Many have mistaken attention deficit disorder (ADD) as a child simply being bad. However, researchers have identified ADD as a neurological disorder with effective treatment plans.
Some children are more at risk of developing ADD than others. Research shows that there can be genetic influences in the development of the condition and that it is also more prevalent in children with low birth weights, brain injuries, and exposure to environmental toxins while in the womb or after birth.
There are many signs and symptoms of ADD.
Children with ADD can struggle to stand or sit still for long periods. Here you may notice that your child cannot cope with waiting rooms or class assemblies. They may fidget, talk at inappropriate times, or become distracted by something else to cope with the discomfort of having to wait quietly.
When a child has ADD, they may find it challenging to keep their emotions in check. Their impulses can feel overwhelming, which is further compounded by how others respond to them. In younger children, this can look like a temper tantrum.
In older children, this can manifest as a form of anxiety.
Tasks are unfinished
When playing with your child, you might notice they begin another game before finishing the first one. The same can happen while reading to your child. They may want to start a new book before finishing the other one.
Lack of focus
Even when a child with ADD is being spoken to directly, their eyes can wander, and focus becomes split between other activities.
Every child makes mistakes. A child with ADD, however, typically makes more mistakes than does an average child, because the child with ADD struggles to follow instructions as closely. This stems in part from their inability to focus well.
Any attention is good attention
Children with ADD need attention. They can, for example, find it difficult if a teacher is focusing on the whole class rather than them alone. In a sense, any attention is good attention to a child with ADD, and so the behavior can range from excited and energetic to disruptive and destructive.
Interrupting alone is not a sign of ADD, but when combined with some of the symptoms listed above, it is certainly relevant. As mentioned, a child with ADD finds it challenging to wait for long periods and focus on conversations. Therefore, interrupting someone when they are talking is a common consequence.
Trouble in the evenings and at night
Your child might also find it difficult for staying asleep. ADD can cause feelings of hyperactivity, making sleep a less appealing option at the end of the day. Your child might also wake frequently or very early in the morning.
Difficulty sharing and taking turns
Fundamental sharing and turn-taking skills are taught to children from a young age. Children with ADD, however, can take longer to learn these skills or may never develop them at all. If teachers say your child is referred to as selfish or unable to share, then it could be a symptom of ADD.
Perhaps you often hear your child tell you they are bored. Here your child is less able than others to play for long periods and makes his or her way through many different games in a short space of time. Consider becoming highly creative in organizing tasks and activities to help your child improve in this area.
Anxiety and avoidance
Lastly, children with ADD can struggle so much with their symptoms that they become socially anxious and avoid everyday activities. They are more likely to avoid complicated activities like board games that require focus and long waiting times. If your child exhibits anxiety, then take them to healthcare professionals to have this assessed.
The earlier it is diagnosed, the abler your child will be to cope with these symptoms. Failure to address the issue can result in your child struggling more than others and life-long effects including their relationships, careers, and the ability to interact socially.
Although research is ongoing, there is no magic cure for ADD. There is, however, a combination of medications and behavioral therapies that can make a profound difference in both the short and long term. A child with well-managed ADD will have a better chance of focusing in school, making and keeping friends, and maintaining good relationships and careers throughout their lives.
Take action that makes your child’s life easier. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact ARcare today!