A lot of parents struggle with children who have behavioral problems and learning difficulties. Oftentimes these symptoms are diagnosed professionally as ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 it was found that 9.4% of American children or 6.1 million are found to have this disorder. That equates to 388,09 children between ages 2-5, 2.4 million aged 6-11, and 3.3 million children ages 12-17. 12.9% of boys and 5.6% of girls.
Many children with ADHD may also have symptoms of other mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
According to the National Survey in 2016, 5 out of 19 children diagnosed with ADHD had behavioral or conduct issues. While 3 out of 19 children suffering from ADHD also have anxiety. Depression is found in 17% of the children, 14% of them had an autism spectrum disorder and 1% of them had Tourette syndrome.
As a parent, it is our responsibility to create an environment where not only will the symptoms be lessened but also be conducive to their holistic growth. The first step that we can take to do that is to understand the disorder and acknowledge the symptoms. So what is really ADHD and how will we distinguish it from normal children just being children?
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a medical condition wherein the development and activity in the brain adversely affect attention, ability to focus and sit still along with self-control.
When left not managed well, it could affect school performance, work, and relationships like family or friends.
One of the general symptoms to look out for is inattentiveness.
Children who have ADHD may have difficulty focusing, listening to directions, or finishing what they start. They are also apt to daydream or dawdle. They may have difficulty concentrating and staying with one task. They may forget things like details and lose track of what they are doing.
Another symptom that can be observed is being impulsive.
They tend to act first and then think later. Sometimes they interrupt conversations, be impatient when waiting, and maybe apt to push and grab things. Some may do things without asking for permission and have difficulty understanding why not.
Sometimes they take things that aren’t theirs or may do risky things that others would not do. They may also react too emotionally or violently than the situation requires. Hyperactivity is also observed in children with ADHD. They would feel restless and easily bored with whatever task they have in front of them. Some may have difficulty with being quiet or sitting still. They do not do it with a deliberate intention to annoy or disrupt, but it is one of the difficulties they face. They also tend to do something fast and rush into things then make mistakes out of carelessness and abandonment. Some may say that these are normal in children. But the thing is children are teachable and while some would adapt and know when to behave a certain way, children with ADHD, unfortunately, have less capacity to correct it on their own. That is why there are a lot of cases where medication is necessary.
Untreated ADHD would have adverse effects on a child’s performance and success not just in school but also in their life.
Because of the symptoms of this disorder, there is an increased risk for some psychosocial issues, for example, problematic familial, marital, and social relationships. Also, mediocre performance in school and work as an adult. Some of the symptoms may carry over and cause involvement in traffic accidents, alcoholism, and narcotics abuse.
On an anatomical level, some recent data have shown a delayed maturity in the frontal lobe of children and adolescents with ADHD. This supports the observation that people with ADHD are unfortunately at a disadvantage when it comes to tackling social pressures that increase over time as the child grows into adulthood.
The good news is that while some symptoms may be debilitating for some, there is an opposite spectrum wherein people with ADHD are overachievers or successful in their chosen field.
They did this with professional treatment, medication, and coping skills to compensate for the symptoms they have. That is why it is important for parents to take part in the management of symptoms and guide their own children to success.
In terms of creating a general environment for the child with ADHD, some of these tips may be helpful. It has been found that children with ADHD perform better in a wide uncluttered natural environment. If there is a wide expanse with greens in your backyard, then it would be helpful. Having plants and trees is not only good for good breathing, but it also gives the child enough space to expend extra energy when needed. They could commune with nature and not feel boxed in but free.
An uncluttered space will do wonders for the child as he would not be overstimulated by too many colors, decors, or mess. This will help him focus and have the concentration needed to perform and finish important tasks like homework or school projects. A nice clean white or beige wall and ample storage for toys and their knick-knacks would be helpful for mental clarity.
As for furniture, they would be at an advantage with a wide light-colored design with drawers to organize their things. A study desk must be in neutral colors and also sizable for their books, notebooks, and computer or laptop. The Height Adjustable Ergonomic Study Desk/ Kids desk from FlexiSpot is a great bet. It is adjustable so it grows with your child. It is also childproof and collision-proof for safety when they are in their hyperactive state. It also has a bag hook so the child or the parent would not trip over it. This is also helpful in preventing overstimulation because the bag would be at the side and not be cluttered just anywhere. The desk is also waterproof so you don’t have to worry about your child using it with reckless abandon. It is designed to grow and age with your child.