ADHD Frequently Asked Questions
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a condition where you have lots of energy and have difficulty concentrating. You might also find it hard to control what you say and do. For example, you might speak without thinking first, or find that you do things on impulse.
Symptoms usually start very early life, before the age of six. We don't know exactly what causes ADHD but experts think it might run in families, or it could be to do with the way the chemicals in your brain work. But you might start to experience ADHD-like symptoms if you’ve had a difficult experience.
Another condition called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) has similar symptoms to ADHD, but you don’t feel as hyperactive. For people with ADD, the main problem they have is difficulty concentrating.
What are some of the symptoms of ADHD?
Some symptoms of an ADHD child may include but not limited to:
Feeling restless or fidgety
Talking a lot and interrupting others
Becoming easily distracted
Finding it hard to concentrate
Saying or doing things without thinking
If you experience any of these symptoms above, it doesn’t mean you definitely have ADHD. But if any of them are affecting your everyday life, you should do something about it.
What to do if I feel my child has ADHD?
Talk to someone experienced who has dealt with ADHD. This could be a teacher, a relative, a counsellor or one of your friends.
You can talk to a doctor or a psychologist. Tell them how you’re feeling and they can suggest ways to help.
You don’t need to do a test to find out if you have ADHD. Instead, you’ll talk to an expert such as a psychologist or specialist paediatrician to find out the best way to help.
How can ADHD be treated?
There are various types of treatment that can help you deal with ADHD, from medication, therapy sessions, counselling, education support. Having a Special Education Needs teacher can help the child with learning challenges.
Does ADHD affect the academics of a child?
Studies found that students with ADHD, compared to students without ADHD, had persistent academic difficulties that resulted in the following: lower average marks, more failed grades, more expulsions, increased dropout rates, and a lower rate of college undergraduate completion. ADHD's core symptoms—inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity—make meeting the daily rigours of school challenging.
What causes ADHD?
Some of the causes of ADHD are:
Brain anatomy and function. A lower level of activity in the parts of the brain that control attention and activity level may be associated with ADHD.
Genes and heredity. ADHD frequently runs in families. A child with ADHD has a 1 in 4 chance of having a parent with ADHD. It’s also likely that another close family member, such as a sibling, will also have ADHD. Sometimes, ADHD is diagnosed in a parent at the same time it is diagnosed in the child. See Inheriting Mental Disorders.
Significant head injuries may cause ADHD in some cases.
Prematurity increases the risk of developing ADHD.
Prenatal exposures, such as alcohol or nicotine from smoking, increase the risk of developing ADHD.
In very rare cases, toxins in the environment may lead to ADHD. For instance, lead in the body can affect child development and behaviour.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
If you're worried about your child, it may help to speak to their teachers, before seeing a doctor, to find out if they have any concerns about your child's behaviour.
Your psychologist or Special Education Needs teacher might want to discuss with you the following:
about your symptoms or those of your child
when these symptoms started
where the symptoms occur – for example, at home or in school
whether the symptoms affect your or your child's day-to-day life – for example, if they make socialising difficult
if there have been any recent significant events in your or your child's life, such as a death or divorce in the family
if there's a family history of ADHD
about any other problems or symptoms of different health conditions you or your child may have
Is there a “cure” for ADHD?
There are medications and therapies available to help with ADHD, though there is no guaranteed cure. The following therapies are normally seen to help with ADHD.
Psychoeducation means you or your child will be encouraged to discuss ADHD and its effects. It can help children, teenagers and adults make sense of being diagnosed with ADHD, and can help you to cope and live with the condition.
Behaviour therapy provides support for carers of children with ADHD and may involve teachers as well as parents. Behaviour therapy usually involves behaviour management, which uses a system of rewards to encourage your child to try to control their ADHD.
If your child has ADHD, you can identify types of behaviour you want to encourage, such as sitting at the table to eat. Your child is then given some sort of small reward for good behaviour and has a privilege removed for poor behaviour.
For teachers, behaviour management involves learning how to plan and structure activities, and to praise and encourage children for even very small amounts of progress.
Parent training and education programmes
If your child has ADHD, specially tailored parent training and education programmes can help you learn specific ways of talking to your child, and playing and working with them to improve their attention and behaviour.
Can ADHD lead to my child unable to copy from the board in his class?
Yes, for many children with ADHD, their minds race, hence they are unable to copy from the board in the class or anywhere for that mater. You may find that they are better at writing down if dictated.
What should I ask the teacher to do in the class for my ADHD child?
