Many parents have observed situations with their children or those of other people that they knew to be out of the ordinary and for which they had no explanation. While it is normal for some children to forget things, act in ways that are unbecoming and inappropriate, or appear overly restless, hyperactivity and acute inattention are a cause for concern. They signal a problem that requires the help of professionals promptly and intensely.
Children who show little to no control over their ability to sit quietly for extended periods of time, or who appear not to follow instructions at school or at home, or who speak out of turn or inappropriately are often described as lacking discipline, rude, or troublemakers.
Such children are likely to be suffering from either attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Each of these disorders is a very common and recognized behaviour difficulty that is showing up more frequently in homes and classrooms.
How this situation is dealt with can determine how a child learns, lives, and develops academically, socially, and takes on the circumstances of everyday experiences and interactions. Early diagnosis of the problem is critical to mitigating its effects and finding ways to cope with or control it.
Information about this problem is becoming more available. Ten to twenty years ago, how this problem was dealt with was very questionable as knowledge was scarce and adequate treatment virtually unknown.
More and more, parents and teachers and children themselves are become more aware of the symptoms of ADD and ADHD and more speedily attention is being paid to providing supports to help deal with the problem. In addition, schools are providing training for teachers to work effectively with students and to develop the social environments suitable for academic success.
Like everything else, funds are being made available to support research and development to discover the causes of ADD and ADHD and available treatments for affected individuals and ways for their siblings and parents to cope.
It is believed that well over a third of every classroom may have students that suffer from attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactive disorder. It must be realized that this disease stems from functions or dysfunctions within the brain. Sufferers are not in total control of what is happening to them. In fact, they are acting and reacting to messages from the brain just as everyone else is reacting to messages from the brain. The difference here is that the brain may be operating differently in the case of an individual with ADD or ADHD.
Parents and teachers can help by first recognising that there is a problem and that it needs to be addressed quickly and effectively.
- Support the affected individual with the assurance that problem can be addressed
- Show patience and understanding
- Allow for space and opportunity for affected individuals move around and to attempt a variety of activities
- Monitor diets; limit sugary and carbonated foods
- Work closely with school officials to share information and move in the same direction
- Seek out others with similar situations to share knowledge and find solutions
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