Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What you don't know about ADHD

I no longer think my first grader has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I think he is just hyperactive! We did a little test to see if he is at risk for ADHD and he is not. I think this new study on ADHD is really interesting and it makes sense when you hear about the misdiagnosis of ADHD. I am also posting an article on the truth about ADHD from Dr. Joy Miller. I did not realize the seriousness of the disorder. She was a great resource for me!

FROM NBC: A new study finds the youngest kids in class are more likely to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder than the oldest.

What's unclear -- is whether those youngest children truly have ADHD or whether they're simply more immature than the older kids -- making it seem like they have a clinical problem. The new research from Michigan State University finds those younger children are 60-percent more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis than their older classmates.

Younger children diagnosed with ADHD were also more likely to use an ADHD medication.

From Dr. Joy Miller:

What do Issac Newton, Pablo Picasso, John F. Kennedy, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Jordon, Winston Churchill, Abe Lincoln, Walt Disney, Van Gogh and Albert Einstein all have in common? Would you believe this famous group all had a disorder called Attention Deficit Disorder. Normally viewed as a negative diagnosis, many famous individuals with the disorder have changed the world with their vision, passion, and talents.

Unfortunately, many people view Attention Deficit Disorder as nothing more than a fad, an excuse for lazy behavior, or a lack of discipline within the home and school environment.
What is the truth about attention deficit disorder?

• Attention deficit disorder is a proven psychological diagnosis which is a hereditary, neurobiological condition causing difficulties with concentration, organizational planning, memory, impulse control, hyperactivity, and distractibility. Generally these symptoms are noticed in early childhood with an onset as young as age 4 or 5. Diagnostically, ADD has been divided into two categories--those who have difficulty with inattention and distractibility, and those who experience difficulty with impulses and hyperactivity.

Many people believe that ADD has become the catch-all for all types of disruptive behaviors in school age children, teens, and even adults. But, the common characteristics are very specific. Following is a list of some of the more common characteristics:
• Difficulty with careless mistakes, not giving close attention to detail.
• Difficulty with follow-through on instructions, often with problems completing projects.
• Tendency to lose things
• Easily distracted by external stimulus and trouble focusing attention
• Mood swings
• Fidgeting and restlessness
• Often creative, intuitive, and highly intelligent
• Sense of insecurity and low-self esteem
• Always “on the go’ or “driven by a motor”
• Forgetfulness
• Impatience or a low tolerance for frustration
• Difficulty with organization
• Family history of ADD, depression, substance abuse, or impulse control

What can we do if we suspect our child has attention deficit disorder? First, it is important to find a professional who specializes in attention deficit disorders. Typically, the professional will assess the client by gathering a history, evaluating of symptoms present, interviewing parents, teachers, or significant others, and through psychological testing. It is important to access a professional evaluation because other conditions may easily be mistaken for an ADD diagnosis. Treatment includes diagnosis, education, structuring, coaching, and the use of medication.

What are some specific things that parents can do if their child has been diagnosed with ADD? The most important thing is to educate yourself about the disorder and methods of treatment. The more you know about the disorder, the more you can do to help with structuring and coaching to enhance your child’s learning. It is important for parents discuss the diagnosis with their child’s teacher. If the school district appears to have resistance to working with your child, it is essential you advocate for changes and assistance. Children with ADD are protected under the law, and school districts are required to provide individualized services as necessary.

Need some tips to help your ADDer?
1. Use praise and feedback to enhance self esteem and performance.
2. Teach organizational skills with the use of schedule books, highlighters, notepads, underlining & outlining, alarm clocks, and computers.
3. Create visual reminders and cues
4. Structure is a key to success. Create lists, reminders and visual cues to enhance performance
5. Give your child responsibility whenever possible
6. Negotiate versus struggling
7. Be specific about any requests or tasks. Use short sentences and be direct about what you want accomplished.
8. Exercise is a key for a balanced lifestyle.
9. Join the local CHADD (Children with Attention Deficit Disorder) group by calling 655-0686.

Children spend the greatest part of their day in schools. What are some specific things schools can do to assist children with ADD?
• arrange for study buddies
• encourage reading aloud
• repeat, repeat, repeat
• use daily progress reports
• watch for “sparkling moments” (creative, spontaneous)
• use computers whenever possible
• teach test-taking
• make a game of things
• break down tasks
• teach tricks for memorization(slogans, rhymes, symbols)

Dr. Joy Miller is an internationally known licensed psychotherapist, professional trainer and author. You can find more articles from Dr. Joy at JoyMiller.com

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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