Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in children today, with an estimated 11... Read more →
ADHD in Childhood
There are 3 basic types of childhood ADHD
- Type I is the inattentive type. Children with this type primarily have trouble initiating and completing tasks. They often appear either disengaged or preoccupied and usually require repeated reminding and redirection, often to the exhaustion of those they depend upon (parents, spouses).
- Type II is the hyperactive/impulsive type. Children with this type demonstrate behaviors that are poorly regulated and often excessive. They have trouble calming themselves and, as a result, parents and significant others usually have to help them to channel their energy and to set reasonable limits on their behavior. Providing proper discipline is a constant challenge.
- Type III is the combined type. These children display both the inattentive and hyperactive behaviors of types I and II and frequently fluctuating between these states throughout the course of the day. These children are particularly challenging because as soon as they calm down they disengage and as soon as they reengage they go into hyper drive.
Commonly, children with ADHD are bright so they can get by with little effort in the early primary grades. They pay attention when what is being taught is interesting but they are easily bored when the subject turns to the mundane, but essential building blocks of an education (think spelling words and multiplication tables).
As a result, children with ADHD begin to struggle when the work load increases and exposes their weak educational foundation which then begins to crumble. At this time, a school meeting is often called (PPT) to address the deteriorating situation, but, unfortunately, by the time this meeting takes place, the problem has been building for quite some time, complicating efforts at remediation.
Homework completion, bedtime routines and morning preparation are the times in the day that are most challenging and where lines of communication at home often break down. Parental insistence upon compliance is usually met with passive resistance, if not overt hostility. Punishments, time outs, removal of privileges, early bedtimes, television and computer restrictions are often employed as motivators but rarely work effectively or for very long. So what are parents to do? If they continue to take a hard line, they risk alienating their child. If they don’t continually monitor their child the child will not succeed either at school (homework) or in life.
Having a child with ADHD often becomes a family problem in that it usually has an impact upon the entire family. It is not uncommon, for example, for parents to have opposite views as to how to proceed with one parent advocating the hard line approach while the other parent taking the more nurturing, supportive position.
This dynamic almost inevitably leads to friction between the parents, complicating an already complicated situation. And if there are other children in the family, jealousy over how much parental time and family resources are expended managing their sibling with ADHD can become problematic.
Unfortunately, recent studies show that in families having a child with ADHD, the divorce rate is significantly higher than the general population, underscoring why early identification and intervention are so important.