ADD / ADHD in Children
A clear and focused mind is crucial to learning and life skills. Neurofeedback helps your brain learn to focus and concentrate at will. Neurofeedback concentration training is used by students, businessmen, surgeons, football clubs, Olympic athletes and ADHD sufferers alike.
Being able to pay attention means better organization and accuracy, fewer distractions, improving social skills by being able to listen attentively to others, and mastering new tasks and material more rapidly.
Many aspects of brain function are involved in concentration and focus. The optimum state needed for hours of classes and meetings is a moderate level of alertness, which conserves mental energy.
A common difficulty in concentration is slipping into ‘idle’ or dreaminess when trying to concentrate. Another problem may be the duration of attention is short – it may be fine for a limited time, but then it slides. When anxious or emotional, attention becomes harder to control – making it difficult to narrow in on the task at hand. The degree of single-pointed concentration can be another problem; a wide focus can lead to distractions and wandering attention.
Using a brain map to identify the areas of concern, we tailor your neurofeedback training according to your precise needs.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is defined by a cluster of symptoms which may include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Though the medical diagnosis is subjective, people with ADHD have specific brainwave differences in the brain areas that deal with controlling impulses and focusing attention (source: NHS).
Though ADHD is still classed as a disease rather than a symptom of brain dysregulation, QEEGs are used as a mainstream medical diagnostic tool (FDA approved) for ADHD.
Signs and Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder in Kids
It’s normal for children to occasionally forget their homework, daydream during class, act without thinking, or get fidgety at the dinner table. But inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also signs of attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD), which can affect your child’s ability to learn and get along with others. The first step to addressing the problem is to recognize the signs and symptoms.
Once you understand the issues your child is struggling with, such as forgetfulness or difficulty paying attention in school, you can work together to find creative solutions and capitalize on strengths.
|Myths about Attention Deficit Disorder|
|MYTH #1: All kids with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive.
FACT: Some children with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive, but many others with attention problems are not. Children with ADD/ADHD who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated.
|MYTH #2: Kids with ADD/ADHD can never pay attention.
FACT: Children with ADD/ADHD are often able to concentrate on activities they enjoy. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive.
|MYTH #3: Kids with ADD/ADHD could behave better if they wanted to.
FACT: Children with ADD/ADHD may do their best to be good, but still be unable to sit still, stay quiet, or pay attention. They may appear disobedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re acting out on purpose.
|MYTH #4: Kids will eventually grow out of ADD/ADHD.
FACT: ADD/ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem. Treatment can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms.
|MYTH #5: Medication is the best treatment option for ADD/ADHD.
FACT: Medication is often prescribed for attention deficit disorder, but it might not be the best option for your child. Effective treatment for ADD/ADHD also includes neurofeedback, behavior therapy, support at home and school, exercise, and proper nutrition.
When many people think of attention deficit disorder, they picture an out-of-control kid in constant motion, bouncing off the walls and disrupting everyone around. But this is not the only possible picture.
Some children with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive, while others sit quietly—with their attention miles away. Some put too much focus on a task and have trouble shifting it to something else. Others are only mildly inattentive, but overly impulsive.
The three primary characteristics of ADD / ADHD
The three primary characteristics of ADD/ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The signs and symptoms a child with attention deficit disorder has depends on which characteristics predominate.
Which one of these children may have ADD/ADHD?
- The hyperactive boy who talks nonstop and can’t sit still.
- The quiet dreamer who sits at her desk and stares off into space.
- Both A and B
The correct answer is “C.”
Children with ADD/ADHD may be:
- Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive.
- Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention.
- Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive (the most common form of ADD/ADHD).
Children who only have inattentive symptoms of ADD/ADHD are often overlooked, since they’re not disruptive. However, the symptoms of inattention have consequences: getting in hot water with parents and teachers for not following directions; underperforming in school; or clashing with other kids over not playing by the rules.
Spotting ADD / ADHD at different ages
Because we expect very young children to be easily distractible and hyperactive, it’s the impulsive behaviors—the dangerous climb, the blurted insult—that often stand out in preschoolers with ADD/ADHD.
