Lack of concentration in class, not listening, always losing things, fidgeting constantly. Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can stretch any parent's patience!
ADHD causes 3 main problems:
- Inattention e.g. difficulty concentrating, careless mistakes, forgets instructions.
- Impulsivity e.g. difficulty waiting turns, often interrupts, blurts out answers.
- Hyperactivity e.g. always 'on the go', constant fidgeting and restlessness.
Untreated, ADHD can lead to poor school results, low self-esteem, disruptive behaviour and emotional problems.
How is ADHD treated?
Fortunately, treatment can dramatically improve ADHD, especially if started early.
Learning new strategies to handle the child's behaviour can help at home:
- Have a consistent routine.
- Keep rules clear and simple. Provide clear consequences for bad behaviour.
- Gain the child's full attention before addressing him or her.
- Look for chances to praise and reward.
- Try to ignore minor irritating behaviour.
Meet the child's schoolteacher and work together. Extra help in organising and planning work is often valuable.
Stimulant medications are often prescribed for ADHD and are generally safe and effective. Methylphenidate comes in a long-acting and a short-acting form. The latter form is now available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Dexamphetamine is another short-acting preparation which is also reimbursed.
These drugs are not addictive when used as prescribed for treating ADHD and can be taken long-term if beneficial. Side-effects, such as reduced appetite, nausea, difficulty sleeping and increased anxiety, are usually outweighed by the benefits of treatment.
Ask your GP for more advice or visit www.adhdsupport.com.au. For a free resource kit, write to ADHD Support Kits, Reply Paid 101, North Ryde BC NSW 1670.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.