracted when being spoken to
- Is fidgety and keeps moving restlessly.
- Talks too much even when not required to speak
- Replies even before a question is finished.
- Is physically overactive when it is inappropriate
Does A Child Have ADHD Or Is He Just Super Active?
If you see any of the red flags mentioned above, the child needs to be seen by a Developmental Pediatrician. With the help of certain developmental tools and questions, the doctor will be able to identify if the child is just very active, or has ADHD.
What Is The Impact Of ADHD On A Child?
In addition to affecting academic performance, ADHD can also affect close inter-personal relationships. A child with ADHD can also end up with low self-esteem.
How Can Parents Help A Child With ADHD?
As soon as any of the red-flag symptoms are observed, parents must consult a Developmental Pediatrician. Diagnosing ADHD early means beginning behavioral therapy sooner. Through role-play and example setting, teach your child with patience and kindness. Reinforce positive behavior, and remember that your child needs you on his side always! Here are some tips for parents with a child with ADHD.
- For very young children aged 4 or 5 years, behavioral therapy can be very effective
- For children between ages 6–11, and for pre-teens and teens (up to 18 years of age) a combination of medicines and therapy works well
- Plan well for your child: Anticipating potential disasters because of routine going haywire can really help your child, and you!
- Compassion and patience: While patience is key to any child, an ADHD child needs that much more from you
- Self-care: Maintaining a good diet and exercise routine yourself will give you the energy you need to keep up with your child
- The importance of routine: Have a consistent routine when it comes to work and play for your child. Use timetables or planners to help plan each activity
- Rules: Write down rules and consequences for your child. Explain the reason for these rules (to an older child), and reinforce positively whenever your child doesn’t do something out of bounds
- Encourage sports: A sport like a basketball that needs constant motion is great to expend that energy. Also encourage slow activities like yoga, which help develop control of the mind
- Diet: A balanced diet with fruits and veggies and cutting out junk to a bare minimum, is extremely important
- Consider getting a pet: Pets can help a child with emotional development
Also Read : ADHD Treatment Options for Toddler
Happy Parenting !