Many people remembered that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction. This disorder is one of the most common mental disorders among children. Seen through a child eyes with ADHD is like a fast-moving kaleidoscope, where sounds, images and thoughts are constantly turning. Every person has experienced some of these symptoms once in their life. Just not everyday all day like a person with ADHD.
This does not only affect the person with the disorder but the people around them. Whether it is your mom and dad, teacher, friends, or siblings. They need to understand that ADHD is a real disability that effects all aspects of a person’s life. “Additionally, there are now brain studies that show that when someone with ADHD is told to “just try harder” and does, the result can be anxiety and a brain that actually starts to shut down it’s primary executive functions (Booth).”
For a while now scientists have come up with many different theories about ADHD. Some theories have ended up short and some have opened up new and exciting doors of investigation. One theory was that anyone with ADHD has had some minor head injuries or undetectable damage to the brain. For a long time this disorder was called “minimal brain damage” or “minimal brain dysfunction.” But as researchers found out that only certain types of head injuries can explain some cases of attention disorder. In knowing that the theory was excluded.
Because children with ADHD often struggle in their schoolwork, peer relations, and ability to follow rules at home and at school, it is reasonable to hypothesize that their feelings of capability suffer as a result. Thus, the self-image of children with ADHD were lower than those of other children with regards to their feelings about their behavior, their ability to get along with others, and their ability to succeed in school.
The parents need to pay attention to the feelings that a child with ADHD has about him or herself. In many instances, particularly when parents are struggling to manage their child’s difficult behavior, it can be easy to lose sight of the effects that ADHD can have on some children’s self-esteem. When one considers how much negative feedback a child with ADHD may contend with on a regular basis, it is not difficult to imagine how this could adversely affect a child’s feelings about him or herself.
It can also be quite helpful to provide a child with the opportunity to talk about his or her feelings–even when those feelings are negative. Engaging your child in discussions about how he/she feels things are going at home, at school, and with peers can provide you with a great opportunity to learn whether your child is feeling down and discouraged. Talking about such feelings may not solve the problem, but it can help a child to develop more control over any negative feelings. It can also lead to a problem-solving discussion about how to try and help things improve.
Children with ADHD have a variety of needs. Some children are too hyperactive or inattentive to function in a regular classroom, even with medication and a behavior management plan. Such children may be placed in a special education class for all or part of the day. In some schools, the special education teacher teams with the classroom teacher to meet each child’s unique needs. However, most children are able to stay in the regular classroom. Whenever possible, educators prefer not to segregate children, but to let them learn along with their peers.
Children with ADHD often need some special accommodations to help them learn. For example, the teacher may seat the child in an area with few distractions, provide an area where the child can move around and release excess energy, or establish a clearly posted system of rules and reward appropriate behavior. Sometimes just keeping a card or a picture on the desk can serve as a visual reminder to use the right school behavior, like raising a hand instead of shouting out, or staying in a seat instead of wandering around the room. Giving a child extra time on test can make the difference between passing and failing, and gives a fair chance to show what they learned. Reviewing instructions or writing assignments on the board, and even listing the books and materials they will need for the task, may make it possible for disorganized, inattentive children to complete the work. Telling students in advance what they will learn, providing visual aids, and giving written as well as oral instructions are all ways to help students focus and remember the key parts of the lesson.
Because schools demand that children sit still, wait for a turn, pay attention, and stick with a task, it’s no surprise that many children with ADHD have problems in class. Their minds are fully capable of learning, but their hyperactivity and inattention make learning difficult. As a result, many students with ADHD repeat a grade or drop out of school early. Fortunately, with the right combination of appropriate educational practices, medication, and counseling, these outcomes can be avoided.
Because of the uncertainty and confusion, not to mention the ramifications of inappropriate behavior and a parent’s reaction to the stress, numerous problems often confront the family. Some families are drawn and stretched in every direction. The child usually becomes the center of the attention, with other family members trying to pull it all together and maintain a sense of balance.
With the addition of children to the family, husbands and wives find their sexual intimacy is affected. Workload also becomes a consideration, as mother becomes, in many cases, the primary caretaker. If mother has a full-time job outside of the home, plus the responsibility for the majority of housework and meeting the needs of all her children, she then has two jobs and is often too exhausted to engage in sexual intimacy with her spouse. Now add the addition of a child with ADHD, plus the focused time that must be spent with the child, financial concerns, and job related pressures, and you have a horrendous strain on the marital relationship.
Parents of children with ADHD need to examine issues that may be less obvious to them such as anger, frustration, and disappointment. Intense feelings may involuntarily affect your marital relationship. Resentment or frustration can build if one spouse feels the other is not a contributing partner in managing household chores, shopping, homework, and caring for the overall needs of the children. When negative feelings become overwhelming and a spouse finds a fault with the other, divorce may be the outcome.
“I’ve given up on my mother and father,” says another mother. “They don’t believe that my daughter has a medical problem and see my husband and I as the reason she acts the way she does. Consequently, we don’t do much with them because every time we are all together the strain is unbearable. They become upset with my daughter and raise their voices. She cries, and it hurts to see her get so upset. We visit them but only for a short period of time-a half-hour here and there. Hopefully, as she matures, we’ll be able to spend more time with my family. I really could use the emotional support that my parents could offer us if things were different.” (Roberts, 1994)
Grandparents need to know the truth so they can understand that not all children can be parented the same. You and your spouse are probably the only people who are going to teach your parents about ADHD. Provide them with reading material or videos on ADHD, invite them to attend a support group meeting with you or ask them to attend an ADHD conference, to introduce them to other parents with ADHD children. It may take a while for them to comprehend everything but give them time and they will come around. Parents also have to realize that instead of getting upset with the grandparents’ reactions to their child, they must patiently teach their parents about ADHD, even if it takes years.
When a child becomes the focus of mom and dad’s attention, stress related problems would develop with other siblings. Siblings are encouraged to express their brother or sister with ADHD, even if those feelings are negative. Parents should listen carefully and express empathy. Encourage your child to treat his sibling with kindness and compassion-the same way he would treat a friend who had a medical problem.
Many parents say that the biggest problems they experience with their non-ADHD children are related to behavior. Not surprisingly, when the non ADHD sibling was younger, parents report that the sibling copied or mimicked the behavior of the child with ADHD in what they felt was an attempt to get the same attention, even if the attention resulted in punishment. One mother reported her daughter suddenly couldn’t do her homework once she realized that her older brother had a tutor. She wanted a tutor also, so for a time I acted as her tutor while continuing to emphasize the good work she did on her own. Eventually, she reached the point where she insisted that she could do her work without my help.
Many children with ADHD who have been identified are transferred to alternative educational settings, which may offer little if any meaningful education. More importantly, these alternative settings often fail to offer essential educational and therapeutic components the students need to be able to control or eliminate behaviors determined to be beyond the control of typical school settings. Children with ADHD are disproportionately affected by these circumstances for two reasons. First, some of the neurological differences of ADHD may reveal themselves as behavior, which is inconsistent with classroom and school rules, ranging from minor non-compliance in most cases to severe misbehavior in relatively few extreme cases. Second, in contrast to children with other disabilities who are already served under the IDEA, many children with ADHD are in school districts, which do not consider ADHD a qualifying disability under the federal special education law.
As a result, through this paper I have found information about what can be done for the children who have this disorder. If parents, teachers administrator and counselor get together and form a plan for the individual child and his or hers particular needs I believe there can be more successful outcomes. The future for these children can be bright and fulfilling. We will help and change them one child at a time.