Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that can afflict children and adults. People suffering from ADHD have symptoms such as:
1) Poor concentration and attention span
2) Poor memory
3) Impulsiveness - the trait of doing things without thinking first
4) Easily frustrated - because of poor concentration and memory when they cannot remember things, they get frustrated. This causes behavioral patterns like temper tantrums and outbursts
The above traits are also shown by people who are not ADHD. Because of ADHD, children suffer in various activities in and out of school. They have to face problems and failures in various areas like:
a) at school (completing homework, paying attention in class, daydreaming, losing homework, talking out loud, disruptiveness, etc.),
b) at home (not able to finish chores, are clumsy, argue constantly siblings, etc)
c) social activities and skills such as tolerance, temper and aggression control, practical jokes on others etc.
It is not accurate to include ADHD as an injury or a disease as its onset is not germ dependent or any physical malfunction. This comes only as a result of part of the brain not working correctly.
What is clear is that ADHD does run in families and is at least partially genetic - often a parent has the same symptoms. Also clear is that the symptoms, and problems, are not short term. They are not going to go away or be cured overnight, but are almost certainly to continue through into adolescence, and probably adulthood.
HOW IS ADHD MANAGED?
What bothers children suffering from ADHD is the fear of long term issues and complications. For example:
a) fear of failure at school, leading to school drop out
b) constantly in trouble due to their behavior
c) may turn to things like drugs, crime, and drink because of their persistent failures
These fears are what bother ADHD children and these factors often influence their attitude and social abilities in adulthood.
What cannot be cured has to be managed. Since the management process is long term, the only ones who can ensure it gets implemented are the parents. The parents who live with the child, understand his needs, are the people who are concerned with the well-being of the child. They are the ones who need to take a proactive stance in treatment management. Unless parents themselves control the process, all the hard work shall be in vain. It is when parents take an active role that the work of others have an effect. Some components of effective management of ADHD are:
COMMITTED PARENTS who will work for the best interests of their child. There is much information, including books and videos, on ADHD and how to help your child - borrow them, buy them, read them, and become informed. But remember there is also a lot of false information, so show what you read with your support group and pediatrician.
GOOD COMMUNICATION is essential between parents, support groups and the teachers. If all three groups care to share observations and solve particular problems it will be most beneficial for the child.
ADJUSTMENTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT. Children with ADHD do best in a quiet, calm, structured, low-stimulation environment and poorly in chaotic situations. As a family you may want to find ways to reorganize so that it is less hectic for everyone. At school the teachers will be doing the same, and it is best if the two can be coordinated.
CLEAR BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT STRATEGY Children with ADHD have to be given clear and exact instructions and expectations. If they are clear on the reward and punishment system then they will adjust accordingly. The support or the social worker can help you plan a customized behavioral management program to help your child.
PARENTAL SUPPORT. Since getting along with your child and bringing them up takes a lot of effort , the parents themselves are prone to depression and separation. To avoid divorce and to maintain harmony, it is advisable for parents themselves to seek assistance from parent support groups, training groups, respite care, marital counseling, family therapy and similar support groups.
MEDICATION for ADHD should be such that reduces the symptoms but still gives the child the opportunity to learn academic, social, and other life skills. ADHD patients are given many medicines; most of these are stimulants or methylphenidates. The aim here should be to get the correct medicine in the right dosage.
The correct management has to be ultimately determined by the parents themselves. Healthcare professionals can only advise and guide. But don't forget that they can assist you when stuck and can help you in implementing your ADHD management plan.