According to data from the Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) in Singapore, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common condition in children and adolescents who visit this facility. The prevalence of ADHD is said to be between 1.7% and 16%.
ADHD is a neuro-developmental disorder that is usually visible before the child gets to the age of 7 years old. Unfortunately, parents may not know that their child has ADHD. Many assume their children are being fussy or troublesome since some of ADHD behaviors are visible in most children.
How Can Parents Distinguish ADHD from Normal Behavior in Children?
Symptoms of ADHD are quite similar to normal childhood behavior in most children. Parents are advised to observe the frequency of the acts and how the child behaves in different situations. If, for example, your child shows signs of inattentiveness at home, yet is the opposite when at school or play areas, chances are he doesn’t have ADHD. However, if the behavior is consistent, irrespective of location or activity, it may be time to consider the possibility that your child has ADHD.
What are the Symptoms Shown by a Child with ADHD?
ADHD is classified into two main categories, inattentiveness, and impulsiveness and hyperactivity. This classification helps therapists and parents to determine where the child’s behavior fits. The behavioral problems seen in most children fall in both categories.
The signs of inattentiveness in a child include:
- regularly forgetting or misplacing personal items
- careless mistakes in school assignments
- losing focus when taking part in time-consuming activities
- short attention span
- experiences difficulty in organizing tasks
The primary signs in the hyperactivity and impulsiveness category are:
- Unease when in a quiet or calm environment
- Inability to concentrate on given tasks
- Unnecessary frequent body movements
- Fidgeting constantly
- Talking excessively, even in situations that demand silence
- Acting without thought of the consequences of their actions
- Inability to wait their turn
Coping Mechanisms for Parents with Children with ADHD
Raising a child with ADHD can be overwhelming. This is primarily true if you are not aware of your child’s condition, or if you are yet to accept the possibility that your child has ADHD. This reaction is common because of a lack of readily available information on ADHD, and possible solutions for parents to help them cope.
Although you need to find ways to raise children with ADHD comfortably, the first step is to help the child understand that there is nothing wrong with them. Many children fail to grasp their situation and end up being affected or even depressed. Parental support is critical, especially when the child is old enough to notice the challenges he or she faces because of ADHD.
Children are affected differently by ADHD. Parents need to know exactly how their children are affected and the best solutions for them. For example, children who have an attention deficit need to learn how to pay attention and listen, while those who are hyperactive need to slow down. Find out some favorable home practices that can help your child live as healthy a life as possible with ADHD. Simple changes to diet, the environment at home (sounds and colors) and rewarding good behavior will help with the therapy given.
When your child shows improvement, or if you notice him working hard to overcome his challenges, ensure you praise his effort. Just like any other child, those with ADHD like being appreciated. You child is likely to work even harder to see you proud of his effort.
Where Can I Receive Support for My Child?
ADHD is a disorder that is challenging for parents and their children. Parents are advised to observe their children from a young age so that early diagnosis is made. It is important to seek help if you are unsure if your child has ADHD, do not try to self-diagnose your child as a medical professional will need to monitor the behaviors of your child over a period.
Once diagnosis is given, starting treatment and therapy promptly will ensure you and your child live a life that is not hampered by ADHD. Parents also need to follow the recommended therapy carefully. Some children require medication, while therapy is more appropriate for others. You should prioritize your child’s needs by keeping all the doctor’s appointments and being involved as much as possible in the therapy.
In Singapore, more mainstream schools are catering to students with special needs through more suitable ways of learning and a supportive environment. Beyond that, learning centres such as Singapore Brain Development Centre (SBDC) provide additional personalized support through broad, multi-skill exercises, to strengthen attention skills, enhance memory skills and more. Read on for more information on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and how SBDC’s program can help you and your child.