How to Handle a Child with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

It is esti­mated that up to 3 percent of the general population is affected by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). ADD is defined as develop-mentally inappropriate inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperac­tivity, and is identified far more frequently in boys than in girls. ADD can appear without hyperactivity—in fact, the child may be quite lethargic—and hence, ADD can be misdiagnosed. ADD usually appears before the age of seven, with about half of all cases appearing before the age of four. Usually ADD is recognized in the classroom when the child starts school. The exact cause has not been identified, but there appear to be both genetic and environmental components.

The course of the disorder is influenced by home and school environments and experiences, life events, stress, and interven­tion and treatment. Many cases are helped by adolescence, due to the increased self-awareness and self-control that come at that age. Sometimes attention deficits continue throughout life, possibly surfacing during periods of stress and excitement. A child with ADD may

  • seem rude, lazy, irresponsible;
  • appear inattentive, careless, noisy, messy;
  • display behavior problems;
  • be aggressive toward other children;
  • be very creative;
  • fight authority;
  • try to control others;
  • be manipulative and demanding;
  • have problems accepting boundaries and limits;
  • be an academic underachiever;
  • have problems completing and organizing his work.

Some findings on ADD include the following:

  • Symptoms of ADD may appear only in some environments; at other times the child may show no symptoms.
  • The child may appear normal in one-on-one situations with an adult.
  • The child may appear normal when sufficiently challenged.
  • The child may appear normal in new or novel situations.
  • ADD may not show up in a clinical testing situation.

Some of the strategies for treating ADD include special edu­cation for the child, including small-group instruction. Educators often have to present such a child with new learning strategies, as well as several learning styles. Family counselling is often recommended, and parents are advised to provide a sta­ble environment, including a calm household and consistent discipline. Parents are encouraged to focus their child’s intellect and emotions on the discovery and pursuit of his own goals and objectives. Parents should encourage their child’s sustained attention on tasks and details of organization.

Often, doctors prescribe the drug Ritalin for a child with ADD. Ritalin is a stimulant that increases concentration span and curbs impulsiveness. As mastery and control come to the child, the medication can be regulated, so the child only takes it as needed. Some of the side effects of Ritalin include insom­nia, decreased appetite, irritability, nervousness, increased heart rate, and abnormal movements.

Some experiments in using neural feedback to treat ADD have also shown success; children with ADD were able to con­trol their own brain-wave patterns.

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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