ADHD? What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is predominately a genetically determined condition and not down to ‘bad parenting’ as once thought.

Symptoms exhibited by children with this condition include: disruptive or inappropriate behaviour compared to other children of their age. Often these children are unable to sit still, talk excessively, and are fidgety or restlessness when asked to concentrate on any specific task.

ADHD is thought to affect up to 7% of school age children, according to ADDISS national charity which offers information and support to parents with children affected by ADHD. The condition is usually diagnosed at the age of 5 with symptoms continuing through to adulthood. In adults the traits are exhibited slightly differently and include poor organisational skills, procrastination, impatience or unable to stay focused for a sustained period and incredibly poor time management.

In addition to the problems with inattention, impulsivity, and overactivity, individuals with ADHD often have co-existing learning difficulties such as dyspraxia (40%) and dyslexia (25%). These learning difficulties may have inherent vision related problems, not commonly assessed, as part of the condition.

It is understandable that children with this condition often have low self esteem as a result of being excluded from class or play time activities as a result of their disruptiveness or inappropriate behaviour. This exclusion often exacerbates behaviour as that child tries earn the right to be included.

So what goes on in the brain of someone diagnosed with ADHD

Someone with ADHD will typically have poor working memory. This is the ability to think, process and remember at the same time. We use working memory when problem solving, when comprehending what is read, doing mental arithmetic. Importantly, working memory is also linked to attention and concentration. Having weak working memory results in impulsive behaviour and an inability to concentrate. In addition to a working memory deficit, other factors that play role in the condition are having slow processing speed and poor sequencing skills.

What is recommended as a form of treatment(s) for Those suffering from ADHD.

The best way (recognised by doctors and psychologists) is a combination of medication, behavioural management physical therapy and specialist cognitive programmes targeting the keys weak areas. Medication, whilst not the desired route, can be a stopped gap whilst buying time pursuing the other avenues. Having worked with parents who never get a proper nights sleep, the medication comes as a great relief and also allows the ADHD child to be in a relaxed mode instead of constantly being on high alert and active.

My personal recommendations are as follows

1. Behavioural management: 1-2-3 Magic by Dr Thomas W Phelan. ADDISS the National ADHD charity have local support groups so parents do not feel isolated www.addiss.co.uk

2. Cognitive programmes: Scientifically proven programmes such as Fast ForWord which addresses the memory, attention, processing speed and sequencing. Fast ForWord is recognised as an academic programme. Cogmed Working Memory Training is another program which targets specifics of working memory deficit.

3. Motor and physical issues can be addressed through programmes such as Bal-A-Vis-X  www.integratedbrain.co.uk

4. Vision problems British Association of Behavioural Optometrists: www.babo.co.uk

5. A good book : That’s the way I think by David Grant.

If you think you/ your child may be ADD or ADHD use the link for my questionnaire www.ravivpracticelondon.co.uk/quest2.html   or visit the Addiss website for impartial advice.

 

 

About Usha Patel

Usha Patel is a Learning Difficulties Therapist . Her focus lays in using non-invasive motor sensory techniques and specialist software for cognitive enhancement. She is also the first therapist to bring Bal-A-Vis-X to the UK. This programme is designed for schools and addresses keys issues that help children be successful at learning - regardless of ability. You can contact her through her websites www.integratedbrain.co.uk and www.ravivpracticelondon.co.uk

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