Dr. Noel Swanson 
Article Title
What is ADHD and How Do You Manage it? 
Posted Date

There are some children who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The symptoms exhibited by these children are:

  • Poor concentration and attention span
  • Poor memory
  • Impulsiveness - the trait of doing things without thinking first
  • Easily frustrated - because of poor concentration and memory when they cannot remember things, they get frustrated.

This causes behavioral patterns like temper tantrums and outbursts Of course all children (and adults) show difficulties such as these at various times. For the child with ADHD, however, these difficulties are so great that they have experienced failures in various areas such as

  • At school (they are not able to pay attention or finish their work in time or they can be disruptive and destructive in class, may be talking excessively in the class )
  • Participating in healthy activities at home such as getting chores finished, maintaining cordial relations with siblings, maintaining a modicum of efficiency and getting things done on time.
  • Socially (unable to take turns or wait in line, bossy and overbearing, easily frustrated leading to temper outbursts and aggression, impulsive, so often in trouble for doing antisocial actions e.g. unwise "practical jokes").

ADHD is not a malfunction of any body part as it is in conditions like asthma or diabetes. This condition of ADHD happens because parts of brain are not working at full efficiency ADHD can be called a hereditary condition, where parents and children show similar symptoms. The symptoms and the ADHD condition does not go away in short span of time and takes a long time to get under control. Sometimes children suffer from ADHD through their teens into their adulthood also.

How is ADHD managed?

Children suffering from ADHD can get long term complications which may run into their adulthood as well. These complications could be: a) Their fear of failure at school owing to poor concentration, leading to school drop out b) Are constantly in trouble because of their impulsive behavior c) may turn to social ills like drugs, crime, drink because of their constant failures. All of these may then have long term implications even into adulthood. Effective management of ADHD starts at home. Parents have to be very patient and give their best to their child. The treatment of ADHD is very long, but it has to be given to the child so that he is a better adjusted adult. The goal is to prevent those long term compliations. Since you as the parent know your child the best, it is you who will have to take an active part in the management of his ADHD.

An effective ADHD management program should include the following components:

COMMITTED PARENTS who are ready to support their child in full. Through the information available to the parents through the books, videos, Cds and internet, the parents should be able to help their ADHD afflicted child. A word of caution here is that along with all the information, there is a lot of mis-information also available on the net and other sources. This skewed information might cause a problem in understanding the condition of ADHD. There is no magic cure available for ADHD, anybody who claims to have a magic cure is lying!

GOOD COMMUNICATION is very essential between parents, support groups and the school teachers. If all three groups care to communicate and solve particular problems it will be beneficial for the child.

It is a known fact that children with ADHD do better in ORGANIZED, quiet and structured and low stimulation ENVIRONMENT, but become worse in chaotic, unorganized and busy homes and classrooms. As a loving parent and a well wisher you will want the child to be better adjusted. Hence it will be a good idea to reorganize your home so that it keeps the child with ADHD calm and less stressful. And if the same can also be done in the school for the ADHD children, then it will help these children to be better adjusted in life.

CLEAR BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT STRATEGY. These children respond best to very clear expectations of behavior, and very clear rewards and punishments - with rewards being more frequent than punishments. If you are having difficulty in doing this at home you may want to talk about some strategies with your key worker.

SUPPORT FOR THE PARENTS.These children are hard work - even for the best of parents. This often produces a lot of stress. Often this can lead to marital breakdowns and parents getting depressed themselves. To prevent this you may need to consider getting help for yourselves - parent support groups, parent training groups, respite care, marital counseling, family therapy are all possible resources.

MEDICATION. While there is no medicinal cure for this affliction, medicines do help in reducing the symptoms. If these symptoms are reduced, the child gets an opportunity to learn social behavior, academic knowledge and other skills. Medication is not a cure, but can be an invaluable help. To ensure that the right medicine and in the correct dosage is provided, you would need to consult a professional worker. ADHD patients are given various medicines. Most of these are stimulants and a new rage is a medicine called atomoxetine. This is a new medicine for ADHD and is seen to be working very well and with negligible side effects. More information on this new wonder drug could be sought from the doctor.

Health professional can only help the parents solve particular problems of your child, but they can not bring up your child for you. They will also help you clear your doubts on how to handle certain situations. It is very important for you as a family to learn about the ADHD so that you are able to bring up the child in least stressful environment. The more you learn the better it is for the child and the family as a whole.

If you are needing any help with your children go look at Dr. Noel Swanson's informative website on parenting
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