What is ADHD and Can it Be Treated?
You have probably heard of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. It’s the most common behavioural disorder: Estimates say roughly 6% of children in the UK have ADHD, with three times more boys than girls being diagnosed.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is defined by challenging behaviour such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. There are three subtypes: Children with the inattention subtype are easily distracted and have difficulty paying attention. Those with the hyperactive-compulsive subtype are high-energy, fidgety, impulsive and may have difficulty controlling their behaviour. If a child shows both sets of symptoms, they are described as having a mixed subtype. Symptoms of ADHD can show from around 18-months’ but often they are only noticed when a child starts school.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
Yours child may have ADHD if they:
- Are easily distracted and unable to pay attention
- Are unable to sit still/constantly fidgeting
- Are forgetful and poorly organised
- Lose concentration and focus quickly
- Have difficulties following instructions
- Constantly move from activity to activity without completing anything
- Talk constantly and quickly
- Are impatient and unable to wait their turn
- Show no awareness of dangers and often act impulsively
What causes ADHD?
The exact cause for ADHD is unknown but it does tend to run in families: A child with ADHD has a one-in-four chance of having a parent with ADHD. Brain-imaging studies have shown differences in brain ‘wiring’ between children with ADHD and those without: In children with ADHD development of the areas of the brain that control communication and executive function (which allows us to show self-control) is often delayed. Other factors that have been found to potentially play a part include; smoking or alcohol abuse during pregnancy; low birth weightor premature birth (before 37 weeks); epilepsy and other forms of brain damage. It is important to note that ADHD is not a condition that is linked to intellect, however it is more commonly seen in children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.
How do you treat ADHD?
ADHD is not a condition that can be cured and left alone it won’t just go away: However with appropriate treatment the symptoms can improve. It is important to remember that children with ADHD may find it very difficult to control their behaviour and they are not ‘just being naughty’. If parents, carers and teachers develop knowledge of the disorder they can therefore support those children through interventions, assistive technology, help with sensory processing, social skills therapy, cognitive behavioural therapies and if necessary, medication.
Can MSTC diagnose my child with ADHD?
If you or your child’s teacher think your child may have ADHD the first port of call should be your GP. They will be able to refer your child to a specialist who can formally diagnose ADHD. This may be a child psychiatrist, paediatrician, learning disability specialist or occupational therapist. Here at MSTC we don’t diagnose ADHD, but we do work with a lot of children who have the condition and we know how it affects them and the impact it can have on their families. Often children who have ADHD struggle at school and parents can find their behaviour a challenge, but the therapies that we offer at the MSTC can make a real difference to family life and a child’s confidence and achievement levels.
If you’re concerned about your child, or you have a diagnosis and are wondering about next steps, call Kat or Hayley for a chat today: 01206 911974.