ADHD. You don’t have to do this on your own!
It’s almost always the mother and she almost always cries. That’s the scenario when I come into contact with a challenging child for the first time.
It seems that mothers take the brunt of the bad behaviour on a daily basis and are most likely to seek:
a) a diagnosis
However, if we can get the father or other significant adult male involved then it makes the job so much easier, because one of the major strategies with these kids is for everybody in their life to agree on how they are going to be managed. And how can we achieve this when there is so much controversy about ADHD, especially regarding medication? I was in America a few years ago for an ADHD conference and took the time to have a look in the relevant section of a bookshop. Exactly half the books were supportive of the concept of ADHD and the other half were against it. And recently in Sydney, there was an art exhibition called “Ritalin” which displayed naked boys in cages to alert people to the dangers of giving “addictive mind-altering drugs” to children.
But I think all this changes when you actually have a child in your family who is struggling at school and socially, difficult to parent, impulsive, demanding and sometimes dangerous; when you’ve read every book you can on how to be a good parent and nothing seems to work; when you begin to wonder if they will ever make it as an adult in education or employment; when you find you are on edge constantly in social situations in case the child is going to disgrace themselves (and you).
I’ve been there and I understand what parents and teachers are going through.
At Family Doctors we can give you a sympathetic consultation, lots of helpful advice about how to manage difficult kids, where you can go to get help and good balanced information about medication. You don’t have to do this on your own.
What is it?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental problem which results in poor concentration and control of impulses. It can affect children’s learning and social skills, and also family functioning. It is not an illness. With medical treatment, understanding and care, a child with ADHD can live a normal life. About 3-5 of every 100 children in Australia have ADHD. It is much more common in boys than girls.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The diagnosis of ADHD must be made by a trained and experienced health professional, using information from both the family and the school. It is important to make sure the symptoms are not caused by something else, which may need different treatment.
Common signs and symptoms are:
- inattention – difficulty concentrating, forgetting instructions, moving from one task to another without completing anything
- impulsivity – talking over the top of others, losing control of emotions easily, being accident prone
- over activity – constant fidgeting and restlessness
How is it diagnosed?
It is important to remember that all young children have a limited attention span and sometimes do things without thinking. A diagnosis can only be made after a range of information is collected – especially by parents. The symptoms must be obvious in most areas of the child’s life. There is no single test. If you are concerned about your child, see your GP who can arrange a referral to a pediatrician, or child psychiatrist to make the assessment.
When should I seek help?
If you think your child may have ADHD, talk to your GP or other health professional, or your child’s teacher.
KidsLink is another great resource that helps you find local professional services for children & young people.
Does your child need help with:
See more at: www.kidslink.co.nz