In an inclusive classroom, there can be options for differentiated learning such as providing notes to the child instead of having him to copy from the board or provide audio based resources. Also, providing a structure to the course if very important so that they can learn at their own pace.
Are there accommodations available for board examinations for ADHD child?
All boards provide some kind of accommodations for a child with learning difficulties. Based on the needs of the particular child, you can speak to a psychologist to perform a Psych - Ed assessment, speak to a Special Needs teacher for the accommodations available and to the education institution to provide differentiated learning which will enable the child to be ready for board examinations.
How can I start to get help and where do I go to get help?
Present concerns to your child’s physician or teachers or contact us. We have global experience of working with children who have Special Education Needs.
What type of academic programme should I enroll my child for ADHD?
Plan ahead. You can arrange to speak with school officials or teachers before the school year even begins. If the year has started, plan to speak with a teacher or counselor on at least a monthly basis.
Make meetings happen. Agree on a time that works for both you and your child’s teacher and stick to it. If it’s convenient, meet in your child’s classroom so you can get a sense of your child’s physical learning environment.
Create goals together. Discuss your hopes for your child’s school success. Together, write down specific and realistic goals and talk about how to help your child reach them.
Listen carefully. Like you, your child’s teacher wants to see your child succeed at school. Listen to what they have to say—even if it is sometimes hard to hear. Understanding your child’s challenges in school is the key to finding solutions that work.
Share information. You know your child’s history, and your child’s teacher sees them every day: together you have a lot of information that can lead to better understanding of your child’s hardships. Share your observations freely, and encourage your child’s teachers to do the same.
Ask the hard questions and give a complete picture. Be sure to list any medications your child takes and explain any other treatments. Share with your child’s teacher which tactics work well—and which don’t—for your child at home. Ask if your child is having any problems in school, including on the playground. Find out if your child is eligible for any special services to help with learning.
Developing and using a behavior plan
Children with ADD/ADHD are capable of appropriate classroom behavior, but they need structure and clear expectations in order to keep their symptoms in check. As a parent, you can help by developing a behavior plan for your child—and sticking to it. Whatever type of behavior plan you decide to implement, create it in close collaboration with your child’s teacher and your child.
Kids with attention deficit disorder respond best to specific goals and daily positive reinforcement—as well as worthwhile rewards. Yes, you may have to hang a carrot on a stick to motivate your child to behave better in class. Create a plan that incorporates small rewards for small victories and larger rewards for bigger accomplishments.
How long will my child need therapy for ADHD?
This is a difficult question to answer since everyone develops and learns at his/her own pace. You are best advised to talk with your professional about duration of therapy and how your child is responding to intervention and achieving goals. The professional will provide you with an update of prgoress based on data from the therapy sessions.
Depending on your child's age, grade, success in school, interests and desires, etc., the amount of therapy could vary. Intensive sessions may be the best way to learn a new set of skills, and then perhaps a period of less intensity for monitoring the use of those new skills. Once new skills are mastered and your child is meeting with success, the clinician may recommend taking a break.
We know that language, reading, and writing demands change as we age, and particularly while your child advances through school. Therefore, the need for therapy changes. A skilled clinician can help you balance the amount and type of therapy your child needs.
Are there any tips for managing ADHD in a classroom?
Helping kids who distract easily involves physical placement, increased movement, and breaking long stretches of work into shorter chunks.
Seat the child with ADHD away from doors and windows. Put pets in another room or a corner while the student is working.
Alternate seated activities with those that allow the child to move their body around the room. Whenever possible, incorporate physical movement into lessons.
Write important information down where the child can easily read and reference it. Remind the student where the information is located.
Divide big assignments into smaller ones, and allow children frequent breaks.
How do I manage impulsivity for my ADHD child?
Children with ADHD may act before thinking, creating difficult social situations in addition to problems in the classroom. Kids who have trouble with impulse control may come off as aggressive or unruly. This is perhaps the most disruptive symptom of ADHD, particularly at school.
Methods for managing impulsivity include behavior plans, immediate discipline for infractions, and a plan for giving children with ADHD a sense of control over their day.
Make sure a written behavior plan is near the student. You can even tape it to the wall or the child’s desk.
Give consequences immediately following misbehavior. Be specific in your explanation, making sure the child knows how they misbehaved.
Recognize good behavior out loud. Be specific in your praise, making sure the child knows what they did right.
Write the schedule for the day on the board or on a piece of paper and cross off each item as it is completed. Children with impulse problems may gain a sense of control and feel calmer when they know what to expect.