By age four or five, though, most children have learned how to pay attention to others, to sit quietly when instructed to, and not to say everything that pops into their heads. So by the time children reach school age, those with ADD/ADHD stand out in all three behaviors: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
It isn’t that children with ADD/ADHD can’t pay attention: when they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they’re interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. But when the task is repetitive or boring, they quickly tune out.
Staying on track is another common problem. Children with ADD/ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skip necessary steps in procedures. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children.
Kids with ADD/ADHD also have trouble concentrating if there are things going on around them; they usually need a calm, quiet environment in order to stay focused.
Symptoms of inattention in children:
- Doesn’t pay attention to details
- Makes careless mistakes
- Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
- Appears not to listen when spoken to
- Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
- Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
- Gets bored with a task before it’s completed
- Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items
Hyperactivity signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD
The most obvious sign of ADD/ADHD is hyperactivity. While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of attention deficit disorder are always moving.
They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. Even when forced to sit still which can be very difficult for them their foot is tapping, their leg is shaking, or their fingers are drumming.
Symptoms of hyperactivity in children:
- Constantly fidgets and squirms
- Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
- Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
- Talks excessively
- Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
- Is always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor
- May have a quick temper or a “short fuse”
The impulsivity of children with ADD/ADHD can cause problems with self-control. Because they censor themselves less than other kids do, they’ll interrupt conversations, invade other people’s space, ask irrelevant questions in class, make tactless observations, and ask overly personal questions.
Instructions like “Be patient” and “Just wait a little while” are twice as hard for children with ADD/ADHD to follow as they are for other youngsters.
Children with impulsive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD also tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally. As a result, others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy.
Symptoms of impulsivity in children:
- Acts without thinking
- Blurts out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
- Can’t wait for his or her turn in line or in games
- Says the wrong thing at the wrong time
- Often interrupts others
- Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games
- Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
- Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem
Just because a child has symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity does not mean that he or she has ADD or ADHD. Certain medical conditions, psychological disorders, and stressful life events can cause symptoms that look like ADD / ADHD.
Before an accurate diagnosis of ADD / ADHD can be made, it is important that you see a mental health professional to explore and rule out the following possibilities:
- Learning disabilities or problems with reading, writing, motor skills, or language.
- Major life events or traumatic experiences (e.g. a recent move, death of a loved one, bullying, divorce).
- Psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
- Behavioral disorders such as conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.
- Medical conditions, including thyroid problems, neurological conditions, epilepsy, and sleep disorders.
A learning disability may be mistaken for ADHD
Think your child has attention deficit disorder? Sometimes, kids who are having trouble in school are incorrectly diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, when what they really have is a learning disability. Furthermore, many kids struggle with both ADD/ADHD and a learning disability.
In addition to the challenges, there are also positive traits associated with people who have attention deficit disorder:
- Creativity – Children who have ADD/ADHD can be marvelously creative and imaginative. The child who daydreams and has ten different thoughts at once can become a master problem-solver, a fountain of ideas, or an inventive artist. Children with ADD/ADHD may be easily distracted, but sometimes they notice what others don’t see.
- Flexibility – Because children with ADD/ADHD consider a lot of options at once, they don’t become set on one alternative early on and are more open to different ideas.
- Enthusiasm and spontaneity – Children with ADD/ADHD are rarely boring! They’re interested in a lot of different things and have lively personalities. In short, if they’re not exasperating you (and sometimes even when they are), they’re a lot of fun to be with.
- Energy and drive – When kids with ADD/ADHD are motivated, they work or play hard and strive to succeed. It actually may be difficult to distract them from a task that interests them, especially if the activity is interactive or hands-on.
Keep in mind, too, that ADD/ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or talent. Many children with ADD/ADHD are intellectually or artistically gifted.
Helping a child with ADD / ADHD
Whether or not your child’s symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are due to ADD/ADHD, they can cause many problems if left untreated. Children who can’t focus and control themselves may struggle in school, get into frequent trouble, and find it hard to get along with others or make friends. These frustrations and difficulties can lead to low self-esteem as well as friction and stress for the whole family.
But treatment can make a dramatic difference in your child’s symptoms. With the right support, your child can get on track for success in all areas of life.
Call our office for a complimentary consultation (828) 885-7100