Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are three types: Hyperactive Type, Inattentive Type (which is commonly known as ADD) and Combined Type. Which means you are both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms.
Inattentive refers to having a really hard time staying focused on something; especially something that is not so interesting like science class. Sure you can focus for hours on the latest You tube videos or video game, but when it comes to something you’re not interested in you just can’t pay attention. Of course, most kids have a hard time in school, but the kid with ADD loses focus so much that they get really bad grades in school. let me explain how this works. And I know because I myself have ADD and when I was a kid other kids called me space cadet. Why? Cause when playing baseball, I would be in left field and watching the clouds pass overhead instead of the ball flying at my face.
If you’re class is an hour you can pay attention for three minutes and then drift off thinking about something else. And then you catch yourself and try to pay attention and you do for another three minutes, but again drift off. So it’s not like you day dream for thirty minutes, but you day dream for thirty seconds every three minutes. For an hour class, that means you’re missing little chunks of important information and those little chunks add up, making it hard to really understand the subject. See?
That is inattentive type ADHD. If you were ever called Space Cadet you might have ADD.
Now we have Hyperactive Type. Maybe you know someone in school with this type. They just can’t sit in their seat. They are standing behind their desk, moving around, asking the teacher a million questions, going to bathroom ten times, even though they really don’t have to go. Something in their body says move. it’s actually uncomfortable for them to stay still. Again, everyone feels this from time to time, but these kids brains are like race cars with no breaks. And it makes life difficult. At school, at home and making and keeping friends.
And lastly, Inattentive and Hyperactive kids have both sets of symptoms. A double whammy.
How does ADHD affect friendships?
One of the challenges for kids with ADHD is having a hard time making and keeping friends. In addition to the challenges with staying focused and paying attention, and being hyperactive, alot of kids with ADHD don’t always read the little signals other kids are sending. We call this nonverbal communication. We don’t exactly know why, but this can be a big problem if you can’t figure out what you’re friend is thinking. For example, if you are talking too much because your hyperactive and you don’t know that your friend is bored or upset, this can make the friend not want to hang out with you. And as you know having a good friend is probably the most important thing for a kid.
Do kids outgrow ADHD?
Maybe thirty percent of the kids outgrow ADHD and when you’re an adult it is not so bad. But in most cases, the ADHD changes a little. Instead of missing important information in class, or not being able to sit still in English class, you’re making mistakes at the office, or losing your keys, or forgetting important appointments. When this gets really bad we call this Adult ADHD.
What Is The Biggest Myth About ADHD?
I think the biggest myth is that kids with ADHD are not smart. That is absolutely not true. In fact, many of the kids I help with ADHD or ADD are very smart, but it doesn’t show in their grades, because of the difficulty understanding the teachers, getting homework done and studying for tests. But once we help them, remove the roadblocks, they show their true potential and do very well.
How do you know if you have ADHD?
Well, first you can go online and type in “ADHD in kids.” You will see questions and information on ADHD. Then you can tell your parents to call someone like me: a child psychologist. We will talk with you and your parents and try to understand what the problem is and when it began. Mostly, we try to see how the symptoms are impacting your life in a bad way. We also have a computer test to see how hard it is for you to pay attention.
First the parents need to take their child to a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. Then the parent themselves can learn about ADHD. Maybe they have it to, which is often the case because it’s genetic like eye color. Then the parent can read about it and help their son or daughter. Overall though, the parent can support the child with ADHD but knowing that their child is doing the best they can, and that they are not doing these things on purpose. This hopefully will stop the yelling and nagging, which makes the child feel bad.
How can teachers be supportive of ADHD?
It’s the same for the teachers. By understanding ADHD, they can help the child by for example, making him or her the class messenger, running to the front office for errands or doing something that gets them up from their seat. For kids that have a hard time paying attention, they teacher can put them in the front of the class and engage them more in the discussion.
What can a kid do if a sibling, friend, or classmate has ADHD?
Just be patient and understand that this is not their fault, but something they are dealing with. But if they are talking to much or too hyper, you can say, “Woah slow down.” Sometimes kids with ADHD need to know what they’re doing.
What are the different ways ADHD can be treated or managed?
Here are the Sachs Center we recommend three levels of treatment. The first is education for the child and parent; learning as much as you can about ADHD. This includes learning what their weaknesses are and their strengths.
The second is medication, which has been proven by many studies to be the most effective way to treat ADHD. The fact is, if someone had diabetes they would of course take medicine, and ADHD is not much different. It’s a problem that doesn’t just go away like bad cold. Another example is if your eyes are bad, do you not buy glasses? Many parents are worried about their kids taking medicine, but if you learn about it and talk to your doctor, you’ll realize it’s quite safe.
And finally support. This means that parents, teachers and siblings learn about ADHD and support the child with ADHD. And of course this includes therapy, which often looks more like coaching. Helping a child learn about his ADHD and developing different ways to cope with being hyper or not paying attention. We also supply homework coaches for kids to help them organize and complete their homework. You know this kind of support may sound strange but I tell kids that all famous celebrities and CEO’s of companies have a team of people to assist them because their lives are so busy they can’t do everything.
How can diet and nutrition help?
Nutrition is a huge factor in making ADHD worse, especially sugar. And sugar is in most everything these days. Our bodies are not designed for the type of sugar added into food products. We can tolerate the sweetness of fruit and berries, but not fruit juices where so much sugar is added. Even gatorade is not great for us and certainly not soda with like sixteen packets of sugar in one bottle. In short, sugar makes it more difficult for our brain to tell our body what to do and feel. Sugar impacts the signals and communication system. So if you tell yourself to do your homework, and then drink a big coke, you might get a sort burst of energy but in ten minutes you’ll start thinking about something else, more fun and less stressful. And this becomes much worse for kids with ADHD. Breakfast is essential as well for keeping the brain properly energized for focus and concentration. I know I sound like your parents, but when I stopped eating sugary drinks and foods, it made a big difference for my ADD and my moods.
When is taking medicine helpful for ADHD? What kinds of medicine?
As I mentioned, medication is the most effective treatment for ADHD. Unfortunately, every body is different so you have to try about three or four different ones to find the right match with your body. And then when you grow you need to readjust the dose. I’m sure you’ve heard of Adderall or Ritalin. These are two safe types of ADHD medicines. There are side effects or negative things that can happen when you take these medicines, like having a hard time falling asleep or not feeling hungry but talk to your doctor and I’m sure they can find the right medicine without side effects. Finally, if taken properly ADHD medicine is not addictive as many parents think. These are safe medicines that many scientists and doctors have studied for about fifty years.
What happens with counseling for kids with ADHD? (what should kids expect)
If you have ADHD you might benefit from coaching, as mentioned, and in some cases what we call talk therapy. That is where you come to an office, like this one and talk to a doctor or counselor about your feelings. Maybe you might feel lonely or angry or sad, and all those feelings are okay and welcome. In fact, counselors like me like to hear about those feelings from kids with ADHD because we know it will make them feel better talking about them