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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD
It's quite normal for parents to feel their toddler is wearing them out sometimes. But there's healthy, energetic behaviour and then there's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.....

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects 3 times more boys than girls and is a syndrome that affects babies, children and adults to varying degrees. One of the classic signs is a child who's driven by an apparently endless source of energy, day and night.

Some Symptoms of ADHD

Bullet Clumsy and accident prone
Bullet Poor concentration
Bullet Uncooperative and aggressive behaviour
Bullet Normal or high intelligence
Bullet Unable to concentrate for any amount of time

ADHD in its most severe form can be exhausting for parents . Mum and Dad often isolated by their child's disability. Their children create havoc wherever they go and they are not welcome at nursery school, playgroups or as playmates so invitations to 'go and play' are not forthcoming!

If you think your child has ADHD, the best thing to do is to talk to your GP. Medication isn't usually the answer and anyway it's rarely given to children under 3. Some parents have been helped by changing their child's diet and this is definitely worth looking into. Without doubt, it's a good idea to ask your GP to put you in contact with support groups. It usually helps to share experiences with other parents with similar problems. The Hyperactive Children's Support Group can put you in touch with a local group if one exists.

Just like other children, a hyperactive toddler needs a clear routine. Children with ADHD are naturally disorganised so you need to compensate for this by being very organised yourself. Structuring his day is important, so try not to vary the routine and keep unexpected events to a minimum.

When your child oversteps the mark and you need to discipline him try to concentrate on only 1 or 2 aspects of his behaviour. He has an attention span of zero, so anything you try to tell him must be concise and very clear. Generally you will need to repeat things a couple of times. It will be easier for him to take in instructions if you keep background noise in the house to a minimum. Eye contact is crucial and it is essential that you stay calm and never smack or hit him. If you feel you can't cope step back and do something else for a minute or so.

It's a good idea to keep the atmosphere at home calm and keep tension to a minimum. Your child will react badly to a tense atmosphere even if it doesn't last for very long. Avoid unnecessary trouble and toddler-proof your house. He will want to touch everything in sight and is more clumsy than everyone else so put things you don't want him to touch out of reach. Children with ADHD are often very sensitive and constantly saying 'no' will only damage his self-esteem and make him feel even more frustrated.

He needs more love, praise and attention than the average toddler as his disruptive behaviour may make him feel isolated and unloved. ADHD is often accompanied by other learning disorders, like dyslexia and dyspraxia. He may feel very frustrated and is likely to underachieve so you should do all you can to build up his self-confidence. If you do have a child with ADHD then it's important for the whole family's sake for you to try to take time to recharge your batteries. Looking after a hyperactive child is exhausting and can take over your life. A hyperactive child takes its toll on all relationships within the family. Do your best to go out without your child at least once a week. Make time for your partner too and most importantly, remember to make time for your other children.

March 2008

More..... Family | Parenting

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