ADHD and Children – Strengths, Weaknesses, and School
The story behind ADHD and children is one of self regulation. Put in another way a push and pull struggle for self control. As you may already realize the inability to consistently self regulate behavior can throw up a myriad of roadblocks on the path to achieving ones goals.
It is not unusual for a normal child to occasionally daydream, lose their homework, act impulsively, or get antsy at the dinner table when the Brussel sprouts are served. Hey, Brussel sprouts make me a little nervous as well. But when we are talking about ADHD and children we are talking about more than that occasional case of restlessness.
The primary symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity or restlessness. There is also a long list of secondary symptoms including loss of self esteem and anxiety. The condition appears before the age of 6, and will spill over into adulthood at least half of the time. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder includes aggressive behavior about 45 percent of the time. This condition is at least twice as likely to occur in boys than girls, with many experts suggesting that female ADHD is one of the most under diagnosed, and potentially problematic, undiscovered areas in the ADHD treatment landscape.
ADHD and children – A gift or obstacle
The truth of the matter is it is a little of both. We have all heard a lot about the very real negative aspects of the condition but very rarely hear much about the positive aspects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The positive list would include (but not be limited to) more energy than their peers, better creative skills, more enthusiastic, the gift of spontaneity, and tending to be more flexible not allowing themselves to get stuck in a rut. Many of the greatest minds of our time have had at least a touch of ADHD. Could your child be the next great mind?
ADHD and children – School tips
If all children had attention deficit disorder our schools would be structured much differently. The educators would use more visual teaching aids and break assignments up to small segments. Most homework would be done in class to offset forgetfulness and no classroom distractions would be allowed. But as with so many things when a segment of society account for less than one out of every ten individuals the bulk of the way things work will generally be geared toward the majority.
Reflect for a moment of what is being asked of your child. He or she is being told to sit still, follow instruction to the letter, pay attention, and concentrate. This sound like a list designed especially to make sure ADHD children fail.
While the bar may be high for these children to succeed, it certainly is not out of reach. There are many things both parents and teachers can do to help children with ADD/ADHD flourish in the classroom.
A good place to start is by evaluating your child’s strengths and weaknesses, coming up with a plan for helping them focus more efficiently, stay on track, and behave in a way that at least doesn’t result in disciplinary measures.
One thing I always like to point out is that no one knows your child better than you do, thus no one is really better equipped to come up with a plan to minimize the impact of problematic ADHD symptoms, and maximize their strengths. Set structure, have an open and construction dialogue with their teachers, create a learning environment at home free from distraction, and help them with organizational shortfalls; these just a few ideas as to how parents can help ADHD children to succeed.