Children with ADD/ADHD, particularly those who are ‘hyperactive’, are often seen as difficult and challenging. They can be disruptive to an entire class, bring tension and conflict to an entire family or bring trouble or alienation to themselves. In the quieter, simply ‘inattentive’ type of ADD, the child can be seen as ‘spacey’, ‘out of it’, ‘lazy’ or ‘not applying him or herself. Either way, the child is labeled as a ‘problem’ or ‘different’. Early school failure can be hurtful to self-esteem at a young age. So, too, can the social alienation and isolation that the associated immature behavior often brings.
The evaluation process includes specialized testing for ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities and developmental delays. Information is obtained regarding pregnancy, infancy, developmental milestones, medical history, social history, academic performance, behavior, discipline history, frustration tolerance, family relationships and moods. When appropriate, additional information is obtained from teachers, therapists and medical professionals.
Treatment options include behavior therapy, social skills groups, parenting training, anger management and coping skills training. Where appropriate, medication is judiciously considered under close supervision. Alternative treatments are also available.
Common Misconceptions of Childhood ADHD
- People believe that all kids with ADHD are hyperactive.
- In some cases that may be true for children however, there are children with ADHD who are not hyperactive. Those children would rather be spacing out, not paying attention to things around them, and in some cases unmotivated.
- People believe that kids with ADHD can never pay attention.
- Children with ADHD can sit still and concentrate on an activity they enjoy and find interesting. The problem arises during certain activities that the child will find boring, restrictive, and repetitive.
- People believe that kids with ADHD could behave better but, they choose not to.
- It’s not that they are purposely misbehaving, children with ADHD will likely try to avoid getting into trouble. They are just having a tough timing concentrating or sitting still in one place because it’s boring to them. They need activities that will keep them occupied and interested.
- People believe that ADHD goes away when you get older.
- ADHD does not go away as you get older. It can follow you into adulthood and in some cases the symptoms may worsen. Treatment at the early stages can teach control and help prevent the symptoms from coming back in adulthood.
- People believe that you need medication for ADHD.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that before age 6 your child should not take ADHD medication and instead begin with behavior therapy. The medication does help the child concentrate more on their work and minimizes their symptoms, it is only temporary. An effective treatment for ADHD can be through learning, education of the issues, exercise, mind stimulating activities, and support.