Learning More About Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in Children

Introduction

When describing her step-son, Michelle explained that he wasn’t like most kids who’d sit still in their seat and follow directions during class. Chase, then in kindergarten, would instead be getting time outs and getting into trouble because he couldn’t control himself. Sometimes he would even become aggressive to other children and hit them. Michelle defined it as devastating when Chase was finally suspended from Kindergarten. Although he just seem rambunctious at the time, Chase was later diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD (Lite, 2013).

A smiling child sits in a green tree, looking up, on Lopez Island

Since 2003, the number of children ages 4-17 in the U.S. diagnosed with ADHD has increased from 7.8% to 11% in 2017 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). This means about 6.4 million children in the U.S. struggle with sustained attention, constant fidgeting and restlessness, and impulsive behavior (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). This post provides a summary of ADHD, its defining characterizes and personal stories and examples of those diagnosed with it.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is defined as a condition where a person has difficulty focusing their attention for long periods of time or on one idea at a time. They often struggle with controlling their behavior and have increased body movement which makes them fidget and become restless. ADHD can often result in poor performance in educational, social, or work settings. This disorder is typically diagnosed by a doctor during childhood, but symptoms can persist and at times remain undiagnosed until adulthood.

PONDER QUESTION:

In what ways have you or someone you know struggled with ADHD?

CHECK IT OUT:

Thomas E. Brown, PhD introduces ADHD and gives some fundamental notes in this video by Understood for Learning and Attention Issues (a comprehensive resource for parents of kids with learning and attention issues).

 

How do People Diagnosed with ADHD Explain it?

ADHD Collective is a website geared towards coaching and helping adults and students with ADHD. In June of this year they prompted individuals who are diagnosed with ADHD to comment what it feels like as well as pulling pervious social media posts concerning it; the response was overwhelming. One commenter described it has having multiple TVs turned on all the time in their head. Another named Liz said “My head is full of post it notes and they’re all face down on the floor of my brain” (Muller, A., Muller, M., 2017). One featured comment of the post stated “Sometime I have this thing (think of my brain as a computer) it’s like someone tried to run a whole bunch of different programs all at once and the computer froze which really sucks because the only [way] to completely ‘unfreeze’ my brain is to ‘restart’ it (aka go to sleep) so for the rest of the day my brain is pretty much shut down and I can only handle simple things for the rest of the day…” Other commentors described ADHD as having several tabs open in their brain all the time, understeering a car and having to overcorrect, or a spinning beach ball constantly in their head (Muller et al., 2017).

Because people diagnosed with ADHD struggle to focus they often will make mistakes or not pay attention to details in their schoolwork or other settings. They may seem like they are not listening (especially in group settings), struggle with following instructions or be generally unorganized. Since children with ADHD often don’t notice details they may misplace things for school, misjudge their time and be late, or may be easily distracted by unimportant sights, sounds, smells, or other thoughts  instead of working on a task (Rosenblum, S., Frisch, C., Deutsh-Castel, T., & Josman, N., 2015).

CHECK IT OUT:

Young Youtuber Charlotte explains what it’s like for her being diagnosed with ADHD.

PONDER QUESTION:

How do you or someone you know relate to some of the example shared? What might you add to what has already been shared?

 

ADHD and Children

In their book Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children, Adolescents, and Adults Paul Wender and David Tomb say that when parents start to research more concerning ADHD, they often may think that all of their children display traits associated with ADHD. This is considered normal; everyone at times has trouble focusing or is restless. They difference however is when these traits are persistent and consistent in a child and are noticed in several different settings i.e. school, home, activities etc. (Wnder et al., 2016). When young children display signs of ADHD they may rush from one activity to the other or never sit quietly and work through games or puzzles. In social situations children may interrupt others or not listen to someone talking and this may result in fewer friendships. At home instructions are hard to follow and remember so chores are often left undone and bedrooms are messy (Wender et al., 2016).

Embed from Getty Images

When it comes hyperactivity, not all children that struggle with attention struggle with being hyperactive. Most children or very energetic in their play, however children with ADHD struggle to control their movement when they need to, such as classroom settings or at home. Sometimes an increase in clumsiness accompanies ADHD because of a lack of gross motor skills such as running, jumping or swinging and fine motor skills like writing or drawing (Block, 2017).

Wender et al. (2016) also point out that their book should not be used for diagnosis but can be “used by a parent as a ‘screening’ tool, for help in deciding whether a child’s behavior requires evaluation by a specialist” (p. 11). We also support and advise consulting with a doctor concerning diagnosis and treatment.

PONDER QUESTION:

Do you know a child with ADHD? How have they gotten help to handle it?

CHECK IT OUT:

In this video created by My Little Villagers two children are interviewed and asked various questions. One is diagnosed with ADHD and one is not.   

 

FEEDBACK: 

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 References for Lesson 3

Block, R. M., Macdonald, N. P., & Piotrowski, N. P. (2017). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Magill’S Medical Guide (Online Edition).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, October 12). Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Retrieved October 28, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html

Muller, A., Muller, M. (2017, June 24). Discover Exactly What ADHD Feels Like On A Daily Basis. Retrieved October 28, 2017, from http://www.adhdcollective.com/what-does-it-feel-like-to-have-adhd/

National Institute of Mental Health . (2016 , March). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved October 28, 2017, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

Lite, J. (2013, August 21). A real mom’s story: Raising a child with ADHD. Today . Retrieved October 25, 2017, from https://www.today.com/health/real-moms-story-raising-child-adhd-I123149

Wender, Paul H., and David A. Tomb. ADHD : Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children, Adolescents, and Adults, Oxford University Press, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central, .

 

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