Understanding Children with ADHD

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurological condition related in part to the brain’s chemistry and anatomy. ADHD manifests itself as a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity that occurs more frequently and more severely than is typically observed in people at comparable levels of development.

What symptoms should I look for?

  • Hyperactivity: Fidgets, squirms, have difficulty with quiet activities, talks excessively.
  • Inattention: Ignores details, makes careless mistakes, avoids activities that require a sustained amount of mental effort, and gets distracted easily by noises.
  • Impulsivity: Blurts out answers before questions are even asked, has a hard time taking turns, and interrupts others.

Tips for parents:

  • Working with teachers, childcare providers, and even your physician can be a very effective way to help the child understand specific instructions, reminders, and drills to help the child in the right direction.
  • Provide opportunities for movement before requiring a child to do sit-down tasks.
  • Give instructions in a “one-step-at-a-time” format.
  • Use simple words and gestures to direct children. For example: “Shoes” versus “Pick up your shoes.”
  • For impulsive behaviors, request a “do-over” politely: “You’re running inside, come back and walk to the door.”