I was watching the twins yesterday and one of them was bouncing around. She went from one place to another trailing chaos behind her. One minute she was pushing her sister then she was trying to climb the book case, scattering books across the floor as she went, then she was jumping and bouncing around like a miniature Tigger and then she was screaming on the floor because she wanted a toy her twin was playing with. It was exhausting watching her and for a moment I wondered whether her pent up energy was a sign of ADHD. I’m sure it’s a question many parents ask themselves. The term has become part of our common usage yet it is often not understood.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be called ADHD or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) although the correct medical term is ADHD. Children with ADHD are hyperactive – they will do something without thinking about thinking about the consequences and find it difficult to concentrate. It is a common behavioural disorder which is slightly more frequent in boys although it is not clear at this point why that is. The thing is most children at some point will show these behavioural characteristics, especially when they are very young. The difference is that children with ADHD are like this for longer periods of time and wherever they go. My daughter will run around like a wild thing but if you give her a colouring book will sit for hours drawing with rapt attention.
There are two types of ADHD. A hyperactive type whois always moving and fidgeting, finds it difficult to sit still and to wait patiently and take turns. Then there is the inattentive type who finds it hard to follow instructions and keep organised, is forgetful and loses things and struggles to concentrate for more than short amounts of time.
What To Do
The first thing is not to panic or to feel like it is a judgment. ADHD is not a sign of bad parenting. Most people find out about their child’s ADHD through a referral from a teacher and it can feel like a judgement – however it shouldn’t. Although ADHD cannot be cured it can be managed effectively. The first thing is to visit a doctor and get referrals which might include behavioural therapy and/or medication.
Adults With ADHD
Our understanding of ADHD has increased in the last couple of decades and because of this there are more children receiving a diagnosis. However adults with with ADHD will not have had access to any help. The good news is that if you are an adult who thinks they have ADHD you can get advice straight away from places like this site here. It is harder to recognise in adults but once a diagnosis has been made there can be an increase in self esteem and steps can be made to improve work performance and academic skills.