ADD In Children – the facts
Attention Deficit Disorder is a psychological term applied to children who meets diagnostic criteria for impulsivity or inattention. ADD is not a disease but a highly subjective set of behavioral issues which makes it difficult to describe what ADD is in children. Of the characteristics associated with children with ADD, these characteristics MUST be present at home, school, church and at play. Characteristics that are present in school but not at home, for example, may not be ADD. A thorough case history is essential for a proper diagnosis of ADD in children.
Common symptoms of ADD in Children
- fidgeting with hands or feet
- difficulty remaining seated
- being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- difficulty awaiting turn in games or group activities
- blurting out answers before questions are completed
- difficulty in following instructions
- difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- shifting from one incomplete task to another
- talking excessively
- interrupting or intruding on others
- not listening to what is being said
- forgetting things necessary for tasks or activities
- engaging in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences
The idea of a child’s brain being “wired” wrong does not address the impact of a difficulty to learn. The common symptoms can be very misleading since there are various learning styles among children such as auditory, visual and tactile. A child can display like symptoms like being fidgety, bored, distracted or even disruptive in the classroom because his learning style has not been challenged.
How ADD in Children affects your life
Attention Deficit Disorder can have a great effect on a parent’s life and is commonly an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed disorder. ADD can have a negative effect on a child’s self-esteem, resulting in diminished social and mental experiences. As a parent of a child with this disorder, it can be difficult to get them on a routine or to focus and succeed in school. Often times a parent blames themselves, and may feel that it is there fault that their child has been diagnosed with ADD.
Is there a genetic connection to ADD in Children?
ADD tends to run in families. Studies have shown certain genetic connections to ADD that occur with high frequency in families where one or more family member has ADD. Also, if one or both parents have ADD, their children are more likely to develop the condition. At least one-third of all fathers or mothers who had ADD in their youth have children with ADD. These studies do not include non-genetic connections to ADD within families like diet, education levels, family environment or other medically oriented issues that might affect ADD characteristics.
Common Misconceptions about ADD in Children
One misconception about ADD is that the symptoms define the disease. ADD is real however, there are no scientific references, diagnostic tests or lab finding offered to validate the ADD as a traditional “disease” process. Furthermore, there is no evidence of a valid medical diagnosis of ADD based on the “Chemical Imbalance” theory.
- The American Psychiatric Association updates the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual yearly by committee.
- This committee hears testimony from field Psychiatrists who bring to a vote, whether a stated mental disorder like ADD becomes a “named disease process”
Not knowing what the “normal” brain chemical balance should be that separates the ADD child from the non-ADD, research is attempting to unravel misconceptions by investigating the causes of the inappropriate use of neurotransmitter triggers rather than the chemical balance itself.
Are there Structural Differences in the brain affecting ADD
Not all of those affected with ADD have low levels of certain neurotransmitters, and this has lead researchers to theorize that varying brain structural differences may have some effect on ADD. The forebrain is the part of the brain that controls thoughts, behavior, and emotions. It controls the ability to reason, make decisions, and solve problems. A part of the forebrain, the frontal lobe, is most involved with judgment, behavior, memory, and motivation. Preliminary research into this theory has shown that a small percentage of children with ADD have fore-brains about 10% smaller than those who do not have this disorder.
Tips for Children
Here are a few tips to help your child live successfully with this disorder. These are excellent things to work on with their ADD coach.
- Improve Their Self-Talk
- Increase Their Personal Awareness
- Create Systems and Structure to Make Their Life Run More Easily
- Have Them Exercise Regularly
- Feed Them a Healthy Balanced Diet
- Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep.
- Have Them Work with an ADD skills coach