Wandering minds and whispering bodies
An 8 years old boy named Jeet, studying in 3rd grade, is facing difficulties maintaining his attention seems to be driven by a motor, is always fidgety. His teachers and parents report that he cannot sit for long at one place always seeks novelty and is always on the go. He fails to think before acting or saying anything. On the other hand he is caring, and sensitive and tends to pretend him as if he knows everything. Sometimes he tends to be aggressive, hostile but not cruel especially at home.
A child like Jeet is said to be experiencing most of the symptoms Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) together. These children may perform extremely well on academic tasks if they are attentive, but a lot of them also seem to have learning difficulties.
Their IQs are in the range of average- above average. Such children also struggle in social interactions. It’s normal for children to get distracted or be forgetful, but if these signs are elevated and frequent, the child should definitely be given help. All children with ADHD do not have all the symptoms, some might be only inattentive, and a few could be hyperactive, while some may show impulsivity. Very few children show two or all the three aspects of ADHD.
Recognizing ADHD: Because we expect young children to be easily destructible and hyperactive, it is the impulsive behaviors i.e. the dangerous climb, the blurted insult that often stands out in preschoolers with ADD/ADHD.
By age four or five, though, most children have learned how to pay attention to others, to sit quietly when instructed to, and not to say everything that pops into their heads. So by the time children reach school age, those with ADD/ADHD stand out in all three behaviors: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
It isn’t that children with ADD/ADHD can’t pay attention: when they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they’re interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. But when the task is repetitive or boring, they quickly tune out.
Although there are some challenges in dealing with kids with ADHD, they show remarkable positive traits like creativity, abstract thinking, enthusiasm, energy and drive, spontaneity, flexibility in thinking etc.
Immediate referral to the professional is beneficial in improving their distress. The treatment has to be comprehensive which may include a drug therapy, behavior therapy, family counseling, psycho-social management etc. With that appropriate diet, sleep, exercise, modification of the environment also should be implemented.
If your child is hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive, it may take a lot of energy to get him or her to listen, finish a task, or sit still. The constant monitoring can be frustrating and exhausting. So parents and family members need to stay healthy and positive themselves. Parents need to have a structure chalked out with proper time-activity schedules. Use of timers, stopwatches, behavior charts, creative a less distractive environment would help the child maintain his attention and behavior.
Children with ADHD need an energy outlet in the form of active outdoor play or sport. Apart from that, they need to be kept constructively busy in tasks like helping you cook, playing a board game with a sibling, or drawing a picture. Try not to over-rely on the television or computer/video games as time-fillers.
Clear expectations and rules need to be explained to them. Appropriate diet and enough sleep is of utmost importance. For social interactions, teaching them appropriate behavior is the first thing a parent can teach/model. Children with ADD/ADHD need structure, consistency, clear communication, and rewards and consequences for their behavior. They also need lots of love, support, and encouragement.
Even though some children have wandering minds with whispering bodies, if dealt with patience and tailor made intervention plan, they can make wonders with the abilities they have.